One of the most common topics prospective clients ask about is the Agathon migration process: “If I sign up, what will migrating look like? How long will it take? Will my site be offline for long?”
I recently sat down with Morgan, who handles most client migrations, to talk through the process and answer those questions in detail.
You do, of course, have the option of migrating your own site(s) or having your designer or developer do it for you. If you’d prefer for us to handle the migration, our fee is $100 per site. (For bloggers with several sites, we’re happy to take a look and provide a bundled quote for moving those over.)
While there are variations depending on the particulars of your site and current hosting setup, here’s what our general migration process looks like for us, for you, and for your readers:
Once you sign up for hosting, our system will begin provisioning your server and notify us of the new signup. At that point, someone (most likely Morgan!) will email next steps. If we’ve already done a free hosting assessment, we may have access to everything we need; if not, he’ll follow up with you to collect applicable login information for your hosting account, domain registrar, Cloudflare, etc. Morgan will also begin working through our internal checklist, assigning tasks to relevant team members and making sure he has everything he needs.
At this point, your readers won’t have any idea you’re moving hosts. If all goes according to plan, they won’t ever know!
Staging your server
Once he has access to everything, Morgan will stage your site on your shiny new Agathon server. To do that, he’ll make a complete copy of the site and set it up on the new server. During this process, he looks for anomalies or errors that can occur from misconfigurations on the old server. He’ll also configure everything to run seamlessly on your new server. We want to take care of all of this well before the site goes live.
While he’s staging the site, you can continue to work on your site as usual—and nothing will change for your readers. Morgan will sync the site one last time before it goes live to capture any new posts or drafts, media files, comments, etc.
Changing the DNS
DNS acts as the Yellow Pages of the internet. It’s where domain names (which humans can read) are turned into IP addresses (which computers use to identify sites). Typically, DNS will be hosted with your current host or your domain registrar (i.e. GoDaddy).
Depending on the access you have to update those records, Morgan may need to move your DNS to us before we go live with your site to ensure everyone is directed to the new server once it’s live. In that case, there will be an extra 48 hour waiting period, as that’s how long it can take for those type of DNS changes to be recognized across the internet.
Regardless, Morgan will work with you to on the specifics for your site. The goal is to make sure there’s no downtime and users are immediately directed to the new site once the new server is live.
Flipping the switch
Once everything is ready, Morgan will coordinate a time to “flip the switch” based on your schedule, availability, and traffic patterns. While we offer 24/7 support, we like to do this early in the day during the workweek so we can confirm a smooth transition and quickly address any wrinkles.
At the scheduled time, Morgan will walk through these simple steps:
- Add a maintenance page plugin to your existing site.
- Sync your existing site and the new one one last time.
- Flip the DNS switches.
- Turn off the maintenance page plugin.
During this time, ideally you’ll be on standby so you can check your new site to be sure everything looks and acts the way it should.
Your readers may see the maintenance page on the old site for up to five minutes during the migration. Once it’s been turned back off, everyone who visits will be on the new site.
It’s not unusual for us to need to make a few tweaks as the dust settles and you begin to click around to make sure everything is working. These include things like adjusting your caching setup, setting your site to default to SSL, or adjusting any outdated coding on your site. Our team remains on standby throughout this time to handle those quickly for you.
While the details sometimes vary, our goal during every migration is to avoid downtime and create a seamless transition for both you and your readers.
Ready to learn more?
We’d love the opportunity to provide you with a free, no-obligation hosting assessment and answer any other questions you have. Contact us today to learn more!
With 10 years of experience as a professional blogger—and as a former Agathon hosting client herself—Mandi’s passionate about the good work Agathon does and sharing that message with more people.