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How to Move WordPress From Local Server to Live Site (2 Methods)

Do you want to move WordPress from a local server to a live site?

Using WordPress on a local server is a common way to work on your site in private, but eventually, you’ll need to move your site to a live server to make it available for online visitors.

In this article, we’ll show you how to move WordPress from local server to live site, step by step.

How to move WordPress from local server to live site (2 methods)

Why Move WordPress From a Local Server to a Live Site?

Building your WordPress blog on a local server is a safe way to test changes on your website without affecting visitors. When you’re finished perfecting your website, the next step is to move to from your local server to a live site.

Let’s show you two different ways you can move your site from a local server to a live site.

The first method uses a WordPress migration plugin and is recommended for beginners. In the second method, we will show you how to manually move WordPress from local server to a live site.

You can choose the method that works best for you:

Before You Migrate Your WordPress Site

In order for you to migrate WordPress from a local server to live server, you need to have a few things in place.

First, we’re assuming that you have a WordPress site running on a local server (also called localhost) on your computer, and you have full access to it.

Next, you’ll need to have a domain name and web hosting.

To make your decision easier, we recommend using Bluehost. They’re an officially recommended WordPress hosting company, and they are giving WPBeginner users an exclusive 60% discount + free domain and SSL.

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If you want a great Bluehost alternative, then take a look at Siteground. They also have a special deal for WPBeginner readers.

If you need help setting up your website, then follow our step by step guide on how to make a website.

Finally, you will need to have an FTP program and know how to use FTP, so you can upload your local server site to the live site.

Ready? Let’s begin migrating your WordPress site.

Method 1. Transfer WordPress from Local Server to Live Site Using a Migration Plugin

This method is easier and recommended for beginners. We’ll be using a WordPress migration plugin to move WordPress from localhost to a live site.

Step 1. Install and Setup the Duplicator Plugin

First, thing you need to do is install and activate the Duplicator plugin on your local site. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to go to Duplicator » Packages page and click on the ‘Create New’ button.

Creating a new Duplicator package

This brings you to a screen where you can give your backup a name.

Then, click the ‘Next’ button.

Name Duplicator backup

Duplicator will now run some tests to see if everything is in order.

If all items are marked ‘Good’, then click on the ‘Build’ button.

Build package

This process may take a few minutes depending on the size of your website. You need to leave this tab open until the process is complete.

Once finished, you’ll see download options for ‘Installer’ and ‘Archive’ packages. You need to click on the ‘One-Click Download’ link to download both files to your computer.

Download package

The ‘Archive’ file is a complete copy of your WordPress site. It includes all WordPress core files as well as your images, uploads, themes, plugins, and a backup of your WordPress database.

The ‘Installer’ file is a script that will automate the entire migration process by upacking the archive file containing your website.

Step 2. Create a Database for Your Live WordPress Website

Before you can run the installer or upload the WordPress website from localhost to your hosting server, you need to create a MySQL database for your new live website.

If you have already created a MySQL database, then you can skip this step.

To create a database you need to visit your hosting account’s cPanel dashboard. Then, locate the ‘Databases’ section and click on the ‘MySQL Database Wizard’ icon.

Select MySQL database wizard

On the next screen, there’s a field to create a new database.

Simply provide a name for your database and click on the ‘Create Database’ button.

Name new database

cPanel will now create a new database for you.

After that, you need enter a username and password for your new user, and then click the ‘Create User’ button.

Create new database user

Next, you need to add the user you just created to the database.

First, click the ‘All Privileges’ checkbox.

Check all privileges

Then, scroll down and click the ‘Make Changes’ button to save your changes.

Your database is now ready to be used with your WordPress site. Make sure to note down the database name, username, and password. You’ll need this information in the next step.

Step 3. Upload Files from Local Server to Live WordPress Website

Now, you need to upload the archive and installer files from your local site to your hosting account.

First, connect to your live site using an FTP client. Once connected, make sure that the root directory of your website is completely empty.

