How To Move WordPress From Localhost To Live Host Server

Most WordPress developers prefer to develop their websites in the localhost first and then upload the site to the live web server. And there are solid reasons behind that process. First of all, developing a website involves frequent update and unlimited refreshing of the site. If you do this on a live server, it will take more time and cost you money and bandwidth.

But if you develop the site in localhost, you won’t have to spend anything. And as the site refresh will be almost instant, your development process will be much faster. For these reasons, it is a common trend to build WordPress websites in the localhost first.

The only problem with developing the website locally is you have to upload the whole website to the live server. You have to upload the database, all the files and go through various settings to duplicate the website in the live server. Doing all of these on your own is a challenging task.

Luckily, there are some good WordPress plugins that let you move your WordPress website from localhost to live server in a simple and efficient way. In today’s post, I will show you how to move your WordPress website from localhost to live server by using a plugin. So, let’s get started.

Step 1: Selecting the Plugin

First of all, you have to decide which plugin you will use for the job. As I said, there are several plugins that can perform this job. For this tutorial, I will use Duplicator Plugin.

With more than four hundred thousand active installs, this is one of the most popular duplicator plugins for WordPress.

First of all, download and install Duplicator in your localhost. After activating the plugin, it will create a new menu titled ‘Duplicator’ in your website dashboard.


Step 2: Creating a New Package

Clicking on the new menu item will take you to the packages section. Since you haven’t created any package yet, you will get the ‘No Packages Found‘ notice. A package is a zipped archive of your website content along with an installer file. By using the package file, you will be able to replicate your copied site into a live server quickly.

Click ‘Create New‘ to create a new package. At this point, you will be taken to a page like the following –


From this page, you can name your package anything you like. My suggestion is to include the site name and the date in the package name. You can also add some notes to your package. There are two more settings sections – Archive and Installer. If you want to exclude any directory, specific types of files or specific database tables, you can specify them from the ‘Archive‘ section.

After making the necessary changes, click ‘Next‘. The plugin will start scanning your website, and when finished, it will provide you with a report like the following –


Make sure that every component is marked as good. Then, click ‘Build‘ to start the package creation process. Depending on your site, you may have to wait a few minutes before the process finishes. Once it is completed, you will get a package completed notice like this –


In the package completed page, you will be provided with two separate files – Installer and Archive.

Download them to your desktop; you will need both of them to restore your website to the live server. Clicking on the file name will start the download process automatically.

Step 3: Uploading the Archive and Installer Files

You have successfully created a copy of the website you developed in your localhost. Now, you need to upload the installer and the archive files to the live server.

You can do this by using the cPanel of your hosting provider or by using dedicated FTP software like FileZilla. I will use the FTP method here.

After opening FileZilla, log in to your website. Go to the ‘public_html’ folder and copy the installer and archive files to that folder. Dragging and dropping the files to the public_html folder will start the uploading process.


Depending on the file size, it could take a while to upload the files. Make sure that both of the files are uploaded correctly.

Step 4: Installing the Website in Live Server

At this point, you have uploaded the installer and the archive files to your live server. Now, you have to install them. To do that, you need to access the installer file. This could be done by adding ‘/installer.php‘ after your domain name.

For example, if your domain is ‘myawesomewebsite.com’, then you should go to:  ‘myawesomewebsite.com/installer.php‘.

By default, ‘Create New Database’ will be selected as the Action method. If you want to overwrite an existing database, then select ‘Connect and Remove All Data‘.

While Duplicate can try to create a new database on its own, most hosting providers will not allow that. In that case, you have to create a database yourself. You can create a database by logging in to your cPanel and going to the ‘MySQL Databases’ section.

Step 5: Connecting the Database

Once you have created the database, get back to the Duplicator installation page. Provide the host name, database name, username, password and click ‘Test Connection‘.

At this point, Duplicator will check the database and return a success message like the following –


Make sure that you have got ‘Success’ status for both the ‘Server Connected’ and ‘Database Found’ fields. Any error in any of these fields will prevent you from moving forward. Now, check ‘I have read all warnings & notices’ from the bottom of the page and click the ‘Run Deployment‘ button.

Duplicator will automatically install the backup on your live server. If your file size is larger, it will take a while. Once the process is finished, you will be taken to the ‘Update’ step.


Step 6: New Website Settings

In the update step, you will be provided with an overview of the old and new settings of your website. Here, old means the settings of the site you developed in localhost and the new means the one you are creating in live server.

From this step, you can create a new admin account for your new website.

To do that, click ‘New Admin Account’, provide the username and password for the account.

The ‘Advanced Options‘ section lets you perform some advanced tasks. First of all, you can define the website URL from the ‘site URL’ field.

The ‘Scan Tables’ list will allow you to select specific tables to be updated only. ‘Activate Plugins’ will let you choose the plugins that should be activated in the new website.

Once you have made all the changes, click ‘Run Update’. This will complete the process and take you to the third and final step – Test.

Step 7: Testing the Live Site

In the test step, you will have four final steps.

