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How to migrate your site to Flywheel using Flywheel Migrations

Updated on June 1st, 2022

One question we get a lot is, “Can I migrate my site to Flywheel myself?” and the answer is yes! We’d love to move your site over to Flywheel for free, but if you are the do-it-yourself type, this article is for you.

Note

This guide covers migrating a site to Flywheel from another host or any live server (including an existing Flywheel site) using our plugin Flywheel Migrations.

If your site exists solely on your local machine, we suggest migrating your site using the free plugin BackWPup.

If you’d prefer not to use a plugin, or you have your site files ready to go and just need to import them to Flywheel, we recommend migrating your site to Flywheel manually.


Table of Contents:

1. Install and launch Flywheel Migrations on the source site
2. Enter your email address
3. Create a Flywheel site for your migration
4. Enter your Flywheel site’s dashboard URL
5. Enter your Flywheel site’s URL
6. Enter your Flywheel username and password
7. Enter Privacy Mode credentials
8. Enter optional information
9. Click the Migrate button
10. Review your migrated site
11. Take your migrated site live


Install and launch Flywheel Migrations on the source site

  1. Log in to the WordPress admin area of the site you want to migrate to Flywheel.
  2. From the sidebar, go to Plugins > Add New.
  3. In the search field of the plugin install page, enter “Flywheel Migrations” and you should see the result shown below. Click Install Now.
    Search for Flywheel Migrations on the plugin installation screen, and install the plugin
  4. Once installed, head back to your WordPress dashboard and click the Flywheel button on the left sidebar.

Note

In certain situations, you may want to download Flywheel Migrations directly as a .zip file from the repository here and install it by uploading it through WordPress. You could also upload it manually via SFTP if you’re on Flywheel already, or if your current host provides this access.

Enter your email address

  1. Type in your email address, check the Terms & Conditions box and select Get Started. This allows Flywheel Migrations to send out handy status updates.


Create a Flywheel site for your migration

If you already have a Flywheel destination site for your migration, you can skip this step.

  1. Log in to your Flywheel account, then click the Create a New Site button in your dashboard.
  2. Fill out the site creation form and within a few minutes, your new Flywheel site will be ready! You can create a fresh new site, add one to an existing plan, or even spin up a demo site by clicking Create a Demo Site.
  3. You can proceed as soon as you see the new site’s dashboard. We’ll need to grab some information from this new site as we go, so keep a tab with your Flywheel dashboard handy.

Enter your Dashboard URL

Note

These migration forms can be a bit tricky! Here’s an example of what your completed migration form should look like.
  1. Navigate to the dashboard of the Flywheel site you’d like to migrate to.
  2. Copy the URL from the address bar.
  3. Paste the URL into the form.

Note

To migrate into your Flywheel site’s Staging environment, append _staging to the end of the Dashboard URL.

Enter your Flywheel site’s URL

  1. Unless you’ve changed your primary domain already, this is the temporary domain assigned to your destination Flywheel site. This domain generally ends in flywheelsites.com.
  2. If you are migrating into a Staging environment, you will use the URL ending in flywheelstaging.com. You can reference all these URLs in the Staging tab of your Flywheel dashboard.

Note

You may need to add https:// to the beginning of the URL. For example, if there are plugins installed that force loading via HTTPS.

Enter your Flywheel username and password

This will be the same username and password that you use to log into Flywheel. Note, this may be different than the WordPress username and password for your site!


Enter Privacy Mode credentials

Not sure if your Flywheel site has Privacy Mode enabled? Over on the site’s Overview tab on the Flywheel dashboard, you’ll see the Privacy Mode box on the right sidebar. If this is currently set to “On” (all Demo Sites have this on by default), you will want to copy the username and password credentials over to Flywheel Migrations.

Here’s an example of what your completed migration form should look like.


Enter optional information

If you’d like to migrate files outside of the wp-content folder, migrate additional database tables, or if your source site is password protected, choose the relevant options.

  1. Root Directories: By default, the migration plugin will only copy the database and files found in the wp-content directory. If there are any other directories in the site root you need to migrate, select Yes. From there, you’ll be prompted to select from a list.
  2. Additional Database Tables: Use this option if you would like to include any non-default database tables. Tables starting with the dbprefix are migrated by default with some exceptions. Those exceptions include tables from plugins like Wordfence, which are known to cause problems during the migration and have transient data. However, if they are needed, you are able to select from the dropdown of tables available.
  3. Source Site Password Protected: If the source site requires a password for access, like another Flywheel site that uses Privacy Mode, you will need to add those credentials so the migration plugin is able to access your site successfully!

Warning

Before moving on, please note that the migration process will take the destination Flywheel site offline temporarily and will completely replace all the content with that of the source site. If this is a brand new site, then no worries! However, if you are replacing customized content, it might not hurt to initiate a backup on that site, in case you need to roll back.

Click the migrate button

You can now sit back and relax while our Fly robots migrate your site! Progress can be monitored on the next screen, or you can close the page and wait for the completion email to be sent to your inbox.


Review your migrated site

Once the migration has wrapped up, click through the destination Flywheel-hosted site and make sure those robots moved everything over ok. If anything is amiss, get in touch via chat or support ticket, or undo it all by restoring from a backup.

Migration Logs

If you notice that your migration has failed or want to review the migration details, JSON formatted migration logs can be accessed in the _flyprivate folder of the site (via SFTP).

These logs contain the following information:
Migration start time
Source site
Destination URL
Destination hostname
Total files
Synced files
Ignored files
Total tables
Ignored tables
Synced tables
Synced size
Ignored size
WP version
PHP version
Absolute path
Content path
Plugin info (plugin version, active/inactive status)
Theme info (theme version, active/inactive status)
Migration finish time
Database modifications (start and finish time)
Status codes


Take your migrated site live

When you’re ready to take your site live, follow this nifty guide to point your domain to your newly migrated site on Flywheel!

Note

Running into an issue? Check out this troubleshooting guide.

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