This post documents how I migrated my managed wordpress instances to my own VPS using PHP-FPM and NGINX in case I need to do it again!


Some years ago, I got an offer for managed wordpress that I could not refuse: unlimited instances, disk space, traffic, databases, etc. I was fairly happy until I wanted to share a MySQL database outside the service provider’s private network. Well, I couldn’t, because I didn’t have access rights to configure the firewall. So I ordered the cheapest SSD VPS by contabo as an alternative. I chose PHP-FPM for security reasons, e.g., containing script execution to a single user.

NOTE: WP provides guidance on how to migrate a WP instance. Here, following assumptions are made:

  • A single WP site is being migrated
  • Domain name stays the same
  • SSH access to server is given

Prepare new server

For a debian 10, that I’m using, at least the following packages need to be installed:

apt install \
  php7.3-fpm \
  php7.3-mysql \
  nginx \

Backing up old instance

Although there’s an official WP guide on how to backup data, I wanted to have it automated and uncomplicated. The result was a single bash script

Now you can backup as follows:

# Log on to your server
# copy over
mkdir backup && cd backup


Log on to your new server and scp the backup data from previous step over into the home directory of created user:

scp -r OLD_SERVER:/PATH/TO/backup /home/example_com

To quickly restore DB and WP files as well as configuring NGINX and PHP-FPM, can be used:

Restoring is as easy as:


This script changes the system as follows:

  1. A system user corresponding to given domain name is generated, e.g., example_com.
  2. Compressed WP files are extracted to a directory under home directory of the newly created user, e.g., /home/example_com/
  3. A new SQL user is added and is filled with the previously created dump
  4. A PHP-FPM configuration file is generated and activated
  5. A new NGINX block is generated and activated

Finishing touches

You’re not done before you get some fresh new certificates for your wordpress instance. Go ahead and install certbot and run the following:

certbot --nginx\
  -d -d\
  --server ''

This would fetch a new certificate from buypass, a european alternative to Let’s Encrypt, and automatically configure your nginx block.