How to Migrate Your Website Without Downtime? | Windows VPS Hosting Blog


Whether you are an online Guru or a ‘Newbie’ to online business, it never hurts to brush up on the fundamentals of creating a great platform to grow, expand, and keep your online business. This article is to help educate, and familiarize you with the idea of Website Migration.

Website Migration: What is it? Why is it important?

Website Migration is the process of transferring all of your old web pages and redirecting them to newpages, without negatively affecting or disrupting your websites current standings in the SEO.

In the event you are considering this process, or needing to migrate, it cannot be stressed enough, that the entire migration process be carried out carefully and intricately. Every step is as crucial as the last. It’s the difference between successfully transferring everything in one seamless swoop, and total near loss of everything you’ve worked hard to achieve on your site up to date. Including, but not limited to, the loss of your ranking, reduction of traffic flow to your site, and possibly the loss of a good amount of business.

The first thing you’ll want to do is check the compatibility of the plan or service you are interested in purchasing to host your website. For example, if your website is created with PHP and MySQL, make sure your new web host offers such platforms. Furthermore, security implementation, speed, and uptime are some crucial aspects to consider when choosing any web host. You wouldn’t want to choose a host provider that is going to cause more problems for your site than solve them. Downtime is never a good look for any website, am I right?

Why do You need to Migrate Your Website?

We’ve all been there. You try and access your website and your web server doesn’t respond. It can be frustrating , but we never consider that we are leaving our host vulnerable to other cyber issues. Here are a few reasons that your server is experiencing downtime:

  • Your hosting provider’s servers are overloaded
  • It happens. Too many people on a server at once, making it difficult to visit your website. Although this is to be expected from time to time, it can interfere with new and even current business. As some people’s reasoning may go out the window as their frustration rises and walks through the door. Hence, it is a good idea to have your IT specialist, thoroughly ensure and sort out any technical issues that may cause overloading prior to any major business launches on your website.

  • Malicious cyber attack on the server
  • Malware. Spyware. Viruses. Worms. Network Breaches. Everything we hope to never encounter on the net. Especially not on your company website. All it takes is the good old fashioned, ‘what’s this link?’ and it’s all history from there. Cyber hackers tend to look and find the vulnerable spots in computers and websites alike. Investing in proper cyber security software is just as important as securing your domain name and finding the right platform to host it on.

  • Software configurations issue
  • Let’s be real. Software is intangible. You can’t see it. You can’t trace it. You can’t control it. It’s no wonder that at times configuring software can do more harm than good. Doing it yourself always sounds great, in theory. However, running a website is already time consuming and complex. What a better way to alleviate some of the stress than to designate tasks to those who specialize in certain areas? Consider hiring a software
    configuring manager.

Unproductive Consumer Maintenance :

Every business has one mission. Customer satisfaction. Unproductive customer support, however, can occur when online marketing or the services of that marketing do not meet customer needs or satisfaction. Here are some red flags to help you identify unproductive customer support:

  • You are dealing with tired dashboards
  • You need to feel comfortable with your hosting provider. If you are stuck on a platform that performs poorly and are no longer comfortable paying for that host’s services, you should probably cut your losses as soon as possible.

  • Extraordinary Hosting Price day by day
  • You find that you are paying for certain services and believe there are no hidden fees. You trust your provider is being honest. Then one day you find that you are being charged for more than what you bargained for, and extra fees are being applied for services that should already be included in your total pricing. If you find that you are in this kind of a situation, it is safe to suggest canceling any further transactions and all business ties with this host is the best route to go. Website Migration might seem daunting, but it is more of a flexible process than it is a complex one. Up until this point you are convinced that maybe it is time to migrate your website to a new host, but how do you do it without facing downtime? Well, you’re in luck!

Here is a detailed description of the process to migrate your website from the current host to another one without facing downtime.

(1) Purchase a compatible plan from a new web hosting provider.

