Your website’s new home
Installing WordPress on IP
Converting your site
Sidebars and menus
Editing database before final switch
Emails and subscribers
Switching name servers
Re-registering your domain
A word about backups
More thoughts and links
A lot of time passed and I gained a lot of experience with moving websites from Site Build It! and have more insight into what soon-to-be ex-SBIers want. My first tutorial here teaches you to transfer your SBI! website in static form (as is), THEN slowly convert to WordPress.
The tutorial on this page was written after many requests from SBIers who were looking for an easier, a more straightforward way to convert to WordPress without having to mess around with Httrack.
- I want to make sure you understood me right.
- I have a thing for large fonts.
- I like to use long, narrow, toilet paper-like page layout. It makes pages look longer than they actually are but does wonders for my Adsense CTR!
…and still, things are simple. You can do it!
Do you know, I always thought unicorns were fabulous monsters, too? I never saw one alive before!
Well, now that we have seen each other, said the unicorn, if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you.
– Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland And Through The Looking Glass 🙂
In this tutorial we are going to build WordPress version of your website on IP address. We will be doing this while your existing website is functional and still hosted by SiteSell. It takes some time to convert entire website; the more pages you have, the more time you need. It takes about two minutes to convert one page. While it does take some serious work in the beginning, later you will find that it was worth it. Your site will become super flexible and easy to deal with. You will be able to switch WordPress themes (templates) and add or remove all kind of features with just one click. WordPress is awesome!
Once you rebuild your entire website on IP address, you will simply switch name servers and voilà, you are done! There will be no downtime. While downtime during site transfer is considered normal, I am very proud to say that I never had it. If you follow these steps carefully, your site shouldn’t go offline.
I am also committed to make it as cheap as possible and when something is not necessary I will say so.
YOUR WEBSITE’S NEW HOME
First things first, you need a new web hosting account. What I am about to show you may or may not work on different hosts (probably will, but minor differences are not only possible but likely). If you want to be absolutely sure, just get an account at Hostgator. It is a good host and this tutorial was written using their account. It definitely works there.
If you have only one website, get their Hatchling account (starting at $3.96 a month) and, if you have more than one website, get their Baby account. If you are not sure, get Hatchling account – you can always upgrade later. In addition, you can use my discount coupons. You can get them here.
Before you go there, keep this in mind:
- When purchasing web hosting plan with Hostgator you should enter your SBI! domain WITHOUT WWW
- When you’ll check out on their order page you will see that Hostgator has some hosting addons checked by default. These aren’t critical. It’s safe to uncheck them. You can backup your website yourself and as for security… as long as you behave wisely and don’t go crazy with free plugins and WordPress themes you should be fine. I am not discouraging you from purchasing these services. I just want you to know you don’t have to spend on them. I never do.
I have tested this with A Small Orange and it works very well there. You can definitely use them if you prefer. For websites under 1,200 – 1,300 uniques per day choose Shared Small account for $5 dollars per month.
If you are closer to about 2,000 per day choose their Shared Medium account for $10 (unique visitor numbers in your SBI! stats). I currently host a site with 3,000-4,000 daily unique visitors on this account. On some days it shoots up to 10,000 (quite regularly) and the site is doing just fine.
Keep in mind, there will be some optimization work need to be done in order to be able to fit in these cheap plans with this type of numbers (described below).
All ASO plans from “Small” and above allow to host more than one website. So if you need to transfer more than one website you don’t need to double your hosting fees.
You may notice their Shared Tiny plan for $35 per year, but it is what it is — tiny! It can host only one website and that website has to be quite small, or well optimized text only website. If your website is small, you can try this plan. The site will perform just fine and if you need to upgrade you can always do so later.
You can save a little by using these promo codes they issued especially for my visitors:
wd5– one time $5 discount
wd15– 15 percent on first bill
Promo codes are only valid for accounts from Small Shared and above.
When opening an account choose “I want to point my domain at you” and enter the name of your SBI! doman, like this:
Oh yes, they will also offer you some addons when you check out but they are not necessary unless you don’t mind paying a little extra.
STEP 1: INSTALLING WORDPRESS ON IP ADDRESS
Time required: about 5 minutes
Once you open new web hosting account, Hostgator (or A Small Orange, if you are using it) will send you a welcome email, which contains IP address of your website. Hostgator will also send you password for your cPanel (control panel), but in A Small Orange you will have to set it yourself before doing anything else.
