Course: Testing and Transferring the Site

In this course we’ll show you how to add test and transfer your WordPress website. We’ll cover the following topics:

  1. Testing the site
  2. Transferring the site

Testing the site

In this lesson, we’re going to show you how to test your site before transferring it. We’ll cover the following topics:

  • Testing display and appearance
  • Testing functionality

Let’s get started!


Testing display and appearance

The first thing to test for is the display and appearance of your website. You want to make sure that you thoroughly test your site in several ways, so that you can be confident that it will appear as intended for the majority of your visitors.

Browser testing

We recommend that you test in the following browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari. The simplest way to complete these tests is to install these browsers on your computer and view the site yourself.

Look for any display issues between browsers: These can include both layout and formatting issues. Since WordPress is a standards-compliant platform, you shouldn’t run into anything major. If you do see something that you think should be corrected, you may need to make minor modifications to your design and/or content in order resolve it.

Resource: Browser Testing

If you’re looking for a simple way to test for previous versions of browsers, check out Browsershots. This site lets you enter a URL and test the display in numerous browser versions.

Simply enter your website’s URL, select the browsers and versions you want to see, and Browsershots will display screenshots of your site for your selections.

Device testing

In today’s mobile-friendly world, it’s more important than ever to test your website for display on multiple devices. At the very least, you should test for these devices: Monitor, tablet, and smart phone.

Assuming you’re using a responsive-design theme, your layout should be automatically scaled and formatted for these devices. Again, the simplest way to test is on your own devices. If you don’t have a particular device, the next best thing is to ask a friend or associate who has one to take a look at the site.

Resources: Device Testing

If you don’t have access to a particular device, here are some resources which you may find helpful:

Google Mobile Testing This is a useful option for testing your website’s display on smart phones.

iPad Peek This site is a good resource for testing your site’s display on the iPad, which will give you a good idea of how the tablet layout is being displayed.

Since we haven’t done any custom coding in this training program, your website should appear as intended on all devices. But it’s a good idea to test anyway, just so you can be assured that your site is displaying properly.


Testing functionality

Once you’ve completed testing for display and appearance, you can begin testing the functionality of your site. Be sure to test for the following:

1. Links Test all links on your site to assure that they work properly, and also that they link to the correct location.

2. Contact form It’s important to test your website’s contact form to assure that it’s working properly. If it’s set up to send an email to your client, coordinate this testing with your client so they’re aware that you’ll be creating a test entry.

3. Additional functionality This would include any remaining functionality that you’ve included on your website. Some examples would be additional forms (e.g. opt-in forms), live calendars, password-protected pages or members areas, and eCommerce. Whatever functionality is included on your site should be thoroughly tested to make sure it’s functioning properly.


Congratulations on completing Lesson 1! You should now understand:

  1. Testing display and appearance
  2. Testing functionality

Transferring the site

In this lesson, we’re going to show you some how to transfer your WordPress website. We’ll cover the following topics:

  • When a transfer is necessary
  • Transferring your site
  • Updating Search Engine visibility

We’ll cover these topics in two ways:

  • With text and screenshots
  • With video

Let’s get started!


Transferring the site: Text and screenshots

Transferring your WordPress website is the final step to going live. But depending on how you’ve set up your staged site, a transfer may not be necessary.

When a transfer is necessary

There are basically three ways to set up a staged WordPress site:

1. Site is staged on primary domain. If this is brand new website, i.e. your client doesn’t already have a website, it makes the most sense to build it on their domain. In this case, no transfer is necessary.

2. Site is staged on temporary domain. You would use this setup if your client has an existing site, but wants to move the site to your (or a different) host. No transfer would be necessary in this case, either. Once the new build is completed, you can simply point the nameservers for your client’s domain to the new host, and the new build will be live.

3. Site is staged on a subdirectory. You would use this setup if your client has an existing site and wants to continue with their current host. In this case, a transfer is necessary. For our Stover Tree Service example, we’ve staged the WordPress site on a subdirectory, so we’ll need to transfer it to the primary domain.

Transferring your site

As we detailed in the Installing WordPress lesson, we’ve built our WordPress site on a subdirectory of their primary domain: http://www.stovertreeservice.com/wp/. We now need to move the completed site to the primary domain, so that the URL appears as: http://www.stovertreeservice.com/.

In this example, there are two steps involved in transferring the site:

  1. Transferring the site files
  2. Updating the database

1. Transferring the site files

We’ll start by transferring the site files. In order to do this, we need to access our host’s servers via File Transfer Protocol (FTP).

Tip: Using FTP

If you don’t already have an FTP client, we recommend Filezilla. It’s free and very simple to use.

If you’re hosting with Bluehost, click here to view a tutorial on setting up FTP access with Filezilla.

