Need to move from GoDaddy WordPress Hosting to DreamPress

Hey guys.

What are the procedures to tackle such an undertaking? I would love to do this before the end of the month.

Thanks in advance.

Just having done this myself, perhaps I can help. These instructions are for a shared domain hosting account. If you are using DreamPress then they are different and someone else will have to answer your question with DreamPress.

The whole idea is to have a plan. Think it through, step by step. This is what we did. It worked. And, that is all that I can say but “it worked for us”.

  1. Get a shared domain hosting account with DreamHost. Use the exact same domain name that you want to migrate from GoDaddy when you apply for the account. Do not change it.

  2. Use the one-click install to install WordPress and MySql server database objects. Install the plugins and themes that you wish to use with WordPress.

  3. Configure the mirrored hosting account with DreamHost. Instructions are in the manage domains -> add new domain. You may need to wait for a few hours until the mirror site is upgraded. The domain name will be different but you should get to the same location as your account. It is just accessible under two names and only one works at this point – the mirror. The original is still on GoDaddy.

  4. Add a host record to the MySql server so that it is accessible from the web and you can manage the database.

At this point, you have a site that you can install at DreamHost with the same name as the one that you want to transfer. Verify that you can get to the web site under the mirrored name. You need to get to the site’s wp-admin portion on both the new DreamHost and old GoDaddy domains.

  1. Go to GoDaddy and get a backup copy of the wp-content to get the media and other items. Get a copy of the database if you can. If you can’t you can use the backup function from within Wordpress but you will loose your accounts as they won’t transfer.

  2. Restore the backups on Wordpress and the database using the mapped locations for both. Just make sure that you use the mirrored name for the configuration and not the real one. You will change it later. Don’t replace the files for WordPress, just restore the wp-content/media and gallary directories. Leave the themes alone. Leave the plugins alone. Leave the settings alone. Once you restore the database, WordPress will find the media in the proper locations and it will show up.

  3. Install the plugin “Velvet Blues Update URLs”. Change the URLs from the “real” values that are in the database after the restore to the sites “mirrored” ones where they are now located. If you did this correctly then the web pages should load at this point. The menus should work. The media references should work. If you are using “NextGEN Gallery” then you may have to replace the references with shortcodes; but Velvet Blues should change the URL references. If not, well, then use the shortcodes. We had only four galleries that needed to be updated so it was not a big deal to update them by hand.

  4. If you use contact forms then the email won’t work. (The reason is that the nameservers have not changed and references to your domain’s mailer won’t work as it will try to contact the GoDaddy mailer instead.)

I suggest that you get a gmail account and use gmail’s outbound SMTP servers to send your email for the time being; until the nameservers are moved. You can use the plugin “Easy SMTP Mail” to configure WordPress for SMTP mail. I have not gotten Wordpress’ nor PHP’s mailer to work; but I did not try very hard to make them. I just used the easy way out. If you use gmail, make sure that you use a totally bogus account name such as “eriq-34593-wr” for the account as gmail will forever block that name from being used again; even when you ask them to cancel the account. You need it only for a month or so. If you use gmail then don’t forget to tell gmail that you want to “use less secure apps” on their web page.

  1. Create the inbound mail accounts at DreamHost’s Mail control panel. You can’t use them just yet because the nameservers are not moved, but you will soon enough.

  2. Test the site. Make sure that it works. Make sure that everything works. If you are using google’s CAPTCHA and have a domain secret, the CAPTCHA won’t work because the domain names are different. Instead of the CAPTCHA, Google will display a message that the secret and the domain don’t match. You can get a new secret from Google for the new mapped domain or just say “well, it will work when I have finished” and leave it alone.

  3. Change the names in Wordpress to the non-mirrored versions for the URL. Correct the permlinks. Change the URL references from the mirrored values back to the real ones with Velvet Blues (#6).

The site no longer works at this point.

  1. Go to JumpLine (GoDaddy’s registrar) and change the nameservers to,, and

  2. Remove the mirror and hostname references from DreamHost. You now only want it to work with the real names, not the mirrored versions. Wait 4 hours or so to allow the domain registration to propigate. You may also need to hand edit the wp-config.php file that has the database server name so that it is proper. I can’t remember if I had to do that or not. Just make sure that it says “mysql.YOURDOMAINNAME” and not a mapped hostname for the database server. Leave the user name, database name, and password alone. They are correct.

  3. Test the new site. It should now be “up”. Make sure that everything works and correct any flaws that still remain. Test the email. Try to send and receive email from the web access to the new email accounts at DreamHost. Fix any last minute problems.

  4. Change the mailer to use DreamHost’s mail platform rather than gmail’s. Cancel the gmail account. The link to do that is at the very bottom of the web page for the in-box on Once you cancel the account then you don’t have to worry about someone hacking into the account and sending out stuff under your name. It will just never work again with Google. That is why you want a very funny account name; one that won’t conflict with someone else’s “preferred” name.

  5. Transfer the domain from GoDaddy’s registrar to DreamHost’s if you wish. See the domain registrar transfer menu for that. Just be certain that you can receive email at the registrant’s admin contact FROM DREAMHOST. Some sites block DreamHost and we found it out the hard way.

I’m more interested in transfering content rather than the domain, and the plan is to transfer to dreampress. Dreamhost support folks keep pointing me to a help section, but it is not user-friendly so I am afraid to throw my money at this only to find out I’m unable to complete the job.

There is a one-click migrate for DreamPress – at least it is advertised as such. You can start with that. I don’t use DreamPress so I can not state an opinion of the DreamPress product.

Wordpress’ life exists in the database. If you have access to the database backup then transferring the Wordpress site is relatively easy. If you don’t have access to the databasse backup then you can use the built-in database dump. However, it just dumps the WordPress items, not the tables for the various Plugins.

There is a plugin that seems to work well. It is called WP-DB-Backup that you can install with nothing needed but admin level access to Wordpress. You don’t need admin level on the account, nor a shell account, nor control panel access.

This plugin will generate a dump of the database tables for not just WordPress but also all of the plugins in a form that can be reloaded by MySql (or phpMyAdmin).

You still need to copy the wp-content uploads and gallery data, but that can be done with FTP.

The one-click is for moving an existing site here to DreamPress.

Depending on how large your site is, it may be very simple to migrate your site. iThemes’ BackupBuddy plugin has a “Magic Migrate” feature, but if your site is very large, it can get stuck because PHP and large things … sucks.

The basic process is this:

  1. Buy DreamPress hosting for your domain on Godaddy (don’t worry that it doesn’t point here yet)

  2. Export the DB from GoDaddy via PHP MyAdmin

  3. Import the DB here via PHPMyAdmin

  4. Copy all the files over from GoDaddy to here via SFTP

  5. Change your DNS to point here