Enter your IP address into browser and add slash and cPanel, like this (obviously, replace this IP address with yours)
You will see this:
Log in with your username and password. You will see your cPanel’s dashboard with many interesting icons. Promise me you won’t play with these unless you know what you are doing…
Scroll down and find QuickInstall icon under Software / Services (A Small Orange users should use Softaculous, see the blue info box a few paragraphs below).
Click on QuickInstall icon and find “WordPress” in menu on the left.
Fill the form as follows. Make sure to keep the box next to “Install in directory” empty. This will install WordPress in the root directory of your future website.
For email, it’s better to use your Gmail (or whatever you are using) rather than email at your domain for now. You will be able to change this later. The reason why we don’t want to use email at our domain is because our site is about to go through the transfer. Another reason is that your email is still hosted by SBI! and I don’t trust their webmail system. When the transfer will be complete, you can create same email address at your new host and edit it in your WordPress, if you wish.
Autoupgrades are checked by default. You can keep it that way or uncheck it and update your WordPress manually. Autoupgrades is a relatively new feature and I personally still prefer to upgrade my own installations manually. It takes only a click of a button.
Make your username and password very long and very hard. This is VERY important! In “Blog Title” fill your site title. Once again, you will be able to change this later in case you need to. Click install.
Quick Install will send your log in details to the email address you specified. Congratulations! You just installed WordPress!
There is no Fantastico or QuickInstall in ASO, but they have another software that does this. It is called Softaculous. Here are your screenshots. At your IPaddress/cpanel after you sign in you will see many icons. Scroll down and click on Softaculous:
On the next page choose to install WordPress. Here are your settings for installation. Please make sure your password and username are complicated and long enough. Obviously enter your site’s name and description. If installation directory is pre-filled with something you should make sure it’s empty (click on image to see its larger version):
After the installation is complete, the rest of the tutorial is same for both ASO and Hostgator users.
Q: I don’t need to buy a new hosting account because I already have one. There are other sites already hosted there. What am I supposed to do? Where do I install WordPress?
A: You should first go to your cPanel and scroll down where you see “Addon domains” button and add an addon domain for your future website (without www.)
Now when you go to your WordPress installer (Fantastico, Softaculous or QuickInstall), you should see this site in drop down menu where it says “Install on Domain” or “Choose Domain”. Fill the rest of the form as usual and install WordPress.
Later on when we will be modifying database for preview URL you should
- make sure you modify database of THIS particular site and not the other site hosted under the same account,
- make sure your preview URL reflects your addon domain. It will look similar to this:
You will be using this URL as preview URL for the rest of this tutorial.
Are you done already? If you go now to
you should see your WordPress site with default template. It may lack styling at this point but it’s nothing to worry about. We will fix that in the next step.
188.8.131.52/~YourUsername you should replace my IP address with yours and YourUserName with your host’s username (not the one that you just created for WordPress!))
The current default is either “twenty fourteen” theme or “twenty fifteen” theme. You can see twenty fourteen’s full capabilities here in the demo and here is twenty fifteen’s demo. We will talk about themes later, but, obviously, you don’t have to use it.
Back to your site: your homepage works, but if you try to log in to your WordPress dashboard nothing works and we are going to fix this now… Go back to your cPanel by entering this again (replace my IP address with yours):
Scroll down until you find PHPMyAdmin icon under “Databases”:
Click on it and choose “wp-options” from menu on the left. IMPORTANT PART, be very attentive right now!
Click on “wp-options” and find the line that has your site’s URL in it. Click on Edit (in that line).
Replace your site’s URL with your IP address + slash + ~ + cPanel username. You will get something like this:
Click on “Go” to save it and then scroll down and navigate to the next page and find similar line with your site’s URL in it and do the same.
After you edit this line just like you did with first one, click on “Go” to save and close the whole thing.
STEP 2. URL FIX
Time: about 3 minutes
Now enter in your browser this (modified accordingly):
Once again, IP is yours and username used here is your cPanel username; wp-admin stays the same. You will see another log in box, except that this time it belongs to WordPress.
Enter your WordPress username and password – the ones you created when installing WordPress (NOT your cPanel username and password). Log in.