Nowadays there are many web hosting companies readily available to help facilitate the transfer of your hosting services. They have customized or pre-adjusted web hosting plans that suit your needs best. It is simply a matter of preference. After purchasing a plan, your new hosting provider will send you the details, including your IP address and other domain name service details. Once you have received confirmation of your new service, check all the configurations and information carefully. Be sure not to cancel your current hosting service until everything is transferred to your new service and it is up and running properly.

  • Check the Logins
  • You’ll need to check the ports of your panel, which should be included in your new servicing plan’s details, and check the login details of your new host manager.
    Once you verify the login details, check for the built-in transfer tool and see if it fits for your website migration. If you have cPanel at both ends, you can use it for the entire cPanel account migration including Web-contents, Databases, and Email Accounts.

(2) Backup all data

Pending on the web hosting services you decided to go with, Accuweb hosting is one of the better providing services, your provider should help you backup your data once you have transferred all of your web pages to your new website. Here are 3 essential types of backups you should be performing:

(A) Backup of Web-content :

Website content is the core of any website. Without the content you wouldn’t be able to describe your services, and relay information. If you have a Windows Server or Windows Shared Hosting, content should lie at wwwroot. In Linux Hosting with cPanel, website contents can be found inside public_html.

  • Create a Zip File of your Web-Content :
  • Go to the location where your website’s data is stored. Usually in images, CSS, HTML, and index.php, etc. You then convert all the web-content files to a single zip file in Windows, as well as Linux. You can alsouse the same steps for Zipped files.

  • Take Website zip Backup using FTP :
  • File Transfer Protocol is used to transfer the data from one server to another. You can create a backup of your web – content using this protocol. There are many tools available in the FTP market. Such as, FileZilla, Cyberduck, FireFTP, Classic FTP, etc. It is recommended that a FileZilla FTP client backup their Zip Files.

Here are the following steps to take if you’re interested in using FileZilla to backup all of your data:

Enter details of the source server.

Host: Your server’s IP address, ftp.domain.com

Username:FTP username

Password:FTP user password.

To connect your server, you need to enter the Host, username, and password. A port is not mandatory because as a default it runs on FTP port 21. However, when you are accessing your FTP port, with another port, due to security reasons ,then you need to enter in the same port. Once you can connect the server with your local system you can transfer the data with drag and drop. Wait until the process can be completed successfully. Here are a few articles that can help with your backups if you have cPanel or SolidCP at your existing hosting provider.

(B) Backup of Database :

Database backup is essential to your website migration as it stores all of the details of users, products, transactions, etc.

There are 2 types of Databases that your website might have: MSSQL and MySQL:

You can manage MSSQL through SQL Management Studio. MySQL can be managed within phpMyAdmin Web interface. Both allow the interface provider to backup your database using ‘Export.’

Backup of MySQL Database :

phpMyAdmin is a web-based app that was developed to maintain MySql commands and manage the connections with the database over the web. It facilitates importing/exporting in the database. Access phpMyAdmin in your browser and use the below link to the backup directly.

https://manage.accuwebhosting.com/knowledgebase/2280/How-to-secure-MySQL-database-backup-from-phpMyAdmin-in-cPanel.html

Backup of MSSQL Database :

MSSQL Database can be managed within the SQL Management Studio. Here, you can manage the MSSQL databases. It provide an option to directly export your MSSQL Database Backup. Below is the link to MSSQL DataBase Backup from SQL Management Studio.

https://manage.accuwebhosting.com/knowledgebase/2197/How-to-Backup-MSSQL-Database-from-SQL-Server-Management-Studio.html

(C) Backup of Emails :

The most commonly used platforms for backing up emails are Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird. You can also use POP3, Post Office Protocol 3. It is used to download the emails that lie on your local server. It is also the most recommended. You can configure your email accounts in your local email to solve the email downloading purpose. Use these links to configure the emails in your system:

