How to Migrate a WordPress Blog to DigitalOcean (Non-Technical Guide)

As your blog traffic grows with time, you’ll need to start considering a web host that is equipped to handle lots of internet traffic. In my guide to the best web hosts for high traffic blogs, I concluded that DigitalOcean was the right choice for my blogging business.

DigitalOcean is a well-respected cloud server infrastructure company based out of New York City, though they have data centers around the world. DigitalOcean primarily serves independent developers, startup companies, and other small businesses. That being said, they are an amazing solution for bloggers, even if it’s not their target audience. Read my full DigitalOcean review for bloggers if you’re not sure whether it’s right for you.

In this post, I’ll share how to migrate WordPress blogs to DigitalOcean.

You must sign up for DigitalOcean and RunCloud first before following this tutorial. Sign up for the lowest tier plan first on each platform and upgrade later if you need to.

Step by Step

Create a Droplet on DigitalOcean.

Make note of the server IP.

Create New WordPress Instance

I use RunCloud to do this.

Create a System User in RunCloud. Save the user/password to use later.

Create a new WordPress Web App in RunCloud.

Assign the Web App owner to the System User you created. Input the same domain you use. Create WordPress Admin credentials.

Don’t worry about the Database. Click “Deploy.”

Migrate Guru

Use the Migrate Guru plugin to migrate all your site’s files to RunCloud. Choose “other hosts” and “manually input host details.”

Enter your blog’s URL. Select the “SFTP” transfer type.

For the FTP Username/Password, use the system user and password you created earlier.

For the “Directory Path” field, copy the Public Path under your Web Application “Dashboard” Summary section.

Click Migrate.

Test in RunCloud

You can test that the migration went well by making the new web app your “default app” and then using your IP address as the site URL. The site should appear. 

A more technical way to check is to edit your computer’s host file to show the site on the new server IP like this.

Change DNS

When you’re ready, change your DNS settings in Namecheap or your DNS Provider to point to your new server. Create two new A records: one with @ and the other with www.

Wait 30 minutes.

Verify that your DNS has updated using

Install SSL Certificate

Install SSL certificate using RunCloud. Click your Server name. Go to Web Applications. Click the name of the Web Application you want to install an SSL certificate on. Click SSL/TLS. Use the Let’s Encrypt method to add an SSL certificate to your site.

Clear your computer’s DNS cache to view the new site. (Instructions here).

You may also want to clear your browser cache too. 

Lastly, be sure to double-check the MX records of your domain to ensure you can keep sending and receiving emails.

That’s it! You’ve migrated your WordPress blog to DigitalOcean.

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