In menu on the left find “Settings” –> Permalinks and make sure you check “Post Name” as shown below. Click “Save Changes”.
Now find Plugins –> Install New in menu on the left. Enter in search field
.html on pages
Once you found this plugin, click “Install Now”, then click “Activate Plugin”.
STEP 3. MORE IMPORTANT PLUGINS
Time: 5-10 minutes
Since you are on plugin page anyway, let’s install other important plugins so we don’t have to worry about it later.
Enter in plugin search box
RSS includes pages
Once you find it, click “Install Now” and “Activate Plugin”
Now we need something for page meta tags, like meta description, and something for your sitemap. You can either use “WordPress SEO by Yoast” (does both and more) or combination of plugins that have this functionality.
While “WordPress SEO by Yoast” is awesome it is also very resource-intensive. It also tends to confuse some WordPress newbies and it’s not like I never had issues with that plugin… There is no problem in going with Yoast but I will suggest another alternative – “Add Meta Tags” for descriptions and “Google XML Sitemaps” for sitemaps. You can also use other alternatives as long as they get the job done.
Let’s install our plugins.
Enter in plugin search this:
add meta tags
Click “Install Now” and then “Activate Plugin”.
And now install (but do not activate)
google xml sitemaps
Google XML sitemaps needs to be configured, but it is best to do that AFTER you finish your site and switch name servers. You will find instructions for that later in this tutorial.
If you want to add ads to your pages, I recommend “Quick Adsense” plugin. It can be used for anything other than Adsense too. You can insert ads after your page title, at the end of your page and even anywhere between your paragraphs. Change your mind anytime and update ads on your entire site with one click. Test your ads as much as you want. Be your own Ezoic… 🙂 Definitely one of my favorites! If you need it, just enter in plugin search:
and install and activate the plugin. Once installed, this plugin adds a link under “Settings” that allows you to set your preferences and add ad code. You will be blown away by flexibility this plugin offers! Just look at this:
You can install Quick Adsense now or later — doesn’t matter.
You may also want to use something to insert Google Analytics or Statcounter code. Statcounter has its own official version and Yoast has his “Google Analytics for WordPress”. There are other options too; feel free to choose what fits you best.
You will also find that there is Akismet and Hello Dolly plugins preinstalled. You can delete them. I personally never use them. I use captchas on comment forms to fight spam and I never got Hello Dolly thing. Maybe you will…
I also recommend to install Hyper Cache Extended but do not activate it until the site is ready. This plugin will make your WordPress site very fast. WordPress websites are database-driven and anything database will be naturally slower than pure HTML. This plugin will fix that. I don’t suggest to activate it before the site is done because it will cache your pages when they are half done and, if you are working with WP for the first time, it might confuse you. Remember to activate it when you are done though. At the end of this tutorial you will find a link that will take you to step-by-step instructions for Hyper Cache Extended.
You definitely need CAPTCHA plugin for your comment forms (there is a lot of automated spam in WordPress). There are many plugins for that. I am using Si Captcha Anti Spam now and like it. If you prefer FaceBook, Google+ or Disqus comments, you can have that too. Just make a quick plugin search and see your options.
You can configure comment options under Settings –> Discussion. I highly recommend to disable trackbacks and keep all comments in moderation. ALWAYS.
Another plugin you might want to install is Contact Form 7. This will handle your Contact Us form. It will give you a piece of code you will need to paste in your Contact Us page and it will become a form once you publish that page.
Important: In Contact Form 7 you will need to specify email where you want to receive notifications. It can be your Gmail or Yahoo, or an email address at yourdomain.com (we will talk about that in Step 8). The current default is firstname.lastname@example.org so you need to make sure that the email address specified in Contact Form 7 is also the email address were you expect to receive your emails. Here is the screenshot:
If you would like to allow readers submit content for you (something like SBI!s C2), there are many different solutions. I found that User Submitted Posts plugin works very well.
WARNING: Always deactivate and delete plugins you are not using anymore. Keeping plugins to minimum is a good thing for many reasons.
We discussed these plugins above but I am adding this list so you can use it as a checklist.
These plugins are must have as they help replicate our SBI setup on WordPress and optimize for search.