Normally, the root directory is the /home/public_html/ folder.

Some WordPress hosting companies automatically install WordPress when you sign up. If you have WordPress files there, then you need to delete them.

After that, you can upload the archive.zip and installer.php files from Duplicator to your empty root directory.

Upload archive and installer files

Step 4. Running The Migration Script

After you have uploaded the migration files, you need to visit the following URL in your browser:

http://example.com/installer.php

Don’t forget to replace ‘example.com’ with your own domain name.

This will launch the Duplicator migration wizard.

Duplicator intialized

The installer will run a few tests and you should see ‘Pass’ next to the archive and validation tests.

Next, you need to check the terms & notices checkbox and continue by clicking on the ‘Next’ button.

On the next screen, you will be asked to enter your MySQL host, database name, username, and password.

Your host will likely be localhost. After that, you will enter the details of the database you created in the earlier step.

Connect your database

Then, click on the ‘Test Database’ button to make sure the details you entered are correct.

After that, click on the ‘Next’ button to continue.

Duplicator will now import your WordPress database backup from the archive into your new database.

Next, it will ask you to update site URL or Path. You shouldn’t have to change anything since it automatically detects the URL of your live website, and its path.

Update site URL

Then, click on the next button to continue.

Duplicator will now finish the migration and will show you a success screen.

You can now click on the ‘Admin Login’ button to enter the WordPress admin area of your live site.

Successfully moved

Once you login to your live site, Duplicator will automatically clean up the installation files.

That’s all, you have successfully moved WordPress from local server to your live site.

Method 2. Manually Transfer WordPress from Local Server to Live Site

In this method, we will show you how to manually move WordPress from local server to your live site. It will come in handy if the first method doesn’t work or you prefer to do it manually.

Step 1. Export Local WordPress Database

The first thing you need to do is export your local WordPress database. We’ll be using phpMyAdmin to do that.

If you are unfamiliar with it, then you might want to take a look at our guide to WordPress database management using phpMyAdmin.

Simply go to http://localhost/phpmyadmin/ and click on your WordPress database. Next, click on the ‘Export’ button from the top menu bar.

Export from localhost

In the ‘Export method:’ option, you can choose ‘Quick’ or ‘Custom’. Custom will provide you with more options to export your database.

But, we recommend choosing ‘Quick’, and then click the ‘Go’ button to download your database.

Export WordPress database using phpMyAdmin

Step 2. Upload WordPress Files to Live Site

Now, we’ll need to move all your website files to the live site.

To get started, go ahead and open your FTP client and connect to your web hosting account.

Once you’re connected to your live site, make sure you upload the files in the right directory. For example, if you want the site to be hosted on ‘yoursite.com’, then you would want to upload all the files in your public_html directory.

Now select your local WordPress files and upload them to your live server.

Upload WordPress files FTP

Step 3. Create a MySQL Database on Your Live Site

While your FTP client is uploading your WordPress files, you can start importing your database to the live server.

Most WordPress hosting providers offer cPanel to manage your hosting account, so we’ll show you how to create a database using cPanel.

First, you need to log in to your cPanel dashboard and click on the ‘MySQL Database Wizard’ icon which can be found in the ‘Databases’ section.

Select MySQL database wizard

On the next screen, you can create a new database.

You need to provide a name for your database, then click ‘Create Database’.

Name and create new database

cPanel will now automatically create a new database for you.

Next, you need enter a username and password for your new user, and then click ‘Create User’.

Create new database user

After that, you need to add the user you just created to the database.

First, check the ‘All Privileges’ checkbox.

Check all privileges checkbox

Then, scroll down and click ‘Make Changes’ to save your changes.

You’ve successfully created a new database for your live WordPress site.

Step 4: Import WordPress Database on Live Site

The next step in the process is to import your WordPress database.

Go to your cPanel dashboard, scroll down to the ‘Databases’ section and click on ‘phpMyAdmin’.

