Tips and Considerations for Migrating a Server (Things I learned)

I’ve been a little light on content lately, and I apologize. There’s a lot going on in my personal life, but I wanted to throw out some tips for migrating from a shared host to a VPS. It didn’t go quite as planned for me, but it’s still working out for me. I’m probably going to take things in a slightly different direction because I’m more of an application developer than web or cloud developer. Anyway, I figured I’d put together a short list of items you should consider, things I did consider, and things I wish I had paid a little more attention to in the process:

Do your research on VPS providers. They are all charging different rates for different things. Some offer CPanel, and others offer their own panel. Things such as bandwidth and allocated hardware can also differ across host and plan. The cheapest plan might be enough, but you may want a little more hardware under the hood if you plan on hosting applications. Furthermore, software configuration (e.g. firewall selection) differs across hosts and packages. Trying to install and configure the wrong firewall can crash your entire server and cause problems. Try to learn what you can before you move your site to avoid problems like that.

Make sure you choose a good location for your host. This is especially important for larger businesses that may expect traffic in different countries, because the further a server is away from your target audience the more lag they will experience. However, for a small website this is also an important consideration. Most of my audience comes from the US, so it wouldn’t make sense to host my site in China. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but it does come up in tech certification and it is something worth considering.

Five 9s is more reliable than four 9s. This is something that comes up in A+ certification I believe, and basically if a company is offering 99.99999% uptime that’s a bit more uptime than 99.9999% uptime. The cost-benefit analysis may not argue in favor of greater guaranteed uptime. Sit down and figure out what works for you, whether it’s a personal site, small business, or large business.

Have a plan and backup plan. I have a primary website, but I also have all my content backed up on my PC. It saved me time and money when it came to migrating my host. I was able to do it all on my own, and my host only offered a small sliver of time for free migration. However, I did have some issues migrating my WordPress content because I didn’t take that into consideration prior migration.

Lastly, make sure you set aside enough time that you can address anything that may go wrong during the process. If you choose to migrate your domain name, that can include another wrinkle in your plan. The more complex your plan is the more that can go wrong. That is not to say things will necessarily go wrong, but if they do you want to make sure you can give them the attention they need. Things don’t always go according to plan, and that’s okay as long as you’re prepared for when things go wrong.

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