Web Host Migration

The biggest issue that many clients face is the lack of response, or long process, while a web hosting company actually makes the move for them. This bothers me to no end.

I can transfer a WordPress site and be 100% up and running in 15 minutes, yet many hosts ask for a 48-hour window. Completely unacceptable.

I understand that there are other clients and other tickets, but offering a 4-hour window is much more realistic.

That said, I have found a few hosts that are happy to run the migration almost in real-time.

Obviously, I'm not talking about a 1GB website moving in 15 minutes, but the majority of websites are less than 200MB and can usually transfer in that timeframe. Of course, some hosts limit their download speed so that it takes a long time for files to download - but even still it doesn't take 48 hours.
 
The biggest issue that many clients face is the lack of response, or long process, while a web hosting company actually makes the move for them. This bothers me to no end.

I can transfer a WordPress site and be 100% up and running in 15 minutes, yet many hosts ask for a 48-hour window. Completely unacceptable.

I understand that there are other clients and other tickets, but offering a 4-hour window is much more realistic.

That said, I have found a few hosts that are happy to run the migration almost in real-time.

Obviously, I'm not talking about a 1GB website moving in 15 minutes, but the majority of websites are less than 200MB and can usually transfer in that timeframe. Of course, some hosts limit their download speed so that it takes a long time for files to download - but even still it doesn't take 48 hours.
I think it is the same as DNS changes. officially a DNS change can take upto 72 hrs to, but usually this completes in a matter of hrs.

a host will normally say upto 48 hrs to migrate a website, but as you say a single website can be migrated within minutes, but if you are a reseller and migrating several websites then this takes time and most hosts just give out the same information whether your migrating a single site or multiple sites
 
With migrations it's like a 50-50 I think. I've seen migrations go well without any issues but I've also been on the other side of where their was problems. Sometimes all the data doesn't transfer properly and you have to go back and forth to get it fixed.
 
1. Your Website Will Go Down For Days:
>> While it's true that propagation can take anywhere from 12 to 72 hours to fully complete, you can reduce your downtime by doing things right. Keep both websites online, and work with your new host to get your website fully setup before you make the move.

2. You'll Have to Rebuild Your Website:
>> If you're going to migrate to a new host, you shouldn't have to worry about rebuilding your website. Check with your new host to ensure they support the same applications. This includes the basic server hardware and all of the information that's necessary for transferring. Make sure your new host uses the same or a newer PHP version, Apache server, and other server components.

3. The New Server Won't Work With Your Site:
>> While it may be true that if you move from a better hosting company to a less competent hosting company that your website won't work with the new host, this is mainly a fear tactic to keep you from switching to a new host. If you're running an HTML-based website, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. If you’re running a content management system like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal, check the minimum server requirements of your application to ensure compatibility.

4. A Simple Backup is All You Need:
>> If you're moving from a shared hosting platform to a virtual, semi or dedicated server, a backup isn't usually enough. If you don't have identical database prefixes on your old and new website, you'll need to modify the databases and all references to your old database to match the information on the new website. A professional hosting company can do this for you during a basic transfer service, so you shouldn't worry about your databases being compatible.

5. It's Too Difficult to Transfer:
If your current hosting provider isn't meeting your needs, it's time to transfer. Yes, a transfer is not a straightforward process but it's better than staying with a host that no longer meets your needs. With a little preparation and communication with your new hosting provider, you'll be able to get your website transferred with little to no hiccups.

6. Transferring Will Cost You More Money:
When you are dealing with a hosting provider that doesn’t provide reliable uptime, has slow servers, and doesn’t provide you with the service you need to excel, you’re losing money. Every time a visitor leaves because your website host can’t load your site due to some hidden restriction on maximum concurrent connections or some other arcane method of controlling your usage, you’re losing money. Many hosts state that they have unlimited bandwidth, no restrictions on storage space, and no restrictions on monthly visitors but they fail to deliver on performance.

7. Your CMS Only Works on Certain Platforms:
Most hosting providers make it possible to choose the server architecture. Provided you choose the right platform for your website, you should encounter no issues. Don't fall prey to the predatory practices employed by many hosts who attempt to strap you into a plan that simply doesn't fit your needs.
 
1. Your Website Will Go Down For Days:
>> While it's true that propagation can take anywhere from 12 to 72 hours to fully complete, you can reduce your downtime by doing things right. Keep both websites online, and work with your new host to get your website fully setup before you make the move.

Exactly and when the site is copied onto new host i suggest making a slight change on the home page (on new host only) that you can see, but not that obvious to anyone viewing your site.
This way you can keep checking your site and once you can see the change then you know the site has fully migrated and DNS pointing to new host, so will be safe to remove the site from old host.
 
The DNS propagation time is largely dictated by the TTL (time to live) of your relevant DNS records. The TTL is essentially the cache expiry time (in seconds), which most DNS servers and clients should honor.

