Many WordPress users prefer to work on their websites using a local server on their computer before transferring it to a live hosting server.
It allows you to work on your website privately before making those changes available online.
Eventually, you’ll need to move it to a live server to make it available for online visitors.
In this article, we will show you step-by-step instructions on how to move WordPress from a local server to a live site.
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 have finished perfecting your website, the next step is to move from your local server to a live site.
Let’s show you two ways to 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 a local server to a live site.
You can choose the method that works best for you:
Before You Migrate Your WordPress Site
To migrate WordPress from a local server to a live server, you need to have a few things in place.
First, we are 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.
To make your decision easier, we recommend using Bluehost. They are an officially recommended WordPress hosting company, and they are giving WPBeginner users an exclusive discount + free domain and SSL.
Basically, you can get started for as little as $1.99 per month.
If you can afford to pay a little more, then check out 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 an FTP program and know how to use FTP to upload your local server site to the live site.
Ready? Let’s begin migrating your WordPress site.
If you’d prefer written instructions, then just keep reading.
Method 1: Transfer WordPress From The Local Server to Live Site Using a Migration Plugin (Recommended)
This method is easier and recommended for beginners. We will be using a WordPress migration plugin to move WordPress from localhost to a live site.
Step 1: Install and Set Up the Duplicator Plugin
Pro Tip: There is also a pro version of Duplicator that offers secure backups, cloud storage, easy site restore, and more.
Upon activation, you need to go to the Duplicator » Packages page and click on the ‘Create New’ button.
This brings you to a screen where you can give your backup a name.
Then, click the ‘Next’ button.
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.
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.
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 unpacking 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.
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.
cPanel will now create a new database for you.
After that, you need to enter a username and password for your new user and then click the ‘Create User’ button.
Next, you need to add the user you just created to the database.
First, click the ‘All Privileges’ checkbox.
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
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.
Step 4: Running the Migration Script
After you have uploaded the migration files, you need to visit the following URL in your browser:
Don’t forget to replace ‘example.com’ with your own domain name.
This will launch the Duplicator migration wizard.
The installer will run a few tests and will initialize the script.
Under the Setup section, 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.
Then, click on the ‘Validate’ 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.
It will also update URLs pointing to the local site to your new live site.
You can now click on the ‘Admin Login’ button to enter the WordPress admin area of your live site.
Once you log in to your live site, Duplicator will automatically clean up the installation files.
That’s all. You have successfully moved WordPress from the local server to your live site.
Method 2: Manually Transfer WordPress From the Local Server to the Live Site
In this method, we will show you how to manually move WordPress from the local server to your live site. It will be useful if the first method doesn’t work or if 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 will 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.
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 clicking the ‘Go’ button to download your database.
Step 2: Upload WordPress Files to Live Site
Now, we will 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 are 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 will want to upload all the files in your
Now select your local WordPress files and upload them to your live server.
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 will 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.
On the next screen, you can create a new database.
You need to provide a name for your database, then click ‘Create Database’.
cPanel will now automatically create a new database for you.
Next, you need to enter a username and password for your new user, and then click ‘Create User’.
After that, you need to add the user you just created to the database.
First, check the ‘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 to 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’.
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 the ‘Choose File’ button and then select the database file from the local site you saved in the first step.
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
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
Then, in the
options_name column, you need to look for the
Then, click the ‘Edit’ icon.
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
You need to insert your new site URL in this field, for example:
Then, you can save the field by clicking the ‘Go’ button.
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: Set Up 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
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 log in to your WordPress admin panel and go to the Settings » General. Then, without changing anything, scroll to the bottom and click the ‘Save Changes’ button.
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.
Step 7: Fix Images and Broken Links by Updating Paths
Whenever you are 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 the 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.
That’s it. You have now successfully migrated WordPress from your local server to a live site.
Hopefully, 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 with 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.