How do I transfer my WordPress site to a new host?

I need to move the hosting of a WordPress site from Fat Cow to GoDaddy. The domain name has been transferred to GoDaddy and I have a new hosting account ready to go. But I don't know how to transfer the site. I am told I need an xml backup (which I think I know how to do through Tools>Export), a database backup (which I don't know how to do), and a backup of the wp-content folder (don't know how to do this). I'm in over my head.

In addition, I don't have access to the account at Fat Cow because someone else set up the hosting there and is unavailable to give me the account information. Is this going to be a problem?

If this is not the type of support you usually provide, please let me know.

The site I'm referring to is I used the Simple Market theme.

  • Alexander
    • DEV MAN’s Mascot

    Hello @tcross2013,

    Without FTP access, or access to the original hosting account, you're actually rather limited to what can be done here.

    To export just the content (xml export), you can go to Tools -> Export in your dashboard. Then you can select what you'd like backed up. This will save your posts, pages, etc. but won't save any of your settings.

    Do you have the ability to install new plugins? You could install Snapshot to get a backup of your database. You can download it here:

    In fact, Snapshot could be used to make a copy of your themes and plugins as well.

    Once you're on the new host, you can import the database, upload Wordpress, then upload the backed up files. I can elaborate more on this later on.

    It really depends on what exactly you're able to get backed up. Let me know what you're able to get backed up, and I can advise what steps to take from there.

  • tcross2013
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    I have access to the back end of the site and am actually the current administrator on it. So I can save any files or databases necessary. I just don't have access to the people at the current host (Fat Cow). I don't even know if that's necessary. It's just ignorance. But I'm learning, and I hope never to have to ask the same question more than once.

  • Alexander
    • DEV MAN’s Mascot

    Hi again, I'm so sorry about the delay here. You mentioned you have admin access, is for Wordpress? or cPanel? If it's only Wordpress, your options are a bit more limited, but proceeding with the instructions below will get things moved over for you. If it's cPanel, I'll comment more on that at the end.

    From what it looks like now, you have Wordpress installed on the new server. Because you've already gone this far, I'd recommend trying the basic export/import method. It's a little more work and not all the settings come over with it, but you've already gone through the steps to install Wordpress, so it's not that much farther.

    Export / Import

    1. Head over to and finish the Wordpress installation
    2. Install SimpleMarket (easiest by installing the WPMU DEV Dashboard plugin)
    3. Install any other plugins.
    4. Login to the dashboard at the old site, and go to "Tools -> Export". Run the exporter, and make sure all the available backup options are selected. This will give you the XML backup file.
    5. Back on the new dashboard, go to "Tools -> Import" and Choose import
    6. Allow Wordpress to install the importer plugin.
    7. Run the import, and when requested for a file, choose the XML file you backed up earlier
    8. Double check everything on your site. You'll need to configure alot of your settings again.

    Let me know how it goes. As for cPanel, if you have access you can just backup the entire Wordpress folder. Then backup your database via phpMyAdmin with this guide here:

    If you get a hold of these backup files and would like to do it this way, let me know and I can instruct you on how it can be restored on the new site.

    I'll be standing by if you need extra help with this.

    Best regards

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