As a web hosting company we move around tons of websites all the time. The most challenging migrations happen when physical datacenter locations are changed. On such occasions we transfer upwards of 300TB of data. It usually travels over the wire, but we have also physically moved server machines and literally transported websites by the truckload!
Another massive migration event is when we update our infrastructure, and move all our customers to a new platform (for example when we introduced the LXC infrastructure last year). We do this every other year, so that all our users’ websites can always take advantage of the most innovative solutions.
Yet there is another kind of website migrations, that seems more humble at the surface, but is actually extremely important for us, because it has been happening every single day since we started our company. This is the transfer of new customer websites that come from another host. We believe that this “welcome transfer” is an art of itself and here I will share how we have mastered it.
Practice Makes Perfect
We provide free website transfers as part of our onboarding service since day one of our company. Currently we receive more than 3000 migration requests each month. The accumulated experience is tremendous and you can bet that our team has come across and solved (almost) any possible problem that can appear during a website transfer.
We know the pitfalls of the process of all the popular hosting providers, from which we see incoming users. For example, sometimes even the otherwise straightforward cPanel transfers can be made tricky by hosts that use a specific file structure. Being aware about such issues, we always manually go over the accounts of these users, and fix several things so that the website can start working flawlessly on our infrastructure.
We also have an extensive list of important things to be checked for all popular applications like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc. when they are being moved to a new server. For example, some of the hosts that accommodate WordPress only, make crucial changes to the wp-config.php files of their users, which, if not reverted, may prevent the website from functioning on another platform. These include adding custom rules that will not work on a new environment, or including a closing php tag at the end of the file. Another thing we always check are the file and folder permissions. If they are not set right, this can result in an error on the front page of the website. The MySQL connection settings are also very important, and we check them with extra caution, so that the site does not continue to try to use the previous server MySQL, after the transfer.
One Procedure to Rule Them All
The things mentioned above are just a small fraction of what we do when a website is being transferred. There are multiple other things that should be done and checked, depending on the particular host from which we make the move, the availability of a cPanel backup, whether we have SSH access or FTP only, if the transferred site is WordPress or another application, etc. To make sure all customers receive the same high quality of the transfer service, we have created an extensive procedure that is followed by all our transfer specialists and is being continuously updated. It also includes the activation of our own cool systems like application autoupdater, SuperCacher, etc. And to add a classy finishing touch, we even scan each website we transfer for malware as part of the procedure.
Because a Good Start Matters
We want the best for the start of your journey at SiteGround, so we’ve worked hard to make our onboarding process quick and hassle free. While the above is just a summary of the magic that goes on behind the site migration, in essence it’s what leads us to the sweetest moment, when we can finally say - Welcome to SiteGround.