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Migrate WordPress database

How to Migrate a WordPress Database (2 Methods) 

Written By: author image Joella Dunn
author image Joella Dunn
Joella is a writer with years of experience in WordPress. At Duplicator, she specializes in site maintenance — from basic backups to large-scale migrations. Her ultimate goal is to make sure your WordPress website is safe and ready for growth.
     Reviewed By: John Turner
reviewer image John Turner
John Turner is the President of Duplicator. He has over 20+ years of business and development experience and his plugins have been downloaded over 25 million times.

Do you need to migrate your WordPress database to a new server or cloud storage?

A WordPress site migration usually involves moving both your files and the database. However, you might want to migrate just the database if you need to update the data on your local staging site. Database migrations can also be useful for moving large sites or even saving data to the cloud. 

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to migrate a WordPress database!

Why You Might Want to Migrate a WordPress Database

All of your WordPress site’s posts, pages, categories, users, and other data are stored in a database. It saves changes and serves content to visitors. 

When you want to migrate your website, you’ll typically want to move both the files and the database to the new hosting server. These two elements work together to display your website.

However, your website might be large. You might need to move the site files and database separately to avoid timeouts on your old host. 

You might also have a staging site to test out new changes. To make sure your local site is fully updated, you can upload your database and overwrite the old one.

Having a backup can help you restore data after an emergency. For extra security, consider migrating your database to cloud storage.

How to Migrate a WordPress Database

There are a few different reasons to migrate a WordPress database, but you might not know how to get started. Let’s walk through the migration process, step by step!

Method 1. Use a WordPress Migration Plugin

The easiest way to migrate WordPress data is to use a WordPress migration plugin. A tool like Duplicator Pro is built to save and transport your files and database. 

Step 1: Install Duplicator

If you’re looking to migrate your WordPress database in minutes, try Duplicator. This is the best WordPress migration plugin, allowing you to send databases to the cloud, a new host, or any other location.

Duplicator Pro plugin

To get started, purchase a subscription for Duplicator Pro. There is also a free version, but it doesn’t support drag-and-drop migrations.

Be sure to copy your license key. Then, install Duplicator in your WordPress dashboard.

Lastly, go to Duplicator Pro » Settings » Licensing.

Activate Duplicator Pro license key

Paste your license key here. Activate it to start using Duplicator!

Step 2: Create a Database Backup

To migrate your database, you’ll need to create a database-only backup. First, find Duplicator Pro » Packages » Create New.

Create new backup

Name the backup. If you want to migrate the database to the cloud, choose a cloud storage location. Duplicator supports all of these options:

If you’re planning on migrating your database to a localhost, new live host, or new domain, select local storage instead. 

Local site package

Expand the Archive section. Here, choose Database Only. This excludes any files from your backup.

Backup WordPress database

Click Next. Duplicator will fully scan your database, informing you of any issues.

Database scan

After this, hit Build to run the backup.

If you chose a cloud storage location, your backup will be sent off-site. However, the local storage option will save the backup to the Packages page of your dashboard.

Download database backup

Before you migrate it, download the database backup.

If you’re using Duplicator Pro, you’ll only need the archive file. For free users, be sure to download the installer as well. 

Step 3: Import Your Original Database

Now it’s time to migrate your database to a different location. On the new website, install Duplicator Pro. Then, open the Import page.

Import website archive

If you’re using the free version of Duplicator, upload both the archive and installer to your server with an FTP client like FileZilla. Then, visit this URL: https://your-domain/installer.php

Upload the database backup archive. Review the package details and click Next.

Review database backup installation

Just in case something goes wrong, feel free to set a recovery point. Choose a recent backup of the site and copy the recovery URL.

Add recovery point before migration

Then, hit Launch Installer.

In the installer, you’ll see that only the database will be overwritten.

Migrate WordPress database

Click on the Validate button. Accept the terms and notices and continue.

Validate database migration

In the pop-up window, hit OK.

