There are now many more tools available to website designers than ever before, and most of the web development process is now much simpler than it used to be. This includes migrating a website from one server to another, but no matter how easy the process becomes, it nearly always involves a degree of downtime for the website in question. Depending on exactly what is involved in the server migration, it can take anywhere from 12 to 72 hours just to transfer DNS servers between the two sites.
Once you also factor in the need to transfer over files and databases, and ensure that everything works as it should, it can take some time to get your website up and running again. For many individuals and businesses, this downtime means lost revenue and so needs to be minimized. The good news, however, is that there are a few simple tips which will allow you to keep any downtime to an absolute minimum.
These three tips are all things that any web administrator should find simple enough to do, as long as they have access to an administrative control panel for their website, and a reasonable understanding of IP addresses.
Have a Migration Strategy
The easiest and most straightforward way of migrating your website to a new server is to simply recreate the entire site on your new server’s architecture. Once this is done you can test the website under real world conditions and will be able to very easily see if there are any issues. Once you have done this then switching between the servers will be a simple case of changing the necessary settings for your IP address and DNS.
While this strategy is the most secure, and the one that is likely to leave you with the lowest overall downtime rate, the drawback is that it involves freezing your website in time. You will have to keep all the codes and databases the same as they are at the moment you begin transferring everything over.
The issue with having all of your website’s assets frozen, even if only for a short amount of time, is that you will not be recreating a real-life situation when you are testing your website. In order to fully replicate real-world conditions, you will need to be providing normal services throughout the testing process.
If your website is WordPress based then check out this article which will help you make your move to a new server as easy as possible.
Move Before You Cancel
This is the simplest thing that you can do to avoid as much downtime as possible. Simply do not cancel your existing hosting package until you have set up a new one, sign up for your new package and move or copy all of your files over to the new host. Make sure to run all the checks you need to be sure that everything is in place and working correctly, you can then cancel the hosting package that you no longer need.
It is certainly a good idea to inform your old host of the change as soon as possible, in fact, it is in both your interests to do so. However, you should also be aware that if your service is abruptly stopped, and some hosting companies will cancel your account as soon as they receive instructions, then you might lose access to all of your files and database information in an instant.
In terms of downtime this is an absolute disaster! It can take a great deal of time to replace your website. If you aren’t holding any backups elsewhere then you could well find yourself having to rebuild the entirety of your website.
Test Your Website Again
When you transfer your website from one server to a new one, everything should work on the new server just the same way that it used to. However, sometimes there can be unexpected issues, and the only way to be sure that everything is working is to test the site out for yourself. For example, database backup files will not contain any information about the vital administrative information, the usernames, passwords, and permissions that apply to each MySQL database. Within the new web hosts control panel, you will need to enter all of this information within the MySQL database.
Most web developers will one day have to migrate their website from one server to another. This is a relatively straightforward process, but if it isn’t approached in a careful enough way then it can result in significant downtime.