- .html on Pages
- RSS Includes Pages
- Add Meta Tags
- Google XML Sitemaps
- Hyper Cache Extended
Add Meta Tags and Google XML sitemaps could be replaced by WordPress SEO by Yoast.
If you are using Genesis themes, you don’t need Add Meta Tags or any analytics plugins.
You can replace these plugins with any other plugins or hacks as long as you know what you are doing and are confident that job gets done.
- Si Captcha Anti Spam
- Quick Adsense
- Contact form 7
*I recommended Sweet Captcha before, but it’s not available anymore (not in WordPress plugin directory at least). I switched to Si Captcha Anti Spam and it works just fine. Alternatively, you can turn off comments altogether.
For your stats
These plugins help insert Statcounter or Google Analytics code into your WordPress template. Obviously, if you are not using Statcounter or Google Analytics you don’t need these.
- StatCounter – Free Real Time Visitor Stats
- Any Google Analytics plugin such as Google Analytics for WordPress (by Yoast)
Nice but not necessary
- User Submitted Posts (to replace C2 submissions functionality).
What about social buttons?
There are SO MANY ways to add social buttons to your WordPress that I am not even sure where to begin. First, the good practice is to keep plugins to minimum and, in my opinion, it’s very easy to add social buttons without plugins even for WordPress newbies.
For example, you could generate AddThis code like you would do for normal website (not WordPress) and add it manually via Appearance –> Widgets area. Once you are there, simply drag text widget to your sidebar and paste your AddThis code and hit Save. You will get something similar to what I have on this site (I am using AddThis). Just for the sake of example, here is the screenshot of my WordPress dashboard that shows AddThis code pasted in text widget and placed in sidebar in Widgets area (click to enlarge):
Another way is to use one of many plugins. Simply search for something like “social buttons” in your plugins area and, based on reviews, try a few of them. I don’t have any recommendations for this because I personally never use them.
Finally, you could generate a code for your buttons and use Quick Adsense plugin to add social buttons either right under titles or at the end of each or both! Quick Adsense is not only for Adsense or ads, it is a tool that helps you insert anything you want anywhere within your article site-wide in a matter of seconds!
STEP 4. WORDPRESS THEMES
Your WordPress experience entirely depends on your theme choice. If you are not happy or comfortable, chances are you need to change your theme. While there are thousands of free themes, there are also a lot of premium themes.
Free themes are divided into two categories:
- official WordPress themes,
- free themes made by independent authors.
There is nothing wrong with using one of the free themes made by independent authors that you will find under Appearance –> Themes tab or download from other sites; BUT it takes time to find a free theme that does what you want to do, looks good, works properly and is SEO optimized all at the same time.
You don’t want just look. You want security and good SEO. I suggest one of the two:
- use official WordPress themes,
- buy quality premium theme, like those of Genesis framework.
I actually recommend to go with free default in the beginning until you get the hang of WordPress. Free default themes are twenty ten, twenty eleven (you probably won’t choose these), twenty twelve (demo), twenty thirteen (demo) and twenty fourteen (demo). All allow you to upload your own header and do some basic customization. There is also new twenty fifteen theme that looks nice and clean. I haven’t tried it myself yet but it does look like a good fit for many sites, although the header is set up a bit differently.
I think for most sites twenty twelve is the best choice. It’s blank but when you upload your header and perhaps change background color, it will look more unique. Otherwise it has almost everything you might possibly need and looks clean. In addition, twenty twelve (and those that came after) is responsive, i.e. optimized for mobile phones and tablets. This way you don’t need to worry about any additional mobile templates like SBI!s MobilizeIt! nonsense.
Back to WP themes, I like twenty fourteen and actually use it on one of my sites. I haven’t explored twenty thirteen properly and twenty ten is obviously too old. Anyway, you can find these themes under Appearance –> Themes menu. If something is not available simply search for it using search box right in your dashboard.
To customize themes, go to Appearence –> Customize. Here you can play with header, add or remove logo text, change background color or add background image.
twenty twelve header customization:
twenty twelve background customization:
Different themes will have different customization options. Sometimes they will offer a mind blowing number of options, making it difficult to decide what to do, and sometimes they won’t even allow you to upload a header. So when you install a new theme, you need to read its description, see demo and check your Customization area to see what you can actually do with this theme. As I said earlier, if you are not happy it’s not WordPress, it’s your theme.
