In order of simplicity the winners are:
1. pay someone to do it for you
2. use a plugin
3. move to a hosting company that has a “migration feature”
4. use FTP to download and upload files
1. Pay to Have Someone Move your Website
This is the simplest choice if you use the hosting company themselves provided they offer this service. True, they are possibly more expensive than some freelancers but the job is guaranteed and quick. Many hosting companies will offer this service free with a one year hosting commitment.
Freelancers are available in abundance and many are cheap. It is usually quick but sometimes the freelancer will want to use a plugin (which isn’t allowed on some sites) or require password access through FTP and require your Database password too. Passwords are necessary for this operation so you need to be able to trust your webmaster.
IMPORTANT: After the move make sure your site is up and running properly before you make final payment if you use a freelancer.
2. Migrate WordPress with a Plugin
There are two plugins that I can recommend will do this well.
1. Backup Buddy – this is a paid plugin by iThemes and costs about $80 or more. It does have more options than just help to transfer files though.
2. Duplicator plugin – this is my personal favourite because it is REALLY easy to use and awesomely FREE for smaller websites!
The only drawback to depending on this plugin as your method to move your website to a new hosting company is some hosting companies can timeout during the installation process. If there are too many files or they are large, the free plugin option won’t be enough.
This actually highlights one of the things you should do before you decide what Managed WordPress Hosting company you will be choosing. Most of them have an entire list of plugin’s you aren’t allowed to use on your site. You will want to review these before pay your new hosting company.
3. Using Managed WordPress “Migration” Tool
Godaddy has a migration feature which is as simple to use as:
– Fill in your login information to your current WordPress site including the FTP information. This is provided to you by your current hosting company.
– click “submit”. In about 30 minutes your site is moved to a temporary domain address.
– Next you change the DNS address to the new one.
4. Move WordPress Site Using FTP
FTP or File Transfer Protocol requires you to download your files specific to your site from wp-content and any external files. The rest isn’t necessary to copy because you will already have a new WordPress installation.
The information you will need to have (and should have on hand anyway whether or not you are moving your site) is:
Current IP Address (A record)
WordPress Database Information
For the exact information just search for “new hosting name” + “migration guide” for up to date and specific information for your host.