Here’s one of the best gifts technology has for bloggers and business owners: Learning how to make WordPress site live after creating it on your computer, then exposing it to the world.
It provides the opportunity to create a well-designed website that is sure to draw traffic and increase conversion rates.
And the best part is that you can complete it at your own pace, test and retest its user-friendliness and navigability, and ensure that you have the best site for your visitors.
You’ll do all the creation and testing on the back end; therefore, the world will not see you making mistakes. You’ll only make it live after you’re sure everything looks and works just the way you like it.
We will provide three methods on how to go about migrating your site from the local host to a live server. And if you don’t feel up to the task, get a professional to do it for you.
- Why Migrating Your Website is Important
- Getting Started on Migrating Your Website
- Using a Plugin
- Using Export Import Tools
- Manual Approach
- Common Issues of a WordPress Site
- Wrapping Up
Why Migrating Your Website is Important?
Creating your website locally and later migrating it comes with a variety of advantages.
Flexibility to Test on the Website Design
You can test with a variety of themes before settling for the best selection for the kind of content on your website. This ensures that your site is optimized to give users the best experience through speedy navigation between pages and user-friendliness.
You can Improve on Functionality
You can experiment with different plugins without slowing down your website or crashing it. A poorly performing website can harm your SEO and discourage potential buyers from visiting your site.
Take all the time you need to work on the website first, create all functions, and then migrate a perfectly functioning website to the live server.
It Saves on Cost (Web Hosting)
You are better off working on your site locally first. And when you have it on a live server, it will be ready enough to make you some money.
You Get to Maintain Consistency
Getting traffic to your website is hard enough. The last thing you would want to do is give your visitors a less than perfect experience. Your visitors want consistency.
If your site has one design today and a different one tomorrow, it does not paint a good picture of your business or service.
It is Fast When Your Local Site Live
Working on your website locally will be fast compared to building it while it’s live. Depending on your ISP and the number of people sharing the connection, you are likely to experience slow loading time.
Updating themes and installing plugins will take time compared to working locally.
Getting Started on Migrating Your Website from a Local Host to Live Server
Before you start reading, we assume that you have all that is necessary to migrate your website to a live server.
Here is a checklist:
A WordPress Hosting Plan
They are configured to work smoothly with sites running on a WordPress platform. Consider a web host like WPEngine or Kinsta.
Create a Domain
You need a domain name for your website. It should communicate what your site is about. Incorporate strong keywords in the name. It will help in ranking your website high on search engine result pages and draw organic traffic to your website.
This is an administration tool for MySQL. It comes as an open-source tool written in PHP and excellent for web hosting. Get the latest version from the PHPMyAdmin site.
This is a relational database management system. As the name suggests, it relies on Structured Query Language. The application is open source. Although it has a variety of uses, it is mainly used for web databases. You can download the latest version from the MySQL website.
cPanel is a control panel for web hosting accounts. It is Linux-based. It makes it possible to efficiently control all services and customize your server account, such as creating FTP users, creating new emails, and installing software.
Your hosting account will most likely come with a cPanel. To access it, add the word ‘cpanel’ to your domain name, for instance, sample.com/cpanel. You can then log in using your username and password.
Know-How to Use FTP Live
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) will help you transfer your files from your computer server to the web pages. It operates on a client-server model. You should be able to transfer files using FTP to migrate your site effectively.
With these skills and tools at hand, we will show you how to make WordPress site live using three methods.
- Using a plugin
- Using export/import tools
- The manual approach
Using the manual approach is a delicate job. And if it’s your first time doing it, we recommend that you seek professional help. From there on, you can do it yourself using our easy guide.
The plugin way of migrating your WordPress site is the most convenient for beginners. It is less complex.
How to Make WordPress Site Live: Using a Plugin
As we said, this is the best method for rookies. We will see how to make your WordPress site live by using a Duplicator plugin and the UpdraftPlus plugin.
Using the Duplicator Plugin on Website
Install the Duplicator plugin in your local site by going to plugins on your dashboard. Click add new. On the search box, type Duplicator.
Install and activate the plugin.
Go to Duplicator and click on Packages. In the window that appears, select ‘Create New.’
Select ‘next.’ Duplicator will run a scan on your site. If everything is okay, you should see the items marked ‘good.’ That’s a go-ahead, click build.
You might take some time on this step, and a large website will definitely take longer. Allow the process to get complete uninterrupted.
Once completed, you should see the option to download files for the installer and the archive package, as indicated below.
The archive file, usually, is a downloaded file of the WordPress website that acts as a backup of the WordPress database. It will include your images, themes, files, and plugins.
