So I came across a cheaper but better plan with Exabytes when they approached me to write a paid review for them.
My previous hosting plan was WP Blogger which costs S$221.12 for 36 months (S$6.14 per month) while the new plan with promotion, WP 12 Beginner costs only S$153.69 for 36 months (S$4.27 per month) which is about 30% cheaper. I know in absolute terms it is not a lot but when I am unemployed, I want to save as much as I can.
The problem is that even with the same hosting provider, I will need to perform a migration of my website from hosting plan A to hosting plan B. The migration if done by the hosting company will cost S$200 which is pretty significant to me. I didn’t want to pay so I decided to do it myself.
If there is any screw-up, I can send my backup files to Exabytes and they can help migrate for S$200. Worse comes to worse, I will rebuild the website from scratch.
Me: How hard can it be?
Narrator: He was very wrong.
It took me 2 days to finish the migration with countless trial and error, emails, forum posts.
So this blog post is to record my steps in migration from Exabytes to Exabytes in case I have to migrate my website again and maybe it can help some of you.
To give context, I will list out all the different things that I am using for my website.
Migration From Hosting To Desktop To Hosting
During my research, I see that there is an option to migrate directly between two hosting control panels. However, I had to back up my files to my desktop as my hosting provider would deactivate the old hosting plan before activating the new hosting plan. I will not have access to the old hosting control panel during the migration.
I was less worried about the migration as I was migrating between the same hosting provider (Exabytes) and hosting control panel (Plesk). There would be a very low chance of incompatibility.
The free plugin that I use to back up my website weekly to Dropbox is Updraft Plus. They also support other major cloud storage solutions like Google Drive and Amazon.
I also downloaded a backup via Plesk (not sure if this can work) and used some software to download all pages of my site in case I wanted to rebuild my entire site from scratch.
Steps To Migrate Site For Exabytes To Exabytes
So here are the steps that I took to migrate my site.
Pointing The Domain To The New Name Servers
The new hosting plan will provide you with the details to update the name servers on the domain hosting website. It is just a copy and paste thing and if you are unsure, you can contact the domain hosting to ask them where to paste it.
Setting Up Preferred Domain
Previously, I did it via Namecheap but now, since the nameservers are pointed towards Exabytes, I can do it via the hosting settings in Plesk. This should be the same as what you had in the old hosting.
This was the main source of all my migration frustrations and anxiety.
My restoration using the backup files kept timing out and then I couldn’t access my WordPress dashboard after that. I had to reinstall WordPress every time it failed.
The problem was that the default domain before migration was https://consumeless.life but I didn’t think to change the settings before the entire migration was done. The default domain at the new hosting was https://www.consumeless.life so I think the files couldn’t handle the differences.
Installing A Fresh WordPress
When I received access to Plesk, a WordPress with plugins was already installed. I installed the backup plugin, Updraft Plus and tried to restore my website but as mentioned above, it kept timing out. I removed it and installed a fresh WordPress. I am not sure if it makes any difference if I did it right in the first place but this is what I did.
Go under the WordPress tab and press install. I chose an empty theme and left all of it untouched. I copied all the details (usernames, passwords, etc) under the WordPress Administrator and Database tabs in case I had to use them later.
Installing The Backup Plugin
Now we can go inside the fresh WordPress which is totally empty except for a few default plugins. I installed the backup plugin and then activated it.
Restoring The Backup
I had 5 files from the weekly backups.
I can just drag and drop them and then press restore. This will bring you to another screen to start the restoration process. I selected all 5 checkboxes and then press next. Then there will be some warnings on the next screen and we can just press restore if everything is ok.
This was the screen that I kept timing out on. Towards the end, there will be a pop up to ask you to log in using your username and password. Don’t close the window until you see that the “Finished” step turns green. There is supposed to have a message that says the restore is successful but I didn’t see it.
I closed the window and refreshed my WordPress site and everything is migrated perfectly. I had to re-sync the Google Site Kit plugin but everything else was working well.
Do I Recommend Migrating A Site By Yourself?
It depends. Can you afford downtime and when things go wrong? You have to scour the internet for solutions, ask for support multiple times and trial and error till they work. My blog is just a hobby and if it dies during migration, I was ready to rebuild the website from scratch. If your website is big or does e-commerce, I suggest getting the pros to do it.
Although I saved money and learned how to migrate by myself, it is at the cost of anxiety and about 2 days of downtime.
I migrated my website by myself as I didn’t want to spend S$200 and I could afford failure. I faced some problems but I managed to do it in the end. I documented the steps in case I had to do a migration again. Even if there aren’t many consequences to the migration failing, it has caused anxiety and frustration. If your website is a serious business and cannot afford downtime, I suggest getting the pros to do it.