Changed Web Host and Moving Sites

I had enough of GoDaddy: frequent downtimes, bad customer services, over-crowded servers. It only took me 2 weeks to actually cancel my account with them and switch to a different webhost. Although I know it’s going to be extremely tedious moving all my websites across (2 wordpress sites and 2 drupal sites), I rather get everything sorted the way I want than tortured by GoDaddy’s rubbish web hosting.

It’s a long process, took me about 5 hours to get everything up and running. Thought I might write down what I did so I can use it again for reference if I decide to switch web host again.

Note: before registering a web host, make sure you pick the most important / most used domain as your primary domain. It should be the one you are most likely to renew / extend in the future.

Website Transfer

To make the transfer down time as short as possible (or none at all), we should duplicate website files and database in the new web host’s server before we change the Domain’s name servers.

  • Backup databases and files from webhost to local computer
  • Create and restore databases, upload files to the new host via FTP
  • Amend the new database login details in the website (for WordPress – wp-config.php, for drupal – sites/default/settings.php)
  • Use the temp domain name to test the website make sure they are running correctly (it might not depends on your drupal / wordpress sites url settings, so testing at this stage not essential for CMS sites)

Domain Name Server

Once the websites and databases have been moved, we can now change the name servers of our domains to the new host. It took me about 30 mins, but it could sometimes take 2 to 48 hours to propagate through the globe.

I prefer to have test.html file in a subfolder that says ‘new hosts ready’. So I just keep refreshing this page on my browser, and know when the name server has been updated when it turn from ‘404 not found’ to ‘new hosts ready’.

Use Multiple Domain With One Hosting Account

This is easy, any domains apart from the primary domain will need to be associated in your cPanel as “Addon Domains”, and linked to a subfolder in your root directory. Simply google it.

Host Primary Domain In A Subfolder

This is not really a good idea especially for Drupal / WordPress sites, because it can screw up all your post contents and themes!

The reason I did it is because all the subdomains are hosted in subfolders at the same level as the primary domain website files, it would look a bit messy.To make the folders look tidier, and decided to host my primary domain in a subfolder along with other subfolders. This can be done by using a .htaccess or/and index.php file to redirect visitors to the primary domain to a subfolder.

I actually broke my wordpress sites, and I had to fix the content images url by downloading the database, open it as text file, find and replace the old url with the new one! And still the theme which I spent 8 hours building  was broken, and there was no way I could fix it, which means I would have to build it again! FxxK.

So there you go, try to avoid having subfolder for your primary domain.

Setup CloudFlare

I don’t know how much faster this new technology can make my site, but one of the guys from my new web host keeps emailing me and asking me to try it. One of the good things about CloudFlare is that it caches your front page, so when your site is down, it still displays your front page, but also shows a banner saying your site is down.

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