Migrating WordPress from GoDaddy to Bluehost

I’m going to spare you the platitudes of apologizing for not posting more, or swearing that I’m going to try and post more often.  The fact of the matter is that I don’t post frequently, and I don’t expect that a lot of people actually read this blog.  As I’ve said before, the latter does not really bother me.  That reminds me, I should probably update that About page as well.

My point though, is that for how inactive this blog is I shouldn’t be paying a ton of money for it.  My GoDaddy renewal was coming up, and after shopping around I found that for the approximate $100 it was going to cost me for another year on GoDaddy, I could get three years on Bluehost.  I decided to go for it and so far, so good.  This also meant though, that I had to migrate my blog from one host to the other.

I did some research on the topic, and looked at various backup solutions and the like.  In the end, I decided to to with something unorthodox that didn’t cost me any money, and worked surprisingly well.

Exporting – GoDaddy

On the menu on the left side of the WordPress admin console, if you hover over Tools you will get an option for Import and Export.  On my GoDaddy site, I clicked on Tools > Export, and on the next page I selected All Content.  This will create an XML file that you save on your local computer.

Importing – Bluehost

Before importing, I pulled up the two consoles side by side.  I then installed the same theme and all of the same plugins.  This was little tedious, but didn’t take too long as I don’t have a lot of plugins.  After that, it was simply a matter of clicking on Tools > Import, and browsing to the XML file.  At this time I was asked if I wanted to download images from the old site, to which I said yes.

I let that run for a minute, and that was it.  It was very easy, and worked very well.  As far as I can tell, the only thing that didn’t migrate was the background image for the blog.  Actually, it’s in with the rest of the media, it just didn’t get set as the background.  No big deal as I was rethinking that choice of image anyway.

The Hard Part – DNS

Okay, it wasn’t really that hard.  But harder than the migration, and definitely tedious.  If it was just DNS for the blog, it would have been easy.  All you have to do is move your DNS hosting from GoDaddy to Bluehost.  Blushost even emails you and tells you what to do when you sign up.  A minor downside here though is that rather than just changing the DNS A record on GoDaddy, apparently you have to use Bluehost to host your DNS if you want everything to work.  For me, this is mildly annoying because I have a couple of other domains, and I like having all of the DNS records in one place.  Seeing as they don’t change much though, I let it go.

A slightly more annoying downside is email.  I have this domain set up in my Office 365 account with an alias email address.  With GoDaddy, you can just have Office 365 connect to your GoDaddy account and it will set all of the DNS for you.  Not so with Bluehost.  And reading the directions on how to do it yourself had me running in circles for a bit.  Fortunately, I was about to find this document which was a great help.  There’s a lot of stuff that has to be entered and removed manually, but I finally got it all sorted out.

I also managed to find within the Office 365 Admin Center where it will show you any DNS issues you are having and with which specific DNS record. Click on Setup > Domains and you will see a yellow triangle next to any domains with issues.  Click on that domain, and there is an option with more details.  Where was this when my previous employer was migrating to Office 365?