How To Move Your Website To Another Server

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I’ve been busy moving my sites to a new server for the last couple of weekends. It was a lot of work and wasn’t easy — especially since I’m not a Linux or Apache guru. If you have to move your site to new server, the easiest way to do it is to put in a ticket to your new web hosting company. That will save you a lot of trouble. However, you do have to freeze the content and disable the comments during the move. According to my webhosting company, that could take up to 72 hours or more (depends on the requests queue). Disabling commentings on my busy giveaway blog for three days wasn’t going to work for me so I decided to move my sites by myself. This post is about how I moved my sites over to a new server. Most of you probably don’t care, but one of these days, you might need to move your blog to another web hosting company and this info will be handy. BTW, my experience is based on dedicated servers hosted at HostGator.

Copy an account from another server with account password
If you have a dedicated server, you can log into WHM (web host manager) and select the Copy an account from another server with account password option.

WHM Copy an account from another server with account password

As you can see in the above screenshot, there are two other WHM transfer methods you can select: (1) Copy an account from another server and (2) Copy multiple accounts/packages from another server. The first method involves more configurations. This method also didn’t work for me when I tried it (made only one attempt). The last method is ideal if you have more than one site that needs to be moved. This would have been a good option for me, but I wanted to move one account at a time. That way if I messed up, it would only affect one site instead of all of my sites.

The Copy an account from another server with account password option only requires a minimal amount of information: domain name, IP address, username, and password of the site that needs to be move. This process is a relatively easy way to move your accounts. Unfortunately, I had trouble moving my three biggest sites with this method. After several attempts, I was able to move all but one of my blogs to the new server with this process.

Restore a Full Backup/cpmove file
This is the method I used to move my last site over. In order to use this method, you have to first do a full backup of your site on your old server. Login to CPanel of your old server and click on the Backups icon. On the next screen, select the Full Backup option. The full backup includes all of the files in the home directory, website configurations, MySQL databases, and email forwarders and filters.

CPanel full backup

After you have made a full backup, you will need to move the backup file to the new server. In my case, I downloaded the backup to my computer and then uploaded it to the new server. In order to do a full restore with WHM, the backup file has to be in one of these directories on the new server: /home, /home2, /home3, /root, /usr, /usr/home, /web. I couldn’t ftp directly to the one of the required directories, so I had to use shell access to move the backup file to an appropriate location. In hindsight, I should’ve just used the wget shell command to download the file directly from my old server.

Once you placed the full backup in the appropriate directory, you can then use the Restore a Full Backup/cpmove file option on the new server (via WHM). BTW, the backup file must be in the format of: cpmove-user.tar.gz, user.tar.gz, backup-date_time_user.tar.gz (otherwise it won’t work).

WHM Restore a Full Backup/cpmove file

One thought on “How To Move Your Website To Another Server

  1. You are right… not an easy task. I do have experience with Unix, Apache and PHP websites from some years ago and had to do everything manually. Things have become so much easier with webhosting companies providing pre-configured cms and blogging platforms.

    How I wish I had that little “Copy an Account from Another Server” button!

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