I recently changed hosting for my WordPress blogs. My main reasons for changing were, my host was unable to update the version of PHP which would result in being unable to update to the most recent version of WordPress. They did offer me a new hosting contract, but I would then have to migrate my blogs across, so I decided that if I needed to do that I might as well review new hosts. I had had reliability issues with my existing host. I was also concerned about upgrading to SSL (https). Both Chrome and Safari were marking non-https sites as “non-secure”.
It’s not as though I was doing e-commerce on my blogs, but it looked like Google would drop non-https sites down in their search results. I also thought the “non-secure” identification might worry people.
There were a few challenges, mainly as I took the opportunity to move a couple of my blogs to a domain of their own. I say opportunity I wasn’t sure I could recreate the same setup with the new host that I had with the old one.
Decided to record and log what I had done, just in case I needed to do this again.
The first thing I did was do a full backup of the site. Well not quite a full backup as I didn’t make a backup of the SQL database.
I used the built-in export tools to export posts as an XML file. I could have downloaded the backup as a single file, but sometimes that can result in a file that is too large.
I used an FTP programme to download the uploaded image files. This allowed me to maintain the structure. I could have used the WP File Manager plugin (see below) but as I had FTP access I took this route.
After importing the XML files into my new blog, I then used a range of plugins to finalise the installation and blogging experience.
There is a WordPress Importer plugin, which is added to the basic WordPress install.
Some of these you can install, activate, use and then remove. From a security perspective it is advisable to remove plugins you are not using. There is also the potential for conflicts with other plugins.
I really don’t like the Gutenberg editor for WordPress. I am sure it’s fine for new blogs, but I find it confusing and challenging. So the first plugin I installed was the Classic Editor plugin.
I use WordPress’ Jetpack plugin for stats
I had been collecting stats on my blogs, but these weren’t transferred when I changed hosts. There isn’t an automatic method for doing this, so I had to contact WordPress Support to have the stats merged.
This was a simple request
I recently moved hosting providers and my domain, I now need to move the stats. My blog [name of blog] now appears twice in my list of stats, one of which is not available.
I also use Jetpack for Akismet to scan for spam comments.
In order to improve the user experience when viewing images on the blog, I use Simple Lightbox.
What I like about this is, when I embed an image when you click an image link it shows the image in a “lightbox” overlaid on top of the blog, rather than either in a new window (don’t like) or as it is.
It’s then easy for the user to see a slideshow of images (if there is more than one in the blog post) or click through them quickly and easily.
Velvet Blues Update URLs
This plugin updates all urls in your website by replacing old urls with new urls. As I was moving a couple of my blogs from old URLs to new ones, this ensured that all links in the blog posts were changed.
My old URL was
The new URL was
Across my blog posts I had absolute links to other blog posts and images. This plugin allowed me to quickly change those links to the new URL, ensuring that images weren’t missing and links worked correctly.
WP File Manager
When you upload images to WordPress it organises files by year and month. Using the built-in process to upload my backed up image files would certainly add them to the Media Library, but I would then need to edit all the image links in the blog posts as the paths would be wrong.
I could have used FTP, but the advantage of WP File Manager is doesn’t require FTP access to the server.
I installed this plugin not wanting to improve SEO, but because it makes using Twitter Cards much easier.
I couldn’t use Twitter Cards on my old blog as the PHP version wasn’t new enough.
There were other plugins that do Twitter Cards, but doing a Google search revealed that the Yoast SEO plugin was a simple way of doing this.
One Click SSL
One of my main reasons for moving hosts was to implement SSL.
One Click SSL made it really easy to implement SSL after sorting out a security certificate with my host.
I had been recommended Really Simple SSL, but this conflicted with another Plugin installed, so I had to find and choose another plugin to do SSL.
WP Bulk Delete
I used this plugin a couple of times after importing a lot of blog posts and realising that I needed to edit the XML file before importing.
I also used this plugin to delete a load of internal trackbacks that obviously after changing URL were now not going to link back to the right posts.
On one of my blogs I changed the default URL from a sub-folder to the root domain. Redirection allowed me to easily handle the 301 redirect without needn’t to worry about .htaccess.
Overall it was quite a challenge to move hosts (I had being putting it off for a while) but these plugins certainly made it easier.