Once we’re connected to the Bluehost servers in Filezilla, we need to navigate to the folder where we’ve installed WordPress; for Stover Tree Service, the path is: /public_html/wp.

The Filezilla interface

The Filezilla interface

Notice that we’ve also added a folder named ‘WordPress Install’ on our local computer. We will need to download all of the files in the ‘wp’ folder on the right to the ‘WordPress Install’ folder on the left. We can do this by dragging the files from the server to the folder on our computer. Once we do, we can see the transfer process as the files are copied:

Transferring the WordPress files to a local computer

Transferring the WordPress files to a local computer

Once the transfer is completed, we can then upload the files from our local computer to the root directory on the server. For Bluehost, the root directory is named public_html:

Uploading the WordPress files from our local computer to the server

Uploading the WordPress files from our local computer to the server

We will again see the files being transferred in real time.

Once we’ve uploaded the files to our primary domain, we can take a look at the live site:

The live site after the WordPress files have been transferred

The live site after the WordPress files have been transferred

We can see that the primary domain is automatically redirecting to the ‘wp’ subdirectory. This also appears for the links within the site, for example the About Us page link.

In order to resolve this issue, we need to make a couple of changes to the database.

2. Updating the database

In order to update the database, we need to log in to our host’s cPanel account:

The Bluehost cPanel

The Bluehost cPanel

(For a refresher on logging into cPanel, see the Installing WordPress lesson.)

Once we’re in cPanel, we can scroll down to the Database Tools heading and click on the ‘phpMyAdmin’ icon:

The phpMyAdmin icon in cPanel

The phpMyAdmin icon in cPanel

This will open the phpMyAdmin login screen in a new window:

The phpMyAdmin login screen

The phpMyAdmin login screen

The login credentials for this screen are the same as those for cPanel, and we can then click on the ‘Go’ button. Once logged in, we’re directed to the phpMyAdmin interface. We can then click on the database for our WordPress install:

Selecting the WordPress database

Selecting the WordPress database

We then need to select the table where we need to make the changes. This table will always end in ‘_options’. We can then click on this table to view its contents:

Selecting the Options table in the database

Selecting the Options table in the database

We need to make two changes in this table. The first is for the ‘siteurl’ option:

The siteurl option in the Options table

The siteurl option in the Options table

We can see that the URL in this option still includes ‘wp’. In order to change it, we can click on the ‘Edit’ link, which opens the field for editing. We can then remove the ‘wp’ and click on the ‘Go’ button:

Editing the siteurl option

Editing the siteurl option

This will return us to the previous page. We’ll need to scroll to the bottom of this page and click the ‘>’ icon to view the next page:

Selecting the next page in the Options table

Selecting the next page in the Options table

On the next page, we need to find the ‘home’ option, and then follow the same steps we did for the ‘siteurl’ option:

The ‘home’ option in the Options table

The ‘home’ option in the Options table

Once these two changes are completed, we can then view our site again to see the changes:

WordPress site transferred to primary domain

WordPress site transferred to primary domain

We can see that the site has now been successfully transferred to our primary domain, and that the navigation links have also been updated. This will also update the URL for your WordPress Dashboard, so be sure to account for it when you attempt to log in again.

Tip: Testing the Transferred Site

It’s a good idea to retest any links on your site after it’s been transferred. In particular, internal links (i.e. links within pages or posts) may still show the old URL. If you find links that need to be changed, you can change these manually in the Page and Post Editors.

We also like a plugin for making these changes, Velvet Blues. This plugin allows you to enter both your old and new URLs once, and then it automatically changes all links on the site.

Updating Search Engine visibility

Going back to our General and Reading settings lesson, we had set the ‘Search Engine Visibility’ setting so that search engines would be blocked from indexing the site. This was because we didn’t want the search engines indexing both the live site and our redesign at the same time.

Now that our redesign is live, we need to change this setting. We can do this by returning to the Settings -> Reading panel, removing the check from the ‘Search Engine Visibility’ checkbox, and then clicking on the ‘Save Changes’ button:

Updating the Search Engine Visibility setting

Updating the Search Engine Visibility setting

Our new site can now be accessed by the search engine robots so they can index the pages.

Closing thoughts

The process of transferring a WordPress site is fairly involved from a technical standpoint, and this is the most complex lesson in this training program. If you have any challenges, don’t hesitate to contact your host’s support for assistance. Bluehost, and many other major hosts, will actually make the database changes for you. :)


Transferring the site: Video

Watch this video to see the steps necessary for transferring your WordPress website:


Congratulations on completing Lesson 2! You should now understand:

  1. When a transfer is necessary
  2. How to transfer your site
  3. Updating Search Engine visibility

This concludes the Testing and Transferring the Site course.