8 Tips to a Smooth Migration

A recent Liquid Web survey revealed that businesses are often held back from choosing a hosting provider that can better support their project by the “what-if” situation when a migration presents. Nearly a quarter of consumers who decide not to switch to a new provider cited fear of the migration as the biggest reason for maintaining the status quo, even if they believe that the new host would be better.

Yes, migrations can be complex.  And we know that one of the most important factors in a smooth migration is having a team of experts who can navigate with you through the data transfer. That’s why at Liquid Web, we have dedicated migration teams to provide advice and expertise. We are here for you and your business.  As such, we think it is important that you know that customers who approach a migration from a “let me know when you are done” view tend to have more complications.  Thinking that you will be hands-off during your migration is unreasonable and will impact your company’s ability to have a smooth migration.  We completed nearly 10,000 migrations in just the last year and from those experiences share our top tips to a successful migration.  

Here are 8 items that you should do to help ensure as smooth a migration as possible.  

    1. Clarify the scope of your project up front.  The first step will be to identify the type of migration your organization will need. Your provider should ask you what kind of migration you will need.  Are you moving a single site or an entire server?  Are there databases or email associated with the migration? Will you need a secondary sync before pointing traffic to the new server?  Clarifying the scope of the project up front is the first step in a successful migration process. You can do so while filling out the migration form.  
    2. Identify any outside providers. There may be some changes that need to take place outside of the source or destination servers themselves, such as updating DNS or making changes at your domain registrar. Make sure that you are able to login to these areas to make changes so that the migration can be completed. IMPORTANT TIP: Wait until after a migration is entirely complete before changing registrars to be sure that you will have access to edit DNS zones.
    3. Size it. When ordering your new solution, be sure that there is enough room for all of the content that will be hosted, with about 20% extra disk space. Migrating content often means that some extra space will be required to unpackage the data being moved, and you want to be sure that you have enough room to grow on your new server.
    4. Don’t forget Email. Be sure to let your provider know if you want to migrate your email as well.  Organize information on your existing email service (e.g. Google apps) and provide it in the migration form when making your initial request.
    5. Take out the trash and update passwords. Moving data can take time, and the less data there is to be moved, the faster the migration can be completed. Take a look through your site content and clean up anything that you won’t require on the new server, such as outdated backups or large email folders that you will not be looking at again. It is also best practice to update passwords as an added level of security.
    6. Know your server access level.  Allowing the migration team to have the most access to the source server, will allow us to have full ability to match the server environments. Root access is preferred and user level ssh access can also be used. If not, the team should also be able to use cPanel, Plesk, or FTP access in order to move the content.
    7. Update your sites before you begin. Important note: Although it’s not required to run the latest version of the OS, it is best practice to upgrade your OS before migrating.  If you are using a CMS such as WordPress or Joomla, run any missing updates on the site or plugins before you request the migration. You’ll likely be moving to a newer version of PHP and MySQL and updating first will make that transition much easier. Making these changes mid-migration can throw a wrench into the works
    8. Wait to add new sites. While it is perfectly fine to make normal content changes to your server in the middle of the migration (such as adding new posts, pictures, and pages), adding a new cPanel or Plesk account, or adding entirely new websites mid-migration adds additional complication into the process. LIQUID WEB TIP:  Wait a few days until the migration is complete to make these types of changes, to allow time to make any other server tweaks that might be required.

When your business relies on the web, letting the fear of migration stop you from moving to a provider that can better support your web presence could be shortsighted.  

At Liquid Web, we’ll make it easy for you to make the switch.

No Contracts. Transparent Pricing. And an entire team dedicated to help you migrate your data from your current host. We provide complimentary migrations for new server orders from cPanel to cPanel or Plesk to Plesk.  We are always available for free advice and can also offer custom migrations from nearly all other types of hosting and CMS systems. Contact us today to learn why we’re the most helpful humans in hosting – and what we can do to help you.

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