WordPress Site Migration with VaultPress

How to migrate WordPress to a new web host with VaultPress by restoring a backup to a different site. This project is continued from WP Engine WordPress Migration Steps.

WordPress Site Migration with VaultPress

The VaultPress Restore to a Different Site feature makes it easy to move WordPress by restoring a backup to a new hosting service. In this example, I’m migrating from a shared hosting account to WP Engine, although the process is the same for moving WordPress to any new web server.

VaultPress Backup Contents

VaultPress is WordPress backup service, which is a bit different from a complete site backup.
VaultPress backs up the following items:

  • /.htaccess
  • /favicon.ico
  • /apple-touch-icon.png
  • /apple-touch-icon-precomposed.png
  • /robots.txt
  • /startup.png
  • /LiveSearchSiteAuth.xml
  • /BingSiteAuth.xml
  • /crossdomain.xml
  • /wp-config.php
  • /wp-content/plugins/
  • /wp-content/themes/
  • /wp-content/uploads/
  • /wp-content/languages/
  • /wp-includes/languages/
  • The WordPress database for all tables that have the $table_prefix set in wp-config.php, for example:
    $table_prefix = 'wp_';

VaultPress does not backup the WordPress core files because that can be downloaded from WordPress.org.

Download your VaultPress backup and look at the contents to see what’s in there.

What’s not captured in the VaultPress backup content is mainly of concern when moving WordPress to a new host. I had placed some site content in the folders:


on my old shared hosting account. These folders & files are not included in the VaultPress backup. I fixed it by moving the items to subfolders in /wp-content/uploads/ and updated the Posts and Theme settings to reflect the new locations.

If you have reason not to move some items to the /wp-content/uploads/ folder because it has to reside elsewhere to function correctly, either:

  • Temporarily copy the items to /wp-content/uploads/ so it’s captured in VaultPress backup.
    Don’t move the files, rather make a copy so you don’t break the live site that’s being backed up!
    Move the items back to the original locations after the VaultPress restores the site to the new host.

– or –

  • Manually FTP the folders & files to your PC and manually upload it manually it to the new host.

After I permanently relocated Post and Theme related content to /wp-content/uploads/, only a small quantity of files needed to be manually FTP’d to the new host.

Moving WordPress to a New Host

VaultPress restore to a different site readiness checklist:

  • VaultPress has a backup of your live site.
  • The default WordPress install exists on the new host.
    • Recall that VaultPress does not backup the WordPress core files.
    • Do not modify the default WordPress install on the new host because VaultPress needs the settings in wp-config.php to access the MySQL database.
  • An FTP or SFTP account account has been created on the new host.
    • VaultPress will use this account to move the site to the new host.
    • Secure FTP (SFTP) is recommended for security.

In the following example, I’m moving my WordPress site to WP Engine. The Site URL is my WP Engine temporary domain: handymanhowto.wpengine.com. Aside: When I go live with WP Engine, the temporary domain will be deleted and a permanent redirect made to the www domain.

Restore a VaultPress Backup

Log into your VaultPress account:

  • Selecting Backups
  • Choose a backup and click Restore:
VaultPress Restore a Backup

VaultPress Restore a Backup

Include all options for the VaultPress Restore: Database, Themes, Plugins and Uploads (/wp-content/uploads/ folder):

VaultPress Prepare Backup

VaultPress Prepare Backup

This is the magic, click the Change Site button to restore to a different site:

VaultPress Ready to Restore

VaultPress Ready to Restore

VaultPress Restore to a Different Site

  • Confirm Alternate site is selected.
  • Enter the alternate site URL (the new host). e.g. mydomain.wpengine.com
  • Select SFTP, which is required by WP Engine to encrypt your session.
  • Enter the Host name, Username and Password for your SFTP account.
    I created a unique SFTP account for VaultPress.
  • Enter the Path to WordPress. This is where the wp-config.php is located.
    For WP Engine, wp-config.php is located in root folder /. If WordPress is located in a different folder, enter that path.
  • Click the Save Alternate Site button.
    VaultPress will validate the SFTP login and verify a WordPress install is available.
    If you make a mistake, correct the error and click the Retry button. The Valid! message is displayed if everything is correct.
VaultPress Restore to a Different Site

VaultPress Restore to a Different Site

After Saving the Alternate Site, click the Restore Now button to upload the site to the new host. The WP Engine temporary site domain is shown here:

VaultPress Ready to Restore to Alternate Site

VaultPress Ready to Restore to Alternate Site

VaultPress will prepare the backup:

VaultPress: Accessing the Vault

VaultPress: Accessing the Vault

When the backup is ready, VaultPress will restore the site to the new host. This can take some time depending on the of the web site.

VaultPress Restore in Progress

VaultPress Restore in Progress

The Restore Complete happy screen is displayed when VaultPress is finished:

VaultPress Restore Complete

VaultPress Restore Complete

Also see:

Fastest WordPress Hosting

Hope this helps,

Bob Jackson

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