The WordPress development ecosystem has embraced local development with open arms, as developers have discovered its immense value in their daily tasks of seamlessly migrating sites from local to live. 

Gone are the days of launching a site without thorough testing, for now, with the aid of local development tools, you can craft and fine-tune your site to perfection. And with the right local/remote development environment like LocalWP or InstaWP, you can effortlessly migrate your site to live hosting. 

What Is LocalWP, Anyways?

LocalWP is a WordPress development environment that helps WordPress developers localize and simplify their development process. 

The Environment provided by LocalWP allows you to create, modify, test, and push WordPress websites without the need for a live server or internet connection. You essentially get a virtual server environment on your computer, enabling you to install and run WordPress as if it were on a remote server.

If you don’t already know, LocalWP allows you to be able to migrate sites to basically 2 hosting platforms, namely WPengine and FLYWHEEL. What you may not know is that you can migrate sites from LocalWP to any hosting provider. And that is what this article is about. Relax and we’ll guide you through the process.

LocalWP Migration Challenges When You Are Not Pushing Changes To WPEngine or Flywheel

Migrating from a local development area can pose different challenges when you are pushing your site to hosting providers.

If you are considering migrating your site from LocalWP, you’ll find a smooth and hassle-free process if your site hosting destination is Flywheel or WPEngine. These hosting providers offer managed WordPress hosting services that seamlessly integrate with LocalWP, facilitating seamless site migration between LocalWP and their platforms. 

The tight integration ensures that you can effortlessly transition your website from the development environment to the live hosting environment, without any data loss or compatibility issues. With Flywheel and WPEngine’s support, your migration experience becomes efficient and reliable, allowing you to focus on delivering a seamless user experience to your audience.

If you plan to deploy your WordPress site on a hosting provider other than WPEngine or Flywheel, be prepared to face technical challenges. These challenges may come in various forms, including:

Structural Differences To Database

In the course of migration, database connection parameters may change or what you have in your LocalWP could turn out to be different from the parameter provided by your choice hosting provider. This parameter is usually located in your wp-config.php file.

Data Loss

Another challenge that you could face while pushing changes from LocalWP to any hosting provider that is not Flywheel or WPEngine is the loss of data. Data is the backbone of your website. 

These data could be user data, database data such as posts, comments, and media files. Other data at risk include content, metadata, etc. Your website cannot properly function without this data. Imagine a scenario where a user profile or transaction is lost in migration. That will set you back on your delivery goal. A lot of users don’t have the patience. 

Broken URL and File Path

When pushing changes to Flywheel or WPengine, you get the benefit of already pre-configured URLs and file paths based on your local environment. But imagine the trouble you’ll have to go through when pushing changes to a live server, and these URLs and paths need adjustment to match the live server’s configuration, otherwise, it can lead to incorrect links and images.

The above-mentioned challenges and others like limitation to file upload or DNS propagation delay can seriously impact or prevent a hassle-free migration from LocalWP to any hosting provider other than Flywheel and WPEngine.

The Hidden Costs of Migrating from LocalWP to Any Hosting Provider

In the rush to overcome the hurdles highlighted above and ensure a smooth migration, using the WP Migrate Plugin is often recommended. What is not often talked about is the process and cost involved. 

  • Cost: You may need to pay more than $100 to have access to full features that will ensure a wholistic migration of your site
  • Setup and Configuration Technicalities: Proper setup and configuration will be required to ensure proper data mapping, file transfer (in the case of large files), compatibility with the website theme and other plugins, data integrity, and data security. To ensure these, you need a load of technical know-how and time on your hands.

Migrating with InstaWP from LocalWP to Any Hosting Provider

Now that you understand how complex and nearly impossible it is to migrate sites from LocalWP to any hosting provider (not just WPEngine or Flywheel), this step-by-step guide will show you how the InstaWP Connect plugin can help you do it hassle-free. 

Signup With InstaWP

To begin the migration process, use this registration link to sign up for free with InstaWP. Once you’ve created an account, you’ll be ready to connect your live site to InstaWP’s staging area, enabling seamless editing and pushing of changes.

Install and Activate InstaWP Connect Plugin

In your LocalWP WordPress site, navigate to the Plugins section, search for “InstaWP Connect,” and click “Install Now.”

Connect Your Site to InstaWP

Once the plugin is activated go to the “Tools” widget and you will InstaWP. Click on it this page will appear asking you to connect your site to InstaWP.

Simply click “Connect,” 

Next on is to click on approve to “Approve” the connection. and you’ll be directed back to your WordPress site with a confirmation message.

Create a Staging

To create a staging of your site, you’ll be presented with options. You can go ahead and select your preferred staging. 

During this step, you’ll also have the option to exclude specific elements such as themes or plugins if needed. Click on “Create Staging” and wait for the process to complete.

The duration will vary based on the size of your website’s data.

Convert Your Site to a Template

Once the staging is ready, you can turn it into a template site for easy migration.

Create a template from your site by clicking on the third icon.

Enter your template details and save the details. 

Create a New Site from the Template

Now, create a new site using the template you’ve prepared. To do that go to “templates”, and navigate to the template you created earlier, you’ll find the new site that was derived from the template in the site’s menu.

Click on the “Create New Site”.

Now you are ready to migrate your site.

Initiate Migration

Look for “Migrate V2” and click on it to proceed with the migration process.

You’ll be presented with a popup that gives you 2 choices to either connect an “Existing live site” or “Create a new live site”.

Enter your URL and connect. If you are creating a new live site, click on “Create new live site”. This option will prompt you to enter your new site information.

Connect Hosting with InstaWP

Select your hosting provider and enter the information accordingly. Click the “Clear & Migrate” button to migrate your site to the selected hosting provider.

This will initiate the migration process, allowing you to seamlessly transfer your site from the InstaWP staging area to the live hosting environment.

Benefits Of InstaWP As An Alternative 

Apart from being able to migrate sites to hosting providers effortlessly, InstaWP has bundles of tools to help you develop, make changes and test your WordPress site. Below are some exciting features that can supercharge your development process.

  • You can create a site instantly. With a few clicks, you can watch your site come to life in InstaWP. The platform takes care of all the installation dependencies living you to just focusing on building the cool website that you want.
  • Staging. WordPress website staging couldn’t be easier. InstaWP will help you create a staging site from scratch that you can deploy live.
  • Pull/Pushing WordPress Site to Live. InstaWP helps you to seamlessly pull/push the WordPress site from live to staging where you can make edit and test, the push your changes live without messing up the live site.
  • Edit Site Code and Test: With Code Editor, DB Editor, and Logs viewer in one place, you get to work faster and more efficiently for optimal production.
  • Log in to your WP Admin panel without the trouble of inputting username and password every time with the aid of the magic login button.
  • Access SFTP/SSH
  • Mapping of custom domains among others.

Final Note

Whether you opt for InstaWP’s offered hosting or connect to your existing hosting provider, the process is designed to be user-friendly and convenient, ensuring a smooth transition from staging to a live environment. This cool feature makes InstaWP a dependable alternative for migrating sites to any hosting provider.