Are you considering migrating your server in 2020?
Many businesses often feel held back by “what-if” scenarios when choosing a hosting provider that may better support their environment.
After all, one of the most cited fears for SMBs is around server migrations.
Server migrations can certainly be complex, and one of the most important factors for a smooth migration is having a team of experts on your side to help you navigate through this process.
That’s why at Liquid Web, we have migration teams dedicated to providing their advice and expertise to our customers.
Get your complete planning guide for 2020 Data Migrations.
We are here for you and your business, and as such, we know that taking a hands-on approach with server migrations is important to a smooth transfer. Clients who approach migrations with a hands-off mentality tend to have more complications during this process, and transfers can take longer without proper communication from both parties. Working directly and diligently with our team of experts can take what would be a difficult migration and make it feel like a breeze.
As a company, we have completed 7,000 server migrations in just the last year alone!
From our experiences, we would like to share our top 8 tips for a smooth server migration.
8 Tips for a Smooth Server Migration
1. Clarify the Scope of Your Project Up Front
The first step is to identify the type of migration your organization will need.
Some typical questions you will receive from your provider will include:
- Are you moving a single site or an entire server?
- What type of database server are you running?
- How many databases need to be moved?
- Are there any email servers that need to be moved?
- Will a second sync be required before bringing the new server live?
- Any additional special considerations before beginning the server migration?
Clarifying the scope of the project up front is the first step in a successful server migration. 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 the source or destination servers themselves, such as updating DNS or making changes at your domain registrar. Be sure that you are able to login to these locations to make changes so that the migration can be completed.
IMPORTANT TIP: Wait until after a server migration is entirely complete before changing registrars to be sure that you will have access to edit DNS zones.
3. Size Your New Server Correctly
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 unpack the data being moved, and you want to be sure that you have enough room to grow on your new server. If there is not enough space on the destination server to complete the transfer, the process will have to wait until the server is re-ordered or resized with the proper space requirements to continue.
Any reorders can certainly make the migration take longer, so it is important to be sure of the requirements needed before beginning.
4. Don’t Forget Email
Be sure to let our team of experts know if you are migrating email servers as well.
Whether you are only transferring accounts and mailboxes, or the entirety of mail content across your server, this information is necessary for us to be sure all of your data is successfully processed and transferred to the new server.
Organize information on your existing email service 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 server migration can be completed.
Spend time looking through your server and identify any information that does not need to be transferred. Whether this is outdated backups, decommissioned mail accounts, or sites that simply don’t exist any more, getting rid of or at least taking the time to clean up old data will speed up your migration and make everyone’s lives that much easier.
Additionally, before the migration process, it is a good practice to update passwords as an added level of security.
6. Know Your Server Access Level
Be sure to give your migration team the most access possible on the source server.
Having full administrative access allows our experts to access all resources necessary to ensure a smooth server migration. Root access is preferred, but high permission SSH access can also be used. While the team should also be able to use cPanel, Plesk, or FTP access in order to move your content, an administrative account speeds up the process for all parties involved.
7. Update Your Sites Before You Begin
Although it’s not a requirement to run the latest version of the CMS, it is highly recommended that you upgrade your content management system before beginning the migration process.
This ensures as much compatibility as possible with modern operating systems, as Liquid Web will always provide the most updated OS available. 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 will potentially be moving to newer versions of PHP and MySQL, and updating your CMS first on the source server will make this transition much easier.
Making these changes mid-migration can throw a wrench into the works and having to downgrade or upgrade at the end of the process can also create unnecessary headaches, along with inaccurate testing of the new machine.
8. Wait to Add New Sites and Content
While it is not a problem for your to make normal content changes to your server in the middle of the server 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.
If our expert has a list of 20 sites to move and finishes this process without knowing that our client has added an additional site or database, it creates a strain on our technician who has to re-strategize and begin partial migrations to transfer the residual data.
IMPORTANT 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. If you do decide to add new sites or control panels, please let your migration expert know well in advance!
When your business relies on the web, letting the fear of migration stop you from moving to a more suitable provide provider could be a shortsighted decision. With our dedicated team of migration experts, you can be sure that your data is safe and moved in the most efficient way possible, with our experts helping every step of the way.