1. Getting Started
Our managed hosting solution provides dedicated memory and storage space in highly containerized Virtual Private Servers for each site hosted.
If you are not using WPMU DEV hosting, learn more about pricing, what’s included, and how to get started free.
1.1 About Free SitesLink to chapter 1
Depending on your WPMU DEV member plan, it may include hosting credits for free sites for members whose sites are also hosted with us.
We do this by applying a hosting credit to your membership account that can be used to defer the per-site costs associated with whatever hosting plan you choose.
You can see more about our pricing on the Hosting Overview page.
Efficient allocation of resources is one of the ways we keep costs down for all members. Therefore, free sites will be archived after 21 days if a custom domain has not been added to the site, and the site’s Hub has not been visited at least once. Members are notified by email at least seven days before a site is archived and can prevent that from happening for another 21-days simply by clicking a link in that email. There is no limit to the number of times members can extend that 21-day period and sites that have been archived can be reactivated within 30 days by contacting support.
1.2 Creating a New SiteLink to chapter 2
All members, including those on an introductory free trial, whose sites are hosted by WPMU DEV can create and manage new hosting sites in from The Hub.
WPMU DEV members are authorized up to 10 free email accounts that can be configured in minutes to display the member’s domain in the email address. See our Email Hosting product page for details.
From the Hub 2.0 site overview screen, click the Add a website (+) icon.
Click the Create site button under the Create new module to create a brand new site hosted with WPMU DEV.
Choose your temporary destination and click the blue arrow button to continue.
Enter your admin credentials on the Create WordPress Administration Account screen and click the blue arrow button to continue.
Choose where you would like your site hosted. For best performance, select a location closest to the majority of your visitors. This can be changed at any time.
Available server locations include:
- United Kingdom
- United States – West
- United States – East
- Your ‘Site Title’ can be changed at any time in the future.
- Your ‘Temporary Destination Domain’ CANNOT be changed in the future without using the site migration tool. This is the link you will use to access the site before you configure DNS and choose a final primary domain.
- Your ‘WordPress admin’ user information can be changed in the future. Do remember the password you set in order to access the WordPress Dashboard once the site is ready. If you lose it, you can always do a password reset by email.
- The ‘Server’ location CANNOT be changed in the future without changing DNS information or migrating your site. The best idea is to always choose the location closest to where the majority of your site’s visitors are located.
- You can convert a single site to a ‘Multisite’ network in the future, but it is much more challenging to go the other way.
1.3 Migrating An Existing SiteLink to chapter 3
Sites can be migrated to WPMU DEV hosting using our migration tool or by manually transferring files using sFTP/SSH and phpMyAdmin. We recommend using the migration tool because it simplifies and accelerates the process and automatically resolves issues that occasionally interfere with a smooth migration.
If you run into any trouble, just start a live chat or create a support ticket, and our team will help get your site moved.
1.3.1 Migration Tool Method (Recommended)Link to chapter 3
The WPMU DEV migration tool is a server-to-server via FTP process that is much more robust than any PHP-driven, i.e., plugin migration.
For starters, the migration tool is far less susceptible to timeout issues than PHP. Additionally, it handles all file transfers and redefines URLs in one smooth process that doesn’t involve programs or utilities that many users seldom use. As long as the source server isn’t afflicted with FTP issues, it would take the Mario Andretti of web admins to perform a faster, safer migration.
Prepare to Migrate
First, as always, backup your site. Do this at your original host. It’s unlikely that the migration process will harm your site, especially when using the migration tool, but backing up is always step one when making major changes to your site.
You will need your current FTP username and password. The migration tool connects WPMU DEV servers to your host’s servers using the same FTP credentials you would use to connect via FTP. If you don’t know them, they should be displayed on a screen you can access from your dashboard or control panel at your original host. If you cannot locate them, contact the host’s support team for assistance.
From the Hub 2.o site overview screen, click the Add a website (+) icon.
From the Let’s get started! screen, click Migrate Existing Site.
The dropdown menu on the next screen will reveal a list of all the sites currently connected to The Hub. If the site you wish to migrate does not appear in the list, then it is not connected, and you should click the Please add it to your Hub first link, and follow the instructions provided. Once the site is connected, select it from the dropdown menu and click the arrow to proceed.