On the other hand, the installer file is a script. It launches the migration by unpacking the archive file. For this reason, both files need to go together.
Select ‘one-click download’. It will download both the archives and installer files to your computer.
You will need to create a new database. Go to your host control panel and select the MySQL database. Under the database tab, create a new database and name it. Click on ‘Create’ to finalize.
Go to your FTP client and log in to your account. The root directory in /home/public_html/folder. Ensure that it is empty. If there is a WordPress folder, delete it.
Next, you need to work on uploading the archive and installer files. Upload from the local site to the WordPress hosting account by adding them to the empty root folder.
With both the archive and installer files uploaded, you need to visit the installer script. Use the URL http://name of your domain.com/installer.php. If the indicators show a green color, feel free to click next. You have just launched the Duplicator.
The next window is about your WordPress database information. Fill in the same data you used when creating the database. Fill in the host, which will be localhost, add the database name, username, and password. You can always confirm the details in the MySQL Database menu.
Hit next to proceed.
Duplicator will go ahead and complete the migration by importing the WordPress database backup to the new database. Once complete, it will show you a success screen.
You will get a message prompting you to update the site URL or Path. Ignore it. It will automatically detect your website’s URL and Path.
You can click on ‘Admin Login’ in your live website to access the dashboard of your site. After you log in, duplicator should automatically get rid of the installation files. Your site is now live and ready for use.
UpdraftPlus WordPress Plugin
Step 1 – Download UpdraftPlus
Go to your WordPress localhost server and log in. Go to Plugins, select Add New, and search for UpdraftPlus in the search box. Although it is a backup plugin, you can use it to migrate your website as well. Install and activate it.
This is only the free version, and it does not come with the migratory function, which is needed to move your files.
Step 2 – Restore Your Files
Once you activate it, go to Settings on your dashboard. Select UpdraftPlus backup. Select restore. Click upload back up file, choose select files, and select backup files. Select all the files and allow the plugin to upload them.
Once the files have been uploaded, click restore. A window will appear with all the content in your sites, such as plugins. Check the boxes next to all. And then click restore.
Step 3 – Restore the Files in Your New Website
Next, you need to repeat the process in your new WordPress website. Go to the UpdraftPlus backup and click Restore. Check the boxes on all the files and settings and click Restore once again.
Your website is now live.
If, for some reason, both plugin methods are not successful, use the manual approach.
How to Make WordPress Site Live: Using Export/Import Tools
You can use the export/import method to move data from the locally hosted site to the live server. Go to tools on your dashboard and select export. Select all content and click download export file.
An XML file will be created on your desktop with the downloaded files.
In your destination site, log in to the admin panel, locate Tools, but this time, choose Import. There will be multiple systems to choose from.
Select WordPress and click install now. This process will automatically download the WP installer plugin. It will also activate it.
You can begin the process of importing. Go to Tools on the dashboard, select ‘Run Installer’ and it will direct you to the Import WordPress section.
Choose the XML file that you downloaded when exporting your content from the old website. Select ‘Upload and Import’.
Next, assign content to the existing users on the new website. Every content needs to be attributed to an author’s account on the website. Tick ‘Download and Import file attachments’ to ensure that all images and files are moved.
Click submit; your website is now live.
This method is only suitable for importing and exporting content. It does not move other settings, such as plugins and themes.
How to make a WordPress site live: Manual Approach
You can manually move your website to your WordPress host using the manual method. To start with, you need to export the local WordPress database. In this case, you will be using phpMyAdmin. Go to http://localhost/phpmyadmin/ and select the WordPress database.
Select the Export option located on the top menu bar. Choose either ‘quick’ or ‘custom’ in the window that appears. Although custom will come with a variety of options to choose from when exporting the database, ‘quick’ is what we recommend. Select go. You have downloaded your database.
To migrate your files to the live site, you need to go to your FTP client. Open it and connect to the hosting account.
Upload the files to the correct directory and upload your local WordPress files to the live server.
Next, you need to set up a MySQL Database on your WordPress website. Log in to the cPanel dashboard. Most web hosts will give you cPanel access.
Proceed to the database section and select the MySQL database icon.
Type in a name for your database and click ‘create database’. In the section labeled ‘MySQL Users’, which is the database, select Create User. Or add an existing user to the database.
Set the privileges you would want to give the user. Check all the boxes. This means you have granted the user all privileges. Select ‘make changes.’
In the next step, import the WordPress database to your WordPress website. In the cPanel dashboard, select phpMyAdmin in the databases section. Click import, which is on the top menu.
