How do I move my websites between Shared Hosting services?


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  • Applies to: Shared Hosting
    • Difficulty: Medium
    • Time Needed: 30
    • Tools Required: Account Center access

Overview

Moving a site from one Shared to another can vary in difficulty and time-investment depending on what needs moving. However, overall the process is fairly similar to a standard move from one server to another, with a few exceptions, which we will go over in this article. Throughout this article we will be using example.com as a template. Be sure to replace this with your actual domain name.

STATEMENT OF SUPPORT:
Please keep in mind that troubleshooting the configuration/functionality of third-party applications is not covered by our statement of support. These resources were provided as a courtesy to assist you to the extent of our abilities. For more information on our statement of support, feel free to click here.

Advanced Support Can Help!
If you'd like more direct assistance, (mt) Media Temple offers assisted site migrations via Advanced Support, our premium services division. To learn more, please click here.

Lower TTL

Before starting, we advise lowering the TTL of your domain(s). This will help ensure that when we point DNS to the new server, downtime can be minimized as much as possible. If your domain's nameservers are pointing to Media Temple, you can lower the TTL using the following guide:

For domains that have the nameservers pointed at a third-party, you would want to contact that provider directly for instructions.

Do keep in mind that a TTL change is also subject to propogation, so you may want to perform the TTL change up to 24-48 hours before migrating.

Set up the new server

If you haven't already, go ahead and set up the new service from within your Account Center. Take a look at Adding and Managing Services for information on adding new services. After placing your order, you will want to go through the basic setup process of the new Shared Hosting server outlined in our article: Getting Started with Shared Hosting

The Account Center does not allow for duplicate domain names. So you can use a placeholder primary domain name such as new-example.com. Since our domain is called mt-domain.com, we used new-mt-domain.com.

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Let's get moving!

Website

Once you've set up the new serer, you will want to perform a normal migration. This primarily involves moving your website files, database, etc. For detailed information on moving a site to Shared Hosting, feel free to review the article below:

SSL Certificate

If you have any SSL's you, will also want to re-install them to the new server. For a review on how to install an SSL, feel free to read one of the following:

Previewing your website

Before switching DNS you can test/preview your website using your HOST files. For information on that process, feel free to check out the article below:

Moving Email

Migrating email is the most unique part of the migration process, when moving between Shared Hosting servers. In short, the process involves backing up your mailboxes, recreating the email accounts on the new server, then uploading the mailboxes to the new server.

NOTE:
This process will require the changing of your primary domain name. Therefore, we recommend saving this process for a time where you expect lower traffic on your website. You may also want to do this step right before, or quickly after updating your DNS to point to the new server.

Back up the mailboxes

  1. Connect to your old Shared Hosting server using FTP.
    • In this example, we will be using Filezilla.
  2. Navigate to the file path /mail/example.com.
  3. Download the folders in this file path. These will contain your users(s) mailboxes.
    FTP-1.png

Change the primary domain name(s)

  1. Change the primary domain name of old Shared Hosting server.
    • In this example, we changed mt-domain.com to old-mt-domain.com.
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  2. Change the primary domain name of the new Shared hosting server.
    • In this example, we changed new-mt-domain.com to mt-domain.com.
      cp-4.png

Recreate Email Accounts

  1. Open a text-editor that can save .csv files.
    • In this example, we used the free application: Visual Studio Code.
    • Another common alternative is Microsoft Excel.
  2. For each user, write out the username, password, disk quota (MB) on a separate line. You will want to deliniate each value by using a comma (,).
    Template:
    user1@example.com, Password123!, 100
    user2example.com, Password321!, 100
    Our example:
    email-1.7.png
  3. Save this as a .csv file.
    CSV-1.png
  4. Log into cPanel for your new server.
  5. Click on Address Importer
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  6. Select Email Accounts, locate the CSV file on your computer, make sure that Comma is the Deliminter, and de-select Treat first row as column headers. Then, click Next.
    cp-6.png
  7. Make sure to select the correct headers from the dropdown. Select the correct domain. Then click Next.
    cp-new-1.png
  8. You should receive a confirmation message when all the users are successfully added.

Upload the backup mailboxes

Now that we have the accounts created, we just need to upload the mailboxes we backed up earlier.

  1. Connect to the new server using FTP.
  2. Navigate to the file path /mail/example.com.
  3. Upload the backup that we saved earlier.
    • In Filezilla, you can simply drag & drop the folders.
      cp-new-3.png
  4. Your FTP client may inform you of duplicate files. We've set this to overwrite duplicate files for the current queue.
    ftp-new-2.png
  5. That's it! Your email accounts should now be migrated to the new server.

Ready to switch

At this point you should haved lowered your TTL and moved over all files, databases, and accounts that you'll need for the migration. The last step is to update the DNS to point to the new server. There can be variations in the method of doing this, depending on your situation. However, below are the most common situations.

If you are moving DNS between Shared Servers in the same Media Temple Account:
You can use the Point to Another Server tool.

If you are moving DNS to between different Media Temple Accounts:
Option A: Have both Account Owners submit a support request asking for the move to occur.
Option B: Have the old account remove the alternate domain / zone. Then the new account add it to their account. This option will require re-verification on the new account
Option C: Leave the DNS managed in the old account, but simply edit the zone files to point to the new server.

If your nameservers are hosted at a third-party:
You will want to contact the appropriate provider for information on editing DNS. The DNS records you need will have appeared when you first setup the new server.

That's it!

If you've lowered your TTL prior, the switch should be within a few minutes! We recommend checking out your site to ensure that everything is working properly. But congratulations! You just completed a site migration between Shared Hosting services!