Your site’s files will reside on a temporary domain until you make DNS record changes. Learn more about pointing your site to a custom domain name in our DNS documentation. Enter your preferred temporary domain name in the field provided, and click the arrow to proceed.
Select the geographic area where you wish your site to be hosted.
WPMU DEV servers need to log in to your site using the same FTP username and password you use when you manage files with an FTP client. If you don’t know the credentials, you should find them in your site’s dashboard or control panel at your current host. If they do not exist, create them, paste them into the fields provided, and click Start Migration.
Required FTP/SFTP credentials:
- Host name
Once they access your site, WMPU DEV servers will attempt to locate your site’s files, and most of the time, they have no problem doing so. Occasionally, however, the path to those files contains an unknown directory that our servers cannot resolve, and the migration will fail. If you know the FTP path to your site files, you can insert it in the WordPress install path field highlighted below if the automated system cannot locate the files.
If you don’t know your FTP path, the simplest thing to do is ask your current host to provide it.
You can find it on your own by logging in to your site via FTP. Regardless of the FTP client you use, your path will be displayed on the screen similarly to how they appear in the image below.
Simply cut and paste the path–in this case /site/public_html/–into the WordPress install path field.
Do not include the domain name in the path but just the words and slashes as they appear in the placeholder text in the image above.
When ready, click Start Migration.
This screen allows users to monitor migration’s progress, although you can safely close the window and move on to other things without jeopardizing the migration. You will receive an email notification when the migration is complete or if it fails.
Following a successful migration, the temporary domain used in this migration is set as the primary domain for the migrated content and is viewable. Unless the original site has been disabled in some way, your content is viewable at both the original URL and the temporary one. In a moment, you will be instructed to update your DNS records and set your original domain as the primary domain, at which point your permanent domain is the only one visitors can access.
Before making those updates, however, we encourage you to visit the temporary domain to verify that the migration was successful. You can do so by clicking WP Admin option next to the temporary domain in The Hub site manager.
If you discover a problem with the site following migration, contact support, and our team will help you determine how best to proceed. If you are satisfied with the migration, then it’s time to edit your DNS records. See our WPMU DEV DNS Records documentation for guidance.
1.3.2 Manual MigrationLink to chapter 3
Manual migration occurs in two phases. The first phase involves exporting the database and files that make up your site into files that can be used in phase two, which involves importing those files to your new WPMU DEV Hosting environment.
Sites must be added to The Hub before they can be migrated to WPMU DEV Hosting. This is true for both manual migrations and those accomplished with the migration tool. Adding a site to The Hub is as simple as installing the WPMU DEV Dashboard plugin, which will prompt admins to connect as soon as it’s activated. See Add a Site to The Hub for further guidance.
Export the Database (.sql)
We’ll be using phpMyAdmin in this guide, but if your current host provides another database manager, don’t worry. Most database managers have similar interfaces, and you should have little trouble following the steps below.
Likewise, if your host provides a tool or other simple method to export your database to a .sql file, by all means, use that tool. Otherwise, follow the steps below.
First, create a folder on your local system into which you will export your site’s database and files. We’re calling ours “Migration.”
Navigate to phpMyAdmin and click on your database name from the left side of the screen when you see the database tables in the main screen click Export in the menu near the top.
On the next screen, leave everything as is (Quick and SQL) and click Go. You should be prompted to save a .sql file. Name the file “my_database.sql” and save it to the local migration folder you created. Naturally, you can name the file whatever you wish as long as it’s a .sql file, but to avoid confusion, it might be helpful if your file names matched the ones we’ll be referencing in this guide.
That takes care of creating a backup of the database. Now, we must conduct a similar but more lengthy operation for the site files.
Again, if your current host provides a tool to archive your site, use it. If not, you’ll need to download and install one, such as Filezilla, WinSCP, Cyberduck, or anyone of the many available FTP clients.
