In DNS, Hosting Fundamentals, Hosting Guides, Nublue Starter Guides

What to expect during a hosting migration

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We migrate our customers’ websites onto different servers for three different reasons: upgrading, downgrading, and updating older versions of Plesk (8, 9, 10 to 11 or 11.5).

Here is what to expect to prepare you (consider this your hosting survival guide).

What is a migration?

A migration refers to the process of moving the physical data of your website(s) from one server to another, so that includes all website data (images, text, apps, etc), databases, any email accounts and configuration settings you may have within your existing Plesk Panel. The only data we don’t migrate over are Plesk backups. This is because of potential compatibility issues (say if you had backups in Plesk 9 that won’t work in Plesk 11).

How long will it take?

It varies with each website. It depends not only on the amount of data to be moved, but the amount of physical files. It is much quicker to move one file that is 5GB in size than 5,000 files which total 5GB in size. It is difficult to estimate the exact time it will take to move the physical data, but we generally find that the process will last between 30 and 60 minutes for most moderately-sized websites.

The DNS configuration for your website will also need to be updated. This “points” your domain to the physical server your account is tied to. This is because your website(s) will be moving to a new IP address, and the results of this change will need to propagate globally. We recommend waiting 48 hours for this to fully update, though in most cases it is much sooner.

How will this affect me?

For starters, you will experience downtime, due to the aforementioned process of physically transferring your data. We place a standard holding page during the course of the migration on your existing site(s) during the process, helping to preserve the integrity of your data. The holding page we use is generic and SEO-friendly (“Site Upgrade in Progress!”), but we can make use of a custom HTML holding page. Just email this in prior to the migration.

If your domains use our legacy name servers, we will be able to handle these necessary DNS changes for this automatically. However, these name servers rely on your current server. We can keep this running shortly after migration but eventually we will need to decommission it so you’ll need to update the name servers. Don’t worry though; we’ll give you the necessary information and instructions.

If you have any domains using external name servers, you’ll need to make changes to the DNS records. We will email you with the list of domains and required changes. They would be made through the relevant name servers associated with the domain.

If you make use of a payment gateway, such as Sage Pay, you may need to update the outbound server IP address within your configuration to ensure that payments can continue to be successfully taken following your migration. Again, will we email you to let you know what you need to change.

What is the process?

The general process for the migration is as follows:

1) We place a holding page on your website(s)

2) We start the data move process; data is first archived and compressed on the existing server

3) Data is then transferred over our network and deployed to your new server

4) We remove the holding pages on the new solution and test the deployment of your sites

5) The DNS is then updated to point to the new solution, with the holding pages left in place on the existing solution

Following the migration, you are seeing the old version of your site(s) if you see the holding page(s), and the new if you see your site live.

Happy hosting!

If you have any questions regarding our hosting, please don’t hesitate to contact us via phone, email or live chat.

Stefan

Author Stefan

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