Migrating to iThemes Hosting

Required Software Versions

In order to successfully migrate your existing website to your iThemes Hosting account you must use a backup and importbuddy.php file generated from Backup Buddy Version 8.2.8.0 or newer. Any older versions of a backup or importbuddy.php file will result in a failed restore.


Now that you've made the smart decision to host your sites with us and you've created your iThemes Hosting account its time to move your existing site to our systems. To do this you're going to use Backup Buddy and importbuddy to get your site from your original hosting service to your iThemes Hosting service. You can find the steps to do that below.

Set up Backup Buddy 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 Backup Buddy which you can use for this process. If you've already got Backup Buddy installed on your site then you can skip these instructions.

To access that copy you will log in to your iThemes Member Area and navigate to the Downloads >> Backup Buddy section.

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You will then select the Download 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 login to your sites wp-admin area and navigate to the plugins >> add new plugins section. From here you will select the Upload Plugin option. 

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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 Backup Buddy version from the previous step. Once you locate and select that file you will then choose the Install Now option.

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Backup Buddy will now be installed. Once complete you will then select the Activate Plugin option. Once activated you should find Backup Buddy showing in the left-hand panel.

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You will then choose BackupBuddy >> Backups and be brought to the quick set up 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.

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Generate the Backup

Now that we've got Backup Buddy 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 our iThemes Hosting account. If you aren't already there you should navigate to BackupBuddy >> Backups and see a page like this

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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. Backup Buddy will then kick off generating the Backup. Once that process completes you will want to select the Download Backup file option.

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Once you've downloaded and saved the Backup File it's time to get the importbuddy file which we can 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

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You will then be asked to enter 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.

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

Gather Database information

Once you've got the backup file and the importbuddy script stored on your computer it's time to head over to your iThemes Hosting account and login to it via SFTP. Once you're logged in via SFTP you will want to first retrieve your database password. Once you have the database password you will also need 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:

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Restore the Backup

Once you've gotten all of your database information you will then upload the two files that you saved onto your computer, your backup file, and the importbuddy.php script, to the /web/content folder via SFTP.

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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.

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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 which you set 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

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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 the previous step. You will copy over all of the information you retrieved.

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For comparison you can see the DB Info which we have retrieved previously here:

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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 choose 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 leave that as it is the URL will be updated at a later step to be accessible via your current domain. 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.

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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 all looks good you can choose your Site Search Engine Visibility (I would recommend leaving this as No change) as well as the different ImportBuddy Cleanup options (once again I'd leave this as the default). If everything is working, go ahead and select the Finish Cleanup option.

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Once you finish the clean up 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.

Reconnect Site to Sync

Now that your site has been restored we need to make sure that your site is connecting to Sync. You will want to login to your wp-admin area and the easiest way to do this is to either append /wp-admin to the URL provided in the previous step or you can go to your Sync Dashboard. Once there from the Home page select the gear icon next to the site you've restored to.

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Your site may appear to be connected to sync, however, that does not mean you can skip this step. It takes a bit before Sync will attempt to reconnect to your site if you aren't attempting to do anything so it will simply appear as connected while not being so. You can confirm if you are connected by following these steps. If you select Go to Site Admin and are logged into your wp-admin panel then you will be able to move on to the next step.

If you are not connected you will log in with your wp-admin username and password. These will be the details you used previously when you were logging into your site prior to moving to iThemes Hosting. Once logged in you will go to Plugins >> Installed Plugins there you will find iThemes Sync and activate it. 

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Once activated you will go to Settings >> iThemes Sync. From there you will enter your iThemes Username and Password. This will reconnect the site to sync. Once that's done you can move on to the Finalizing Steps.

Finalizing Steps

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. So if you are ready to shut down the old hosting account the best thing for you to do is prior to shutting it down making sure to unlicense all of your iThemes products so that those licenses can be used for your current sites. To do this you will sign into your wp-admin area on the old hosting provider and navigate to Settings >> iThemes Licensing

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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.

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

Once you've determined that everything is working and it's time to move forward you'll want to follow our article on updating your domain name.

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