When you’re ready, navigate to your WordPress root directory, select all the files that appear in the window, and click Compress. Be aware that, depending on the tool being used, some effort may be required to ensure that all the necessary files are included. If you have any doubt, contact your host’s support team or our 24/7 live support to ensure all required files are included in the archive file.
If there are old files you’ve meant to delete—leftover plugin files, unused images, etc.—now would be a good time to make that happen by simply not including those files in the archive.
In the screen that pops up, select Zip Archive as the file type, name the file “my_site.zip“and click Compress.
Once the archive completes, the new .zip file will appear in your root directory. Right-click the file name, select Save As and save the file to the same migration folder in which the database is saved.
A complete copy, aka a full backup, of your site is now saved on your local system.
You will need sFTP and/or SSH credentials to import your site. If you haven’t already created those credentials, follow the steps below. If you have, skip down to the Copy wp-config.php section.
Keep in mind that sFTP/SSH credentials provide access to the inner-workings of your site. Never share these credentials with anyone who doesn’t require that access.
Create sFTP and SSH Credentials
Begin in The Hub and select the Hosting tab, which will open a list of your domains hosted with WPMU DEV. Select the temporary domain you created for this migration to access the dashboard for that domain.
Select the SFTP/SSH tab. You will need to create both an sFTP user and SSH user with the steps below.
Click Add User and select SFTP User from the dropdown menu. Once you’ve created the new sFTP user with the steps below, return to this step and go through the steps to create an SSH user.
In the popup box, create a username and password, (1) and (2). Keep these credentials handy, as you will need them to continue the migration.
For the purposes of this migration, leave the Path Restriction field (3) set to None. However, if you create credentials for other users at some point, you can provide access to one area of the site while restricting access to others.
For example, you can create an sFTP user for your graphic designer and restrict that person’s access to the Uploads folder only.
Leave the Environment field (4) set to Production, but keep in mind that staging sites require their own credentials, which you don’t need for migration but will need later to access the staging environment.
When you’re ready, click Add.
Copy the old wp-config.php
Open your FTP client and, using the sFTP user you just created, connect to your WPMU DEV temporary domain. As shown in the image below, your temporary domain name is the Host, the protocol is sFTP (not FTP or SSH, yet), and the Port is 22.
Once connected, navigate to the directory site/public.html and locate, then download the wp-config.php file to your migration.
Once that is accomplished, minimize but don’t disconnect the FTP client, and open a command prompt or terminal (Mac).
Prepping the hosting environment
At the command/terminal prompt, log in to your WPMU DEV server by entering,
ssh @.wpmudev.host, and when prompted, enter your SSH password, as shown below.
Navigate to your new WordPress file system by entering,
The public_html folder contains files that are created whenever a new instance of WordPress is installed. Deleting those files will ensure that your existing file structure remains the same, for the time being.
Type the command
rm-rf * to delete all the files in public_html.
Minimize the command/terminal prompt if you wish, but don’t close it. Move back to your FTP client, and you will see that your site/public_html folder is empty and ready to receive the database and files saved in your migration folder.
Importing the Database
The import process is largely the same for a single site and Multisite installation unless the site’s domain has changed, in which case we’ve outlined both methods below.
First, return to the wp cli command/terminal prompt and enter the command
wp db reset --yes to reset and empty the existing WordPress database.
Next, import the database with the
wp db import my_database.sql command.
When the import is complete, clear the site’s object cache by entering the command
wp cache flush.
Changing domain names
If the site’s domain name is changing as part of this migration, the names of the database tables associated with the old domain name must be updated. There are several, so you are going to need to use the
wp search-replace command and the syntax of that command is different for single and Multisite installations:
New single site domain
First, replace all the instances of the old URL with the new temporary one you created with the command:
wp search-replace oldurl.com newurl.wpmudev.host --skip-themes --skip-plugins
Next, change the email addresses associated with a site with the command:
wp search-replace @newurl.wpmudev.host @oldurl.com --skip themes --skip-plugins
New Multisite domain
First, replace all the instances of the old URL with the new temporary one you created with the command:
wp search-replace oldurl.com newurl.wpmudev.host --url=oldurl.com --network --skip-themes --skip-plugins
Next, change the email addresses associated with a site with the command:
wp search-replace @newurl.wpmudev.host @oldurl.com --url=newurl.wpmudev.host --network --skip-themes --skip-plugins
Upload the my_database.sql and my_site.zip to your environment.