Setup Outlook :

https://manage.accuwebhosting.com/knowledgebase/119/Outlook-2016-Email-Account-Set-up

https://manage.accuwebhosting.com/knowledgebase/2458/What-are-the-POP-Configuration-Details-to-setup-an-Email-Client.html

Setup Mozilla Thunderbird :

https://manage.accuwebhosting.com/knowledgebase/1184/How-to-configure-a-POP-email-account-in-ThunderBird.html

(3) Data Upload at New Server :

Once you’re done with the Data Backup, you’ll upload all the data to the new Server. You can upload data on the new server separately for the Web-Content and Databases. This next step is very important to website migration. You need to make sure none of the files got missed while uploading your website, as this may cause issues while running.

(A) Restore Web-content :

There are many ways to transfer or upload Web-content to the new host server. You can upload web-content directly from upload button of controlpanel.

Restore Manually with FTP:

You can connect your new server to the FTP Details. To use Filezilla, refer to the link below to upload the files manually via FTP.

https://manage.accuwebhosting.com/knowledgebase/1599/Uploading-files-using-FileZilla.html

(B) Restore Database:

To restore the database you need to create the same Database and DB User on the receiving server. Once the Database and DB user are created, proceed with Database Restoration. MySQL Database can be restored from phpMyAdmin. There are a few steps to take to restore your MySQL Database from phpMyAdmin. If you have cPanel, there might be a limit to restore a specific size of Database, but that can be modified from the tweak settings. To restore the MySQL Database from phpMyAdmin, follow below:

https://manage.accuwebhosting.com/knowledgebase/2281/How-to-Restore-MySQL-Database-from-phpMyAdmin.html

MSSQL Database can be restored from the MSSQL Management Studio

https://manage.accuwebhosting.com/knowledgebase/972/How-to-restore-MSSQL-database-from-SQL-Server-Management-Studio.html

(C) Restore Emails:

If you have a mail server with the same version and it provides the platform to migrate your emails, you can proceed with it. When transferring emails from your old server to your new server you need to create new email accounts with the same usernames and passwords. By now you should have all your data backed up from your old website.

Note: If both the mail server’s services are the same then email backup will be possible. For this portion of the Email Migration, assistance may be required from your receiving hosting company. You should inquire prior to this step to ensure your data is in tact.

(4) Data verification and website testing :

Please refer to this link which will be useful to test your website after migration.

You will need to go through each file/folder you have migrated from the older host, and compare the files/folders in both locations efficiently. When your new hosting provider gives the new service activation details, be sure to check it with the given temporary URL in your login details draft or email.

“First you need to check, then you need to move.” Following this rule is imperative to your hosting service. Check your website on a temporary URL. If it looks good then you need to move on to the next step. To avoid downtime of your website, make sure that you do not cancel your old hosting service.

cPanel and Plesk are both panels provided to facilitate your website with a temporary URL and no downtime. By following these steps, you can check on your website using a temporary URL. It is best to use this method when your website is being directed somewhere else than the intended destination.

How to locate your website with any temporary URL?

A temporary URL is used when you need to check your website without specific use of the domain. It can also be used when you want to direct your website to the new hosting provider. It is used instead in place of the main domain.

(5) Change the DNS :

Once Data Verification is complete, you can change the name of the servers. Naming servers may take a few hours to propagate over the globe. You can also keep a record for you website which is given to you by your new host. Web hosting providers tend to provide two or more namesavers. You set those namesavers are saved into the platform which your domain is registered on. Nameserver’s example is following here.

Ns1.domain.com
Ns2.domain.com

You will need to register and set the Nameservers in your Domain registrar control panel. All the Domain Registrar have different settings to register and set the Nameservers. Hence, you will need to do that accordingly. You can contact your Domain registrar to set your required Nameservers.

Jason-Pat

Jason is CTO at AccuWebHosting.com. He shares his web hosting insights at AccuWebHosting blog. He mostly writes on the latest web hosting trends, WordPress, storage technologies, Windows and Linux hosting platforms.

Jason-Pat

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