How to Use Duplicator WordPress Plugin to Migrate WordPress Hosting: DIY Guide

  • Manish Sharma
  • 02 Jan 2021

There are several reasons a WordPress site may need to migrate. The most common reason is to be able to host the site on a client-server rather than the developer server. There are multiple ways to migrate, but users naturally want to know about the method that involves minimal manual intervention and can be completed in just a few steps. Thankfully, there is a WordPress Plugin available for the job! It goes by the name of “Duplicator.”

Let’s explore the DIY method of using the Duplicator WordPress Plugin for website migration.

Here are some of the things this plugin accomplishes:

  • Makes WordPress site migration faster and easier
  • Enables the migration of a locally developed WordPress site to a live server
  • Enables easy migration between two servers
  • Can clone a live server WordPress site onto a local desktop server
  • Can transfer a website from one host server to another

This DIY guide on employing the Duplicator WordPress Plugin will walk you through:

  • Preparing for WordPress site migration to a new hosting server
  • Preparing the existing WordPress site for migration
  • Preparing a new hosting server to carry out the migration
  • How the WordPress Duplicator Plugin eases migration


Preparing for WordPress Site Migration to a New Hosting Server

The basic steps involved in WordPress site migration preparation are:

  • Moving files from the old to the new server. By files we mean the WP-content folder, WP-config, robots.txt, and .htaccess.
  • Transferring the database from one server to another
  • Altering the nameserver of the domain corresponding to the new target server

All these steps can be done manually, but if you are not comfortable with the manual method, the WordPress Duplicator plugin can complete the steps for you. This migration plugin performs all the operations related to moving files swiftly and securely. It starts the process by preparing an archive of the database and files on the existing server, then completes the transfer by preparing the target server to install and open the database and files. You can compare this plugin with a moving service that packs goods to be moved, and then unpacks and arranges them in a new location.

Preparing the existing WordPress site for migration

What happens when you plan to leave a house or office and transfer its contents to another location? You pack things in an organized, labeled manner at your current location. The migration plugin carries out similar preparations at the existing WordPress site; it creates a transferrable package that includes all the files you will need on the new server. You do the same in a physical move – you discard waste and obsolete material and pack only the things that you require.

Here are the migration preparation steps:

  • Login to the WordPress Dashboard
  • Install and activate the WordPress Duplicator plugin
  • Create a package that includes all the files that need to migrate to the new server. To do this, you can follow the path Duplicator> Packages> Create a new package.
  • As part of the clearing process, remove all cache files from the cache plugin to optimize the WordPress database (sounds similar to discarding obsolete items while relocating, doesn’t it?). It is best to do this before creating the package in the Duplicator plugin.


As a result of this cleaning process, Duplicator will be able to detect unusual elements like extra-large files, and scan and transfer them at your request. It will also issue warnings for you to attend to if any crucial errors are found. You can command Duplicator to fix the error and rerun a scan through the whole site, just as you inspect the premises one last time before moving out.

All the steps involved in building a package: A package holds an installer and an archive file. Here is a quick overview of what exactly you do to “create a package”:

  • Click “Build”. This step prompts the WordPress Duplicator plugin to create the package. This will take a few seconds or more, depending on the size of the website being migrated.
  • Download both the installer and the archive files once you get the message “Package completed.”
  • After downloading these files, move to a new server and start preparing it for accepting the new site.


Preparing a New Hosting Server to Carry Out the Migration Process

The Duplicator Plugin does not require you to install WordPress on the target server. It merely requires you to create a new database and user to prepare the new server to accept the WordPress site contents. You can keep the domain name the same while migrating (changing the website’s hosting server).

At the new hosting server location, Duplicator users need to carry out these activities:

  • Create a database and define its user rights. Take note of the database name and login details (username and password).
  • Upload both the archive and installer files from the old server. They will have been saved in .zip format. The target server is reached through FTP access, and the uploading site is the root directory of the domain that you have there.
  • The process is completed by opening a new server IP with installer.php.


The steps to opening a new server with the WordPress Duplicator Plugin are:

  • Go to
  • Set requirements to Pass.
  • Choose action as Create a new database
  • Set host as localhost

Note: All other database details remain the same as the step above in which we asked you to save your username and password for later use.

  • Click on Test Connection
  • Click ‘Next,’ which will take you to the next page of the free WordPress installer empowered by Duplicator.
  • Here, you will be given a URL and other fields. Keeping other fields the same, change the URL to the domain name

Completing these steps correctly makes for the successful migration of your site to a new server. The next step is to test the site.

Checking the correctness of site transfer: This is essential, and thankfully, it is also easy. It can be done with these steps:

  • Use the FTP login details that you used to access the target host server.
  • Check if all elements, databases, etc. have correctly migrated to the new server. In case of failure, the process can be repeated until the transfer is complete.
  • Update the server’s domain name to direct users to the new host server. Your details will be identified readily by the new server.
  • Upon logging into the WordPress dashboard, you will be prompted to remove all dump files or the installer package that facilitated the old server’s migration to the new one. This is the final step of the migration process.

After these steps, the WordPress site will be ready to use in precisely the same way you were using the older server.

What should I do if dump file removal displays an error? Migration may not happen entirely in one shot. Some of the common errors, and ways to fix them, are:

ionCube Encoder for PHP 5: This is the most commonly discussed error of WordPress server migration. The temporary solution for this is to disable the plugin and keep the other processes going. You may need to contact the new host service or administrator for a solution to this error.

Database not uploaded: The migration process must be repeated to fix this error. Check if the new database reflects the added tables or not. Also, the login credentials for the database of the WP-config.php should be checked. If there are errors in both these parts, they can be fixed right from the start of the process.

Conclusion: WordPress Duplicator Plugin Eases Migration

The two most significant features of the WordPress Duplicator Plugin are that it is free and that it greatly eases the process of migration. Though the plugin may yield different results for different websites depending upon their size and complexity, overall it simplifies website migration to an appreciable extent.

This migration plugin is useful for moving from a live server to a local server and vice versa. It is recommended by most working WordPress professionals.

If you want a respite from the complexities of manual transfer, or want to migrate by yourself, using Duplicator for WordPress offers a convenient and reliable option. It is quick, hassle-free, and supports testing and checking at all points. The ease of testing in real-time ensures that the WordPress site is migrated correctly, so users are not left to face maintenance-related messages for long. And if the plugin still presents a difficulty, developers and professionals are available to guide you or do it for you in no time, and with a smaller budget.

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212 Replies to “How to Use Duplicator WordPress Plugin to Migrate WordPress Hosting: DIY Guide”

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