Website migration may seem like an arduous task. If you have a big site with lots of traffic, you might have second thoughts about the process because you might fear losing web traffic and data, and in turn, lose revenue and transactions. However, sometimes it is inevitable to make the move. That is why it is important to know what are the precautions to take before taking this big step.
Steps to Take before Migrating a website to a new Web host
Know about the web hosting provider
As mentioned migration is a tedious process that includes a lot of resources, risks, and money so make sure before moving to the new hosting provider that whether it is best for your application or not. Read about it on their review sites, take a demo of their services, try to interact with their help and support staff and if they offer a trial period make sure to avail it. Cloudways is a good hosting service based on a cloud platform and their WordPress hosting is a good option for small to medium websites, developers, bloggers etc.
Choose a new provider after making sure of the following
- The provider supports your application and platform
- The provider is within your budget
- The provider has support for migration in case you run into difficulties
- The provider has a robust platform and solid infrastructure which provides fast and reliable hosting
Details about your platform and application
Knowing your application inside out is very important. Only then can you understand its limitations. For example, if you are using a WordPress website, which version of WordPress are you using, which plugins are you using, and will they be supported on the new platform?
Sometimes the website is based on PHP, Laravel or such technologies and all new hosts do not support them.
Taking Backup of all the data
This is a very important step. In case anything goes wrong it is best to be on the safe side and take a backup of your data. Take a recent snapshot. Do not rely on automatically generated backups which are created on a regular basis. Make a manual backup and make sure all the files are downloaded. Database backup is also necessary.
Using a website migration plugin
If you do not have the technical facilities to migrate a website on your own, you can use a migration plugin. The cost of migration is around $200 to $300. However, there are some plugins that are cheaper than this too. You can also use a free WordPress migration plugin also as it will help you to save the costs. Saving the costs is not the only benefit as using a plugin makes the process easier too. As mentioned before, the plugin you should use should be compatible with your platform requirements.
Determining the right date and time for the migration
Choose a time for the migration when there is the least amount of traffic and transactions on the website. It is mostly when there is nighttime in the country where most of your traffic comes from. Check the traffic pattern from analytics and other website tracking tools. Avoid when there is some deal or sale going on your site. Ideally, it should take place when there is the least amount of traffic on the site. So there are minimum chances of data loss and loss of customers and transactional data.
Set up the configurations & environment
Once you have a new hosting provider let us move on to the practical steps to actually start the migration. Set up the necessary environment for your website. This involves configuring your server, installing the required software (e.g., web server, database server), and any other dependencies your website may have.
Copy the files and database
Transfer your website files from the old server to the new one using FTP, SFTP, or any other file transfer method provided by your hosting. Also, migrate your website’s database, ensuring all data is transferred accurately.
Adjust any configuration settings that may have changed due to the new hosting environment. This might include updating the database connection details, file paths, and other server-specific settings.
Test the website thoroughly
After migrating your website, thoroughly test it on the new server to ensure everything works as expected. Check all pages, forms, links, and functionalities. Testing the website is essential as there are always some discrepancies and bugs that might cause issues later on. The sooner the bugs are caught and catered for, the better you can do.
Update the DNS settings when required
If you are changing your domain name registrar or your website’s IP address, update your DNS settings to point to the new server. This change may take some time to propagate across the internet, so be patient.
These are the detailed steps involved in the migration process. Following these steps will ensure that you have a smooth transition to the new domain.