As some of you may recall, recently I have moved my domain from wordpress.com to self-hosted Hostgator.com service. I had a couple of reasons to do so. Firstly I didn’t like that my content is co-shared with wordpress.com. Secondly I didn’t like that to install any plugins I had to go premium without much benefits. Thirdly… Oh, I can go on and on like this.
Anyways, few of you shown interest in getting more technical information about it, so I have prepared this post about site migration and a few tips how to transfer domain successfully.
My aim was to migrate all the data to new server. By data, I mean content, comments, stats, followers. As I went through the process, I have learned that these actions need to be divided into two activities- one was exporting data from my blog (which I could do myself), second moving stats and followers (for which I needed wordpress.com support).
Time-wise I didn’t know what to expect, especially after learning that most of the tasks need to be performed by a living, physical human being and took much longer than I expected.
About money I knew one thing, I didn’t wanna make any unnecessary investments. That’s all. Now the only thing was to follow steps below and actually do the job. Here are steps I took:
CHOOSE SERVICE PROVIDER AND PLAN
If you wanna move your domain you have to decide which service provider meets your expectations. Check the list of the best service providers in 2017 HERE. I went with hostgator.com. only because 1&1, did not support my country.
The plan is a set of features you get with the domain. I chose the basic plan, because most of the offered features can be installed to my website with free WordPress plugins. There is no option to get additional storage space, though, so if you need it, think ahead.
Once you choose the plan, you are redirected to the form page. Fill it in. At the very bottom of the form, you see (again) paid add-ons, like SSL certificate or back up. I didn’t go for any of them, cos of the reason mentioned above.
At the completion of payment process, you receive an email with login details. Use it together with provided link. You are set, your account with HostGator is created and ready to use.
LET THE TRANSFER BEGIN
There is no precise info how long transfer takes. It is because some of the activities need to be performed manually on both sides of your new and old register. In my case, it was 14 working days.
STEP 1. CHANGE SERVER NAMES
Login to your HostGator admin account. Choose sheet domains from the menu on top of the web page. Your domain should be on the list. Expanded from the list, it should have most of the options grayed out. On the left side, you have server names. Keep this window open, you need it in the next step.
HOSTGATOR ADMIN CONSOLE VIEW
Change server names pointing to the domain. Login to wordpress.com admin console. Go to Domains, click Edit and then Name Servers. Here you provide server names you got from HostGator.
STEP 2. COMPLETE PREREQUISITES
Within the same menu of wordpress.com admin console (Domains/Edit) view option Transfer domain/Transfer domain to another registrar. Use the button to get the EPP code and unlock your domain. In my case getting EPP code took 15 min, unlocking domain took 48 hours. I got an email on completion of each task. (More HERE)
STEP 3. THE TRANSFER
When your domain is unlocked login to HostGator admin console. Within menu domains/transfer domain search for your domain name. It will reveal domain transfer checklist. All the items should have green thicks next to it. If any of them has red cross, next to it you see How-To-Fix it button. Hostgator gives instruction how to follow up on it. When all the items turn green, you see the transfer button. It will ask for EPP code (in WordPress console EPP is called transfer code and on HostGator site it is called secret code).
In my case EPP code didn’t load the transfer automatically and I had to submit the ticket to manually move the domain.
Now make a coffee (or 7, cos it took 7 days in my case) and wait until all the changes have been approved and successfully performed. When the transfer is completed successfully, do not forget to lock your domain. It will secure it from any unauthorized actions.
STEP 5. WORDPRESS, SSL CERTIFICATE & PLUGIN INSTALATION
Now you can install wordpress on your website. Hostgator has a button on their main page that with only one click do all the job for you. To be perfectly honest I installed it before the transfer was complete, but I could not play with the website much, so than I just waited.
Once the transfer is complete, install the plugins mentioned above. It is crucial to get a plugin responsible for security, back up, SEO and others. HERE is a video with 5 the most basic plugins, to make your website secure, backed up and properly set.
There is no plugin installing SSL certificate. Get it issued by third party vendor for free with THIS instructions. It took 24 hours for my certificate to become active.
Now the only thing is to customize your website and voila, you are all set.
I hope you found it useful.