What to Expect During a Site Migration

The Migration Team at Liquid Web is dedicated to providing you with an efficient and as uneventful a migration as possible. Whether you are migrating from a current Liquid Web server (internal migration) or from another host (external migration), it is important that we work together to ensure an effective transfer of information.

Most migrations generally take two to seven days, however, individual results may vary depending on the size and type of migration being completed. Any potential delays are minimized by maintaining communication with you frequently to ensure we receive the data we need in order to complete the process.

Migrations begin with a Support Ticket being opened to start the dialogue of the type of migration being performed. Learn here How to Open a Support Ticket. Once the ticket is opened, a Migrations Specialist will send you the Migration Form to be completed and sent back.

Step 1: Information Collection

Liquid Web will: What we need from you:
Send the Migration Form to you through our ticket system. This form provides us with vital information to begin the migration.

Some of the information we will need is:

  • Source server hostname and IP address
  • Destination server hostname and IP address
  • Domain being transferred
  • DNS information and if you are able to modify DNS records

For External Migrations, we will need additional information, such as:

  • SSH username and password
  • cPanel username and password
Complete the Migration Form completely and inform us of any special instructions before the migration begins.

In addition, please complete the following updates on your source server prior to the migration process.

Common updates are:

  • WordPress – install the most recent version
  • Update Plugins – delete any unused
  • Notify us of any third-party software installed that we may need to help with later

Please verify that your site is compatible with PHP version 5.3 as it is the lowest version of PHP supported by cPanel.

Step 2: Data Move

Liquid Web will: What we need from you:
During this step, the Migration Specialist will begin the Initial Sync. The Initial Sync is where we access your source server and compare software versions, pull data from the server and restore your sites on the destination server.

The end goal is for your site to work the same way on the destination server as it did on the source server. If your site shows errors on the source server prior to Initial Sync, the same errors will appear on the destination server.

Please refrain from adding any new sites or changing functionality on current sites during this time. This will minimize the occurrence of any errors during the migration process.

Step 3: Validation

Liquid Web will: What we need from you:
We will log into your site on the destination server and make sure that we are able to access all of your information. We want to make sure that your site is functions the same way in the new environment as it did on the source server. During this step, we do all the work. This process gets the site ready for testing, where we ask that you test your site in the new environment.

As soon as validation is over, we will notify you that we are ready for you to start testing.

Step 4: Testing

Liquid Web will: What we need from you:
We will review any errors you send us during your testing process and fix any issues. We will also assist with installing and configuring Third-Party Software such as MongoDB or NodeJS, if needed.

Third-Party Software installation and configuration falls under our Best Effort Support.

Note: This is the part of the process which can cause the most delays – please keep an eye on your email for the notification for you to begin testing​.

The only person who knows how a website should work is the owner. This is where we need you to complete a detailed testing of the site and report back to us if anything is not working. It is important that you check all pages, forms, links, and back-end access. Don’t panic if you see errors – these occur when there are differences in the server environment and completely normal during the migration process.

If you encounter errors, send us examples in your Migration Ticket so that a specialist can investigate and help resolve the issue.

Step 5: DNS Update

Liquid Web will: What we need from you:
If you are registered with Liquid Web, our Migration Specialist will update the DNS on the new server so that you can update the IP on the Name Server

Note: There is the potential of a 20 – 50 minute downtime during the DNS propagation at the end of the migration process. In many cases, downtime can be minimized by lowering TTL values, but each migration is unique and may carry with it additional downtime to address issues as they arise.

If you are coming from an external host, you will need to update the DNS. Please review the DNS Update Information for external hosts if you are not sure how to update your DNS. We will notify you when it is time to make these changes and work with you through this process to keep you update on any issues to minimize downtime as best we can.
Some migrations have the ability to complete a Final Sync. This is where we do one more transfer of data to make sure that any updates are included in the migration and that all files are up to date. Please discuss with your Migrations Specialist to see if your migration qualifies for a Final Sync of your data from the source server to the destination server.


Common Questions

Is There a Cost?

Most cPanel to cPanel or Plesk to Plesk migrations with root access on both servers typically do not incur a charge unless there are special circumstances or unforeseen complications arise.

Any other type of supported migration typically would be charged.

Our migrations team makes the determination on what, if any, charges could be required, based on the specific circumstances and any special considerations related to your servers.

How Long Does it Take?

Most migrations can be completed in a few days, but every migration is different and there are a number of factors that can either add to or reduce the amount of time involved. Among them:

  • Server size and disk usage: The data on the affected account(s) must be copied over at the beginning of the process and later synced after you have had a chance to test the sites. Obviously, a small partition that’s only partially utilized could require only a few minutes to duplicate, while copying a full, extremely large partition could take a number of hours.
  • Your availability: Once the data is initially copied over, you will need to edit your local computer’s hosts file and test the sites on the new server. We will respond to any issues you report, and work with you to resolve them as quickly as possible. There is no time limit on this phase, and the pace is entirely up to you. We will not proceed until you have signed off on the sites as they exist on the new server, and once you have, we then will schedule a final sync if possible and schedule the DNS switchover at a time of your choosing.
  • DNS propagation: We do lower the Time To Live (TTL) on the sites early in the migration process (assuming we have access to the DNS records) in an effort to speed up propagation, and typically sites will be visible on the new server within a few hours, but it still can take up to 24-48 hours for DNS changes to fully propagate globally.


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