Using the DreamHost Automated Migration WordPress plugin

Overview

You must have an active account and hosting plan at DreamHost in order to use the Automated Migration plugin. If you are not yet a DreamHost customer, see the following article for more information on how you can can sign up for a DreamHost account:

DreamHost has partnered with the makers of BlogVault to provide DreamHost Automated Migration, a free WordPress plugin that allows you to quickly and easily migrate your WordPress site to DreamHost.

The DreamHost Automated Migration plugin works with most WordPress sites—if you believe you might have an unusual site configuration or web host, see the FAQs section at the end of the article for possible solutions.

Watch before you begin

Migrations are fast and free with the DreamHost Automated Migration plugin. The following walk-through video shows you how to migrate your site to a DreamPress plan. If you are not using DreamPress, you can still migrate to any other hosting plan! Just use the step-by-step guide below.

The following describes in detail how to use the DreamHost Automated Migration plugin.

Getting started

Be sure to do the following before you install the DreamHost Automated Migration plugin:

  • Test and install all available updates for WordPress, including all installed themes and plugins. Make sure your site has no errors or hacked code.
  • To avoid any downtime on your site, keep the domain's DNS pointed at your old host until the migration is complete and you’ve had a chance to look at the migrated site at DreamHost.

How to install the DreamHost Automated Migration plugin

Step 1 — Finding your DreamHost account information

The following explains what information you need and where to find it in the DreamHost web panel.

  1. If you haven't already, Add Hosting to your domain in your DreamHost panel.
  2. If you manually added hosting to your domain, install WordPress as a One-Click Install.
    • It's okay to do this while your domain is hosted at your old host. Adding hosting at DreamHost does not affect your current hosting. Your existing site will remain live for now.
    • If you are concerned about affecting your existing live site, you can add a temporary subdomain name ending with .dream.press (for DreamPress sites), or .dreamhosters.com for all other hosting plans. Please note that creating a temporary test site will create extra work at the end of the process since you'll have to update your database to the correct URL.
  3. Locate your Migration Key in the DreamHost panel:
    • DreamPress plans: Navigate to the Managed WordPress page. Click the Manage button to the right of your domain, click the Migration tab on the next page, and then click the blue Generate Migration Key button.
    • All other plans: Navigate to the Websites page and follow these steps:
      1. Click one of the following:
        • From Grid view, hover over your domain's preview image, and click the Manage button.
        • From List view, click the Manage button to the right of your domain.
      2. When the Manage Websites page opens, click the Website tab.
      3. Find the Migrating this site to DreamHost? section (in the WordPress box).
      4. Click the Get Key button.

    If the Migration Key for your site does not show in your panel, please Contact Support.

Step 2 — Installing and activating the plugin

To install and activate the DreamHost Automated Migration plugin on the WordPress site at your old host:

  1. Open the WordPress Admin Dashboard for your site.
  2. Select 'Plugins > Add New' in the left horizontal navigation bar.
  3. Type 'DreamHost Automated Migration' in the search field box at the upper right.
    2019-10_wp-admin_dh-migration-plugin_01.fw.png
  4. Click the Install Now button in the box when it appears.
    2019-10_wp-admin_dh-migration-plugin_02.fw.png
  5. Click the Activate button.
    The 'Migrate Your Sites to DreamHost' page opens:
    2020-04_wp-migration-plugin-token.png

    If you do not see the Migration Token option shown above, then an outdated version of the plugin is being used. Please update your plugin before proceeding or use these steps to migrate using your SFTP credentials.

  6. Enter the following:
    • Email — An email address where you would like to receive notifications about migration status and completion.
    • Migration Token — The Migration Key obtained from your DreamHost panel.
    • Review and agree (by clicking the checkbox) to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy if you agree and wish to continue.
  7. Click the Migrate button when finished.
  8. Bookmark the URL to check your migration's progress and close the browser tab or window while it is running.

Most migrations take under an hour to complete, but if your site is larger than a couple GBs of data, it could take more than an hour. Once it completes, you will receive a notification email to the address you entered during the step above.

Checking your migrated site and making it live on DreamHost

If your domain is the same at DreamHost and the old host

Add '.dream.website' to the end of your domain to view the migrated site on DreamHost. For example, if your domain is 'example.com', view your migrated site at 'example.com.dream.website'.

Once you are satisfied with the migrated site, change your domain's DNS to point to DreamHost.

For more information on how to change your nameservers at your current host, see the following article:

If you chose a different domain name at DreamHost from the old host

You can use a different domain name to view your site at DreamHost while the current site remains live. Make sure any new domain name you chose is already using DreamHost DNS records.

