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151 posts

Master Geek


#143673 23-Apr-2014 13:20
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After six years with Kiwi Webhosting I am taking my domains name, e-mail and web-hosting business to another provider in three weeks time when my contract falls due.  The company was bought by Orcon a couple of years ago and service now is appalling. I travelled to the USA last July for three months and could not even use an FTP client to update my website, and even my e-mail client would not work in the USA and I had to rely on webmail. Orcon took a month just reply to my repeated request for support assistance, and that never solved the problem. So I'm taking my business elsewhere. Rant over.

The purpose of this posting to ask for any advice or hints readers might have in transitioning to another web host provider that will minimise any down-time for my small-business website (I manage my own website) and also the receiving of e-mails.

My existing and new provider both use CPanel, which I have a basic understanding of.

Should I set up my web site with the new provider a few days befoire my contract with the old provider expires?

Is the transition a straight-forward process, or are there traps and horror stories out there?

My first concern will be to avoid losing any incoming e-mails.

All advice welcome!

Thanks.

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16168 posts

Uber Geek


  #1029760 23-Apr-2014 13:31
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If you have a good web host, they should be able to help you transfer and walk you through the full process. They also should be able to transfer all the files, email accounts and settings too at no cost, as cpanel is very easy to move websites between. It is simply a full backup and restore which your host should do for you at no charge.. The horror stories would probably involve choosing the wrong host to transfer to.

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  #1029790 23-Apr-2014 14:10
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Your new webhost should offer transfers for free, otherwise it is very easy to do as mattwnz said. Simply download a full backup (inc domain records, mysql etc), upload to new provider through Cpanel's restore feature, change your DNS settings and you're away. If your webhost provides it (I can't think of any that wouldn't), use their transfer service as they can do it point-to-point without the file having to be downloaded inbetween (a lot quicker for all involved).

 
 
 
 


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  #1029799 23-Apr-2014 14:19
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Change your DNS TTL down to 5 minutes two days before the move, put it back a day after the move. The new host may do the transfer for you.

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Uber Geek


  #1029839 23-Apr-2014 15:13
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I note that you did say you don't want to lose emails. If you use IMAP and store them on the server, the only way not to lose them would be to download them to your computer, or get the web host to do a full backup and restore, which should also transfer your email account and mail storage.

160 posts

Master Geek


  #1030345 24-Apr-2014 09:33
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I'd recommend to check that software stack that you use doesn't have significant differences in versions. Some DB and VM's has backward incompatibilities that can fail to run your code (if you use shared hosting).

87 posts

Master Geek


  #1031845 26-Apr-2014 23:44
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The biggest issue I see with this is that people often expect to cancel services with one provider the same day they pick up services with a new one.  Budget in a few days (weeks!) to transition.  Setup your zone with the new provider (given it's cPanel, this shouldn't be much of an issue), setup your email and setup hosting.  Cut over DNS and then watch services transfer.  Once you're happy that everything is over and you've got a backup of your old settings and systems, cancel your old service.

If this is too much to manage, you should look to outsource your IT to someone who can manage it for you.  Too many times I've spoken to people who can't afford downtime yet they devalue their IT budget for major changes like this.



689 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #1031871 27-Apr-2014 07:23
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gustov: After six years with Kiwi Webhosting I am taking my domains name, e-mail and web-hosting business to another provider in three weeks time when my contract falls due.  The company was bought by Orcon a couple of years ago and service now is appalling. I travelled to the USA last July for three months and could not even use an FTP client to update my website, and even my e-mail client would not work in the USA and I had to rely on webmail. Orcon took a month just reply to my repeated request for support assistance, and that never solved the problem. So I'm taking my business elsewhere. Rant over.

The purpose of this posting to ask for any advice or hints readers might have in transitioning to another web host provider that will minimise any down-time for my small-business website (I manage my own website) and also the receiving of e-mails.

My existing and new provider both use CPanel, which I have a basic understanding of.

Should I set up my web site with the new provider a few days befoire my contract with the old provider expires?

Is the transition a straight-forward process, or are there traps and horror stories out there?

My first concern will be to avoid losing any incoming e-mails.

All advice welcome!

Thanks.


