I have been hesitant to post on this topic in particular because I don’t know that there is an easy, one-size-fits-all answer to how to best migrate your blog from one hosting company to another. Most web companies store their information in their own ways and have varying degrees of data access they provide to their users. However, I can tell you what worked for me when moving my website from a DreamHost “private” server (snicker) to a shared server at LiquidWeb. First, let me tell you the price differential: I started out in July of 2008 at DreamHost on a shared server at $4.95/month. After a few months of spotty service, I decided to upgrade to a Private Server at DreamHost with the thought that this would be preferrable to switching hosts altogether. The base service was $14.95/month (I think), with some deals if you pay ahead of time. After my .htaccess file was hacked last month, I purchased shared service at LiquidWeb for $74.95/six months of service (about $12.50 per month), which seems to be fine for my current traffic needs. I am very happy with the LiquidWeb service and (especially) support thusfar and would highly recommend them if you’re looking to switch hosts.
Here are the steps I took that eventually led to my web host being changed, for what it’s worth (not much). Your mileage may vary.
- Purchased web space at a new company (LiquidWeb). Before I did this, I confirmed that the shared service would be enough for my traffic levels at present. They told me it would, “unless I was going to be on Oprah,” and in that case I should “just let [them] know beforehand.” Snicker. Will do.
- Backed up my database and other files at the old server. Every company does this differently, but you should know how to do it or figure it out immediately. You should back up your database regularly so that if something happens to your site, you’ll always have the raw materials to rebuild it. As long as your database is intact, you should be OK.
- Backed up the wp-content folder to my own computer. You need to do this for all of your blogs, so if you only have one, then it’s just the one folder. Otherwise, do it for every install of wordpress you have. It may take a while, particularly if you have a lot of photos. You can use FTP.
- Followed the instructions for migrating servers found here. This is where things started to go bad for me. I followed all of the instructions for this but it still didn’t work, and I think it had to do with the compatibility of permissions on the DreamHost server versus the LiquidWeb server. It is worth a shot if you want to try doing your data migration alone, though, because the tutorial I linked is comprehensive and step-by-step. For some reason I was having a hard time getting everything to work, but like I’ve told you before I have five different blogs installed here, so if your blog is not that complicated, you might just be able to pull it off yourself.
- Posted a support ticket at LiquidWeb begging for their help. I’m not kidding. My support ticket said, “Please please please handle this data migration for me. I will pay any amount of money.” I got a response within about ten minutes, and the process started from there.
- Was willing to pay a fee. After the team at LiquidWeb looked at my blog, my hosting plan, and DreamHost’s server, they told me they’d have to charge me $100 to complete the work. I happily paid it. After this, I went back and forth with the support team over the course of about three days to get everything working. If you are migrating a site from DreamHost to LiquidWeb like I was, one thing you might like to know to cut out some of the middleman is that DreamHost does not have the equivalent of the “public_html” file at LiquidWeb, nor do they have CPanel access. Don’t worry about understanding what that means, I still don’t really understand, but the team doing the data migration will.
- Wait patiently, and await with anticipation the day you are free from DreamHost’s clutches.