How to Migrate WordPress to WP Engine (Updated for 2020 WP Engine Users)

A lot of users are unsure and confused about the process of migrating WordPress to WP engine. They know they want to, but it seems like a lot of confusing steps. For everyone else out there that isn’t quite an expert with complicated technology, trust me, I was right there with you.

To simplify the process, we break it down in this blog post. We go over exactly what it means to migrate to WP Engine, as well as providing a step-by-step checklist telling you exactly how the process works and what you have to do. And if that doesn’t work, we’ve got a service we recommend that migrates your site for you.

What This Means

In case anyone has any questions on the topic, that’s ok—it can be confusing, especially if you’ve never heard of it before. Here’s what migrating WordPress to WP Engine means:

When a lot of people get started on their site, they’ll start on directly. WordPress is the server their site runs on, and their domain name is often something like “” instead of “”

After users have built up a site on WordPress, many realize that they would rather be using another hosting company to actually host their site and domain name, and just install WordPress as the CMS (content management system).

In many other cases, users have WordPress already installed on another hosting site, but decide they want to transfer their WordPress (and site) from that host to the new one. There are a large number of reasons users ultimately decide they want to change web hosts.

When users come to this realization for a variety of really good reasons, they often look at switching over to WP Engine for their hosting needs.

So what happens when you make your website and you have it set up and running, but you want to transfer it to this new hosting site, for whatever reason?

You don’t have to start all over. What you do have to do is take your site and migrate it from WordPress to a WP Engine. And now with the migration checklist (below), it’s easier than you’d think.

How To Migrate WordPress to WP Engine

First of all, as you’re going through the process, WP Engine has a really great list that will automatically update and help you to track it’s progress as you complete each necessary step to migrate your site.

WPEngine Migration Checklist

There are only six steps you need to follow once you sign up for WP Engine. These steps are:

  1. The initial setup: In this step, you will configure your domain (the name of your site) and SFTP credentials. 
Your SFTP (which stands for Secure File Transfer Protocol) is the encrypted and more secure version of an FTP. This is how you upload and download files from your server to your site. (Reference:
  2. Updating and Saving: After you update your entire site, you’ll back up it up. You’ll create a backup of everything the way it is, including plugs and themes, to make the migration process extremely easy. This ensures that your site will be exactly how it you left it when it’s uploaded to the new hosting site. A brand new back up is crucial to this, though it’s a good habit to frequently back-up your site no matter where it is.
  3. Export Old Site: After your backup is complete,
  4. Import to the New Site:  This process will import your files to WP Engine
  5. Verify your site is how it’s supposed to be: Through a preview of your site, you can approve if everything looks good.
  6. Launch your site on WP Engine: Once you’ve double checked your site to make sure everything is how it was and how you want it to be, it’s time to launch the site and have it go live! Once you do, you can breathe easy—your site is now hosted by WP Engine, and you can go back to business as usual.

See, not so bad, right?

Migrating your site to WP Engine is definitely a lot easier than initially setting up and creating a whole new site completely from scratch, at least. Migrating your site saves you this big chunk of time; even if you decide you want to change something, you’re changing it, instead of having to completely re-do it. Even if you give your site a complete overhaul, it’s still often easier than starting over altogether.

Again, as you go along through the process, WP Engine has a really fantastic checklist that is automated, and it tells you once you’ve successfully completed each step on the list.

In case you still end up struggling with the process (that’s ok, it can be challenging if you aren’t used to working with websites), WP Engine is full of great resources to help you.

The first is an entire section of the site dedicated to migration support. This site can be found here and takes you through each step in great detail.

If that still isn’t enough help, or if you’d rather ask a specific question to an actual person who can walk you through it, WP Engine has an incredible support team. When you call, they’ll take their time to help you troubleshoot or work through the process, both during the migration and long after. If you’re stuck, you absolutely should not hesitate to call.

Migration Summary

Hopefully migrating your WordPress (from WordPress itself or any other hosting site) isn’t as bad as you thought it would be! Ultimately it’s a relatively painless process, not without thanks to WP Engine’s own checklist that will guide you through the process, and simplicity of the process itself.

Still sound like too much work, or like it would take too much time? There’s a great service that does it for you, called We Move WP that might just be the perfect investment to make in your site.

Either way, no matter what you decide on, don’t let the process stop you from migrating your site if that’s what you decide you want to do!