Migrating to iThemes Hosting

In order to successfully migrate your existing website to your iThemes Hosting account, you must use a backup and importbuddy.php file generated from BackupBuddy Version or newer. Any older versions of a backup or importbuddy.php file will result in a failed restore.

Before you begin this process, you need to first make sure that you've created your iThemes Hosting Account. You should also be sure to familiarize yourself with how to use sFTP.

To perform the migration you're going to use BackupBuddy and ImportBuddy to get your site from your original hosting service to your iThemes Hosting service.

1.) Create your iThemes Hosting Site (Separate article)

2.) Set up BackupBuddy on Old Service

The first thing you're going to need to do is to generate a backup of your site from the old hosting service. With the purchase of your iThemes Hosting account, you will be given a copy of BackupBuddy which you can use for this process. If you already have BackupBuddy installed on your site, then you can skip these instructions.

To access the latest copy of BackupBuddy, you will log into your iThemes Sync Panel and navigate to the Hosting Section and expand your iThemes Hosting Site information using the arrow to the right of the site name. Under Site Information on the last line, you will find BackupBuddy Migration. There, you can download the current version of BackupBuddy which you can use to migrate your site.


You will simply need to select the Download Now option and save the BackupBuddy zip file to your local computer. Make sure that you remember what folder you save this file to as you will need it later.

Once you've saved that, you will then need to log into your sites wp-admin area and navigate to the Plugins > Add New plugins section. From here you will select the Upload Plugin option. 


You will then be given the option to upload a new plugin by using a .zip file. So you will select the choose file option and then navigate to the folder where you saved your BackupBuddy zip file from the previous step. Once you locate and select that file, you will then choose the Install Now option.


BackupBuddy will now be installed. Once complete, you will then select the Activate Plugin option. With BackupBuddy activated, you should find the BackupBuddy plugin now showing in the left-hand panel.


You will then choose BackupBuddy > Backups and be brought to the Quick Setup Wizard. Since we are going to be simply generating a backup and then moving the site we don't need to go through this step at this time. So scroll to the bottom of that page and select the Skip Setup Wizard for Now option.


3.) Generate the Backup at your original host

Now that we've got BackupBuddy running on your site, it's time to generate the backup that we're going to use to move our site from it's current location to your iThemes Hosting account. If you aren't already there you, should navigate to BackupBuddy > Backups and see a page like this:


In order to migrate your site, you will need a Complete Backup so that is the option that we are going to select at this time. BackupBuddy will then kick off generating the backup. Once that process completes, you will want to select the Download backup file option.


Once you've downloaded and saved the backup file it's time to get the ImportBuddy file which we will then use to import your backup onto your iThemes Hosting account.

You can do that by selecting the Restore/Migrate option from the left-hand menu under BackupBuddy. From there, you will then select the Download importbuddy.php option.


You will then be asked to create a password for this importbuddy.php file. You can enter anything that you want, just make sure that you remember the password that you set.


You will then download the ImportBuddy file which you can use to restore your site on iThemes Hosting.

4.) Gather Database information and set the Database Password

Now you will need to log into your iThemes Hosting account. There you will need to set your database password and retrieve the rest of your database information including the database name, database user and database server. All of this can be found in the same place:


To set your database password you will simply select the Edit DB Password option and enter the password you wish to use. This should be a unique password that is exclusive to the database.

5.) Upload the Backup

Once you've gotten all of your database information and set the database password it's time to log into your iThemes Hosting account via sFTP (if you have never used sFTP before you can find instructions for doing that here). You will then upload the two files that you saved onto your computer (your backup file and the importbuddy.php file) to the /web/content folder via sFTP.


6.) Restore the Backup using ImportBuddy

Once that's been uploaded, you can disconnect from sFTP and open your web browser. You will then want to navigate to your temporary URL which you can do by clicking on it from your iThemes Hosting Sync dashboard.


Once the default WordPress site loads, you will then need to add /importbuddy.php to the end of that URL. Do not delete any of the URL that is already there, just add /importbuddy.php to the end of it. Once you do that and load the page, you should see the ImportBuddy script which will be asking for that password that you created earlier on your site while working on the old server. Please don't confuse this with the database password we just got as that will be used later. Enter that password and you will be able to begin the process of restoring this to your hosting account with us. This is the page you should see next:


Now you will get the warnings that you see above. Those can be disregarded as we are going to be migrating your site to this location. You will then scroll down to the bottom of the page and select the Restore Backup option. ImportBuddy will then perform the restore and bring you up to the point where you will need to enter your database information gathered at step 4. You will copy over all of the information you retrieved.


The last option, Database Prefix, can usually be kept the same as on the old database unless you decide that you wish to change it. Once you've finished setting those parameters, you will click Next Step. This will perform the database import and bring you up to where you will then be able to update the old and new URL through ImportBuddy. By default, ImportBuddy will use the URL that you are connected to for the New URL. You will want to change that to match or be the domain that you plan to use for your iThemes Hosting Account. We are going to need to use only the testing domain for now so that your site can remain uninterrupted on the old service until we're ready to launch.


Now you will select Next Step and the database migration will be completed. You will be presented with the opportunity to "Verify site before proceeding to cleanup." This will provide you with the URL that this is currently restored to so that we can test and make sure everything looks good so far. You'll want to select that link and navigate your site to make sure it's working as you would expect. If it all looks good, you can choose your Site Search Engine Visibility (we recommend leaving this as No change) as well as the different ImportBuddy Cleanup options (once again, we'd leave this as the default). If everything is working, go ahead and select the Finish Cleanup option.


Once you finish the cleanup, you'll come to the restore finished page which will once again provide you with the link to your site. You can follow the link and close the page.

At this point, you are going to want to do some extensive testing in order to ensure that everything is working properly and that there are no gremlins hiding anywhere.

7.) Old Site Cleanup

The last thing you will want to do is just some additional clean up on your end. This is to ensure that all of your iThemes Licenses are being used by the correct accounts.

If you are ready to shut down the old hosting account, the best thing for you to do prior to shutting it down is to make sure to unlicense all of your iThemes products so that those licenses can be used for your new sites.

To do this, you will sign into your wp-admin area on the old hosting provider and navigate to Settings > iThemes Licensing


From this page, you will first check to ensure that it is showing Licensed Products with a list of the products you are using that are licensed. Under that, you should see the option to enter your iThemes Username and Password which will then allow you to remove the license and free it up to be used on another site.


Once you remove the license, you will want to delete your BackupBuddy installation from the site or you can delete the hosting account if you're ready to do so and use that license to activate BackupBuddy on your new iThemes Hosting account.

8.) Update your DNS to point to iThemes Hosting (Separate article)

9.) Set your Domain name (Separate article)

10.) Connect your Site to Sync (Separate article)

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