Moving your site

After all your hard work on your site - you might want to move your lovely site away from the protective grasp of the university's VPN and into the public domain for all to enjoy. Here are a few notes to help you along :)


  1. move to You can choose the free options which will have hosting and its own domain (a subdomain ending in This has limits in terms of themes and plugins but might work well enough if your chosen theme is available.
    Automattic also offer additional paid-for options like domain registration and extended services, with the ability to use your own themes and plugins. Pricing is affordable and good value for money.
  2. move to own domain / own server This process will involve registering your domain name as well as purchasing a hosting package. You'll need to configure the domain name settings to link to your server and ensure that WordPress is installed.
    For more details or as a reminder of what's involved to put a site online — check out this beginner’s guide ↗

the move

To move your site - consider all the different aspects that come together to present your site. This includes all of your content (text/media), the theme, the plugins as well as the settings. As your site is using the UpDraft plugin for backups already — you can now use the generated backups for your site move.

update: there have been a few changes to the functions included in the free version of UpDraft. If you find the price for the plus version too steep, check out the WPvivid Backup and Migration Plugin. Offering similar functions, their free version does include full website migration. The steps to take are the same and explained well within the plugin settings.

on current site (within the VPN)

  1. log into admin > settings > UpDraft Plus Settings
    Note: if your site is not using this plugin - simply install it to prepare for the site move and run the backup manually. [admin > plugins > add new > search > install + activate]
  2. ensure full, up-to-date backup Check on your backups and make sure that the latest version reflects your current site. You might just want to run another backup manually to be safe :)
  3. download your files Under the heading 'Existing Backups' you will find the backup of the different aspects of your site: the database (your content in context to your site structure), the plugins, the themes, the uploads (all media files uploaded to your site) and others (additional settings).
    To start the process - click each button in turn. A new panel will appear with different download options. Download each of the backup files to your computer

on the new server

  1. log into the control panel of your server & install WordPress Depending on your hosting package, you might find an easy installer which will do this for you in one click. If there is no installer available, you can contact technical support (usually done within the client area's ticket system) and ask them to give you a hand.
    Do not do anything else at this point, leave this setup as done by default.
  2. install the UpDraft Plugin on the new site [admin > plugins > add new > search > install + activate]
    You will now use Updraft to upload your backup files which will import your site's complete setup. Once done, you should of course also set up the backup schedule again for the new site.
  3. upload backup files Go to admin > settings > UpDraft Plus Settings and you will find the upload function under the same heading as before: 'Existing Backups'.
  4. check & done :) Once the upload is done, your site's move is complete. All that remains for you to do is double-check the site's settings and the public site itself ~ and you're done :)

importance of backing up

Remember that to move your website you will have to include all aspects of your site: content in its set structure, all media files, your active theme and all settings. This is the reason for using the UpDraft plugin which will back up more than just the site structure and its content. Through its functions you can backup the different parts of our sites and use those files to restore a broken setup or move the website elsewhere.

While the automated backups are great and usually very reliable - it is always best to keep offline copies of your working files too. This means your site planning and any original material, sources and references as well as the final edits of your text and media. Should the sky fall on your server and the saving functions fail, you'll be able to publish your site again ~ albeit with more effort involved.

Once your site's move is complete, make sure to configure your UpDraft settings for the scheduled backups again. Ideally, you'll save the backup archives in a different location.

Good luck! | Prisca Schmarsow | eyedea studio london | 2021