Confirm database migration

Now, Duplicator will migrate your database! It will be installed, overwriting the old one. 

Method 2. Migrate Your Database Manually

If you don’t want to install another plugin or you like to be more hands-on, you could try manually migrating your database. However, be aware that this will take more time and technical experience. Plus, there’s always the risk of error. 

Step 1: Export Your Database

First, you’ll need to export your database with phpMyAdmin. Normally, your WordPress hosting plan will give you access to phpMyAdmin through your hosting account’s control panel (cPanel). 

WordPress phpMyAdmin

On the left, click on the database you want to export. Then, open the Export tab.

phpMyAdmin export

Choose the SQL file format and hit Go.

Export WordPress database

This will download your site’s database as a SQL file. Next, compress it into a zip file.

If you want to move your entire site, connect to the old site via FTP or file manager. Download all the files in your root directory (public_html). By migrating your website files and folders (like wp-content and wp-admin), you’ll preserve the functionality of your old site. 

Step 2: Create a New Database

On the new server, you’ll have to create a new database. To do this, open cPanel and find Databases » MySQL Databases.

MySQL databases

Set up a new database name.

Create MySQL database

Add a new user by choosing a username and password.

Create MySQL user

Finally, assign the new user to the new database.

Add user to database

Grant this user all privileges, so that you can control the new database.

Step 3: Import Your Original Database

At this point, you can import your database backup into the new database. Open phpMyAdmin again and find the Import tab.

phpMyAdmin import database

Upload the database backup file you downloaded earlier. Hit Go to import all of your original database tables into the new database.

FAQs About Migrating a WordPress Database

How do I migrate a WordPress database?

To migrate a WordPress database, you can either use a WordPress migration plugin like Duplicator or do it manually. Both methods require you to create a backup of your existing database, which you can then import into a new location. With Duplicator, build a database-only backup and drag and drop it wherever it needs to be migrated to. 

How do I transfer my WordPress database to another domain?

To transfer your WordPress database to another domain name, back up your entire website with Duplicator Pro. Then, import the backup into your new site. Be sure to select the Advanced view so you can easily search for your old domain and replace it with the new site URL.

Duplicator search and replace

After the move, make sure to point your nameservers and IP address to the new domain in your DNS records.

Edit DNS record

As a last step, open your wp-config.php file and update the DB_USER, DB_NAME, and DB_PASSWORD values.

Update wp-config.php file

These values should reflect the new database and hosting company’s information. 

How do I export my WordPress database?

Exporting a WordPress database is a straightforward process. Start installing Duplicator, then download a database-only package. Alternatively, you could manually export your database with phpMyAdmin. 

How do I transfer content from one WordPress site to another?

To transfer content from one WordPress website to another, create a Duplicator backup that includes all the data you want moved. You can easily include or exclude media files, WordPress files, plugins, themes, or databases.

Duplicator custom package components

Then, import this backup into the new website. The Duplicator installer will do the rest!

What is the best WordPress migration plugin?

The best WordPress migration plugin is Duplicator Pro. It allows you to effortlessly move to a new web hosting provider, domain name, or server without any downtime. With one-click restores, you can easily roll back any errors along the way.

Alternatives: All-in-One WP Migration and UpdraftPlus are other plugins that allow for free migrations. However, Duplicator supports quick drag-and-drop migrations. Since it has a standalone installer, you won’t even have to worry about setting up a new WordPress installation first!


We hope this tutorial helped you migrate your WordPress database!

While you’re here, you may also like these WordPress guides:

Do you want to quickly and easily migrate your WordPress database? Download Duplicator Pro to create database backups and drop them anywhere that supports WordPress!

author avatar
Joella Dunn Content Writer
Joella is a writer with years of experience in WordPress. At Duplicator, she specializes in site maintenance — from basic backups to large-scale migrations. Her ultimate goal is to make sure your WordPress website is safe and ready for growth.

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