Website Migration 101

Every website needs a place to store its data, and for any website, that place is a server. Most often, this is a rented server provided by a hosting service. Simply put, hosting providers provide physical or virtual space for storing website data. Or, in other words, they literally provide a place on their servers that are always connected to the internet and available to users from outside.

Therefore, choosing the right hosting is a critically important aspect of creating a website. However, sometimes situations arise where for various reasons it is necessary to stop working with a hosting provider. The reasons for this can be completely different, starting from the absence of some important services from the provider that you didn’t even think about when choosing, and ending with the provider’s parameters not meeting your needs that became apparent much later in your work with the hosting.

In such situations, website owners often switch providers. And this means the need for migration from one hosting to another. However, such a procedure is not simply transferring website data from one server to another, but a complex process that involves many actions. Because migration will not only require transferring the contents of the website, but also changing its domain, address, and all associated services.

Website migration in a nutshell

Moving the website between servers from one provider to another is a very complex process in itself that must be completed precisely step by step to avoid any possible issues, especially data loss. All the while it will be vital to keep the website up and running with minimum downtime between switching servers. Therefore it will be crucial to check if everything works perfectly before, during and after the migration. And to do this all, it is important to remember critical steps in the process.

Preparation first, moving second

When migrating a website to new hosting, it is important to connect the new hosting first and only then migrate data from the current hosting to the new one. Connecting new hosting before migrating a website is very important, and avoids many problems related to temporary loss of access to the website and other technical problems.

More importantly, when you connect the new hosting before disconnecting from the old one, you can check its operation and make sure it meets your requirements. For instance, you can conduct a quick hosttracker server ping test – host-tracker.com/en/ic/ping-test and use other instant tools to check the basic server status. 

Secondly, if you migrate your data first and then connect to the new hosting, you risk temporarily losing access to your website. This may happen because the DNS records have not yet been updated and the traffic continues to go to the old hosting. As a result, users may see an error message and will not be able to visit your website.

Remember to backup before migration

When moving a website to a new server and from one hosting to another, it is very important to create a backup copy (or even a couple of them) to keep all the files and settings intact in case something goes wrong in the process. Since technical problems can occur during migration, such as data loss, errors in the file system, etc. Keeping a backup copy at hand will make it possible for you to restore the website in case of any failures when you shut the old version down.

Moreover, the backup will save all the website settings, such as databases, plugins, design themes, etc. And during migration, you will be able to quickly restore the website with the settings already ready. In addition, saving a backup copy will allow you to avoid data loss, if you accidentally delete or change any files during migration. 

Reconfigure monitoring routines

Many people forget that website monitoring is always tied to a specific server and domain associated with it. Accordingly, when you migrate the website, you must be sure to reconfigure all the monitoring utilities for the new location of the website. Otherwise, all systems will continue to monitor their old location, until you notice something wrong.

In addition, if you are using advanced monitoring systems, such as a server port checker and monitoring on hosttracker, the preliminary toolkit reconfiguration will allow you to immediately begin to conduct in-depth diagnostics and identify possible stability problems. In the process of migrating from hosting to hosting, anything can happen, and configured monitoring will help avoid a lot of trouble when migrating a website.

Transfer everything without a hurry

When you have already connected to the new hosting, backed up the website and reconfigured monitoring to the new address, all that is left, in fact, is to properly migrate all the data from one server to another. But this should be done by the rules, carefully and without haste, so as not to make mistakes and minimize downtime during migration. 

If you haven’t already done anything on the new hosting, first configure the database that you will be using for the new website. Make sure that you remember all the details for connecting, such as username, password, and database name.

Then carefully, without missing anything, transfer the files. Any FTP client will do, or even a hosting control panel, if the old and new providers use compatible systems. Usually, this is done through File Manager, but for large websites, you may need to use SSH transfer.

And after the transfer of data will only have to import the database: with phpMyAdmin or any other convenient tool. And be sure to make sure that the tables and data are successfully migrated.

Double-check everything after completion

As mentioned above, after migrating files and databases, you should definitely make sure that you copied everything correctly. Don’t rush to delete the old version of the website on the former server, check everything carefully first. Then be sure to back up the website in case something goes wrong after the migration is complete.

Once you’ve checked and tested everything, you’ll just need to update all configurations. This way everything in your website databases will be matching with new server data. And you must remember to double-check everything here before you completely shut down the old version of the website you’re moving.

When you’ve completed all the work to move the website between hosts, you should be sure to do a quick check site availability on host tracker tool to check up on all metrics and stats from every angle. Even if you have already connected automatic monitoring to the new server using new domain and IP. Re-insurance and double-checking never hurt.

And finally, you should definitely check that the website is available and working from the new hosting, using all possible ways. It is important to make sure that everything is functioning normally, all services work without failures, and users have full access to the functionality and web pages of the website.

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