I know default themes don’t look like much but I think it’s wise for you to start with these until you become better at WordPress. You can switch later with one click (you might need to iron things out a bit, but usually takes no more than a few minutes).
You could also make your own research on free themes. While you have theme search right from your dashboard it is usually easier to find awesome free themes via Google. Enter something like “best free WordPress themes” or “free minimalistic themes WordPress” and see what’s available. Whatever you choose to do, remember to install only responsive themes.
Genesis framework is another popular option. I use it on this and many other sites. Having said that, I am not exactly blown away by it. The good part is that it’s very secure, always updated, SEO optimized (you don’t need meta tags or Analytics plugins with Genesis) and loads fast. Downside: it’s not cheap and designs could be better (you will need to buy both – Genesis framework and one of their themes, which is about $100 for first time buyers).
If you want something jaw-dropping, you should go to ThemeForest. However, you need some experience with WordPress before you can use their themes.
STEP 5.CONVERTING YOUR SITE
Time: about 2 minutes per page.
Once you install WordPress, your homepage will show the latest blog posts by default, but you can change it. First of all, sign into your dashboard. Click on Pages –> Add New and create a new page with the name of your site’s homepage (exactly like on your SBI! site). That should go in title field. Edit its URL to be
index.html. .html will be assigned automatically; you only need to make sure you enter “index”. This isn’t crucial but this way you will avoid potential broken links that will need to be fixed later. Here is how URL should look like at this stage (make sure to click OK to save this new version of your URL):
Now copy content from your SBI site in the editor (when you are copying it is best to use Visual editor) and upload images using “Add Media” button. If you have many images on your website, you can use bulk upload feature as described here. DO NOT just copy over images and paste them to visual editor in WordPress. You have to actually upload them either using Add Media button or bulk upload feature.
Don’t worry about ads now. You can add them later using Quick Adsense plugin unless of course you have very specific places for your ads. If this is the case, you have to paste them now using Text editor (not visual). Here is Visual / Text editor switch:
Other than ads and YouTube videos, you are free to use Visual or Text editor. If you feel like things are not aligned properly or spaces are too large, it is a good idea to switch to text editor and see what’s going on with the code. Generally, I always prefer text editor for my day-to-day work (not converting sites); but when you are copying and pasting from your SBI! site, Visual editor saves tons of time.
You will notice that when using visual editor your links are getting copied too without you having to code them manually. That’s a great thing, however remember to check all links by hovering over them once the page is published (or during preview) and make sure they go where you want them to go.
And here is one more thing: don’t forget to include your meta descriptions! Scroll down the page and find blank boxes to add your description and keywords.
You can preview your page before publishing using Preview button. If everything looks right, hit Publish.
WordPress allows you to have different site title and homepage title. While in most SBI! websites these two are the same, I also saw quite a few SBI! sites where site title and homepage title are different. You set the site title during installation process but if you need to edit it later, you can do so via Settings –> General. Please make sure your site title is EXACTLY same as in your SBI! site.
Homepage title is set when you create homepage by filling title field. This is what you’ll get in h1 tags for your homepage.
If both are same, simply make sure to keep them same.
Once you published your homepage content, go to Settings –> Reading and set this newly created page as your homepage. Please see the image below for exact settings.
Hit Save and go refresh your site’s homepage. You should see WordPress version of your homepage at
Replace my IP address and username with yours.
Other pages are even easier. Enter your titles in title fields, edit your URLs and MAKE SURE YOUR URLs ARE EXACTLY SAME AS YOUR SBI SITE, copy and paste your content, upload images, add keywords and descriptions and publish pages. Keep link structure the way it is on your SBI site. No matter how tempting it is to rearrange your menus and contextual links, don’t do that now.
When you publish a page “View Page” button will appear at the top. You can see your pages live at
Replace my IP address and username with yours.
1. DO NOT use parent pages for your old SBI pages. Parent pages in WordPress aren’t same concept as SBI’s Tier 1-2-3.
2. When I say keep URLs exactly same, I mean by that file names. Let’s say you have a page on your SBI domain like this:
When working on IP address, this same page should look like this:
So when you click on Edit button to Edit URL, you only have to enter
.html will be added automatically.