If you are using a temporary subdomain name ending in .dreamhosters.com or .dream.press

You can use the temporary subdomain name to immediately view the migrated site.

  • DreamPress domains: when you are ready to make your site live at DreamHost using your real domain, follow these instructions to rename your domain.
  • All other hosting plans: when you are ready to make your site live on DreamHost using your real domain name, follow these instructions to rename your domain.

If you're using an older version of the DreamHost Automated Migration plugin, or wish to migrate using SFTP credentials instead

The easiest way to migrate is to make sure you're using the latest plugin version on the WordPress site at your old host, which may require you to update the plugin in your WordPress dashboard. Older versions of the plugin do not have Migration Key support. However, it is possible to migrate your WordPress site with an older version of the plugin, using SFTP credentials instead.

The following steps describe how to do that.

Step 1 — Locate your DreamHost SFTP credentials

Locate the following information about your DreamHost account:

  • FTP/SFTP User: Navigate to the Manage Domains page. Make a note of your user to the right of your domain (shown as 'User: name').
  • Host/Server Address: Click the user name to open the 'Editing User' page. Your server name is shown in parentheses next to your user name at the top (e.g., 'on servername'). Use the following server-address format depending on the type of hosting plan you have: 
    • Shared Hosting planservername.dreamhost.com
    • DreamPress or VPS planservername.dreamhostps.com
    • Dedicated Server planservername.dreamservers.com
  • FTP or SFTP: Ensure that your user type is either SFTP or SSH. If it's FTP, switch the user type to SFTP or SSH (which also provides SFTP).
  • FTP/SFTP Password: Set a password for this user and click Save Changes. Keep this information ready to enter in the next step.

Step 2 — Enter your DreamHost SFTP credentials at your old host

  1. Visit the DreamHost Automated Migration plugin’s page at your old host’s WordPress site.
    The 'Migrate Your Sites to DreamHost' settings page opens:
    2020-04_wp-migration-plugin-ftp.png
  2. Enter the following:
    • Email — An email address where you would like to receive notifications about migration status and completion.
    • Destination Site URL — The web address (Destination Site URL) for your site. Usually, this is the same address as your site on your current host. If you are using a DreamHost temporary subdomain (dream.press or dreamhosters.com) or if you will be changing your domain for your site, use that address instead. Make sure to enter 'https://' at the beginning of the web address if you plan to use an SSL certificate.
    • Type — Select sFTP. Recommended
    • Host/Server Address — The server address. See above for further details.
    • FTP/SFTP User — The user name. See above for further details.
    • FTP/SFTP Password — The password. See above for further details.
    • Review and agree (by clicking the checkbox) to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy if you agree and wish to continue.
  3. Click the Migrate button when finished.
  4. Bookmark the URL to check your migration's progress and close the browser tab or window while it is running.

You can also migrate using SFTP credentials in an updated version of the DreamHost Automated Migration plugin. To do so, click the “Manually Input Host Details” link, just below the Migration Token field.

FAQs

Can I use this plugin to migrate a WordPress multisite?

Yes, the Migrate to DreamHost plugin allows the migration of a WordPress network or Multisite install. After installing the plugin, make sure to 'Network Activate' it to ensure it can run from the Network Admin dashboard. However, please note the following considerations:

  • The migration must move the whole network to DreamHost. It does not allow the migration of individual subsites, or the import of a subsite into a different network.
  • The recommended hosting plans for WordPress Multisite are a DreamHost VPS, Dedicated, or DreamCompute. Multisite installs on Shared and DreamPress plans are not recommended or supported.
  • DreamHost Support does not offer technical assistance with Multisite installs.

Are there any restrictions or limitations?

The plugin will work with the vast majority of WordPress sites, themes, plugins, and configurations. However, please note that you cannot migrate the following types of sites using this plugin:

  • WordPress sites set up at WordPress.com
  • Sites built using Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace, Joomla, or other site builders
  • WordPress sites developed in local environments (e.g., ServerPress)

WordPress sites set up at WordPress.com cannot be migrated using this or any other plugin as an exact copy of the original site to any other host. You can, however, import the content of your pages, posts, and embedded images using the instructions found on this page.

Your site must already be a WordPress site in order to migrate an exact copy of your site using this or any other plugin. This means that the Migrate to DreamHost plugin cannot be used to migrate other types of sites, such as those built using Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace, Joomla, or other site builders.

At this time, you can migrate a WordPress site of any size using this plugin. Please note the time to complete the migration increases for larger sites.

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