Knowledgebase: Web Hosting Related
Site Migration Guide
Posted by Support, Last modified by Support on 22 February 2008 07:15 AM
Moving your website can sometimes be quite a challenge - you want there to be as little disruption as possible to your visitors and clients; a seamless transition. This guide provides some tips for moving your site to AISO.Net's servers.

Plan the move in writing

It's one thing to say "I'll remember to do that"; quite another for it to actually eventuate. Web sites can be complex systems, so we strongly suggest putting your migration plan in writing.

Tidy up time

Moving your web site to AISO is an excellent opportunity for a tidy up. Why take redundant files and site errors with you?

Go through your site's file base, see what you don't require and delete it. You may want to back up files you are deleting somewhere on your hard drive in case you make a mistake.

Fix problems

Now is the perfect opportunity for fix any malfunctioning scripts and broken links. If you're looking for a good link verification service, the W3C provides one free of charge:

http://validator.w3.org/checklink

Old scripts no longer in use or but still in your file base or scripts/applications you are using that need updating are tasty morsels for hackers.

Notify your members/subscribers.

It's worthwhile to start notifying your subscribers, clients and visitors weeks in advance if possible - not just a couple of hours before the move. People have a tendency to scan notices etc, so your notification needs to be repeated - on your site and in your newsletters.

Scripts and databases

AISO may have different paths for CGI scripts and MySQL databases then your current host. Write up a list of every script on your site so you'll know what you'll need to check and perhaps change.

Back up your site and databases

After you've tidied your site, ensure you make a backup on your hard drive. Don't forget to also back up your scripts and databases.

Here is a guide to backup/restore mysql database.

Upload and test

Before changing your domain name nameserver (DNS) information, make sure you have signed up your domain name with AISO and uploaded your files.

Using AISO's temporary subdomain name you can then upload your files to your site folder, eg yoursite.com and view it via your AISO alias subdomain name; e.g webXXXXX.aiso.net. The alias name will "point" to the main site folder. Adding an alias happens automatically on all plans.

E-mail issues

Record all the e-mail addresses used in connection with your domain name and make sure that you setup your e-mail accounts in your AISO control panel. In your e-mail software , add the new e-mail accounts, but be sure to keep old e-mail account information for a week or so after changing nameserver information for your domain name. While DNS (nameserver) information is updating, you may still receive email via your own host. This period is called propagation and can last up to 72 hours from the time that you change your DNS info. The period of time is something that we have no control over; it depends on how quickly various ISP's update their DNS caches.

Propagation

As mentioned, propagation can affect your email - it will also affect your site. During the propagation period, it's more than likely that people will view your site on your old host at times and at other times, the version that is hosted on AISO. If you have forums etc. it's wise to close them on your old host after you update DNS until the propagation period is complete.

Expect things to go wrong

No matter how much well you plan, things can still go wrong. If you've put aside a day for your move, double it - just to be sure. This is especially important if you utilize a substantial number of scripts on your site.

Monitor DNS changes

This can be done using free software such as HyperTrace.

This application displays the route that information travels from your machine to another machine. It will show you the nameserver that your domain name resolves to at that point in time -this may "bounce" from old to new during the 72 hour propagation window.

Once your site is consistently showing AISO nameservers, start checking over it carefully via your domain name. It doesn't hurt to email your subscriber list to tell them that the new server is now live and you'd appreciate bug reports. This can save you hours and helps to get your site visitors more involved.

Leave the old site live

If possible, leave the site hosted on your previous server for a couple of weeks. This helps to ensure that any "straggler" search engines that are spidering by IP rather than domain name are updated. It also provides you with another backup in case of emergency.
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