Click on phpMyAdmin

This will take you to phpMyAdmin where you want to click on the database you just created above. PhpMyAdmin will show your new database with no tables.

Next, click on the ‘Import’ tab in the top menu. On the import page, click on ‘Choose File’ button and then select the database file from your local site you saved in the first step.

Import database via phpMyAdmin

After that, click the ‘Go’ button at the bottom of the page. Your database will automatically be imported to phpMyadmin.

Step 5: Change the Site URL

Now, you need to change the site URL in your database, so that it will connect with your live WordPress site.

In phpMyAdmin, look for the wp_options table in your database that you just imported above.

If you changed your database prefix, then instead of wp_options it might be {new_prefix}_options.

Next, click on the ‘Browse’ button next to wp_options. Or, click the link in the sidebar to open up the page that has a list of fields within the wp_options table.

Browse the wp options table

Then, in the options_name column, you need to look for the siteurl option.

Then, click the ‘Edit’ icon.

Edit siteurl in phpMyAdmin

This brings up a window where you can edit the field.

In the input box for option_value, you’ll see the URL of your local install which will be something like http://localhost/test.

You need to insert your new site URL in this field, for example https://www.wpbeginner.com.

Then, you can save the field by clicking the ‘Go’ button.

edit the siteurl field

Next, you need to follow the same steps as above for the home option name. The wp_options menu can be a few pages long, usually the home option will be on the second page.

Then, update the home URL, so it’s the same as your live site URL.

Step 6: Setup Your Live Site

Now that you’ve imported the database and uploaded your content, it’s time to configure WordPress.

At this time, your site should be showing an ‘Error establishing a database connection‘ error.

To fix this, connect to your website using an FTP client and open up the wp-config.php file.

You’ll be looking for the following lines of code:

// ** MySQL settings - You can get this info from your web host ** //
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define( 'DB_NAME', 'database_name_here' );
/** MySQL database username */
define( 'DB_USER', 'username_here' );
/** MySQL database password */
define( 'DB_PASSWORD', 'password_here' );
/** MySQL hostname */
define( 'DB_HOST', 'localhost' );

You will need to provide the database name, username and password you created earlier.

Next, save the wp-config.php file and upload it back to your WordPress hosting server.

Now, when you visit your website, it should be live.

After that, you need to login to your WordPress admin panel and go to Settings » General. Then, without changing anything, scroll to the bottom and click the ‘Save Changes’ button.

Save general settings

This will make sure that your site URL is corrected anywhere else that it needs to be.

Once you’ve done that, go to Settings » Permalinks, then scroll down and click ‘Save Changes’ to ensure that all post links are working fine.

Save permalinks settings

Step 7: Fix Images and Broken Links by Updating Paths

Whenever you’re moving a WordPress site from one domain to another, or from a local server to a live site, you’ll face broken links and missing images.

A simple way to update the URLs is by using the following SQL query.

UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = REPLACE(post_content, 'localhost/test/', 'www.yourlivesite.com/');

Simply go to phpMyAdmin, click on your database, and then click on ‘SQL’ from top menu and add the query above.

Make sure you change it to your own local site and live site URLs, and click the ‘Go’ button.

Fixing WordPress images and broken URLs after moving to live site

That’s it, you have now successfully migrated WordPress from your local server to a live site.

Hopefully now your live website is up and running smoothly. If you notice any errors, then you can check out our guide to common WordPress errors for help troubleshooting.

We hope this article helped you move WordPress from a local server to a live site. You may also want to see our guide on how to create an email newsletter the right way, or see our comparison of the best GoDaddy hosting alternatives.

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Reader Interactions

892 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Great, detailed guide, thank you. My site looks great from the front end but backend doesn’t really function like it does on my local server.

    Do you also need to update the guid column of the wp_posts table?

  2. Once I transfer my local website to live environment, then after using live site for at least 1 month and created lot’s of post and comments, I made design changes and added new pages and categories in my local site. Now, how I can transfer my this new design to live where earlier design and live website already exist?