The main points are:

 

  • Do your name servers need to be changed? 
  • Is your website constantly updating? Or reasonably static? Ie would it matter if it didnt get updated for 24 hours?
The first step I would take is a full backup. cPanel make this very easy, I would highly recommend it.


The day before migration day you want to lower your TTL, as mentioned above, as this will lower your propagation time, meaning you will be up and running on the new server, quicker.

Email gets interesting, I don't have enough time to get into it now, but feel free to give me a call (as below) and i'll highlight a few issues with a migration and how to avoid them.


If you would like a hand, or to briefly talk to some one over the phone, feel free to give me a buzz via my business number (see the website listed in my profile). I do these sort of migrations every day and am happy to give some free advice/help.

 
 
 
 


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Ultimate Geek

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  #1037080 5-May-2014 15:28
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Three weeks? I'd have setup everything at your new provider already if possible then just migrate the domain when your ready.

But in a nutshell:

 

  • Always have a recent backup of your website files and content.
  • Add your new Mail Host to your Domain SPF records in advance of transferring hosts.
  • Transition to the new provider before your contract with your old provider finishes don't advise the old provider your cancelling til the migration is complete.
  • Try and always have both your domain, and domain nameservers hosted independent of your webhosting so you can move web hosts easier.  If your existing web host hosts your DNS they might stop responding to DNS requests once the domain starts transferring meanwhile requests keep going to the old provider so your website/email doesn't work till cache expires.
  • Have low TTL setting on your domain so that changes appear quicker if your changing IP records.
  • Do the transfer on late Friday afternoon This gives you Friday night for any old cache to expire (not everyone observes TTL) and if there is any urgent problems you can probably get hold of someone in Tech Support for the web hosts on Saturday Morning.



151 posts

Master Geek


  #1037102 5-May-2014 15:50
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Thanks so much to everyone for such helpful advice. I really do appreciate it - you have all given me great ideas and suggestions.

I have always managed my own website, the master copy (so to speak) has always resided on my PC (and of course backed up elsewhere, to a NAS and also the cloud) so I do have everything on hand to upload to my new provider. I use an older version of Dreamweaver (V.8) and have always updated my own site, and use TurboFTP

Also I have always managed my own domain name registrations and have the UDAI keys for those too.

I like the suggestion of making the change on a Friday afternoon, before my old provider is due to debit my credit card five days later - gives me time to get it all working before cancelling with them. My new provider is open on Saturday till noon for support.

Some of the suggestion here I don't quite understand but I am putting this Friday aside for the migration. I may write again!

I wouldn't be doing this if it wern't for the very poor support I experienced from Kiwiwebhosting (a.k.a. Orcon) when I was in the USA for three months last year and could not even FTP to update my site, and they ignored my repeated requests and took a month to respond. I've been with Kiwiwebhosting six years, but I guess web hosters are like insurance companies - you never know if they are really any good until the time comes to make a claim, or ask for support!



151 posts

Master Geek


  #1043034 13-May-2014 14:07
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Thanks to all for your advice. I did the migration yesterday afternoon and it was all completed within a couple of hours, and my website was quickly found on the new server and incoming e-mails came through just fine.

I think it helped that my old and new webhost both use CPanel so not too much of learning curve there.

Thanks again to everyone.

16168 posts

Uber Geek


  #1043041 13-May-2014 14:21
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gustov: 

I wouldn't be doing this if it wern't for the very poor support I experienced from Kiwiwebhosting (a.k.a. Orcon) when I was in the USA for three months last year and could not even FTP to update my site, and they ignored my repeated requests and took a month to respond. I've been with Kiwiwebhosting six years, but I guess web hosters are like insurance companies - you never know if they are really any good until the time comes to make a claim, or ask for support!

I don't agree that you don't know how good their support is, prior to needing it. You can usually find out by initially asking them questions prior to buying the hosting, and finding out how quickly they respond, and how easy they are to understand. Or they may have live chat. The problem though is many hosting companies start out great, but then their level of service drops overtime. This may be after another company buys out the original host and their service isn't as good, which happens a lot, or the business starts to drop off. Not sure what  the average life of a web host is, but probably not that many years.



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