Self-Hosted to Self-Hosted WordPress Site Transfer

Transferring websites is never an easy task. Transferring WordPress sites is just a pain-in-an-ass. And the best part? You’ll never know it until you encounter it.

Recently I’ve just moved from SimplerCloud to DigitalOcean.

One would expect exporting and re-importing a WordPress site to another on both self-hosted domain should be as simple as a few clicks, but the reality is a big NO: a few things just does not work out of the box.

8 Things that I’ve done to transfer my WordPress self-hosted site:

Problem 1:

The customization on your theme is NOT transferred over, for example the theme colour and the background image choice.


Open up the old and new sites side-by-side. Do the settings manually.

Problem 2:

Certain settings, however important, are not transferred at all. Permanent links feature in the settings are set to the wrong options until I realized them today, five days later. The ever-most efficient crawler has re-crawled my site to ?p=xxx for every single page.


Open up the old and new sites side-by-side. Do the settings manually.

Problem 3:

At the point of my new installation, the web address I used was the IP address of my new server because changing DNS for my domains will take time. So days after, I realized many links are broken as they are pointed to the address I used during installation, not the one I specified at wp-admin backend.


I am surprised that WordPress chooses to ignore my instruction at the backend. In the end I have to use phpmyadmin to directly manipulate the tables. Easier and faster.

wp_options has two places got my web address wrong: sm_status and theme_mods_twentyfourteen-child (my theme)

wp_posts also has the same problem, I supplied the following MySQL command:

Other points noted during the transfer:

  • Do not try to import the old images and attachments more than once! You links will break.
  • Maybe MySQL export & import could have been a better way, but I did not try that.
  • Do check your media, your plugins, and your posts, make sure everything works.

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