Transferring your website to a new server or web host is an arduous task. It seems like it’s a seamless task with all the free and paid software programs that are available. However there are many mistakes that can cause errors, crashes and data losses during the process. These mistakes are often overlooked mostly due to carelessness rather than a lack of knowledge. You may find yourself in a precarious situation if something ends up actually going wrong. To help make the transfer as smooth as possible, here are five common things you absolutely need to avoid during the website transfer process.
1. Avoid Not Checking the Database
Many website owners simply assume that MySQL is the default when it comes to content management systems. You have to do your homework and check if the database management system that’s available is compatible with your CMS. For example, WordPress only works with MySQL. So if you’re using a different CMS and it’s been added with a different database management system like phpMyAdmin, it would be a big mistake to move over to WordPress. Try to look for software solutions that can help the transfer between different databases and CMS platforms. It might be possible that you’ll have to do things manually if it comes down to it.
2. Avoid Not Backing Up the Website
One of the biggest mistakes that you can possible make when you transfer a website is not backing it up. You want to make sure you look into all your folders to get the images, multimedia, and content backed up. Many website owners use some kind of migration software to transfer their site to a new server or web host. But if there’s an error and it leads to data loss, you have to build you site all over again from scratch. A backup software will help with this task. Make sure you try using the backup software and see if it does a good job of backing up your files before you actually go ahead with the migration.
3. Avoid Not Doubling Down on Security
When you were in your old server or web host, you probably took the necessary steps to secure your content management system like WordPress. But many website owners forget to secure it a second time after they’ve made the transfer. Hackers are always scraping websites to check for vulnerabilities, so security is a constant issue that you need to have on top of your mind. Doing things like setting up two-factor authentication, updating to the latest patch, and fixing common vulnerabilities is one of the first things that you will want to do after you’ve made the move.
4. Avoid Neglecting the SEO Factors
When website owners move over to a new CMS or new server, they often neglect many SEO factors that can hurt their rankings. For example, canonizing your URL is important to avoid duplicate content issues and link value attribution. Switching from one CMS to another may result in slower website load speeds. This is a big SEO ranking factor and may be completely invisible to you as your old CMS or web host may not have had any issues with loading speed. You should always run diagnostics of your SEO ranking factors and start optimizing to get your onpage SEO to where it needs to be.
5. Avoid Not Having a Plan
There needs to be some kind of structure when you are migrating to a new destination. You will need to make sure that you’re working closely with your designer, frontend developer and backend developer to ensure that everything is properly in sync. You also need to audit your website structure and content before and after the transfer to see if everything works as it should be. A transfer may result in the site architecture becoming messed up or links being broken to the way the URL has been set up. As a result, you want to have a checklist and a plan to make the transfer as thorough as possible.
As mentioned earlier, most of these mistakes are made carelessly. There have been many instances where a website owner thinks that he or she backed up the website with a software only to realize later that the software did a poor job in backing up the website files. If you have a large site with lots of content or multimedia, you want to take all the precautionary measures even if the whole process seems tedious.
Many website owners like to rely on applications that automate these tasks for them. But be sure to do a thorough review and investigation into the applications you are about to use. You don’t want to assume that everything will go smoothly only to find out later that the free software program you’re using to migrate your website has lead to database errors. You want to do your due diligence and think about what you need to do when you transfer a website.