How to Transfer a Joomla Site Among Folders and Live Servers?

Often times, we tend to develop a Joomla site in one folder and then move it to another location when the development work is already done. And it is also possible to migrate your current Joomla installation from a test server to another one. Fairly speaking, transferring a Joomla site among folders and live servers can be a simple process that doesn’t require extra coding knowledge and server experience. Now, let’s start with how to move your Joomla site from one folder to another as below.

How to Migrate Your Joomla Website to a New Folder?

Let’s assume that you’ve developed a new version of Joomla site at one location like “” and want to get this new site published on the original location like “”. To delete the unnecessary /test/ ID directory, you should move this website from the “/test/” folder to the root folder on the same webserver. Following are the quick steps to get the migration task done.

Step 1 – Make a Backup of Your Existing Website
The first thing you need to implement is to back up your Joomla powered website. This is of great necessity especially when you make serious mistakes in the switch and want to consult the old site to resolve your problems. To do this, you can make good use of an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client to save the webserver files to the local computer. At this place, we prefer to use FileZilla, a popular FTP program throughout the Internet, to outline the entire process.

  1. Firstly, log onto your FTP client using the specific account and password.
  2. And then, search and locate the root folder where your Joomla has been installed. Just right-click this folder and choose to “Download” it as follows. Note that, the root folder of a Joomla site is labelled as “public_html” on this webserver.
  3. Make a Backup of Your Existing Website

  4. If done correctly, you will be prompted to specify another folder to save the included files. After that, the FTP program will start transferring all content of the existing website to your local computer. This will take several minutes depending on the Internet connection speed largely.

Step 2 – Duplicate Your New Joomla Site
To save the files of your new website locally, you only need to repeat the above steps. As a matter of course, you’d better put those “new” files in another different folder. As there are about hundreds of thousands of files in a standard Joomla installation, it may take a while to accomplish the transfer task.

Step 3 – Transfer the New Site to Joomla Root Folder
Now that you’ve had a copy of the old and new website, it’s time to move the “new” files to the mentioned server root folder. This may be a little bit knotty as it requires you to get the right folders. To do so, make sure that you will rename the folder of a new website to be “public_html” before uploading it to the web server.

The next step is to goback to your FTP client so that you can upload the newly-created “public_html” folder from the local hard drive to the top folder. In this way, the initial “public_html” folder would be substituted on your webserver. Again, do not upload the new “public_html” folder to the old “public_html” folder or your Joomla site will be in a folder called as “public_html/public_html”.

Upload Files to Top Folder

If done, just transfer all files from your new site to the webserver. As you may see, there are two upload options. One is called “Upload” that always transfers one local file at a time, and another is called “Add files to queue” that would transfer more than one file at a time. Note that, some servers would limit to 2 simultaneous transfers for whatever reasons.

FTP Upload Options

Step 4 – Adjust Your Configuration File
Since you’ve successfully transferred the new site files to the webserver, it’s time to change the Joomla “configuration.php” file. As is shown, you should open to “Edit” the “configuration.php” file in the root folder and then update a few items out there.

Adjust Your Configuration File

Let’s say you’d like to set up a website like, you can take the following settings for reference. Be sure to include the semi-colon and quote marks at the end of every configuration line. Till now, your Joomla website will appear in another new location in your web browser.


How to Move a Joomla Website to a New Web Server?

Poor hosting service and websites that outgrow existing servers may force you to use another new server. If you prefer to move the current installation rather than start a fresh install from scratch, you can refer to those listed steps below.

Step 1 – Back Up Joomla Files and Database
As is known, a normal Joomla website is comprised of two components – files and database. The Joomla files include all application code and default/external extensions, while the Joomla database includes all of your website records, such as articles and categories.

No matter you are using WAMP (Windows, Apache, MySQL and PHP) or LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) server, you will have to create a local folder like “backjoomla” where your future Joomla files will reside. And then, find the Joomla installation folder like “public_html”, and then download all included files using an FTP client that is only offered by top Joomla web hosts. If you’re running a Joomla site on a local server, the chances are that you already have Joomla files locally.

Back Up Joomla Files and Database

To make a manual backup of database can be pretty tricky, but you can use a few components like Akeeba Backup and LazyDbBackup to get a complete dump of your database. Note that, the two mentioned tools would not only copy and download your Joomla database, but also set them up for automatic backups. Keep in mind that you still have to import the old database into the new one later on.

Step 2 – Upload All of Your Files
After the completion of backup, you also need to upload all website files by the means of FTP client. This can be a straightforward and simple step that is just the opposite of packing and downloading the website files of your old webserver.

Step 3 – Edit Your Configuration File
Another important thing you need to do is modify the “configuration.php” file normally located at the Joomla installation folder. From here, just right-click on it and select the “Edit” option to update all database related information, such as the database name, username and password.

Edit Your Configuration File

In the following, here are some variables that you are likely to modify and update to match the new server. Once done with all settings, do remember to “Save Changes” at last.

  • var $tmp_path = ‘/’; (This is the “tmp” path where your temporary files are always kept during the installation of backups, components, plugins and modules. It may look like “/home/YourAccountName/public_html/tmp”.)
  • var $log_path = ‘/; (This is the default place where the log files reside. A common log path may look like “/home/YourAccountName/public_html/log”.)
  • var $ftp_enable = ‘1’; (It is recommendable to set it to “0” at the start. If not, you will have to change the $ftp_user, $ftp_root and $ftp-pass accordingly.)
  • var $user = ”; (This is the very username of the database you’ve set up in phpMyAdmin on the new webserver.)
  • var $db = ”; (This is the new database name on your webserver)
  • var $dbprefix = ‘jos_’; (Its default value is “jos_” that helps to enhance the site security. It is also possible to change this value to increase the security level.)
  • var $password = ”; (It refers to the password that corresponds to the Joomla database.)

Step 4 – Test Your New Installation
Till present, your move has been completed. For performance consideration, you’d better test whether your site is in working order on a new server. For instance, if you’ve forget to use the old link URLs on your old website, then they won’t work correctly on a new site. The above steps also apply to your Joomla 2.5 site migration.