Migrate a DigitalOcean Wordpress Droplet in Under 5 Minutes


This tutorial will guide you through how to backup, rebuild a DigitalOcean droplet, setup SSL encryption and restore a WordPress site in under 5 minutes…


  • A DigitalOcean account (obviously) (Run WordPress free for 2 months with this link.


  • An existing droplet running a OneClick wordpress instance.
  • You’ve used Let’s Encrypt to enable SSL.

Let’s Get To It

  • Login to your wp-admin and install the “UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore” plugin.
  • In admin section, go to Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups
  • Click Backup now then flick to the Existing Backups tab and download the 5 files it provides (Database, Plugins, Themes, Uploads, Others).
  • Spin up a new OneClick droplet.
  • SSH into the new box to activate WordPress.
  • In the DigitalOcean Control Panel, go to Networking and point your Networking to the new droplet.
  • Back in the new droplet SSH session, add a new non-root user with sudo permissions:
adduser USERNAME
# Enter Password
usermod -aG sudo USERNAME
mkdir ~/.ssh/
chmod 700 ~/.ssh
nano ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
# Paste in your public SSH Key
chmod 600 ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

Set Up Let’s Encrypt SSL

Still in the new droplet SSH session, run the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python-certbot-apache
sudo certbot --apache -d YOURDOMAIN.com -d www.YOURDOMAIN.com
# Enter an email address
# First option is "a"
# Secnd option is "n"
# Third option is "2"
# Fourth option is "2"

Test SSL Renewal

sudo certbot renew --dry-run

Let’s Encrypt certificates run out after 90 days but don’t worry – certbot takes care of auto-renewal for you. Nothing else to worry about here.

You’ve now got valid SSL for free, forever.

Setup & Restore Wordpress

  • Go to your domain and setup wordpress. Notice that you’re automatically using HTTPS.
  • Enter a new temporary admin user / password here. It’ll be overwritten soon.
  • Once setup, login to your wp-admin section (with the admin details you set above).
  • Install the “UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore” plugin and activate it.
  • Go to Settings > UpdraftPlus Backups and click Restore.
  • Upload the 5 files you saved to your computer at the beginning of this tutorial.
  • Follow the wizard to restore your site (and users) so now you’re back to your ORIGINAL usernames and passwords. You can discard the temporary admin account details.

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