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How to replace your site with WordPress

You may find yourself in this situation: you have a website, and want to replace it with a WordPress setup. You don’t want to have a normal website and a separate WordPress blog, you just want to use WordPress for one cohesive website and blog, all in one. But what if you don’t want to delete your website until you’re ready to go live?

Step 0: Before you begin

What? Step zero? We like to look out for our customers, so, if you use one of these services for your current website, you might be able to save some money in the long-term (if you don’t, skip to Step 1):

  • PortfolioSitez
  • BigFolio
  • Bludomain
  • CMD Websites (Creative Motion Design)

Since these services charge around $100 per year for web hosting (and some don’t offer the competitive features you may want) we recommend switching to a different hosting company during this WordPress setup phase.  By doing so, you can save money on web hosting, which you pay annually or semi-annually to have a website.

Consider using our recommended hosting company:  HostPapa – there’s even a rebate available.

Since it’s easier to install WordPress once and avoid needing to move your WordPress setup later, we recommend that customers who would like to switch to HostPapa or another hosting provider follow our “switch hosting for ProPhoto” guide.

Step 1: Build your ProPhoto setup at a temporary location

The first thing you want to do is follow our instructions to install WordPress and ProPhoto on your existing web server. But instead of replacing your website right away, you will install it into a temporary subdirectory.  So, for instance, if you want your WordPress setup to load at an address like this:

…you will start by installing WordPress at an temporary address like:

Notice how you see “/temp/” on the end of the address.  This is the temporary subdirectory into which you will install WordPress.  Follow the installation instructions for WordPress and ProPhoto by using “/temp/” on the end of your address during the WordPress installation process, and return to this guide.

Step 2: Create your new site & customize

After WordPress and ProPhoto are installed at the temporary location, do whatever you want to get it ready to go live. Customize how it looks using ProPhoto, add some blog Posts, setup a portfolio area, recreate old pages from your website – whatever you need.

Note: Technically, during this time period your blog will be visible to the world, but you can use ProPhoto’s “Coming Soon” design to prevent visitors from viewing things while you work.

If you have an existing blog that you would like to import into the new WordPress setup, now would the time to do that. The import process for the most common blog types is described in our blog import tutorial.

Step 3: Replace your old site with WordPress

Finally, you need to move your WordPress installation ‘up’ one level from it’s temporary location to a final location.  This will make it possible for your address:

to load the ‘front page’ of your WordPress setup.

Carefully follow the instructions in the Move WordPress To Root guide. Be sure to read the whole guide before you begin – we recommend that you only proceed if you feel confident you can do all the steps, because if you get stuck halfway, your WordPress setup will be inaccessible until you finish. If you’re concerned you might not be able to complete this part yourself, or if you get stuck and need help, consider contacting your web hosting company Tech Support people – explain you are moving WordPress into your ‘root’ web folder and they should be able to assist.