Extracting the .zip
Return to the command/terminal prompt, which should still be logged in to the site/public_html folder, and enter the command unzip my_site.zip. Don’t forget the period at the end of the command.
Your files will scroll down the screen as they inflate (extract) in your hosting environment.
Locate and Add Database Credentials
The final step is to update the credentials your sites need to access their respective databases. To do that, simply reset the wp-config file, which renews the correct database credentials or creates a new config and credentials if none exists.
Begin by navigating to the WPMUDEV Hosting UI and select the newly migrated site.
Then, click the Tools tab.
Locate the wp-config row and select Reset.
Confirm the reset by clicking the Confirm Reset button.
The wp-config file and the credentials required to access it will reset.
1.4 Connect a SiteLink to chapter 4
The Connect module on the Hub 2.0 Getting started screen is used to Connect sites not hosted at WPMU DEV with the Hub. Click the Connect Site button to open the site connection wizard.
There are two ways to connect your site to the Hub:
- Automatically from the Hub
- Remotely with the WPMU DEV Dashboard plugin
For more information, visit our full documentation on connecting your site to the Hub.
1.5 Cloning a SiteLink to chapter 5
The Clone a site module in the hosting getting started wizard allows you to quickly set up new websites with your favorite plugins, theme, and configuration options from a template.
Click the Clone Site button and follow the clone module guide to make a copy of an existing site or use one of our pre-configured templates.
For guided information on using Clone to set up and use templates on your WPMU DEV hosting account, visit the Cloning Sites documentation.
1.6 Locations & RegionsLink to chapter 6
Members are free to choose the region in which their data is stored. We currently maintain regional hosting facilities in the following locations:
- Canada (Toronto)
- Germany (Frankfurt)
- India (Bangalore)
- Netherlands (Amsterdam)
- United Kingdom (London)
- USA East (New York City)
- USA West (San Francisco)
All hosted customer data, backups, storage, and files are fully stored in these regions.
More hosting locations will be made available as our data center partner, Digital Ocean, brings them online.
Members are free to migrate sites from one region to another at any time but should be aware that our hosted backups are regionally isolated and cannot be migrated with the site. Members should download any hosted backups they wish to preserve before initiating the migration. Hosting backups cannot be accessed from a different region, and we cannot move them for you after the fact.
Also, migrating a site to a new region will require the assignment of a new dedicated IP address, so all DNS settings will have to be reconfigured, including any IP address-dependent plugins or integrated apps.
Finally, there is downtime to consider. The original site will cease to function the moment the migration begins. The time required for the migration depends on the size of the site or sites being moved, and once the site is up in its new region, how long it takes to reconfigure its plugins and apps depends largely on the skill of the admins.
1.7 Plans & Usage LimitsLink to chapter 7
Each site that we host gets its own plan, complete with its own dedicated memory, CPUs, storage, and usage limits.
You can upgrade plans at any time. You can also downgrade a plan at any time. However, please note that downgrading more than one level may require a DNS change that only our support team can accomplish manually. This is because of technical limitations around storage space in the environment. In these cases, we’ll set up a new hosting environment at the desired plan and manually migrate the site’s files and content over.
We do not set hard limits on visits, bandwidth, or traffic, but we do provide recommended visit levels for each plan to help you determine which plan will be right for you. Your site will have lower performance, including brief outages, when your memory and CPU resources are maxed out.
Factors that might use more resources and thus require you to upgrade:
- WordPress Multisite – Multisite networks are more taxing on server resources, especially Subdomain installs and those Multisite where you will have many logged-in users.
- Membership Sites – Membership sites receive a higher percentage of traffic where users are logged in, which means that caching systems in place are not as helpful in managing their load.
- e-Commerce Sites – Similar to Membership sites, increase logged inactivity for checkout can cause a higher server load.
- Poorly coded themes or plugins – Some themes and plugins just aren’t as efficient for performance as others. They may also add features that require higher processing loads.