Preview your pages to make sure URL and the page itself looks right.
When you reach the end of this tutorial, this part
will be replaced with your www.domain.com, so you will end up with exactly same URL.
If you decide to use posts instead of pages, you won’t need .html on pages plugin. Instead, you will need to do some hacking as described in forum post here.
Always double check your page URL after publishing, because if you edit the title again or simply click in title area, your URL will switch to exact title match. You need to be extra careful here.
Continue converting pages until you convert the entire site. It takes about 2 minutes per page. It might take a little longer for first few pages but then you are likely to get “in the zone” and things will go much quicker. But please double and triple check your URLs. Check at least one time before publishing and one time after publishing a page.
If your SBI! site contains affiliate code or external links to other sites, you need to make sure that code is clear from SBI’s tracking code when you are copying it. SBI! adds (or used to add) a piece of tracking code to all our outgoing links (including affiliate) so that you can see how many clicks you get in their tracking library (I believe it was called Track IT!). If it was added to your links, you need to remove that or your links will not work on other host. Look for
onClick="window.location.href='http://www.yoursite.com/cgi-bin/counter.pl?url=http%3A%2F%2Fyourlinl%2Ecom%2FLink-LinkU&referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eyoursite%2Ecom%2Findex%2Ehtml'; return false;"
and if you find it, remove it. Or generate fresh code. Whatever you prefer.
STEP 6. SIDEBARS AND MENUS
You can manage sidebars under Appearance –> Widgets and menus under Appearance –> Menus.
This lady started very well, but I will add a few points below the video…
She didn’t show that you can add custom links by using LINKS button on the left, but you will figure that out, I am sure. She also stopped before showing you how to actually assign menus. Menus will not show on your website before you assign them. Here is how to do that:
- Find MANAGE LOCATIONS button on the top and click on it.
- Choose the name of the menu you just created while following YouTube lady from drop down menu next to Primary Navigation option.
- Click Save and go see whether it appeared on your website.
This baby boomer explained how to do that very well. He used it for Amazon widget but you can use for anything you want, including your 1001 navigational links!
Tip: you can add multiple widgets too.
Another tip: You have meta data (like log in link), archives, categories and latest posts added to your sidebar by default. Most probably you don’t want them there. You can get rid of them via widgets area too.
One last thing before we switch name servers: get rid of default Sample page and Hello World post. Just delete them!
STEP 7. EDIT YOUR URL IN THE DATABASE
When you are done and confident that everything looks okay, you are ready for big move. Remember we went to the database and switched to IP address in Step 1? Now go back there and switch back to your site’s URL. Remember you have to make 2 (TWO) edits in the database and please make sure your URL is correct and save it. If your site had www. before domain (I know it did) you need to enter that too.
Here is finished product first edit:
and second edit on second page:
When you do this you won’t be able to sign into your dashboard again until you change name servers and they propagate which may take anywhere from 30 minutes to 48 hours.
Also your site might and will break after this. DO NOT WORRY. It’s normal. If it looked okay during the working process on IP address, it will look okay again when name servers will be switched. You don’t have to fix anything.
STEP 8. NEED AN EMAIL ADDRESS AT YOURDOMAIN.COM?
Time: 30 seconds
SBIers aren’t typically using emails at their domain.com because it’s very unreliable in SBI! Guess what? You can have a reliable working email now! And if you actually used your webmail in SBI and are receiving emails there, it’s important to create that here too. It is very simple. Go back to your cpanel and find Email Accounts:
Click on that and fill the form you will see to create an email address at your domain.com
From now on you can find your emails at
where you will have to sign in with your email address and password you specifically created for email. There are other great options like redirecting all incoming emails to your Gmail, Yahoo or whatever you are using the most (very handy if you have many sites, so you don’t have to check 10 emails every day), but that is beyond the scope of this tutorial.
Also if you had eZine subscribers in SBI! you should download them from SiteCentral. However for email newsletters you will need to use either MailChimp (free under 2000 subscribers) or other paid services. WordPress has some free solutions which I never explored. I heard most of it will end up in Spam folder, just like it was the case with SBI anyway. MailChimp or something paid is the way to go.
STEP 9. SWITCH YOUR NAME SERVERS
Time: 30 seconds
Time to say goodbye to SBI!
