Two sites, two servers, one domain name - help!

I am doing a complete redesign on a client’s site. They use Wordpress as their CMS. We are changing from the current hosting system because I am very dissatisfied with limitations on the hosting and the control panel they are using.

Questions:

What is the best way to get the new site up and running on the new host? I will manually move the files that I will be keeping (since the client has been uploading to the site for years and the file structure is a mess) but will completely create a whole new front end (new install of Wordpress)

What should I be looking for in terms of moving the Wordpress DB from the old hosting company to maintain the existing archive structure? They don’t have a ton of articles archived (they tend to post them and delete them when they are out of date). Probably no more than 25-30 articles total. Easier to mess with the DB or just copy and paste the posts and recreate the dates?

What should I be aware of as I am developing the new site on the new server? I can’t use the domain name (as it points to the old hosting server), but can I use the IP address? I am concerned about link addresses getting messed up. This is what is tripping me up more than anything.

I am not a new developer, just never had to do two sites with the same domain name on two different servers simultaneously…! (and juggle all the attendant DBs from Wordpress).

Also - I am looking for a new hosting company. I rarely need customer support, but when I do, it’s usually a thorny problem that I can’t take care of myself. The site is about 2-4G (not sure the final size as I am trying to get them to jettison a lot of crap that they have uploaded over the years - think “Hoarders” for websites. Prefer a company that uses cPanel. Any thoughts on who you’ve been happy with?

Thanks for advice from the trenches.

Simply export their existing database using their existing control panel (or use PhpMyAdmin) and import at the new host. Database exactly the same.

No you can’t use their old IP address if moving to a new web host. Each web host has their own IPs. They are not sharable.

I HIGHLY recommend you NOT do any fancy wordpress installs. I would just clone it to the new web host. Make sure its all working. And MAYBE then optimise it or upgrade it. Not before, and not before making a backup of the newly moved Working version).

Many use cpanel, this site has a few to pick from: hostingcensus.com

Yeah, I agree with Backupteddy. Don’t upgrade until you’ve moved the current site files first. So download all the site files to your computer, then re-upload to another domain and upload the saved database as well.

As for the domain still being active on the old server, well, perhaps you should do all this at a temporary domain—such as a subdomain of your own site. Or you could work locally, using something like MAMP or WAMP. You can even let the client log in to see the work on your own computer, though I haven’t yet worked out how to do that myself.

I second creating a subdomain for testing. If you have access to their registrar you can create a subdomain under that domain that points to the test server. Or you can create a subdomain on your own domain.

Assuming you are moving everything straight to the new server you want it to stay on, when you are done with development you just need to get the domain pointed to the new server.

Also, copying the database will give you all the content and information, but there might be certain format settings in WordPress that you need to copy over. Like the format of dates or how the folder structure and dynamic urls are generated. Those options will still be there in the new version of WP, just make sure to make a note of what they are and check that it’s working how you want.

I’m not an expert by any means, but I’ve had a few sites up on different hosts and I love bluehost.com Any time I have an issue, they are there with 24/7 support. :slight_smile:

I always use a plugin called BackUpBuddy for moving my WordPress websites to new servers.

The plugin backs up all of your existing files (and database) and you then upload to your nee server and the plugin guides you through entering the name and password of your new database.