    • You can import your content from the live site using Tools>Export if it is only posts, pages, and comments on the live site. This would be duplicating that content and not removing it from your live site.

      Admin

  3. In buying a domain and web host to move my wp local site to a live serve, do I need to purchase a WordPress hosting or an ordinary web hosting???
    I’m confused because some web hosting services have WordPress hosting and web hosting as two different options.

    • It would depend on the hosting provider, some you can place it on either and one is optimized for WordPress while other hosts only allow WordPress on their WordPress hosting.

      Admin

  4. Step 4. Runing The Migration Script
    After you have uploaded the migration files, you need to visit the following URL in your browser:

    example.com/installer.php

    Don’t forget to replace example.com with your own domain name.

    I do this, but the Duplicator Migration Wizard never starts. Any ideas?

    • You would want to ensure you placed the files in the correct folder on your hosting for the most common reason for that issue.

      Admin

  5. Hi! i want to move my local wordpress site to another local wordpress site using xampp so method will work for me or not?

    • You should be able to use this method for transferring to a different localhost as well.

      Admin

  6. Hi dear team,
    Thanks for this helpful article.
    Please, if my domain has already an existing website and i wanted to update with my new website developed in localhost, how can i update my new website ?
    Thanks for all

  7. I followed your steps for the manual process. Everything worked until i tried to update the posts in the PHPmyadmin. The urls doesn’t seem to update when i run the query.

    • You would want to ensure you replace the localhost/test and the yourlivesite.com with the correct addresses.

      Admin

  8. I am setting up my site using manual method (method #2) and have followed till step no. 4 without any error.

    However, after added my DB login details in wp-config.php file, now the site (WP set up page) is not appearing and the site keeps loading with a blank screen eternally.

    I don’t know if something is missing or went wrong. I see no error message, just a blank, loading screen.

  9. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I am a novice, but your tutorials gave me the confidence to build a WP site on Localhost and then upload it to my new host. All went smoothly. I really appreciate all that you provide.

  10. I used the manual method and have issues.

    Homepage of the site shows on the live server however other pages when I click redirect me to localhost pages and I cannot seem to find out to solve this.

    • The most common reason for that specific issue would be if you skipped the Velvet Blues step in this guide to update your URLs

      Admin

  11. Can I change my test site to live site in-place ? I mean I need to convert test site into live site on the same localhost.

  12. Pls what do you mean by
    “To fix this, connect to your website using an FTP client and edit wp-config.php file?”

  13. When I am editing the staging site, there would be orders happening on my live site. How do I make sure that when I upload my staging site into my live site that the new orders would also be captured?

    Thanks

    • You would want to pause receiving orders during that update process to prevent issues

      Admin

  14. WOW, this is perfect! I could NOT migrate my site or get any of this to work before. Working with my hosting company didn’t help – they only gave me bits of information that didn’t make any sense to me. I followed your step-by-step instructions and my site is up and running! I can’t thank you enough!

  15. Where can I find my login info? I didn’t see the login details from the steps, now I cannot login in to my wordpress dashboard.

    • You would use the same login information from your local installation to log into your site.

      Admin

  16. Is there a way to migrate part of a development site and not the whole site?

    I would like to migrate certain updated pages and content that is ready to go live without also migrating functionality or content that is still under development.

    • You could manually do what it sounds like you’re wanting to do by using the built-in exporter under Tools>Export and selecting the specific pages

      Admin

  17. If in the place of using an FTP, I decide to compress and upload to my cpanel then extract there, will it make any difference?

  18. Hello,
    I have tried to upload my wordpress site created on my localhost, and used Method 1. All went well until I got to the Duplicator portion – Step 2. There is no “port” field as shown on your screenshot, so I just enter “localhost”. When I click “test database” I get a fail warning to “verify host connection” which says “unable to connect user to host”. I tried some of the troubleshoot steps to resolve but none of these work. One of the troubleshoot points states “On some servers, the default name ‘localhost’ will not work. Be sure to contact your hosting provider”. Could this be the problem?

