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This topic contains 6 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Weaver 7 months ago.

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  • #59626

    Weaver
    Keymaster

    The Weaver Xtreme Forum is now up and running on our new hosting company, SiteGround!

    After the total disaster of 10 days of downtime, or very intermittent uptime at best, we’ve abandoned our longtime (like over 5 years) hosting company BlueHost. We can no longer recommend using BlueHost after this terrible service.

    After extensive research, and recalling a good impression I got from a SiteGround vendor table at the WordPress Camp in Denver last year, I decided to switch to them. So far, so good. The sites seem really fast, and the rate for their premium WordPress plan seemed pretty good. So, let’s cross our fingers and hope I don’t have another fiasco with them.

    I wish BlueHost had been honest, and really let me know my sites would be down for a long time. I would have tried to find a new host sooner, although I didn’t even have access to my files or databases to move them.

    For the first time, their support was very unresponsive. After getting no help from the first level of support (which has been excellent before), it took at least two days to get connected to a supervisor. Then, I got all sorts of the most feeble excuses as to why the particular server hosting Weaver Theme wasn’t working. There may have been some sort of technical fact in what he said, but it was certainly not relevant to a customer whose site had been down for 5 days already. They simply should have moved all the accounts on that server to a new one. I’ve never heard of any hosting company letting an unknown number of customers simply have their sites down for 10 days. I never even got a reply that the server was finally fixed, nor any sort of apology for this horrible breach of expected service.

    It does seem that BlueHost may have been purchased by a new owner as their emails no longer use bluehost.com in the address, but rather endurance.com. So it doesn’t look too good for the long term for BlueHost if their tech support and customer service continue on this steep downward path.

    #59653

    GR8FL
    Participant

    How complicated is it to move to a new host?

    I signed on with Bluehost for a friend of mine and have not been happy with their support as their c-panel is hosed and has been for several days. They blame it on the new UI, but that is not good enough at this point. They could figure out what the problem is in the background and give us the older version of c-panel.

    I’m still within my 30-day money back guarantee.

    #59661

    Weaver
    Keymaster

    I’ve figured out a routine to move to a new host, with some mods for SiteGround.

    Moving the forum was a bit harder since it is interactive and needed to stop posts during the move.

    Here’s a summary (note – I intend to also post this on the guide, so I’m providing a fairly detailed set of instructions):

    The general theory is that there are only two actual critical components of a site’s content and organization: the /wp_content directory, and the site’s database. Everything else (except the wp_config.php file are the same for any WP site.)

    1. It is easiest if the sites are routed through Cloudflare, and have some sort of https: setup. This makes changing the host IP address trivial, as opposed to waiting for the DNS name server to propogate, which can take quite a bit of time. The Cloudflare update is essentially instant.
    2. On the origin host, make a .zip file of the wp_content directory into the site root.
    3. Make a note of the value of $table_prefix in the origin wp_config.php file (‘wp_’ is a common default, but it might be different). You can also get the from looking at the site’s database in phpMyAdmin.
    4. Open phpMyAdmin on the origin. Open the database for the site being moved. Export the database to your computer. Once you’ve done this, you must not make changes to the original site. You will almost certainly want to select the “custom” option, and then select a format for the export – .zip is fine.
    5. On the siteground host (and probably likely the same on any typical host), make sure there is a target directory for the domain. This might be the root domain of the host account, or it might be an add-on domain, or even a subdomain. This action creates the host directory for the site.
    6. Use the WP installer to install a default WP site on the new host. Remember, that at this point the live site is still pointing to the original host. IMPORTANT: When installing the WP, the only critical option to change (usually under Advanced settings) it the database table prefix. On siteground, for example, the auto-install generates something like ‘wprd’, where the 2nd two letters are random. To make life easiest, you need to change this to the value of the original site that you noted in step 3. It doesn’t really matter what the auto-install names the site, nor the user. The auto-install normally creates a wp_config.php file with appropriate references to the database.
    7. Now, go to the cPanel of the new, target site. Upload the wp_content.zip file you created in step 2. I typicall rename the auto-installed wp_config.php to a backup name.
    8. Unzip the wp_content.zip file. Open it and look for caching plugins, most likely in the /mu_plugins folder. Delete them and any other cache file you can find.
    9. Open myPhpAdmin for the target site. Open the newly created database. You can find is name in the new wp_config.php file, or check the wp_content table in the created database for the URL. Open the top level of the database. Then, near the bottom of the screen that lists all the tables, check the check-all box, and then “With selected” select the drop option. This will empty out the created table.
    10. Upload the copy of the database file you saved in step 4. Unless the database is really big, this method will almost always work. This forum’s database was too big, and I had to use SSH access to import it using command line commands. I’ll just assume here that the normal myPhpAdmin Import works.
    11. You’re almost done. You’ve put your content into the wp_content folder. The wp_config.php file has been auto-created with the proper settings. You’ve uploaded database for your site. All that is left is to switch which host is used to display the site.
    12. Before the actual switch, we need a word about SSL, or using https://. This has become essentially mandatory for websites. To the end, most hosting companies now provide SSL certificates. Sometimes they are automatically assigned to hosted domains, sometimes (as with siteground) you have to use a cPanel option to set them up. This is the only really screwy part of the Siteground migration. I’ll explain it in a bit.
    13. Change the Cloudflare IP to point to the new host’s IP for your site. This might be a shared IP, or a dedicated IP. Doesn’t make any difference. One thing that sets up https:// is to change the address of your Home and Site URLs in the WP Admin Settings : General menu to use https://.
    14. Change the Cloudflare Crypto option to Full (Strict). If you didn’t create an SSL certificate earlier for this site (either Flexible or Full), you might need to wait a day to get the new certificate populated before finishing this setup. (If your site was previously simply http://, you should leave the Crypto to Off and add SSL later.)
    15. Click the Purge Caches option in Cloudflare.
    16. Now the odd part, at least on Siteground. At this point, you don’t yet have an SSL certificate on SiteGround. So, if you then try to open your site in a browser, you should see errors, either from Cloudflare, or from the browser. This is because the Cloudflare “Full (Strinct)” crypto option demands that there be an SSL certificate on your target site, as well as on Cloudflare.
    17. But the transfer is almost instant. And now you have to install a Siteground SSL certificate for your site. This is done from the cPanel Security Let’s Encrypt app. You need to do this after changing the IP because Siteground won’t install the SSL unless the DNS records point to Siteground already. So pick your site’s URL, and install an SSL. (the regular one, not the wildcard). Supposedly this gets in a queue, and should eventually be installed. But I found that I had to repeatedly click the create button until it actually works to reload your site in the browser.
    18. Some possible glitches – sometimes it took a couple of tries to get the site loaded after the SSL certificate was activated. And sometime, I had a bit of trouble logging in as the admin (especially if I’d used a hide login plugin before). But a couple of times, I had to delete the hide login plugin, and login with the normal URL/wp-admin address. Then, once logged in, open the Permalinks tab and save permalinks to rewrite the .htaccess file. And, if you’ve never had https:// before, you might need to fix up the database to use https://yoursite.whatever instead of http://. I use the “Better Search Relpace” plugin to fix up all these leftover references – e.g. Search for http://sample.weavertheme.com, Replace with https://sample.weavertheme.com .