Click ‘choose file’ and click the database you created. Click ‘go’. You have successfully imported your WordPress database.
For the site URL in your database to connect with your live WordPress site, you need to change it. Go to phpMyAdmin, find the wp_options table in the imported database.
Click the ‘browse’ button next to it. It will expose the fields which are in the wp_options table.
Check for ‘siteurl’ in options_name. Select the edit field icon. You will get the option to make edits in the window that will appear.
Check the input box with the option_value, change the URL from http://localhost/example to that of your WordPress website. Select ‘go’ to save the changes.
Locate the home tab, which is on the second page. Click the pagination arrows in phpMyAdmin. Like in the step above, change the home URL to be the same as your website’s URL.
Common Issues of a WordPress Site
Here are some four problems you are likely to experience when making the migration.
Error Establishing Data Connection
If your site shows an error message indicating problems in establishing a database connection, it means you need to configure WordPress.
You will need to connect your website to an FTP client, make edits to the wp-config.php file. Use the same database details as earlier created. Save the file. You also need to upload it back to the server.
Your website will now be live with no error showing. Login to the admin panel, select Settings and click General. Select Save Changes. It will automatically update the site URL in all areas.
Redirection Loop/Login Errors
Redirection loop/login errors are also common when redirecting a website. In this case, the problem could be in a site address that differs from the permalinks you have configured in WordPress. Any slight difference could lead to a redirection loop or login error.
To resolve it, go to general settings and edit your WordPress address and site address to match the configurations with your host provider.
Broken Links or Image not Showing on Your Website
Broken links and images that are missing are common when migrating your websites from the local server to a live website.
There are two methods to resolve this, using the SQL query and by using a plugin.
To use the SQL query, go to phpMyAdmin. Hit database and select SQL which will be in the top menu. Type this query:
UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = REPLACE(post_content, ‘localhost/test/’, ‘www.yourlivesite.com/’);
It should resolve your problem. To use a plugin, install and activate the Velvet Blues Update URLs plugin. To configure the plugin settings, go-to tools in your dashboard, then navigate to the “Update URLs” page.
Key in the old and new URLs and select where you would want the URLs to be updated by checking the boxes next to page content, excerpts, attachments, and any other area. Click on update URLs now. The plugin will make changes as per the instructions you have provided.
Confirm if the broken links and missing images are fixed.
Domain Redirecting to Wp-Signup Page
This error mainly occurs when there is an error in setting up your multisite domain references. For instance, this error can occur when you enter the “www.yoursite.com” as the network site name instead of the correct “yoursite.com”.
You can resolve the problem by going to your control panel. Select ‘redirections’ and select ‘add new redirect.’ Select the option to redirect it to/from ‘www’.
Change the rule to be ‘When a request arrives for hostname yoursite.com: Redirect it to the same page of “https://www.yoursite.com”
To prevent this problem, ensure that you are using HTTP or HTTPS as required. And always use your primary domain when making any changes or updates to affiliate sites.
Building a website locally is fast and cost-efficient. It gives you a chance to optimize the design, add content, and test different settings and plugins without disrupting your visitors or slowing the site down.
But once you are done with your creation, the other major issue is how to make your WordPress site live. There are three main methods
- Using a Plugin: You can use the Duplicator plugin or purchase the UpdraftPlus plugin. Both methods are easy to carry out if you follow the guide provided. If it fails to migrate successfully, you can always use the manual method.
- Migrating the Website Manually: This is a very successful method of migrating your website. It is extensive and moves all your files, plugins, and settings. Just as it is the most reliable method, it is also detailed. If you are not confident in your ability to follow instructions, work with a professional. And as you learn from them, you can work on subsequent websites.
- Using the Export/Import Method: The export/import method is by far the simplest method of migrating your website. However, it only moves your content. You will need to find a different method to migrate your themes, plugins, and settings, or recreate them on your live website.
Here, you’ve learned exactly how to make a WordPress site live. However, a live website is not the end of it. You need to be on the lookout for broken links, missing images, login errors, and redirections. But these errors can be fixed easily.
Keep your website lively by adding high quality and well-researched content regularly.
Read Other WordPress Guides:
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- Ultimate WordPress Security Guide
- Install WordPress on Windows: Ultimate Step by Step Guide
- How to Create the Best WordPress Staging Site
- How to Discover & Recover WordPress Site
- How to Add Custom Fonts to WordPress
- Wix vs WordPress: Platform Crucial Differences
- Can’t Login to WordPress Admin Dashboard?