This article is part of a series created in partnership with SiteGround. Thank you for supporting the partners who make SitePoint possible.
It is said that moving house may be one of the most stressful events you encounter in life. Moving your website to a new hosting provider involves similar steps: choosing a new home, planning and preparation, and the move itself. Is it possible to do it stress-free? I decided to find out.
In our last article, Migrating Your WordPress Site to A New Hosting Provider, we showed how you can simplify the process of moving your website by the use of plugins.
But the process may still sound intimidating. After all, you don’t migrate a website every day. You can avoid the time and effort involved in a WordPress migration—and potential missteps or disasters—by handing the job over to an experienced professional.
SitePoint recently partnered with SiteGround as our official recommended host, and they offer such a service. They have a team of support people who do migrate websites every day waiting to help. In fact, they’ll migrate your first website for free.
That sounds like an offer too good to miss out on, so I decided to try it out. Here’s how it went.
SiteGround Offer to Migrate Your Website for You
Log into your SiteGround account, and click go to the Support page. Part way down the page you’ll find a link to transfer a website.
Fill in the form requesting them to transfer your website, giving them your hosting credentials along with any details they need. In particular, if you have more than one website, make sure you clearly explain which one you are requesting them to transfer.
Oh, and before submitting the ticket, it’s a good idea to first create a backup of your site.
They Will Clarify Any Questions that Arise
Soon after submitting the form, the SiteGround team will be on the job. In fact, the next thing you might hear is that the website transfer has been successfully completed.
But questions may arise, and decisions may need to be made. Don’t worry, you’ll be involved in all decisions. When the support team need some information from you, you’ll be notified by email, and the process will wait until you respond via the ticketing system.
That happened several times in my case. As I responded to each question that arose, a different support representative would pick up them ball and move things forward. I found them knowledgable and helpful, and it was great to see the names and photos of the staff I was dealing with.
Here are the questions that were clarified during my site migration:
- A request for me to take action. Some infected files were found, and needed to be cleaned up before my WordPress install was copied onto SiteGround’s servers. One of my sites was recently hacked, and some of the malware was still lurking around, though not in the folder I was migrating.
- Clarifications about login details. I initially only gave my FTP credentials for copying the files. Login details for mySQL or cPanel were required for the database migration.
- Clarifications about the database. Something didn’t seem right – it looked like the database belonged to a different domain. We realized that the database from a different WordPress installation had been migrated, and this was quickly rectified.
Once All Questions Were Clarified, the Site Was Transferred
Not long after answering SiteGround’s questions I was notified that the migration was successfully completed. That was pretty easy! How long did it take in total? A few days.
If that sounds slow, it’s because most of that time was SiteGround waiting for me, not the other way around. If we used a chess clock to time the migration, SiteGround’s moves took less than eleven hours, while mine took more than two and a half days.
Dealing with the questions that arose was essential, but took time.
- I would have saved some time by giving my cPanel credentials at the beginning.
- It took a few days to find time to clean up the infected files – it was a busy week.
For a migration where no questions arise, I imagine the transfer would take just a few hours.
Transfer Your Domain Name Too
In addition to transferring my hosting to SiteGround, I wanted to transfer my domain name too—it’s convenient to have everything taken care of by one company. This costs $14.95, which includes an additional year of domain registration and covers the transfer fee to the registrars.
SiteGround was more than happy to support me through the process over chat. In less than a minute I was being helped by Tsacho, a customer support representative. I explained what I wanted to do, and he responded, “OK – we will do it together.”
He patiently led me through the process, and used humour to keep me smiling. 38 minutes later the transfer was complete. “Pleasure was all mine. Enjoy your working day as I will try to do. Still 6h to go. ;)”
Summary and Helpful Tips for Your Next Migration
I’m happy with the end result. My site was transferred quickly, successfully, and without stress.
Here are a few tips I can pass on from my experience:
- Give your cPanel username, password and URL up front. The less questions the support people need to ask you, the quicker your migration will be.
- If you have more than one website, give as much detail as you can when describing which one to migrate.
- Before starting the migration, back up all of your websites. Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.
And finally, don’t procrastinate. There’s no reason to put this off another day. Experienced support gurus are on hand to migrate your website for you. Stress-free.