How to Move WordPress From Local Server to Live Site

Developing a WordPress site locally is a smart way to speed up the development process. In the past, we showed you how to install WordPress on your Windows computer using WAMP or on Mac using MAMP. Once you’re finished perfecting your website on your own computer, the next step is to move the website live and share your creation with the world. In this article, we will show you how to move WordPress from a local server to a live site, step by step.

Move WordPress From Local Server to Live Site

For the sake of this article, we will show you how to manually move WordPress from a local server to a live site step by step, so you can learn the process. However, you can make this migration from local server to live site much easier by using one of two plugins: BackupBuddy or Duplicator. You can find out more about that process in our guide to moving WordPress to a new host or server with Duplicator.

Before You Begin

In order for you to migrate your locally developed WordPress site to a live server, you need to have a few things in place. First, we’re assuming that you have a WordPress site running on local server, and you have full access to it.

To speed it up, you can use Bluehost. They’re an official WordPress recommended hosting provider, and they are offering our users an exclusive 60% off discount + a free domain.

If you need help setting up your website, follow our step by step guide on how to make a website.

Finally, you’ll also need to have a FTP program and know how to use FTP, so you can upload your content to the live site.

Ready to begin? Let’s get started migrating your WordPress site.

Step 1: Export Local WordPress Database

The first thing you need to do is export your local WordPress database. We’ll be using phpMyAdmin to do that.

Simply go to http://localhost/phpmyadmin/ and click on your WordPress database. Next, click on the Export button from the top menu bar.

Export from localhost

In the Export Method option, you can choose “Quick” or “Custom”. Custom will provide you with more options to export your database. We recommend choosing Quick, and then click the Go button to download your database.

exporting your wordpress database using phpmyadmin

Step 2: Upload WordPress Files to Live Site

Now we’ll need to move all your site files to your live site.

To get started, go ahead and open your FTP client and connect to your web hosting account.

Once you’re connected to your live site, make sure you upload the files in the right directory. For example if you want the site to be hosted on, then you would want to upload all files in your public_html directory.

Now select your local WordPress files and upload them to your live server.

Uploading WordPress from localhost to live site

Step 3: Create MySQL Database on Live Site

While your FTP client is uploading your WordPress files, you can start importing your database to the live server. Most WordPress hostingproviders offer cPanel to manage your hosting account, so we’ll show you how to create a database using cPanel.

To get started, you can log in to your cPanel dashboard and click on the MySQL Databases icon which can be found in the databases section.

Creating a new MySQL database

On the next screen, create a database by entering a name for your database and clicking the Create Database button.

Create a new database

After creating your database, scroll down to the MySQL Users section and create or add an existing user to the database.

create a new database user

After adding the user, cPanel will take you to set MySQL privileges for that user. Simply grant all privileges to the user by making sure every box is checked, and then click the Make Changes button.

grant all privileges to database user

Step 4: Import WordPress Database on Live Site

The next step in the process is to import your WordPress database. Go to your cPanel dashboard, scroll down to the databases section and click on phpMyAdmin. This will take you to phpMyAdmin where you want to click on the database you created in Step 3. PhpMyAdmin will show your new database with no tables.

Click on the Import tab in the top menu. On the import page, click on Choose File button and then select the database file you saved in Step 1.

Lastly, press the Go button at the bottom of the page. PhpMyadmin will now import your WordPress database.

import phpmyadmin database

Step 5: Change the Site URL

Now you need to change the site URL in your database, so that it will connect with your live WordPress site.

In phpMyAdmin, look for the wp_options table in your database that we just imported in step 4. If you changed your database prefix, then instead of wp_options it might be {prefix}_options.

Click on the Browse button next to wp_options or the link that you see in the sidebar to open the page with a list of fields within the wp_options table. See screenshot below:

Browse the wp options table

Under the field options_name, you need to look for siteurl. Click the Edit Field icon which can be found at the far left at the beginning of the row.

Edit siteurl in phpMyAdmin

When you click the edit field, an edit field window will appear. In the input box for option_value, you will see the URL of your local install probably something like: http://localhost/test. Carefully insert your new site url in this field, for example:

Save the field by clicking the Go button.

edit the siteurl field

Next, you need to replicate this step for the option name: home. The wp_options page can be a few pages long, so simply find the home tab. Usually it is on the second page which you can navigate to by clicking on the pagination arrows in phpMyAdmin.

Update the home url to be the same as your siteurl.

Step 6: Set Up Your Live Site

Now that we have imported the database, and all of our content should be uploaded, it’s time to configure WordPress. At this time, your site should be showing an Error Establishing Database Connection error. To fix this, connect to your website using an FTP client and edit wp-config.php file. Provide the database name, user and password you created earlier in Step 3. Save the wp-config.php file and upload it back to your server. Visit your website, and it should be live now.

Next, you need to login to your WordPress admin panel and go to Settings » General. Without changing anything, scroll to the bottom and click the Save Changes button. This will ensure that the site URL is corrected anywhere else that it needs to be.

After that go to Settings » Permalink and click Save Changes to ensure that all post links are working fine.

Step 7: Fix Images and Broken Links by Updating Paths

Whenever you are moving a WordPress site from one domain to another, or from local server to a live site, you’ll face broken links and missing images. You can either use the SQL query or use the Velvet Blues WordPress plugin.

For those who want to do it via SQL, here is a simple SQL query that should solve this problem:

UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = REPLACE(post_content, 'localhost/test/', '');

Simply go to phpMyAdmin, click on your database and then click on SQL from top menu. Write this query, but don’t forget to change it with your own local site and live site URLs.

Fixing WordPress images and broken URLs after moving to live site

That’s all! Hopefully now your live site will be up and running smoothly. Be sure to check out your site to make sure that everything is working as expected. If you notice any errors, you can check out our guide to common WordPress errors for help troubleshooting.

If you’re doing this on a regular basis, then we highly recommend that you get BackupBuddy because it will make your life much easier.

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