Though there are utilities that can drive a simple website move, they are often too complicated, or end up moving bad parts of your website that you want to lose.
It is important to plan carefully before you move any website to a new web-server, but there is one simple procedure that works in almost every case. I use it as my fallback procedure, amending where necessary, or replacing if the website move has unusual needs.
This is an instantaneous move that overcomes the biggest problem when moving to a new web-server – DNS propagation.
Think about how your mail reaches you. You tell people your address, and the mail service finds you from your zip code or postcode. When you move, you have to tell all your contacts, and that takes time.
On the Internet, your website has it’s own address, which is stored as the Domain Name Server (DNS) in your registration record. All services connected via the Internet use a lookup service to find that address, but they do not look at your registration record every time they need to find you. The physical address of your domain is stored in fast lookup tables spread across the world. If you change your web-server, it takes time for all those records to be updated. That is why you see references to “wait 24 to 48 hours” when you move to a new web-server.
That means you have to stop publishing, move your site, then wait 2 days before you can start publishing again. In reality, the change is usually shorter, and there are ways to minimize the delays. However, there is a simple way to remove the delay completely. A way that also brings many other benefits, with the most useful ones being free.
Move Your Website With CloudFlare
Even if you are not planning to move your website, CloudFlare makes your site much more secure. It also gives you access to several apps that help improve your website. I will do separate articles on specific benefits from CloudFlare in future. For now, I will focus on the exceptional way it helps you move your website.
When you signup to CloudFlare, you change your DNS records to point to the CloudFlare service, which intercepts all traffic to your website. You will see in other articles how that interception can save you resources by serving cached copies, and make your site more secure by blocking known threats.
The beauty of this service for moving your website is that changes are instantaneous.
In the next article I will look at the steps in my simple website move procedure. The overview is:
- Backup WordPress extensions, WordPress data, email forwarders, and certain special files
- Copy backups to your new web-server and re-install WordPress
- Switch CloudFlare DNS records to your new webserver
It is important to do certain procedures in the correct order, but it really is as simple as that. So simple that if you decide to move to Shrewdies, I’ll do it for you.
Stay tuned for details of my simple website move procedure, and pricing details for Shrewdies Websites (AKA ShrewdieSites).