A good tip is to reduce the TTL of your DNS records before the transfer to reduce propagation time, then increase it again afterwards. This might be particularly helpful if it isn't possible to have both the new and old hosts/servers online at the same time since it will reduce downtime for your visitors.

For example if you have the DNS type A record "www.yourdomain.com" which resolves to the IP address(es) that the website is hosted on with a TTL of 86400 (24 hours), you could reduce this to 15 minutes or less then wait 24 hours for the new TTL to propagate. The transfer can then be completed and the DNS record changed to resolve to the new IP address(es). The TTL can then be increased.

In this example the downtime should be no greater than 15 minutes for the vast majority of users. A shorter TTL can be set but less than 60 seconds is not recommended and lower TTLs will reduce page load time cause by additional DNS lookups and longer lookup time due to a lack of near caching.

There are various DNS propagation checkers available that can give you a rough idea of the propagation state of your DNS records such as https://www.whatsmydns.net/ and https://dnschecker.org/.
 
Those days I think all serious providers do know how to do migration properly with minimal impact.

If migration is cPanel to cPanel, all is super simple and smooth.
However, if it's the different control panel, what we see as the biggest challenge is definitely proper migration of Email accounts and explanation to clients why it cannot be always done on the way they wanted :)
 
Those days I think all serious providers do know how to do migration properly with minimal impact.

If migration is cPanel to cPanel, all is super simple and smooth.
However, if it's the different control panel, what we see as the biggest challenge is definitely proper migration of Email accounts and explanation to clients why it cannot be always done on the way they wanted :)

9/10 you cannot migrate from one control panel to another (i.e. cPanel to DirectAdmin or visa versa)

In fact the only control panel i i have found which allows this is Centos Web Panel where you can migrate cPanel accounts
 
We migrate manually files and DB, that is easy work.

But when it comes to emails... That's the mess. There are some tricks but can be a very painful job (depending on panel)

Btw, Centos Web Panel is pretty awesome! :)
 
Lately, I discovered a very useful feature of remote website backup service, which makes site/server upgrade/migrations easy.

- Backup your site with external provider

- Prior to migration, you need to lower TTL of DNS records to 300seconds(5min). I am assuming DNS is external (not on hosting server). DNS on same host is not a good idea.

- On new site server control panel, create FTP account and DB credentials

- Change your FTP and DB credentials on backup service provider, and perform a restore. One step site migration!
It can be done by site owner or using concierge feature.

- Change DNS to point to new server. Visitors with new DNS entry will direct to new server. The ones with old dns caches will go to old server. You can retire old server post TTL change is effected completely.
This is platform independent.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
We migrate manually files and DB, that is easy work.

But when it comes to emails... That's the mess. There are some tricks but can be a very painful job (depending on panel)

Btw, Centos Web Panel is pretty awesome! :)

yes anyone can manually migrate files between control panels, but if you want to use internal transfer methods then you cannot do it.
I have never relied on webmail for emails. I always set these up in email clients like thunderbird, so even if changing hosts you still have your emails
 
I have never relied on webmail for emails. I always set these up in email clients like thunderbird, so even if changing hosts you still have your emails
That's the right way. And you set like that because you are advanced user ;)
 
Especially as gmail can be easily setup with MX records to handle the domain email addresses.
 
Especially as gmail can be easily setup with MX records to handle the domain email addresses.

dont even need that if you have cpanel hosting as in the email area, set up an email and then use the auto feature to install all the settings on your PC, Phone, Tablet etc. and then you dont have to login into your google account everytime you want to read emails
 
- Backup your site with external provider
Sorry! Apparently any website backup provider should be of help.

When you are migrating site, where both old and new hosting accounts are active, there should be no site downtime.

If DNS propagation is an issue, your site will be rendered from old hosting server.
When propagation is over, your site will be rendered from new hosting server.
 
Following are some issues found in web hosting migration :
1. Database collation can be different
2. Some PHP extensions are not enabled
3. HTTP certification is not shifted properly
4. Some firewall ports could be blocked on destination server
5. DIY state of migration
6. PhpMyAdmin Timeout during Exporting/Importing a Database
7. Handling WordPress Configuration after migration
8. Data is incomplete/ wrongly manipulated while cloning
9. Internal Server Problems with File Permissions
10. Missing modules like ffmpeg, pdflib, gdlibrary, imagemagick, etc…
 
Common issues depend on what type of platform you use to run your website. If you have cPanel, most of the time it is easy to do the migration yourself but if you have WordPress it can be more challenged.

Consider these common issues:

-Difficulty of Use
-Do It Yourself state of migration
-phpMyAdmin Timing Out while Exporting/Importing a Database
-Handling WordPress Configuration after migration

-Data is incomplete/ wrongly manipulated while cloning
-Internal Server Problems with File Permissions

Always have someone with experience that can perform the migration for you if you are not capable of doing it, Else it will take hours trying to get everything back to normal.
 

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