1.7.1 Bulk Hosting DiscountsLink to chapter 7
Are there discount rates available for bulk hosting with WPMU DEV dedicated managed WordPress hosting? Yes, WPMU DEV has discount rates available for agencies or users with 20+ websites.
To learn more about bulk pricing, contact support, or start a live chat to discuss discount options.
Hosting Discounts Rates:
- Are for users with more than 20 sites
- Are based on volume (the more sites you have on your account, the better the rate we can offer.)
1.8 WordPress MultisiteLink to chapter 8
Unlike many hosts, we support (and encourage!) the use of WordPress Multisite on all plans.
However, you should be aware that WordPress Multisite networks will use more server, CPU, and memory resources than standard WordPress single installs. So, if you have more than a handful of sites, you might find you need one of the higher plans to meet your WordPress Multisite network’s needs.
Subdirectory installations (i.e., mysite.com/sitename) can be created by you in your Hosting Hub.
Subdomain installations (i.e., sitename.mysite.com) require manual work from our support team. Before converting or migrating a WordPress Multisite subdomain install, we need to be sure that you are able to:
- Configure wildcard DNS for the desired domain with your domain registrar
- Provide us with a wildcard SSL certificate for the desired name.
Please contact support to start the process for a subdomain install.
1.9 Modifying Size and Type LimitsLink to chapter 9
This guide covers how to safely modify the WordPress default limits on the size and type of files that can be uploaded to the media library.
After reading this guide, if you still have questions regarding file upload limits or you need help setting the right limits for your site, you can always start a Live chat with our hosting support Superheroes or submit a support ticket using the Support tab of your WPMU DEV Dashboard.
WPMU DEV Max Upload File Size
The maximum file upload size for all WPMU DEV-hosted sites is 128mb, regardless of hosting plan. Members can restrict the size of uploaded files, but the maximum size cannot be increased.
Files larger than 128mb should be uploaded by SFTP/SSH. See our SFTP & SSH documentation for information on how to upload files larger than 128mb.
To view the current maximum upload size for any site, navigate to the WordPress media uploader: Dashboard > WP Admin > Media > Add News. The upload size limit will be displayed at the bottom of the UI.
WordPress Default File Types
Members can add or remove file types from the allowed upload list as needed but should keep in mind that each added file type creates a potential security risk for your site or network. We recommend that you add only those file types you need.
WordPress allows uploading of these file types by default:
Images: jpg, jpeg, png, gif, ico
Documents: pdf, doc, docx, ppt, pptx, pps, ppsx, odt, xls, xlsx, psd
Audio: mp3, m4a, ogg, wav
Video: mp4, m4v, mov, wmv, avi, mpg, ogv, 3gp, 3g2
1.9.1 Multisite Upload LimitsLink to chapter 9
Multisite admins can adjust both the file size and file type limits in their Network Settings, located here: Dashboard > Network Admin > Settings > Network Settings.
Scroll down to the Upload Settings section, where you will find the Upload file type and Max Upload File Size fields.
Adding/Removing File Types in Multisite
In the Upload file types field, enter the file extensions of the file types you want to add, separating the extensions with a single space. Delete the extensions of file types you do not want to be uploaded.
Modifying the File Size Upload Limit in Multisite
In the Max Upload File Size field, enter a size, in kilobytes, up to 12800kb (128mb) to set the max size for files uploaded to this network.
Click Save Changes, and that’s all there is to it. The new file size limit will apply to every site within this network.
1.9.2 Standard Installation Upload LimitsLink to chapter 9
If you’ve seen the “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons” error message; you’ve tried to upload a file type that is not on your site’s upload allowed list or has failed a WordPress security validation test.
Adding/Removing File Types in Standard Installations
We’re going to show you how the plugin WP Extra File Types can resolve either issue. The first thing to do is install and activate the plugin.
While we’re at it, we will show you how to use this plugin to identify why a file might trigger a security validation error, information that will be helpful if a particular file type or a particular user experiences ongoing upload issues.
Once you’ve installed the plugin, you’ll find a new option, Extra File Types, in your site’s Settings tab, located here: Dashboard > Settings > Extra File Types.
