ExpressionEngine Docs

Moving ExpressionEngine to Another Server

This article outlines the basic procedure for moving ExpressionEngine to another server. Please note that you may need to perform additional steps if you are using any third-party add-ons that store their own path configurations.

1. Verify Server Compatibility

Upload the Server Compatibility Wizard to the new server and run it to verify basic compatibility with ExpressionEngine.

2. Clear Caches

Go to Tools --> Utilities --> Cache Manager. Select All Caches and click Submit.

3. Back-up Database and Files

4. Import to the New Database

Create a new, empty database on the new server and import the back-up file you created in Step 3 into it. Typically this will be a SQL file (or a ZIP file containing the SQL file).

5. Copy Files and Folders

Copy all ExpressionEngine files and folders from the old server to the new server. At a minimum, this will typically include:

Your folder structure may look a bit different if the site was configured to run with the system folder renamed or above web root.

6. Verify File Permissions

You need to enable write access to the following files and folders. In a worst-case scenario that would be 666 for files and 777 for directories. You should check with your web host to see if more restrictive permissions can be used to allow PHP to write to files and directories. See File Permissions for details.

7. Update config.php

Open system/user/config/config.php and update the database settings to match those of the new server.

Since CSS and JavaScript cannot be loaded without access to the theme folder, it’s best to override that setting now since you are already editing the config.php file:

$config['theme_folder_url'] = "";
$config['theme_folder_path'] = "/home/user/";

The other paths and folders you can update after logging in to the control panel in Step 9.

8. Verify index.php and admin.php

Verify that your site’s root index.php and admin.php files have the correct $system_path for the new server.

9. Log In and Update Paths

At this point, you should be able to log in to the Control Panel using admin.php. If not, please verify that the settings made in Step 7 and Step 8 are correct.

There are typically several areas of the Control Panel in which paths may need to be updated, including:

You can also set many of these paths in your config.php file using configuration variables:

$config['site_url'] = "";

$config['theme_folder_url'] = "";
$config['theme_folder_path'] = "/home/user/";

$config['captcha_url'] = "";
$config['captcha_path'] = "/home/user/";

$config['emoticon_url'] = "";

$config['avatar_url'] = "";
$config['avatar_path'] = "/home/user/";

$config['sig_img_url'] = "";
$config['sig_img_path'] = "/home/user/";

$config['upload_preferences'] = array(
    6 => array(                                                    // ID of upload destination
        'name'        => 'Image Uploads',                          // Display name in control panel
        'server_path' => '/home/user/', // Server path to upload directory
        'url'         => ''      // URL of upload directory

10. Clear Caches (Again!)

Go to Tools --> Utilities --> Cache Manager. Select All Caches and click Submit.

You’re Done!

At this point, your site should be fully functional. Check to make sure that there are no links still pointing to the previous server. It is recommended that links be generated using the {path} or {site_url} variables for maximum portability.