How to Transfer Files to a Live WordPress Site with BackupBuddy - dummies

How to Transfer Files to a Live WordPress Site with BackupBuddy

By Lisa Sabin-Wilson

The BackupBuddy plugin can be used to move a WordPress website from one hosting environment to another. BackupBuddy is not a free plugin available on the WordPress Plugin Directory page. You have to pay for this plugin, but it’s worth every penny because it takes the entire backup and migration (or transfer) process and makes mincemeat out of it.

You can use the BackupBuddy plugin to back up and transfer from your sandbox environment to your client’s destination server and vice versa. Follow these steps to use this plugin to move the website from your sandbox environment to your or your client’s server:

  1. Purchase and download the BackupBuddy plugin.

    The cost for the plugin starts at $80.

  2. Install the plugin on your current WordPress website.

    By current, this means your sandbox environment, not the destination server yet.

  3. In WordPress Dashboard, choose Plugins→BackupBuddy→Activate under the BackupBuddy plugin name.

    WordPress activates the plugin.

  4. Choose BackupBuddy→Backups.

    The Backups page appears.

  5. Click the Full Backup button.

    This initiates a full backup of your database, files, and content and then packages it neatly into one Zip file for you to store on your local computer, in a location of your choosing.

  6. Download the importbuddy.php file by clicking the importbuddy.php link on the Backups page and downloading it to your local computer.

    Preferably, place this file in the same directory as the backup file you downloaded in Step 5.

  7. Connect to the destination web server via FTP.

  8. Upload the file and the importbuddy.php file.

    These files are uploaded in the root, or top-level, directory on your web server. On some web servers, this is the /public_html folder, but on others, it may be the /httpdocs folder. If you aren’t sure what your root directory is, your hosting provider can tell you.

  9. Create a new database on your new hosting account.

  10. Navigate to the importbuddy.php file in your web browser.

    This URL looks like (where is your actual domain name).

    The BackupBuddy page loads in your web browser.

  11. Follow the steps provided on the BackupBuddy page to import the backup file and install WordPress.

    These steps include adding the database information needed, such as the database username, database name, password, and host.

    This entire process takes about 5–10 minutes, maybe more depending on the size of your website.

  12. Type the URL of your website in your web browser address bar and press Enter.

    This loads your website in your browser window, and after BackupBuddy does its thing, the new website is completely loaded onto the new server and is an absolute duplicate of what you have in your sandbox environment.

Using this method to back up and transfer a full WordPress website from one server to another takes about 5–10 minutes, which is a huge time-saver. If you had to transfer and back up the site manually (by taking manual backups of separate elements, such as images, content, themes, plugins, settings, and so on), it’d take a couple hours to complete.