Click Extra File Types UI, and you will see a list of hundreds of file types from which to choose.
You will also see two checkbox options, shown below. Do not select either of these boxes yet. Selective use of these options can help identify why a file triggered the upload error.
Select the file type(s) you wish to add to the allowed list and then scroll to the bottom of the UI to click Save Changes.
Try to upload the problem file again, and if the upload succeeds, great! This means the file was simply not on the allowed list, and now it is. You and your users can now upload that file type as needed.
If the file triggers a validation error again, return to the WP Extra File Types UI, and select the Check only file extensions option shown below. Leave Skip WordPress checks unchecked, and click Save Changes. If the file is failing WordPress’s MIME type validation, this option will bypass that check without disabling other security measures.
Try to upload the problem file again, and if the upload succeeds, great! This means there was an issue with the file’s MIME type. Otherwise, the file was deemed safe to upload.
If the file triggers a validation error with Check only file extensions enabled, it’s time to consider whether you are certain the file is valid and not harmful. If you are uncertain, we recommend not uploading the file.
If you are certain the file is valid and not harmful, return to the WP Extra File Types UI. Uncheck the Check only file extensions option, and check the Skip WordPress checks option. Save your changes.
WARNING: Selecting this option will disable all WordPress upload security measures, and should only be used to upload files you are certain are not harmful. Leaving this option enabled allows users to upload any file type to your site, including potentially harmful files. You should disable this option when you are not actively troubleshooting an upload issue.
Try to upload the problem file again. If the upload fails with WordPress checks disabled, it is likely that the issue has nothing to do with the file type, and you should contact support for help troubleshooting the problem.
Adding Custom File Types in Standard Installations
You also can use WP Extra File Types to add file types not included with the plugin’s preset list. To do this, scroll to the bottom of the UI where you will find the Add your custom file types panel. Click the plus sign (+) to open the interface.
This will open up a table of fields where you must specify a file format by completing the Description, File Extension, and MIME Type fields. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is responsible for all official MIME types, and you can find the information required for these fields at their Media Types page. Click Save Changes before returning to the media uploader.
1.9.3 Standard Installation Upload File SizeLink to chapter 9
Once the plugin is activated, Increase Maximum Upload File Size will appear as a new option near the bottom of your Admin Menu. Click the link to open the plugin.
The plugin contains a single dropdown menu. When you open the UI for the first time, it will display your current max upload file size.
Click the dropdown menu to view the menu of various upload size limits. Setting a file size larger than 128mb will not override the 128mb max upload limit. Select the desired upload limit and click Save Changes.
Once a limit has been set, the plugin displays both the WPMU DEV Managed Hosting default limit of 128mb and the lower limit established by the plugin.
1.10 Getting .htaccess SupportLink to chapter 10
Our servers run NGINX, the fastest, most stable webserver type, and NGINX does not support .htaccess. Members accustomed to using .htaccess to enable or disable functionality needn’t worry. However, because all the functions typically associated with it are automatically handled by our servers.
Servers with the AllowOverride directive on, a prerequisite for .htaccess files, process requests at a much slower rate than NGINX servers. In fact, NGINX servers process many more requests per server than their Apache counterparts in large part because they don’t support .htaccess.
If your site has a .htaccess file in the root directory, WordPress or a plugin might attempt to write to that file when configurations change, but this is not a problem as our servers will simply ignore that file.
Some of the common uses for .htaccess that our servers automatically achieve are:
- Permalinks – Our servers are configured to automatically handle permalinks for you.
- Caching – Our servers handle caching for you, no need to install plugins or modify .htaccess files.
- Redirects/rewrites – Redirects can be handled using a plugin or via custom server-side redirects that WPMU DEV support can install for you.
- Security – Many WordPress security plugins have you modify the .htaccess file to install security rules. Fortunately, WPMU DEV hosting already has these security precautions in place at the server level.
Regardless of what you’re trying to achieve, if you’re doing it with .htaccess, then you’re probably doing it wrong. Instead, contact our support Superheroes, and they will help you figure out how to implement the same thing without creating or modifying a .htaccess file.