In this show we discuss some great WordPress news stories and also our main topic for the show is how to plan and coordinate a complex site migration. If you have been working with WordPress and doing client services, you will eventually have to do a site migration.
We give loads of tips and tricks connected to doing type of migration work as painlessly as possible!
This Week’s Sponsor
This Weeks WordPress News Stories
Our Main Discussion Topic This Week
Planning and Executing Complex Site Migrations
The WordPress Expert Panel This Week
Robert Abela: from WP White Security
Sallie Goetsch: from WP Fangirl
Jackie D’Elia: from Jackie D’Elia Design
John Locke: from Lockedown Design & SEO
Jonathan Denwood: from WP-Tonic.com
Main Topic: Planning Complex Site Migrations
The panel looked at several issues that can crop up during a a basic site migration, and defined what it means to move your site from one host to another. One of the things we mentioned was moving from one platform to another, like Squarespace to WordPress, or Wix to WordPress.
Something we all agreed on was to make careful notes around your DNS files.
Your DNS is al the records that pertain to your domain name, and where it points. DNS records control everything from where people land when they ype in your domain name, to your email records.
Robert noted that you should change your TTL (Time to Live) on your DNS records days before you need to do the migration. Different ISPs (Internet Service Providers) worldwide cache DNS records at a different rate of speed than others. This is part of what makes the internet so fun and unpredictable.
Jackie said to make sure you have screenshots of the old DNS and nameservers before you make changes, just in case. We also debated whether we preferred A Names, or CNAME flattening.
One thing that many people forget is when you migrate from a server with your email on it, you have to make a plan for moving your email. If you don’t care about archiving your old email, then that’s a different story.
Sallie and John both talked about moving email archives from one server to another server or third party service using Outlook and IMAP. It sounds scary, but both said if you do it few times, it gets easier.
Content Audits and 301 Redirects
We made a strong case for doing a content audit of your website before planning a site migration. The reason is, your old URL structure may change if you are changing platforms. You also may be better served by consolidating posts, or creating new custom post types during the migration.
In these cases, you’ll want to do 301 redirects from the old URLs to the new ones, so you don’t lose any back links, and avoid 404 errors.
Sallie in particular, describes a particularly complex site migration that involves not only creating new post types, but moving comments. Apparently, you can move comments cross-platform using Disqus as an intermediary.
If you’ve been in the web development game for any amount of time, chances are you’ve had to do a site migration. The larger the site, the more complex it gets, and the more planning you have to do.
This is a must listen episode for those who are facing a large or tricky site migration in the near future.
Show Notes[faq p=8753]
You can also download a PDF of all the links mentioned in episode 157.