Transferring WordPress Away from GoDaddy

Are you getting a Server 500 Error after using Duplicator?  The answer may be in the mu-plugins folder.

I am still pretty new to WordPress.  I have been using pieces of it for a while, but I still run into database issues when moving a site from one host to another.  About a year ago, I learned how to set up a local server on my computer using MAMP, and started building websites offline.  This is a nice way to go because your browser is reading right off of your computer, so everything is very fast.  So you put up some new CSS, push refresh, and everything just happens.  So when you’re done building that site, you need to figure out how to MOVE it.  That can be really tricky, especially if you’re not comfortable with databases and the like.

Enter the Duplicator Plug In

This thing is awesome.  What it does is basically pack up your entire website into a zip folder and then writes a PHP script to unpack it at the new location.  So basically you upload the zip and the PHP file (which is called “installer.php”, and then navigate to whatever domain you’re using “slash” installer.php and follow the instructions.  I don’t want to dig too deep into that right now, there are plenty of videos that will show you how to use duplicator and they’re very effective.

Problem with Moving away from GoDaddy

The thing I realized was that while I could move sites TO Godaddy without a lot of trouble, when I tried to move them AWAY from GoDaddy I could not.  This is pretty frustrating, especially to someone like me who isn’t totally secure in the whole process.  You are fairly certain you’ve done everything correctly, but also know some tiny little typo could be the issue.  I ran the process probably six or eight times trying different things.  I had read something about loading it up as a zip and then unpacking it yourself, as there is an option to do that in the advanced settings….tried that, still failed.  I also read something about setting permissions in the wp-snapshots folder…tried that, still failed.

So then I found it.  The MU-Plugins folder

Turns out, there is a thing called “MU-Plugins” that MU stands for “Must Use” and the person who must use them is you, and that can be a bummer.  Developers can put these in for any number of reasons.  In the most ideal scenario, they would use them to make sure you don’t screw something up.  In a less ideal scenario, they could use them so that you can’t transfer your site away after setting it up at the promotional rate.  Hey, they have a right to make money, but they don’t have a right to make technology intentionally difficult.  Maybe that’s not what they’re doing…who’s to say.  I will say that when I deleted the MU-plugins folder, which included a folder called gd-system-plugins that after I deleted it, everything worked.

So you can watch this video for the long explanation, but the short version is if you’re having trouble transfering your Wordperss site away from GoDaddy and over to Bluehost using the duplicator plugin, it might be because you just need to delete the plugins that GoDaddy put on the site when you originally built it.

Here’s the Video.  You can jump to about the 11 minute mark to hear me start getting all fired up and showing how to delete it.  You can delete the folder either out of the cpanel or using an FTP client.