Moving a SIMPLE WordPress site without CPanel, FTP or Database access.

blog, code snippets

Some working knowledge of WordPress, site creation and hosting is assumed.

This won’t work with PHP or JS files that are kept outside of the theme folder. And if there are any special settings in the WP-config.php file or core or plugin files have been tweaked, those changes will be lost.

You need to have administrator access to the WordPress site to retrieve all the files.

To switch to new hosting you will also need control of the DNS for the domain of course.

My original thought for this problem was to install a Backup Plugin to get all the files and DB, but without FTP of course that’s not possible! If there is already a Backup Plugin installed you can just use that and skip to the end. I always now include a Backup Plugin in any new installation that I create.

I’ve moved three fairly straightforward sites using this method after the hosting company locked the client out. It’s time-consuming, but I can’t think of another way if there isn’t a possibility of accessing the hosting control panel, DB or FTP.

EXPORT – on the existing site

  • Tools > Export as XML file
  • Use a site-downloader like SiteSucker to grab all as much of the site as possible – mainly for the theme images as these won’t show up in the Appearance Editor. The software should maintain the structure of the site and not localise the files. I had trouble using this on a Mac – it would freeze every time Mac Mail polled the mail server – so quitting Mail solved that problem!
  • Use the Appearance Editor to select each of the Theme files and copy/paste the content of each file to a new plain text file on your computer. Pay attention to the path of each file as it’s not immediately obvious if files are inside folders. You should be able to recreate the Theme folder this way. Add in any JS or image folders downloaded by SiteSucker.
  • Check the Source of each page in a browser just to make sure SiteSucker hasn’t missed images or javascript files. Download missing files and add to your site structure on your computer.
  • Check the CSS file to make sure any referenced background images haven’t been missed. Download missing files and add to your site structure on your computer.
  • Make a note of the WordPress version in Dashboard.
  • Make a note of all the active Plugins – their names, version numbers and creators. I selected and copied the list of Plugins into a plain text document.

IMPORT – on the new site

  • Go to the WordPress Release Archive ( ) and download the version of WordPress you need.
  • Unzip and upload the files to your new hosting.
  • Create the WP-config.php file in the top level as usual using your new DB details and a new hash.
  • For each Plugin, find its page on the WordPress Plugin site and use the developer tab to download the correct version number. Upload the files to WP-content > plugins folder. Some plugins change their name over time or may disappear completely. Do an internet search for the files you need – and old blog or GitHub may still have them. If you still can’t find them, use the Plugin Editor to cut/paste and recreate the plugin’s folder and files. Images will not be visible with this method though – so you’ll need to search through its files for image references and download those.
  • Install WordPress as usual – your-domain/WP-install.php
  • Once logged in go to Plugins and activate all of them except the default plugins Hello Dolly and Askimet, unless you use those.
  • Add a Backup Plugin if one isn’t already installed.
  • Tools > Import the XML file you downloaded earlier. You will need to install the WordPress importer – follow the instructions. This should give you the Pages, Posts, Comments, etc. for the site. I’ve tried a few times to import the site INCLUDING images – but with mixed results. It always fails to import all the Upload images into the Media Library – though it will give you a list of failed ones, so you can go and get them from your SiteSucker files. I uploaded all the files in Uploads that SiteSucker got for me. That way, even if they’re not in the Media Library, they’ll still be visible on the new site.


  • Open up two browser windows so you can see the WordPress backend for each site side-by-side. Go through EVERY menu and sub-menu one at a time and compare the old with the new. Pay special attention to Menus, Settings, Widgets, Permalinks. Well, all of them really.


  • Double-check the site is working on your domain alias or test server before uploading / switching the DNS.
  • Double-check the site is working live – especially any contact forms!!!

Good luck! And comment to let me know if you have any other suggestions for this process.


Photography prize win

community, photography

Yay! I won first prize in the category entitled “The Great Indoors” with this photo I entered into the Llanfyllin Society Annual Photographic competition 2013…




jQuery set this page as your home page

code snippets

Useful bit of code if you want a link to get the visitor to your website to set the page as their homepage.

For Internet Explorer versions below 8, there’s a bit of ancient code that will do the job – which this script implements – but newer versions of IE and other modern don’t support this – quite rightly as it could be (and has been) used to set the user’s homepage without their knowledge! Continue reading …

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Found a puma in my garden…


For the last few months when I’ve gone out to the garden, especially at night, I’ve had the strange half-formed motion that there would be a puma waiting for me, standing on top of my seven-foot brick wall. Continue reading …

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Christmassy Coconut Ice


Finally finished my sweeeet gifts for Christmas and got 10 bags of festively coloured coconut ice.

They were all going to be an icy blue to begin (and I was going to call them “Coconut Ice Cubes” or “Coconut Ice-nine”) but owing to the fact they came out quite creamy coloured, adding blue created a fetching green! So I made some pink and kept some plain to dip in Green & Black’s dark chocolate and it turned out well in the end! Continue reading …

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Working on my Christmas cards

card making

Yes, yes I know it’s a bit late, but I’m getting there. Just need to scan and tidy, do the layout, print them out, cut and crease, write them out and send them off. Easy!

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Dogs in the sun wins first prize


Menyn and Sipsi in the sun

Just won a cool £30 for this photo of Menyn and Sipsi lazing in the sun, care of the very nice people at the Llanfyllin Civic Society Photography Competition 2011. First place in the category “Home”. Seems kind of neat as Menyn died this time last week.

It’s the picture that gets stuck in my head when I think about home – my two little girls hunting round for the last patch of sunlight in the afternoon.

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