Thinking about switching hosting providers

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by wrldwzrd89, Mar 22, 2007.

  1. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5


    Jun 6, 2003
    Solon, OH
    I'm considering making a switch from 1&1 to A Small Orange as my hosting provider. Can anyone give me some guidance on how to make the transition as seamless as possible? I've already registered a domain, and I'm going to need to transfer it over (in addition to all my files, which will be easily handled via FTP). I also have a couple of MySQL databases, which I can manage through phpMyAdmin if need be, to get them transferred.

    Anything else I forgot?
  2. Knox Administrator


    Staff Member

    Jul 1, 2002
    How you transfer it will largely depend on how long you're willing for it to be down or 'in transition' and how much control you have over DNS. For important domains this is my '10 minute max downtime' transfer method:


    1. On the new account, set up the site as if it was being used 'live' and test that everything works including all databases, passwords etc. If necessary, create a temporary subdomain and point it at the new account. Remember to test email as well.
    2. Move DNS servers to new account and set up DNS to duplicate the existing configuration. So, your DNS servers are on the new account but pointing traffic to the old one. Done a few days before you intend to transfer the site.
    3. Change DNS 'time to live' to 15 minutes. Done 24 hours prior to transfer (or longer if the TTL is very long) This means that you can change DNS and visitors won't have to wait before getting the new DNS entries.

    Actual Transfer

    Should be done at low-traffic hours, which for my sites tends to be very early Sunday morning.

    • Futher reduce DNS TTL to 60 seconds and wait 20 minutes
    • Use mod_rewrite to redirect all pages on both the existing site and the duplicate site on the new account to a "sorry, we are temporarily down" page. I usually set mod_rewrite to exclude my IP so I can still browse the site.
    • Change DNS to point at the new account
    • Dump database to file and transfer to the new database
    • Transfer all files to the new account
    • DNS should have refreshed by this point, so you can now test the site on the new account
    • Change mod_rewrite on the old account to a "we have moved, you shouldn't be seeing the page but if you are..." page
    • Remove mod_rewrite on the new account, allowing visitors to see the site again.

    That is likely to be overkill for a lot of sites, but has served me well for sites that get reasonable traffic levels (and so where downtime matters).

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