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Migrate from WP Engine to Another Server

Migrate from WP Engine to Another Server

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October 23, 2018

So I recently had to migrate a website from WP Engine to a GoDaddy VPS and it wasn’t fun. I’ve moved hundreds of sites in my time and usually, things go pretty smoothly. However, WP Engine sites aren’t exactly like the rest so I thought it would be a good idea to write something in case anyone else runs into issues. This post assumes you’ve done a migration before and somewhat know what you’re doing.

Let me start off by saying it doesn’t really matter which environment you’re moving to. The post will focus specifically on moving away from WP Engine. If you’re looking to migrate to WP Engine, just use the WP Engine Automated Migration plugin. And if you just need general website migration help, feel free to reach out. Otherwise, let’s get started. This probably goes without saying but before you begin, backup the site! WP Engine does this by default but I have to say it anyway.

  1. In the WP Engine User Portal, click Backup Points in the left-hand menu. If no backups exist, create one by clicking Back Up Now. If you are presented with a list of backups, select the most recent backup and click Download ZIP. Choose Full Backup and enter your email address. You’ll be notified by email when the download is ready.
  2. Once you receive the email and have downloaded the zip file, unzip it and delete the following items:
    • wp-content/mu-plugins
    • wp-content/advanced-cache.php
    • wp-content/object-cache.php
    Note: Either one or both of the advanced-cache.php and object-cache.php files may or may not exist. If they exist, delete them. If not, move on.
  3. In the wp-content folder, you’ll find a file called mysql.sql. That’s your database. Pull it out of the folder and keep it somewhere safe, you’ll need it in a bit.
  4. Once you’ve completed these steps, take the remaining files and folders and upload them to the root folder of your new hosting environment.
  5. Create a blank database and add the database user to the database with full privileges. Write down your new database name, database username, and database password.
  6. Now head over to the wp-config.php file in the root directory, open it up, and replace the existing database credentials with the new ones you wrote down in the previous step. Note: Some people will say to replace the existing wp-config.php file with a default WordPress file, but that’s where I ran into issues. It wasn’t until I used the existing file that I actually got the site working…relatively.
  7. Open up phpMyAdmin and click on the new database name in the left-hand tree. Then click Import in the upper menu. Use the Choose File button to browse your computer for the mysql.sql file you put to the side earlier. Once you’ve selected it, click Go. This should load your database and hopefully, you’ll get no errors.

At this point, in theory, your site should be working. However, you may run into some issues and I want to cover a couple issues you may see.

404 Errors on Every Page Except the Home Page

If this happens, the issue most likely has to do with your permalinks. You could just delete your .htaccess file and replace it with a default .htaccess file. To do this, go into your root folder and make sure you’re viewing hidden files. Delete the .htaccess file and create a new file with the same name. Add the following to the file and save it.

# BEGIN WordPress

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

# END WordPress

500 Error on the Entire Site

This probably has to do with the server resources on your new server. There are multiple ways to set the server resources and how you do it depends on which environment you’re using but once you find it, start with the following numbers:

max_execution_time 180
memory_limit 128M
post_max_size 32M
upload_max_filesize 32M

If it still doesn’t work, try bumping these numbers up a bit.

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