How can I migrate my website?

One of the questions we receive mainly in connection with the control panel change is how to switch/migrate the website from one server to another. We want to bring this closer to you in this article.
Please read through the entire manual before you just start with it. There are various places where the further steps depend on how your site is structured.

The instructions are not complete and do not apply to all websites. It always depends on how the website was designed, which CMS was used or whether the site is migrated to us from an external server.

preparation

Good preparation is the most important thing when migrating. For example, you should be aware that there are two different servers and that you always have two different access data. Both for FTP , MySQL or for email addresses . Therefore, you should find out the following access data in preparation if you do not know them yet.

  • FTP username and password of the old server
  • FTP user and password of the new server
  • MySQL user and password of the old server
  • MySQL user and password of the new server
  • User and password of the e-mail addresses on the old server
  • User and password of the e-mail addresses on the new server

You should also be aware of the directory in which the website data is located.
If you are currently still using our Confixx Control Panel, then this depends on whether you allow the website to be redirected to a subfolder or not. If you are unsure, it is best to contact our support, who can then help you.

In the Plesk control panel, each website has its own home directory. The website data must be stored in the /httpdocs folder.
If you have an external provider, it is best to ask your current provider in which directory your web data is located if you are unsure.

You will also need an FTP client to download the web data from the server and upload it back to the new server.

Create a database for the domain on the new server beforehand. It is an advantage if the name of the database is the same as on the old server, but it is not mandatory.

You can also create the e-mail addresses on the new server that you will still need after the migration. During a migration, it can make sense to think about whether certain e-mail addresses are still needed at all, because that would be the best time to “clean up”.

Last but not least, it can be helpful to set the so-called TTL value of your DNS records as low as possible. It is best to do this 6-12 hours before the website is migrated. This can help change the IP address of your DNS record faster. If you write to our support that you need an adjustment of the TTL value, we can set this value lower than you can do it yourself. It is important that the DNS records for your domain are managed by us.
To do this, our name servers must be entered for your domain.

Don’t rush to change your domain’s nameservers now. You can break a lot of things by doing this.

If you are currently using nameservers other than ours, then you will need to contact your nameserver provider and ask if the TTL values can be lowered because you are migrating. You do not necessarily have to use our name servers to perform the migration. You can always change the name server later.

Which DNS records need to be changed for migration?

We will not be able to answer the questions conclusively for you, as this depends on how your site is structured and which pages can be accessed. It is important that you only change the DNS records when your website data is already on the new server. Nevertheless, we are writing you the information now because it is part of the preparation that you are aware of this change and already have the necessary information.

Usually you have to adjust the following DNS records.

  • A record for yourdomain.eu
  • A record for www.yourdomain.eu

You may not have an A record for www.yourdomain.eu. Then you probably need to change the A record for *.yourdomain.eu.

If you also migrate e-mails, the MX record may also have to be adjusted. Which changes are necessary depends on how it is currently set up.

If the MX record points to mail.yourdomain.eu, you must change the A record for either mail.yourdomain.eu or *.yourdomain.eu.
If the MX record points to a server name (example.yourprovider.com), then the best thing to do is change the MX record to mail.yourdomain.eu and make sure there is either an A record that says mail.yourdomain .eu, or an A record for *.yourdomain.eu, which in turn refers to the IP address of our server.

You can find the IP address of your new server on your access data sheet .

Here’s the hint again: We explain below which changes are necessary and when.

Perform the migration

Based on the preparations above, you should now be able to migrate your website to the new server using the following steps.

  1. Make a backup of all data first. In the Confixx Control Panel you can create this under “Tools > Backup” on the left.
  2. Set the TTL value of the affected DNS records as low as possible 6-12 hours before the migration.
  3. If your CMS has a feature that allows you to put the site into maintenance mode, turn that on.
  4. Export your website’s database. If you are currently using the Confixx Control Panel, you do this in phpMyAdmin (https://XYZ.hosttech.eu/phpMyAdmin where XYZ must be replaced with the server number of your Confixx server – e.g. https://124.hosttech./phpMyAdmin)
  5. Connect to your old server using your FTP client and the old server’s FTP credentials
  6. Download your website data to your computer.
  7. Now connect to the new server using your FTP client and the FTP access data for your new server.
  8. Now upload the data of your website here in the correct start directory
  9. Now import the database of your website, which you previously exported, onto the new server. To do this, you can click on “Databases” on the left in the Plesk Control Panel and click on “Import image” for the corresponding database.

The website data is now on the new server. Now comes the tricky part that we can’t fully explain to you. These specialties are listed below in the “Specials” chapter.

The data is now on the server. If you haven’t set up anything special anymore, or have handled all the specifics, it’s now time to adjust the DNS records as described above. Depending on how low you were able to set the TTL values in front of it, it will take longer or shorter until the website can be accessed on the new server.

mails

What is still missing is the migration of the e-mails. With these instructions, you can receive e-mails without interruption if, as mentioned above, you have already created the e-mail addresses on the new server.
Once the DNS record changes are active, the emails will be received on the new server instead of the old one.

What you still have to do is move the emails from the old server to the new server.
The easiest way for you to do this is to set up the e-mail address in your e-mail client (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.) once with the access data from the old server, and at the same time the same e-mail address with the access data set up from the new server .

As soon as you see that emails arrive in the inbox of the email address on the new server, you can simply move the emails from the old mailbox to the mailbox of the new account with the mouse. After that’s done, you can delete the old server’s email address setup.

If you got this far, the migration should be complete. Congratulations! 🙂

special

Depending on how your site is structured, you may have to make various adjustments after the data has been uploaded to the new server. We list some examples here, but the list is certainly not exhaustive.

  • Database user and password
    When you create a database on the new server, you also define a user and password. These values usually have to be adjusted in certain configuration files of your website.
    With WordPress, for example, you have to adjust the values for “DB_USER” and “DB_PASSWORD” in the wp-config.php file. If you have also chosen a new name for the database, the value for “DB_NAME” must also be adjusted.
  • Settings for plugins also have to be adjusted in some cases.
    For example, if you use the “Wordfence” plugin, you must adjust the absolute path specification in the .user.ini and wordfence-waf.php files.
    The following can be an example.
    Old: /var/www/web123/html
    For example, /var/www/vhosts/deinedomain.eu/httpdocs should be new

Before you change the DNS records, you can check whether your website can be accessed on the new server. This requires an adjustment of the hosts file on your computer.

Updated on 17. June 2022

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