Migrations 101

Updated on January 5th, 2023

When getting started with a new host, figuring out how to move your existing sites to your new hosting platform can sometimes feel like a frightening process. Luckily, Flywheel has several options and a team of migration experts that can help make sure these site transitions are smooth like butter!

The basics of site migrations

Before we dive into how migrations work with Flywheel, let’s cover the basics.

A site migration is just copying a site from one host to another. In the case of Flywheel’s migration service, we can break it down even further.

Flywheel is a managed WordPress host. This means we install and manage WordPress on our servers and we lock down those WordPress core files for extra security and stability.

When it comes to migrating your WordPress site to Flywheel, we don’t need to bring along any of the WordPress core. We simply move your content files, any important non-WordPress root directories, and a full copy of your database. We refer to all of this as a backup of your site.

Migrate sites quickly yourself using the Flywheel Migrations plugin

Flywheel has made it even easier to move your WordPress site over with our Flywheel Migrations plugin! This plugin is configured to work exclusively for moving sites to Flywheel as seamlessly as possible.

This is the quickest way to get your existing site over to Flywheel. Check out this guide to get started: Migrate your site to Flywheel using Flywheel Migrations

Or, let Flywheel’s migration team take care of it

In the event that you would rather have one of our experts handle your migrations, you can submit a migration request and we’ll help you out! There are a few limitations to this service, which we’ll go over below.

Types of sites Flywheel will migrate

As mentioned before, Flywheel is a managed WordPress host. This means we exclusively migrate WordPress sites. So in short, we can migrate any single WordPress install to Flywheel. This includes:

  • Standard installs
  • Full Multisite Networks Installs
  • Websites (see note below)


When migrating standard sites the themes, plugins, and their respective configurations will not migrate due to the discrepancies between and In these cases, only your site’s content, pages, posts, pictures, and menus are migrated to Flywheel. Our recommendation is to find the same or similar theme in the repository and rebuild from there.

Types of sites Flywheel won’t migrate

Since Flywheel’s migration services only include migrating a full single WordPress install, there are certain things we do not offer:

  • Single site extracted from a multisite network (see note below)
  • Single site migrated into a multisite network
  • Multiple WordPress installs into directories within one Flywheel site
  • Non-WordPress websites such as Squarespace, Wix, Shopify, Drupal, Joomla, Blogger, etc.

While Flywheel doesn’t handle these types of migrations as part of our migration service, that doesn’t mean they can’t be done. In many of these cases, they will require a developer’s help to rebuild the site, or in the case of cross-cms migrations, you could try a service like


Check out our wonderful guide on how to complete Single site extractions to Flywheel! This will walk you through the steps of moving a site from a multisite network into its own WordPress install on Flywheel.

How migration requests work

It all starts with the migration request form

The process of migrating your site to Flywheel starts with submitting a migration request. Just fill out the form and provide admin level access to your current live site, as we will need the ability to install plugins for the most efficient migration method. Alternatively, if the site is locally developed or currently offline, you have the option to supply a backup and we’ll take it from there.


As always, we recommend updating all themes and plugins first in order to ensure the migration is as successful as possible.

Notes about migration requests

During this process, there are certain things to keep in mind regarding our migration service:

  • We won’t bring over backup, caching, or security plugins, as we handle those things for you and they would be considered redundant on the Flywheel platform!
  • We do not take the site live, this means we will not point DNS, set up SSL, or configure CDN during the migration process. This is because we highly recommend that you or your team perform a thorough QA of the site before taking it live. If you have any questions regarding these items, our team of experts is here to help!
  • The migration service is not offered if your site is already on Flywheel. This means we will not move it away from Flywheel or move it to another owner or plan on Flywheel. We’ve built tools to make cloning sites on Flywheel a breeze, check out some of our cloning help docs!
  • We cannot schedule times for migrations. If you’re in a crunch, we do offer expedited migrations, which have an 8 business hour guarantee!

Our team gets to work

Once submitted, the request will be added to our work queue and one of our migration experts will jump on it as soon as possible. We will use the information you provided in order to access your live site’s WordPress dashboard.

From there, we will install our preferred plugin, Flywheel Migrations, and kick off the migration for you. This process alone can be pretty quick if the site is small, but can take several hours if the site is pretty large. This automated process will run on an external server so your live site should see no performance issues and your users will have no idea the site is being moved, kinda like magic! ✨

We wrap up the migration and notify you

When the automated process finishes, we will compare the live site with the freshly copied site on Flywheel and ensure everything looks awesome! In the event that something is out of place or not working as it should, our experts will troubleshoot in order to pinpoint the exact issue. Sometimes this does mean we have to deactivate plugins or change the primary theme on the migrated site, but we will never update any plugins or themes. We will give you all the information on any issues we encounter and recommendations on how to resolve those issues. Once we are all set, we will send you a response letting you know your site is ready to go, explain how exactly you can access the site, and even throw in some steps on how to quickly take the site live.

Accessing the migration logs

If you’d like to review the migration details, JSON formatted migration logs can be accessed in the _flyprivate folder of the site (via SFTP). Please note, these details will only be available when our team uses the Flywheel Migrations plugin to migrate your site.

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

Need help?

If you have any questions our Happiness Engineers are here to help!

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