    • More than likely, you would want to reach out to the support for your hosting provider and they should be able to assist.

      Admin

    • You would go under Tools>Export and select the single post using the options available there :)

      Admin

  19. Really Thanks:)…It’s a great tutorial and it’s very helpful to me..
    one thing i asked you..can you tell me how to open wp dashboard after this??

    • You would want to add /wp-admin to the end of your domain and that should bring you to the login page where you would use the same login information as on your local install.

      Admin

  20. HI! i have a live site fully operational but on localhost i make a new site, mostly design. If i migrate it using some pluguin like duplicator, the info from the old site would be deleted?

    • It would not remove your local site but if you’re trying to install it where a site is already installed then you would run into overwriting issues.

      Admin

  21. After moving my website to a live site, will I still be able to edit and make changes to it? Thanks!

  22. Great solution to my Problem.
    Thanks

    is it safe and easy to use premium themes and plugins on the wampsever while testing and setting up the WordPress site locally, or do I need to deploy my themes and plugins after importing the site to a livehost.

    • You would want to check with the support for the theme and plugins you’re wanting to use for if they work on local sites or not.

      Admin

  23. I got lost on the part “connect to your live site using an FTP client.”

    That is completely different tutorial where there is no hyperlink to see it.

  24. Thanks for the article, I have run into a problem doing method 1. In step 4, when I visit the url at mysite/installer.php, I get an error from duplicator as follows:

    ‘Archive not found! The ‘Required File’ below should be present in the ‘Extraction Path’. The archive file name must be the exact name of the archive file placed in the extraction path character for character.’

    Any help with this would be greatly appreciated

    • You would want to check with your hosting provider that the file is located in the correct location in your files.

      Admin

  25. I suffer with this kind of stuff, in fact today i spent a lot of hours doing this migration from local to a server.

    Reading and following this helped a lot.
    Thanks for sharing!

  26. Hi. I’ve successfully migrated from localhost to livesite! Yay! What now do I do with the localhost?

    • That would be a personal preference question whether you would like to keep it or remove it.

      Admin

  27. Hi! Using Method 1, all went well until Step 4 – the migration wizard doesn’t launch when I type in example.com/installer.php (I changed example.com to my domain). Instead I get a Page Not Found. I’ve tried this twice now and I get the same Page Not Found screen on Step 4. Am I missing a step?

    • You may want to ensure you placed the file inside the correct folder, you can check with your hosting provider and they should be able to assist.

      Admin

  28. If someone has problems on Method 1 Step 4 with cPanel host name (error text: No such file or directory), instead of localhost, try mysql. This step always bugs me off nad frustrates me.

    Thanks for the great tutorial! Used it multiple times!

  29. Thanks. The first Duplicator based method worked for AWS based AMI Linux server 2 which had external database connection as well.

  30. I’m still seeing “error establishing a database connection.” I don’t have a domain name set yet (waiting until the site is complete) so I used the domain name that I used to log in to the FTP client as my option value in my wp_options.

    • For that error, the domain you set is likely correct but you would want to double-check your username and password for your wp-config file

      Admin

  31. Dear WpBeginner team,
    In case i already have a website running on my live server (Hosting) and i want to upload a new site on it, so do i need to manually delete all the old files ?

    Please advise.

    • If you are using the manual method from this article you would overwrite the files currently on your hosting rather than deleting them.

      Admin

  32. Thank you so much for the instructions. The manual way was way simpler and faster than any plugin I tried.

    • As the database is being copied from your local environment it means you will not need to edit the wp-config normally

      Admin

  33. I am completely stuck on Method 1 Step 3 – when i try to connect in FileZilla it keeps saying “Could not connect to server”. Please help!

    • The most common reason would be your FTP information being incorrect, if you reach out to your hosting provider they should be able to assist.

      Admin

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