How Do I Move a Web Application From One Server to Another?


Scott Campbell

In this tutorial, we will walk you through the process of moving a web application from one server to another. Whether you are upgrading your hosting plan or migrating to a new hosting provider, it is important to understand the steps involved in transferring your web application.

Step 1: Backup Your Files and Databases

Before you begin the migration process, it is crucial to create backups of your files and databases. This ensures that you have a copy of your data in case anything goes wrong during the transfer.

To backup your files, connect to your current server using FTP or SSH and download all the files and directories related to your web application.

Make sure you preserve the directory structure when downloading.

To backup your databases, access your database management tool (such as phpMyAdmin) and export a copy of each database associated with your web application. Save these exported SQL files to a secure location on your local machine.

Step 2: Set Up Your New Server

Once you have backed up all your data, it’s time to set up your new server. This involves purchasing a hosting plan from a new provider or configuring a new server if you are moving internally within an organization.

Once you have access to the new server, upload all the files and directories from your backup onto the new server using FTP or SSH.

Make sure to preserve the directory structure while uploading.

Create a new database on the new server using the same name as your old database. Import each of the SQL files you exported earlier into their respective databases using phpMyAdmin or any other suitable tool provided by your hosting provider.

Step 3: Update Configuration Files

Now that you have transferred all your files and databases to the new server, it’s time to update the configuration files of your web application to reflect the new server’s settings.

Locate the configuration files of your web application. These files might include settings related to database connection, server paths, or any other specific configurations.

Edit these configuration files using a text editor and update the necessary details such as database hostname, username, password, and any other relevant information required for connecting to the new server.

Step 4: Test Your Web Application

Before you make the switch completely, it is important to test your web application on the new server to ensure everything is working correctly.

Access your web application using its URL on the new server and perform thorough testing. Check for any broken links, missing images, or functionality issues that may have occurred during the transfer process.

If you encounter any errors or issues, review your configuration files and verify if all necessary changes have been made correctly. Additionally, check if any server-specific requirements are not met on the new server.

Step 5: Update DNS Records

If you are changing hosting providers or migrating to a different domain altogether, you will need to update your DNS records to point to the new server.

Contact your domain registrar or DNS provider and update the necessary A records or CNAME records with the IP address or domain name of your new server. This propagation process may take some time to complete globally.

Step 6: Switch Over to New Server

Once you have tested your web application thoroughly on the new server and updated DNS records (if required), it’s time to switch over completely from the old server to the new one.

This involves canceling your old hosting plan or shutting down your old server while ensuring that all traffic is now directed to the new server.

Monitor your web application closely for the first few hours after the switch to ensure that everything is functioning as expected.


Moving a web application from one server to another may seem like a daunting task, but by following these steps and taking necessary precautions, you can ensure a smooth transition without any significant downtime or data loss.

Remember to always back up your files and databases, set up your new server, update configuration files, test thoroughly, update DNS records (if required), and finally switch over to the new server. Following these steps will help you successfully move your web application to its new home.

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