Server Migration Process with Useful Tips and Important Checklists

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The server migration is most common for a number of reasons and needs great attention from an expert team of IT professionals. In this article, you will learn the complete process and important checklists in order to reduce the headaches and downtime chances.      

Why Do You Need to Migrate?

In this digital and revolutionary world, technology is changing day by day. It is necessary for any successful business brand to adopt new technologies for maintaining its position in the market.

  • The current hosting is based on an internal server that can’t take the strain anymore
  • Third-party hosting provider is not suitable
  • The client needs to get more control over the server
  • Any dispute also cause to move your data to another
  • Poor technical support
  • Need to upgrade the technology to fulfill changing requirements of the business
  • The service provider has poor security
  • You have pricing issue with your current hosting provider

Important Things to be Considered Before Migration

These are the following things that you must consider before migration to complete your process without any issues. The following things are according to the IIS Microsoft server but also helpful for other open-source webservers.

1. Once the Backup is Started, Don’t make Configuration Changes

Keep in mind that whenever you take the backup of your data including database, email and website then don’t change the server configuration settings. In any special case, you want to change the setting then make sure that particular changes are made on the destination server also.

2. It is not Simple and Takes Time

There are a number of things like a huge amount of data to be transferred, server stability and many others that take time in order to complete the migration. It can take a few days to a few weeks, I would like to suggest you migrate in a few weeks and contact technical persons if you have any problem.

3. Communication is Key

The key to successful server migration is the better communication that can prevent from any uncertain event. Before starting the process make sure that the inclusive list of items to migrate is finalized, so you can complete without any interruptions. It is a proactive approach to prepare a list of your questions that are critical for the migration.

4. Testing is Critical

Differences between each server is a common thing. Testing is the main task to verify the items are working correctly on the destination server. The expert will investigate any issues that he found during this phase.

Things to Do Before Migration

Make sure each and every important thing is ready and working properly. Review and prepare your DNS changes and other systems that are involved in this process before proceeding.

1. Delete Unnecessary Data

Simply, a huge amount of data to be transferred will take more time. If you have useless data then it is the best time to delete. Email messages will take more time to migrate, so consider databases and website data along with the emails.

2. Lower TTLs on your Domain’s DNS

If you are going to move on a new IP address then lowers the TTLs on your DNS server. Lowering the TTL values will also help you to live your new server much quicker. Don’t forget to note down the values because you have to restore it after the completion.  

During The Migration

The team of experts will determine different methods of migration and guide you about the best one. During this stage, you can schedule a time to migrate that is more suitable because the team may need to stop services.    

Test Your Website

Now, the migration is completed you need to test your site. Don’t forget to consider the following two methods if you are moving to a new IP address.

  • Edit hosts file on your computer and browse the website using new IP
  • Login to destination server remotely and browse the sites

Testing is more crucial after completion of any task to find out issues. Once the errors are found you can communicate with professionals to fix them in a timely manner. Now swap the IP addresses, so that the final data synchronization can be started. Conduct a more detailed examination and test all functionalities to prevent discovering any issue at a much later time.

Useful Tips for Successful Server Migration

1. Identify the Type of Migration

You will receive some questions from your service provider like:

  • Are you want to migrate the entire server of the single site?
  • What is the type of database servers?
  • Have you any email server that needs to be moved?
  • Any other considerations before starting the migration process?

Successful server migration needs to clarify the scope of your project by answering the required questions.  

2. Access to Outside Providers

Some tasks including updating the DNS or making any changes at your domain registrar are needed to perform server migration. Don’t change the domain registrars before the complete migration process is completed because you need to edit DNS zones.

3. Get Best Specifications of Your New Server

Understand your business requirements and get the server resources accordingly. Get almost 20% extra storage space for your data before migration. If the destination server has not proper resources then wait until the required specifications are added. Identigy all the business needs and conduct more detailed examination and all functionalities to check your destination server.

4. Don’t Forget Email Servers

You will provide all the necessary information such as either you want to migrate your email server or not to the team of professionals. Also, specify that you are only transferring accounts or the entirety of mail content across your server.

5. Takeout the Trash and Update Passwords

Identify the useless data like outdated backups, websites that are not existing anymore, emails and all other data that is not important. It will help you to perform faster server migration and don’t forget to add extra security by changing the passwords.

6. Manage Server Access Level

Provide maximum access of source server to the team with administrative privileges for smooth server migration. If you are not willing to provide root access then give high permission SSH access. The team should also be able to use the control panels like cPanel, Plesk, or FTP access for moving your content.

7. Update Your CMS Before You Begin

It is not necessary for the migration process to use the updated version but it is recommended to upgrade your CMS (Content Management System) before starting the process. Always use updated operating systems and update the related software for a better experience. If you want to change the CMS then select from the list of best CMS systems and don’t forget to use the updated version of PHP and MySQL.

8. Wait to the Completion before Adding New Things

Become proactive and don’t add the new posts, pictures, pages, or any other changes in the middle of the server migration process. To avoid compilations, neither add new control panel accounts nor add any new website.

Important Server Migration Checklists

Validation Checklist

  • Set host files to locally load services
  • Check your site for PHP warnings, 404 errors, and 500 errors
  • Check functionality of all required services
  • Update all server software
  • Check email records and deliverability
  • Verify mail is synced
  • Tune web server performance (Apache, MySQL, PHP)
  • Test the cron
  • Check backups are still working

Security Checklist

  • Check firewall configurations
  • Identify and implement all security requirements
  • Ensure setup is compliant with all protocols
  • Conduct technical training for your staff
  • Restrict access

Configuration Checklist

  • Analyze configurations of hosting environments
  • Configure web server modules
  • Identify code dependencies and shared libraries
  • Check and reconfigure applications that connect remotely
  • Setup any SSL certificate
  • Create or import configuration files
  • Import databases
  • Make all adjustments for server performance

User Account Checklist

  • Migrate all user accounts and passwords
  • Implement password reset on next login
  • Purge inactive accounts

File System Checklist

  • Ensure all files copied
  • Check the permissions
  • Identify 404 page not found errors

Final Check Checklist

  • Were all of the issues or errors addressed properly during the server migration?
  • Is the migration painless or anything went wrong?
  • Are you satisfy with your new server?
  • Anything needs to be implement?
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