    At this point, you should be migrated. I tried some of the migration plugins, but in reality, doing this all by hand proved faster, and I had full control of the process. I used this to migrate over 20 sites to this new Siteground server. I could move an entire site in 10 or 15 minutes – after figuring out the SSL problems and the permalink issue: use “Full (strict)” on Cloudflare, then create the Sitegournd certificate once the Cloudflare IP to the site was changed; saving permalinks.

    Another interesting note – if you have subdomains for a URL, you will have multiple entries in the Cloudflare DNS table. It is possible to change the IP individually for each subdomain, and the main domain. So you can migrate them one at a time. This is huge advantage over changing the DNS nameserver on your registrar, which can take a bit of time, as well as changing all subdomains at the same time. This feature was a lifesaver for me when migrating all the different weavertheme subdomains.

    #59662

    GR8FL
    Participant

    Wow!

    This is a nice detailed account of how to transfer. I need time to digest all of this and I thank you for writing this out.

    I do not have Cloudfare set up. I assume I would have to go to https://www.cloudflare.com. Would I need it for each domain (and does it take care of the subdomains automatically?)?

    I backed up the target site into my Hostgator account in 2 different sub-domains. It’s also on the Bluehost account as well, but I won’t migrate from there. I do not like the endurance-cache and other nasty things it installed as part of the WP installation, and even though I’ve removed it manually through File Manager in C-Panel (which is only half working), I trust the Hostgator one better.

    The C-Panel Let’s Encrypt app is something unique to Siteground?

    Thanks for the tip on the Better Search Replace plugin. That will come in handy. Previously I’ve used https://www.whynopadlock.com to find the errors and correct manually which is a time-consuming pain.

    Again, thank you Bruce.

    P.S. What do you use to backup your sites?

    #59664

    Weaver
    Keymaster

    Cloudflare handles a main domain and all of its subdomains in the same DNS record.

    It is a free service, and helps make your site faster by caching static content on world-wide servers.

    I don’t know what other hosts use to handle ssl – I think each host might do it in a different way. I think Bluehost just handles it automatically – every site it hosts just have https: there.

    You can also simply use Cloudflare with Flexible encryption and the SSL is provided by them, while your host doesn’t need to provide one at all.

    #59670

    GR8FL
    Participant

    I successfully transferred site to Siteground. Didn’t quite do everything manually as you laid out, but have copied your notes for future moves. So far, I do like the site.

    I noticed they’re using SG Cache. I enabled that instead of Comet Cache and it seems to work very well. Do you have any opinions on this cache tool?

    #59671

    Weaver
    Keymaster

    I haven’t tried it yet, but it is installed by default on their auto-generated sites, so I suspect they’re pretty confident in it.

    It is available as a plugin on the WP plugin repository.

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