How to Migrate a Course Website With Ease

If you are looking to move your website to a better hosting solution, or you want to revamp your branding, rework the looks of your course site, and then finally reveal the new looks by moving from a staging environment to a live site – you will need a reliable migration solution. In this post we will walk you through the steps of how to migrate a course website.

Migrating a website is a serious job even for an experienced website owner, so it always has to be taken with great care. However, the steps taken to finish this task don’t have to be many and complicated. This job can still be done with ease and without stress if you use a reliable solution, and for this, we picked the Backup Migration plugin. It worked flawlessly in our tests with WP Courseware, and in this article, we will share the process of how you can easily do it too.

Backup creation

The first part of the process is the backup creation, and it is as simple as it gets:

  1. Install the Backup Migration plugin: You can opt for a quick installation via the “Plugins” section of the WordPress Dashboard on your site or manually download it from the WordPress plugin directory. Did I mention its free? 😱 Once installed, activate the plugin. It automatically directs you to its dedicated menu page in the WordPress Dashboard.
  2. Comprehensive Backup Setup: Head to the “What will be backed up?” section. Ensure a thorough backup by selecting all files, folders, and databases without exceptions. Hit “Save” to confirm your selections.
  3. Initiate Backup: With a simple click on the “Create backup now!” button, the plugin kicks off the backup process. For smaller sites, this process is swiftly completed within a minute or two. However, larger websites exceeding 2GB might find benefits in the premium version of Backup Migration. Once the backup concludes, it’s best practice to download the backup file. This ensures you have a safe local copy readily available.

Migration process

The migration process, the star of the show, takes center stage at the destination site. Here’s how you set it up:

  1. Prepare Your Destination Site: Before diving into migration, ensure your destination site is set up. Many hosting providers now offer simple WordPress instance launches. Check if your hosting provides this feature. If not, manual WordPress setup becomes your alternative.
  2. Migrate to the Destination Site: Install Backup Migration plugin just as you did on the source site and access the plugin’s menu “Manage & Restore Backup(s)”. In this section, discover three restoration options tailored to your needs:

    I. Super-Quick Migration: Ideal for moving to a new domain. Simply paste the backup file’s link from the source site and click “Restore now!” The link can be copied from the plugin menu screen marked with a small link icon.

    II. Upload Backup Files: Manually upload backup (zip) files. You can choose the file or utilize drag-and-drop functionality. Once uploaded, initiate restoration by clicking “Restore” beside your listed backup file.

    III. External Storage: Opt for this option to securely store your backups on the cloud. Google Drive is available, with more options on the horizon. Connect your Google account to the plugin’s “Where shall the backup(s) be stored?” section. Sync your backup files and click “Restore” when ready in the “Manage & Restore Backups” section.
  3. Completion: With these steps done, your migration journey wraps up, and your source site settles into its new home. Smooth transition achieved!

Tackling courses’ large video libraries

Course sites are characteristic of the numerous and often long videos. In some cases, these videos are located on the website itself (not recommended). We always recommend using an external video storage like AWS S3 with CloudFront mixed with S3 Media Maestro for secure deliver. But if you do store videos locally and since the videos are the largest files and consume most of the space, they add weight to the backup files and can make the process last longer.

But not necessarily, as we can easily optimize this. Namely, videos are commonly already compressed and don’t shrink much when they are added to backups (carefully packed, not just compressed/zipped!).

Therefore when we can simply download the gigantic video library folder, and exclude it from the backup. Later on, during migration, we just have to upload this folder before we proceed with the backup restoration.

To exclude a specific folder from the backup, open the plugin menu section “What will be backed up?”, enable the option to exclude files based on filters, and either add an exclusion by folder location or by the folder name.

Further backup optimizations

During the life of a typical WordPress site, an assortment of files and folders tends to accumulate, some becoming obsolete or forgotten. While regular cleanup might fall by the wayside, a site migration presents an excellent chance to declutter. The Backup Migration plugin simplifies this process with advanced exclusion rules.

By default, the plugin comes with preset exclusion rules, like excluding files larger than 100MB. However, for websites with courses containing sizable video files, this rule should be removed to preserve these important files.

Beyond videos, there could be other hefty, unused files like old backups, logs, or archives gathering dust around.

For cautious users worried about accidentally excluding valuable data, fear not! The plugin maintains a complete log of excluded files during backup creation, allowing users to monitor which files are being omitted. Moreover, if webmasters are aware of specific large files on the site, they can be excluded directly based on file path, name, or a unique identifier—similar to how we handled the video library folder in our example. This proactive approach ensures a streamlined and precise migration process.

Post-migration 


Once the migration process wraps up, retaining the Backup Migration plugin on your new site proves beneficial for several reasons.

Foremost, it enables you to generate regular website backups, even scheduling them. This proactive measure alleviates stress in the event of site mishaps, ensuring you’re covered if anything goes awry, causing your site to break or become unavailable. While major hosting companies offer backup solutions, the plugin’s functionality might provide a quicker and more user-friendly method, particularly for those less tech-savvy.

Moreover, the Backup Migration plugin effortlessly may create a staging site for you. This feature offers a safe haven for implementing significant changes to your website without risking its stability. By testing alterations in the staging environment, you can ensure they work seamlessly before applying them to your live site, maintaining a smooth user experience.

Conclusion

Previously, migrating a WordPress site often meant seeking paid assistance or relying on hosting agencies for the task. Today, site owners can execute migrations confidently and independently, saving valuable time and resources. The Backup Migration plugin, a free, user-friendly migration tool, simplifies the process, significantly reducing complexity for webmasters.

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