As a disclaimer I’d like to state that I have no intention of walking you step by step through this near impossible process. I use this blog as an outlet to work through my anger issues and PTSD and hope you and I can look back and laugh at this.
After 26 hours of screaming, crying, occasional binge drinking and then going through 5 steps of grieving my dead blog, I’m not quite sure how I even have my current blog up and running if not by some miracle. If I didn’t believe in divine intervention before I might now. Twenty. Six. Hours. 26 hours was also the same amount of time I was in labor for my firstborn. And transferring this website was more painful and traumatic than that. True story.
How to migrate a WordPress blog from Godaddy to Bluehost in 25 easy steps:
1. Purchase ample amounts of wine, set aside (you’ll see why below). Research the top hosting services for bloggers, and make a list on the corner of the notepad that you will eventually use for 23 different passwords (you’ll see why below).
2. Agonize over why there are so many different shared server options and whether you need a basic, deluxe or prime package. Waste an hour on researching, then close your eyes and pick one, or just pick the most basic one and deal with it later.
3. Sign up for bluehost on their website. They automatically set you up with a log in name and since you didn’t make it up yourself you will forget what it is and need to scrounge through your spam filled e-mail account to find the log in and password over and over because bluehost likes to sign you out the second you leave their page.
4. Start packing up your crap and prepare for your long and arduous journey to the foreign land which is bluehost. In other words, log into Godaddy and start the process of transferring your domain. You will have to unlock the domain and point to the direction of bluehost’s nameservers.
It is like unlocking the door and letting your blog roam free as flashing neon signs with arrows point to the bluehost frontier, but be careful, as your vulnerable blog will wander aimlessly into uncharted territories unless you do everything absolutely perfectly. I read a quote once that went something like this: “The journey is much easier when not carrying the past.” Truer words were never spoken.
5. Realize that you forgot the first step which was to save all your compressed files from Godaddy into your computer. Do it now. But since you’re only allowed to zip no more than 150mb at a time, curse yourself for being such a prolific writer during 2009 – 2010.
6. Read various how to blogs on the process of transferring the zip files into bluehost ftp, which explain it in such descriptive detail such as that: ‘transfer zip files to bluehost via ftp’. But how, you may ask? HOW?!? Take an hour trying to find more information on it. Upload it into bluehost’s file manager with fingers crossed.
7. Realize you need to install the WordPress theme. Use their one-click install, which isn’t really 1 click because you have a pre-existing blog, and we all know that nobody covers pre-existing blogs in this day and age, so you’re pretty much on your own here. The WordPress theme jumbles together with your pre-existing files in the file manager. Try to delete some files here and there until it becomes a huge mess. Cry a little bit.
8. Aren’t you glad you had some wine set aside? Pop the cork and enjoy a glass.
9. As you were reading various how to’s in different tabs on your browser, bluehost decided to log you out. Try to log in after you search through your e-mails for your name and password. Rather than sifting through the wreckage you’ve created in your file manager, delete the giant mess and start over.
10. Not really sure how to proceed at this point, install the WordPress theme again, hoping maybe you did it in the wrong order before and that’s where everything went wrong. Pat yourself on the back for being so smart and drink some more wine. Bluehost will not let you reinstall because you didn’t log in with the correct name and/or password. Try to figure out where you went wrong because you managed to install it the first time. Look through your e-mails to find your WordPress login and password. Maybe it needs me to make a NEW login and password. Not knowing if this is the problem, make a new login and password and write it down. Reinstall WordPress.
11. Upload your WordPress files into the file manager again. Very carefully place them in the same folders so your webroot from Godaddy looks identical to the webroot in Bluehost. Be mildly impressed with yourself for learning so many new words today – nameservers, migrate, webroot, and for managing to get to this point. It will be short lived.
12. Start the process of archiving your database from Godaddy. Log into Godaddy and go to My SQL. Godaddy gives you the log in name and says that the password is the same, so you can easily log in to phpmyadmin to retrieve your database. Naturally since everything in the universe works against you, log in fails. Start panicking and guess the password, and eventually give up.
13. Have someone fly in from Pittsburgh at the last minute to help you fix your site (aka your husband who manages to get an early flight home from a business meeting who will now be your unpaid worker to fix the mess you’ve created).
This is what your baby looks like after the hell you’ve put it through.
14. Your husband deletes everything in your file manager and starts from scratch. He does everything that you did before, but with more F words feathered throughout his thinking out loud approach. Drink some wine and let someone who uses words like sitemaps and indexing and php and ftp like he knows what he’s talking about.
15. After somehow retrieving the database from godaddy, figure out how to upload it into bluehost. It also helps to have multiple passwords for godaddy, bluehost, ftp, php written down but not labeled for which is which. This will infuriate your unpaid worker to no end. Find instructions on how to upload after successfully logging in after numerous attempts, and do it. It does not work. Use F word some more.
16. WordPress also does not work and has a bunch of errors on a page. The website itself also does not work and has a bunch of errors. Dozens of sites successfully transfer from one host to another seamlessly with no issues, and people manage to write tutorials on it. It looked like such an easy process. Am I some kind of idiot? Finish off bottle of wine.
Dealing with the 5 stages of grief.
17. First stage of grief: Denial. Be totally dramatic and mourn the death of your blog. This can’t be happening. Just earlier in the day I had a strapping, healthy but sometimes slow blog. And now it’s poof, gone. Just like that.
18. Second stage of grief: Anger. Be prolific in the use of various curse words and use them gratuitously now that your children and their ears are in bed. I did everything right! This wasn’t supposed to happen! Why is this happening to me? What did I ever do to Soupbelly?!
19. Third stage of grief: Bargaining. Start bargaining with the universe for the stars to align and your site to magically load. Though maybe if I just pray hard enough it’ll work.
20. Fourth stage of grief: Depression. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be and I’m not meant to do anything anymore. Maybe this was a sign that I’m not cut out to be a blogger.
21. Fifth stage of grief: Acceptance. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Soupbelly was meant to die. Reevaluate my life choices.
21. My husband contacts bluehost by live chat and explains situation. Although we use filezilla to download an exact copy of my entire site, this takes 6 hours so we go to bed.
22. Dream about my website. This is usually how the brain protects the body from extreme shock and grief. I say goodbye one last time and wake up.
23. After the site is duplicated, start the process of putting it in bluehost according to the instructions via live chat from night before. The site loads but there is a bunch of garbage on the header with the word ‘error’ dozens of times.
24. My husband screams that he’s had it, shaking his clenched fist towards the universe and cursing at how all his hard work meant nothing. NOTHING!!! He then tells me to spend the $150 for a professional to migrate the site and heads to work.
25. Alone in my grief, I wait patiently for another techie via live chat. He fixes it in 2 minutes. Something about an issue with my php version. I thank him 45 times as he tries to sell me on an upgrade of my plan. I say no politely 28 times, then end the chat.
That wasn’t so bad, was it? Ok, it was extremely bad. But I have successfully migrated my WordPress site from Godaddy to Bluehost with no major issues…so far. Welcome to the new frontier, or bluehost, to be exact. Let’s hope this site will do better on a new host.