The first one, ‘Install Report‘ will show a report of the total installation process. ‘Resave Permalinks‘ will re-configure the .htaccess file to match the server’s correct path. ‘Test Entire Site‘ will open the live site in a new tab. You can browse your website and make sure that everything is in place.

And lastly, ‘File Cleanup‘ lets you clean all the installation files and other files created by Duplicator during the process. Before cleaning up, make sure that your website is properly copied and is working accordingly.


Duplicator Settings

The settings section of the plugin is located at Duplicator -> Settings.

On that page, you will find the plugin version information along with options to delete the plugin settings and the storage directory when the plugin is uninstalled. And if your database is large, you can use MySQL dump as the ‘Database Build’ choice.


If you have followed all of the above steps, then you have successfully moved your WordPress website from localhost to the live server. Let me know if you have any questions. And if you follow any other method to transfer your website(s), please share your method by leaving a comment.


  1. Nate

    Hello, I followed the steps you provided, as well as referenced many different tutorials to move my WP site from MAMP to live hosting using Filezilla. I went through the entire process only to see when testing the site, it only displays an index of the files provided by the Duplicator-created archive. I am a newbie, so I’m having a lot of trouble identifying what the issue is. I can’t seem to find any literature on an issue like this. What would you recommend? Thanks!

    • WPDean

      Unfortunately, This tutorial doesn’t cover the usage of MAMP. Will try to cover a new article on that as well.
      If you have any immediate requirement, you can send a query to our team from contact page.

  2. Divesh

    Thank you so much for the tutorial. Everything worked fine and my site is in place. My only concern was that for some reason, word press has been uninstalled. If i were to re-install it, would everything still remain in place or would I have to transfer local to live all over again?

  3. Conrad


    Thank you for the tutorial. I just used Duplicator for the first time to move from a localhost to a live server.

    Everything worked fine, with one exception. (There always has to be one, yes?) The site works, all the links work, all the plugins are there, and all the plugin settings are as they were. Unfortunately, the Plugins menu item is not present.

    My menu reads

    Plugins has vanished. I have tried uploading a plugin using Filezilla, and the site doesn’t recognize the newly uploaded plugin either. This seems like an odd thing to have happen. Could it be because I uploaded the package to a subdomain? I wouldn’t think so, but that’s the only oddity in my situation.

    Please let me know if any additional information would be helpful. I don’t want to blather on without knowing what is/isn’t useful.

    Thank you.

    Conrad Hall

    • WPDean

      This is common problem and could be due to anything:
      1. You may not be logged in as admin.
      2. Your directory permission is not 755.
      3. You are working on network.
      or something else.
      You can send you site details to our email via contact form. Our team will try to look at the issue.

  4. Daniel Paniagua

    Thank you very much for this tutorial! You saved my life! By the way: cool blog, so far I’ve read a lot of interesting posts. Keep it going!

  5. Pooja

    I am not new to all this so I know how it works. This is a very detailed and in-depth tutorial but I still recommend beginners to get it done form an expert or at least from someone who knows how to do it.
    It is technical stuff and if you mess up with it, there is no turning back.

  6. Sid

    Thank you so much, this is my first time building a site, I had loads of fun building it, then just did not understand my web hosts instructions on how to upload…you came to the rescue! Clear, simple instructions, perfect!

  7. Dave Michael

    I can’t get to the “domainname.com/installer.php” to work after successfully uploading it via Filezilla. Any ideas?

    • Cate

      Try to do it in your cPanel’s ‘File Manager’ instead of FileZilla. There is more to it than just uploading the package but fortunately there are several good YouTube tutorials on how to do it with all the details. Good luck.

  8. rj

    Thanks for this! I had to create a new admin for it to work (the existing one wouldn’t allow me to login once it had been installed for some reason) but that was a minor hiccup in an otherwise smooth experience. SO much easier than doing it the impossible way (manually) 🙂

  9. Michael Cote'

    Can I run a live wordpress site on my local pc or do I need to upload it to a live hosting server?


  10. Steve


    May I just thank you for this blog posting and recommendation.

    Having tried the hard way to upload my MAMP site – and failed – your blog has been a lifesaver.

    I don’t know to this day what Duplicator does, but it cleaned up every single error that the manual approach misses and means that my website ran first time with not a single dropped link – just as it does locally.

    Thank you once again.

  11. Mike Shields II

    While using the latest and greatest version of FireFox on a legacy Mac, two of the final four steps opened in a new tab, and returned a blank page. Not sure that this is a good thing. Please fix.

    Also had a few hiccups restoring on the host that shall remain nameless, as they were less than stellar in their support, and they upsold me needlessly.

  12. Alex

    Hi WPDean,

    At first, I would like to give you many congratulations with your tutorial !!

    However, the problem that I have using the Duplicator plugin is that when I have built in my localhost wp site the package of two files and clicking on the archive file, a message appears like: I can’t find the server. So, I can’t save this file.

    Any idea?

    Thank you very much for your time.

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