Changing WordPress Web Hosts from Amen to 02switch
From Amen.fr to o2switch.fr web host migration made easy
You may have many reasons to switch. I’ve been with Amen.fr since 2004. The company has been bought and sold a few times since. When I started most sites including mine was hand coded html static pages which means nothing fancy. As in my previous post on why I opted out of static html and chose WordPress it was too much to keep up with browser changes and exceptions. In theory being OpenSource, WordPress takes care of its own, and updates spring up often. An old post on some of the reasons why I had to switch here.
Fast forward. My theme is out of date and will not be supported. My web host, Amen.fr also became outdated for the service they offered. For example the hosting I had was limited to Php version 5.6. That was fine for my outdated theme but the only way to use the latest was pay more. Okay fine, yet the higher price package still was limited for email boxes capped to 2GB. Mine are almost there. Before having Jetpack installed ( plugin that is ressource heavy so your load speeds are way too slow) monitored site downtime. Well, Amen.fr indeed went down often. With that each and every year down went email too. Never a word on their site, status, nor a word of excuse.
Time for a change. Perhaps the biggest change there can be for a non web master: changing web hosts, migrating the old site, and synchronising IMAP email.
The best option for a single site or small site is o2switch.fr Very well equipped, SSD storage for all mutualised sites, excellent super fast support, unlimited everything. Easy choice after comparing the big ones to this Made in France wonderful host. I asked a few questions by email to sales support and I had a reply in minutes. Good sign, they also sent some links as answers to my queries. Number one question: how do I migrate IMAP email? That was the scary one, the other question was how does one migrate the WordPress site? Both links were good enough.
That was enough to get me thinking: do I or don’t I?
Took the plunge, paid my year dues, received all the log in information and links to help on migration immediately after. Looks like they’ve done this before, good thing as I haven’t. Why Decided to start this on a Friday night of a long weekend is beyond me.
Here is where the theory gets real. Backing up the old site; I received many error messages, broken pipes disconnects etc. No matter what I tried, server to server, server to desktop, lots of errors. Could it be CyberDuck a free FTP? I found out that on a Mac it is best to just download a few folders at a time. That took a long time and later I found some subfolders didn’t copy over.
o2Switch then asked for an Auth_Code, which is an authorisation to transfer not the site but the domain name for that they would manage my domain name. With that Amen.fr screams load and clear that this will incur the suppression of all documents. Great, my backups were not done yet. Luckily this doesn’t really happen until the other has fully processed the request of transfer! I learned that one should not change ANYTHING on the old site until absolutely everything is done, working, backed up on the new site. That was close narrowly escaped disaster.
Here is the order of things to do;
- 1 back up everything via FTP. Make sure you save out the site as is, mine was all in /public/www/ Make sure you take the invisibles too all the files with . (dot) before them. Learned a new shortcut on late MacOs Command option period is show/hide invisibles. Do this with a few files or folders at a time as it will copy better. When finished upload all files to the new host. In the case of o2switch it is public_html
- 2 backup or rather export the MySQL database. This is done through cPanel or whatever is on your old web host admin panel. Create a new database on your new server in CPanel MySQL. You can find many tutorials on how to do this. Note all 4 important details which are DB name, User, Password, and location.
- 3 I am on Mac and use Apple Mail. This was in the end the easiest part to do yet I though it was next to geek level. It is so simple, right click on each and every mailbox. Export them to separate folders on your desktop. Create new email adresses on your new server with the cPanel. They should have the same email address but the in and out SMTP entries will be different, and passwords, and user. Mail account settings are sent to you by the new host, in the case of 02switch by an email. In any one of your computers add new accounts in system preferences, name them with something like new appended to them. Once you’ve set up your new mailboxes (on your computer) you simply import by right clicking on the new empty mailbox and import the inbox and sent mail. All should be fine. During the transfer of your domain you will have some email still going to your old one and some to the new ones. Manually sync or drag and drop between these at your computers. As soon as the DNS server is redirecting to your new host the emails should be going to the new mailboxes with the same email address as before. You don’t need plug insure any application to do this. It is very easy, not at all complicated, and doesn’t take much time.
- 4 Change DNS entries to point to your new host. This too is covered by email. In the case of Amen since they still have the domain name, it had to be done in that cPanel. To make it a bit more complicated the asked for the IP adresses of the two DNS entries. I had to use this site.
- 5 You’ve already uploaded exactly the same files from the old server into the new publ_html folder you have only a simple
- 6 Open wp-config.php in a text editor. Change all 4 important details which are DB name, User, Password, and location that you saved previously.
That is about it other than test everything, empty caches, re-optimise. Usually you’ll have a temporary site where you can test your site before any DNS changes take effect. I had a blank page and tech support suggested that a php file or two was not copied over. I found them and all was good. I still can’t use php v7 as my theme has two badly coded php files which deprecate ( cause errors printed to the web browser).
I have noticed that load times are slightly slower at 02switch.fr compared to supposedly spinning disk mutualised servers at Amen.fr yet in the admin panel it is really fast whereas before it was painfully slow. The support at 02switch is incredible. On the major holiday Bastille Day I still had help. Next day France wins the world cup, yet still had support online. I wouldn’t hesitate to migrate to switch. Highly recommended.