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How Do I Move My non-cPanel Site To cPanel?

Follow the steps below to move your non-cPanel site to cPanel.  If you’re on a Cloud or Dedicated server and you have access to editing DNS, follow the DNS steps through the How to transfer/migrate a server with no downtime of any kind (or database lag) guide.

  1. Backup everything on your site(s)/server, found in your control/admin area (exactly where or how will vary depending on your host and the control area used)
  2. Download all files and directories, maintaining the exact same structure
  3. Backup all databases associated with your site (If you’re using WordPress and aren’t sure you can find the database name in the wp-config file)
  4. Once it’s done backing up, download it
  5. Log into the cPanel account that you’re moving to and go to cPanel’s File Manager or connect via FTP


Showing the FIle Manager location in cPanel


  1. Upload your directories and files to public_html folder


Showing the Public_html directory location in cPanel's File Manager


  1. Go to MySQL Database Wizard to create your new database and user


Showing the MySQL Database Wizard location in cPanel



  1. Follow the on screen prompts to create a new database
  2. Keep your username and password handy, as you’ll need them again
  3. Assign the user to the database and assign All Privileges
  4. Go to PHPMyAdmin


Showing the PhpMyAdmin location in cPanel


  1. Go to the database you just created
  2. Click Import


Showing the Import function in phpMyAdmin


  1. Click on Choose File and browse to your database file you downloaded earlier
  2. Click Go


Showing how to choose a file for import in phpMyAdmin


  1. You should get a message that the database data has successfully been imported
  2. Go to your wp-config file or other database config file in the public_html directory of the File Manager
  3. Right click the file and select the edit option
  4. Edit db_name with the database name you created in MySQL Database Wizard
  5. Edit db_user with the username you assigned to it
  6. Edit db_password with the password you assigned to it
  7. Edit db_host with localhost


Showing how to edit the wp-config file in cPanel's File Manager


  1. Make sure your site is working on the new server by visiting the IP/~CPANEL_USERNAME. This is called the Temporary URL and can be very useful, however some page styling may not display correctly or may show a 404 page. An example of the Temporary URL would be
    1. The domain name is still using old nameservers, so looking at will show the correct content no matter if you’ve installed it correctly or not.
    2. Alternatively, instead of using the Temporary URL. you can change your hosts file which is recommended as it will display everything as it is – this is explained below the notes 
  2. If your site is working correctly, change nameservers with your domain registrar to the domain nameservers we provided you (or whatever host you’re moving to provided you)
  3. Wait 48 hours before cancelling your old hosting and before doing so ensure that the site is loading correctly from your new hosting


We provide free migration if you’re moving your site to Hostwinds and don’t want to attempt this yourself. Just submit a migration request to get it started.


PHPMyAdmin has a size restriction. If you get a message that your .sql file is too large then you’ll need to import it using a MySQL client such as HeidiSQL or Navicat. If you’re on our Shared or Business hosting and you receive this message, please get in touch with us about importing your database.


Some sites, including those on WordPress, will still show the site on the old host even if you try to view it by visiting the IP. The best way to make sure you’re viewing it on your new host is to edit your computer’s host file. (Explained below)


It can take 24-48  hours for your site fully change nameservers, which is why you want to wait 48 hours before cancelling your old hosting. Otherwise you risk your site not being available.


How Do I Edit My Hosts File To View My Site?

You can find and edit your hosts file by following this guide.





Open the hosts file in Notepad, Run it as administrator.

Add these lines, replacing IP_address  with your server’s IP and  and  with your actual website’s domain name:





  1. Go to Applications
  2. Go to Utilities
  3. Go to Terminal
  4. Open




  1. Enter your username and password


Add these lines, replacing IP_address  with your server’s IP and  and  with your actual website’s domain name:




Now save and close the file, flush your DNS cache and view your site by IP.

If you want to change the hosts file settings you just made, simply delete the lines you added or add # at the start of each line (this will comment that out so the lines aren’t used anymore).