It’s time to tell them you want to move your website to another host and ask them to UNLOCK your domain. DON’T TELL them to cancel your account. Tell them you want to change your NAME SERVERS ONLY for now and YOU WILL MOVE YOUR DOMAIN LATER.
Your domain privacy settings have to be set to public at this point. If you had your domain privacy active, you need to change it to public until the transfer is complete. Make sure you set your privacy to public BEFORE contacting SBI! Here is how to do that »
In addition, I will save you time so you don’t email back and forth with SiteSell’s support. When you first contact them asking to unlock your domain, include following information:
- original order number when you purchased SBI!
- last four numbers of credit card you used
- your IP address as it appears here
Use the email address that appears in WhoIs record otherwise they will not unlock it. It is better to make sure your address at WhoIs is not associated with your domain (like email@example.com), because there is a small chance of missing an email during name server switch.
Here is sample email:
I am the owner of best-hats-for-cats.com and would like to switch my name servers to another host. Kindly unlock my domain.
My SBI! order number is …………
Last 4 digits of my credit card are ……….
My IP address is ……….
Please do not cancel my account for now as I am not ready for complete transfer yet.
SBI will verify you are real and unlock your domain. You will then have to go to a special page in your SBI account manager where you can change your SBI name servers to your new host’s name servers. It’s located here
You should sign in with username and password SBI! sent you when you first opened an account with them. It’s different from your regular password you use to sign in to SBI! To find it, search your emails for an email with title “SITE BUILD IT! MAIL”).
Now all you have to do is to change ns1.sitesell.com and ns2.sitesell.com to your new host’s name servers which you received with your new hosting account.
After name servers are switched in about few hours you should be able to see WordPress version of your website live. Wait for 48-72 hours to make sure name servers are propagated. From now on you will sign into your WordPress dashboard by entering this:
No IPs anymore! Although you will be able to sign into your WordPress dashboard don’t do any changes during this period.
After 48-72 hours make sure to activate Hyper Cache Extended and XML sitemaps.
Once you activate Google XML Sitemaps, hover over Settings (left) and choose –> XML-sitemap (will appear after you activate plugin) and find link that suggests to build your sitemap now and click on it. If you are using Google Webmaster Tools you should go and resubmit your newly created sitemap there. Simply delete your old sitemap and add the new one.
For Hyper Cache Extended I have a separate post here.
At this point it’s a good idea to take a look at this list of most common mistakes I see people doing when transferring (PLEASE READ THAT. There is a common image issue and it’s a good idea to have it fixed).
STEP 10. REGISTER YOUR DOMAIN IN ANOTHER REGISTRAR
Time: just a few minutes
Use this tutorial to register your domain elsewhere.
When your domain is re-registered, DON’T FORGET TO CANCEL YOUR SBI OR THEY WILL CHARGE YOU AGAIN NEXT YEAR.
A WORD ABOUT BACKUPS
No matter what your host tells you, you should consider backup your personal responsibility. There are way too many solutions for this – free and paid. You have free plugins, you have premium plugins and you certainly could use them.
If you ask me, I prefer manual backup. I don’t post every day like some bloggers do so it’s completely okay for me to log in to my cPanel once in a while, navigate to Backup Wizard and download my database backup. I use FileZilla to backup images and some other WordPress files, which is also not too complicated.
I then upload it to my DropBox account and I am done. I described what I do for backups here.
Backup is too important for me, I don’t feel I can trust it to anyone, even premium plugins or paid services by my webhost.
MORE THOUGHTS AND LINKS
This should be enough for successful move, but I strongly suggest that you educate yourself and make a little time here and there to watch videos or read something about WordPress. You will find a lot of information and some of it will be overly technical for you (you don’t have to know that), but some things are important. For example, you might be not taking full advantage of some great features that will make your life easier and earn you more money. Or you might be putting your site in danger of getting hacked or suspended by your webhost.
I wrote a few posts that I think are important. Don’t feel you have to act on them right now but it’s something you should know and if anything like this ever happens to you, you will save yourself time and know where to look for answers. Here they are:
- WordPress Security Tip: How to Disarm Admin User
- 5 Steps to Making Your WordPress More Secure
- How to protect your web hosting account from being suspended (and what to do if you are suspended)
Hope you found this helpful. Good luck!