Updated December 2020

As a WordPress website developer, I appreciate that WPEngine has plenty of tools to make hosting easier so I can concentrate my efforts on beautiful and functional design, rather than hosting hassles.

Years ago, transferring a completed website to the client was my most dreaded task. It was never seamless and there were always bumps in the road. I hoped for the day it would be as simple as the click of a button.

And now that day is here. Last week, WPEngine announced they are utilizing “transferable” installs.

These are installs that do not count against your number of installs, and are automatically set to restricted access so that search engines and random people aren’t finding your client’s site while it is in development.

That in and of itself is great, but even better than that is the simplicity of the transfer and site launch process.

Transferable WPEngine accounts make site transfers and launches a literal piece of {chocolate) cake. Literally.

So how exactly does it work? Let me walk you through the insanely easy steps…

How to Create a Transferable WPEngine Install

Before you can actually unlock and transfer a transferable install, you must first have your install setup as transferable. If you did not do this when creating the install to begin with, you’re not completely out of luck, but you will need to take a couple extra steps.

First, you will need to select the install from your dashboard that you want to transfer, and click the “Copy Install” link at the top-right of the user portal.

How to Create a Transferable WPEngine Install - Step 1

This will open a pop-up where you can create your new install. Select the “Exact Copy” option to ensure that all your content and uploads are copied over. Create a new Install Name (whatever you want, it just has to be unique), and make sure the “Transferable” box is checked. Once you click “Next”, your install will be created.

*Note: If you had domains setup on your install, they will not be transferred over and you will have to reassign them after you remove them from the install you just duplicated.

How to Create a Transferable WPEngine Install - Step 2

Now that you have your transferable install, you are ready to unlock it and move it to another account.

How to Transfer a WPEngine Install

WPEngine has really streamlined the transfer process, making it easy for developers who create client websites on a temporary (read: transferable) install and need to move the final site to their client’s account.

First, you need to select the install from your WPE portal install list, and click the blue “Unlock This Install” button at the top-right of the page.

How to Unlock a Transferable WPEngine Install - Step 1

This will open a box where you can enter the transfer information:

  • Select “Transfer to another account”
  • Enter an email address to send the transfer acceptance instructions. This does not have to be the email address on the receiving WPEngine account.
  • Add a note to the client (optional, but very helpful).

Once you unlock the install, the Transfer Code will appear on the right side, as well as an option to reset the code (if, for any reason, you need to prevent the client from accepting the install).

An email will be sent to the client and now the ball is in their court to accept the transfer.

How to Unlock a Transferable WPEngine Install - Step 2

But what exactly is involved in accepting a transfer? So glad you asked…

How to Accept a WPEngine Install

After you unlock the install, the client receives an email, which looks like this (so super easy to follow with clear instructions, just the way it should be):

WPEngine Transfer Install Email

Pretty simple, right? But just to be thorough, I’ll show you exactly what that process really looks like.

When the client logs into their WPEngine user portal, they will click on the “Add Install” button above their install list.

How to Unlock a Transferable WPEngine Install - Step 3

Rather than actually creating a new install, they will simply click the “Accept transfer” link at the bottom-left of the box.

How to Unlock a Transferable WPEngine Install - Step 4

This opens a new field where they simply need to paste in the Transfer Code they received in the email you sent them.

How to Unlock a Transferable WPEngine Install - Step 5

Before committing to the transfer acceptance, they are given an overview, as well as an option to retain users who previously had access to that install. By doing this, those users will be added to their WPEngine account with full access (minus billing).

This enables developers to still access the install for support purposes even after the install has been moved from their account to the client’s account.

These new users on the client’s account can be removed by the client at any time, it is not a permanent commitment.

How to Unlock a Transferable WPEngine Install - Step 6

Once the transfer is accepted, the install is now in the client’s install list. BUT, it is still set as a “restricted” install.

To remove the restrictions, the client needs to click the “Edit” link at the top-right next to the “Blocked Traffic” notification.

How to Unlock a Transferable WPEngine Install - Step 7

Uncheck both boxes for Production and Staging, save the changes, and voila! Your newly transferred site is live and ready for public consumption.

How to Unlock a Transferable WPEngine Install - Step 8

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