I have recently migrated my website from Bluehost to Siteground.
To be honest, the process was WAY LESS SMOOTHER that I had expected.
But, there had been many valuable lessons learnt and I would love to share them with you!
I believe many bloggers, especially new bloggers, are actually using Bluehost because of the low cost and the mass recommendations done by so many other bloggers.
The truth is if you are using Bluehost, chances are, you will need to migrate your site and transfer web hosting as your blog grows bigger.
Read: 3 Reasons Why I Ditched Bluehost For Siteground
Site migration is a HUGE thing in your blog business.
It is a big decision to make and a big process to go through.
Therefore, it is ABSOLUTELY IMPORTANT that you know these tips that will help you ensure a smooth site migration process when you transfer web hosting from one company to another.
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1. Know Your Why
I chose the Highend theme because it was top on the list when I was searching for themes on my WordPress dashboard right after I signed up for a brand new account.
I chose Bluehost because I saw that the hosting fees were the cheapest around.
I just wanted to start my blog ASAP and I did (without much research, to be honest)!
I thought I knew what I was doing then but my blog has grown in the past year and my needs have changed along the way.
Therefore, as much as it is a difficult decision to make and a BIG business overhaul, I know that I NEED to make these changes in order for my blog business to grow further.
It’s just like needing a major renovation so that your office can better suit your current needs.
And if your current office is way too small, you need to find a bigger property.
If you want to migrate your site, please know why you are doing it.
Is it to cut costs by changing hosts?
To upgrade for better features and functions for your growing business needs?
Improving user experience to help you increase your blog traffic?
Know your WHY
2. Know What To Expect
Site migration or even a change of theme is a big change to your blog business.
Downtimes are to be expected as the changes are being carried out.
It could be a day or two, or even a week or more.
It could be very frustrating because you might receive negative feedback from your site visitors or lose your blog income.
Yet, when you are CERTAIN of your WHYs and you KNOW that these changes are necessary, then you have to be mentally prepared to just go through this and wing it!
Believe me, going through this rocky road will be completely worth it when your site runs smoother and faster after the changes are complete!
3. Know What To Do
If you have the budget and are willing to pay, the best way is to hire a professional to do ALL the changes for you. Then you can take a week’s break for a vacay while your blog is going through its renovation.
But if you want to do everything yourself without having to pay for additional services, like me, then please PLEASE know what to DO.
The truth is, I am a complete tech-idiot.
And yet I am unwilling to pay for additional services due to budget constraints.
As a result, I endured much frustration and I think the entire site migration took a lonnnggg time because I was trying so hard to figure things out myself.
In the process, I was supposed to reduce my blog’s database size because it was too large to be moved to Siteground unless I paid for additional cloud-hosting services. But I totally wasn’t ready to fork out another $80/month for that and so I started deleting the databases myself.
And we all know what happened.
I accidentally deleted some of my blog posts! (HORRORS)
And… I didn’t manage to backup my database.
In my defense, I read up tutorials on how to do it and I tried several times and each time the backup just didn’t work and I just gave up and jumped right into deleting stuff that I thought could be deleted.
So….. if you don’t know what to do, consider hiring help. Otherwise please remember to back up ALL your data somewhere.
EXPECT a longer journey if you choose the DIY pathway.
But either way, I’m totally cheering you on!
4. Backup Your Entire Site
From my site migration experience, you should be backing up your site in three ways:
1) Backup your database in cPanel.
This means that you basically download the database of your entire site and save a copy on your computer. This article here teaches you how to do it.
2) Download backup plugins on your WordPress.
I was previously using Vaultpress but I didn’t think the dashboard was very user-friendly. The setup is pretty easy though. I got that through Jetpack.
I also used Codeguard because it’s a free service that comes with the Bluehost hosting contract. I find it to be easier to use.
But I finally settled with Updraft Plus. To a tech-idiot like, I think the dashboard is the most user-friendly and it’s very easy to adjust the settings and do a manual backup.
You might also want to check out this article where they compare the various backup plugins to help you find the best backup plugin for your needs.
3) Manually back up all your posts.
With all the backup measures in place, I still find it more secure to make a copy of all my blog posts and saved the content in word documents on a hard disk and on a secure cloud.
I suppose you can never be too safe!
5. Anticipate Downtime
Site downtime is inevitable in the midst of site migration. In my case, the site migration ended up taking a much longer time than I had expected even though I had opted for a manual site migration by the pros at Siteground.
Therefore, when you anticipate downtime to happen, you will feel less frustrated and can better schedule ahead.
6. Inform Your Readers
It’s definitely a nice gesture to inform your readers that your site is undergoing some changes and sincerely apologize for a less than pleasant user experience in the meantime.
You can give your readers a heads up in your regular newsletter or announce through social media.
During site migration, I also encountered problems with my Woocommerce shop and that affected my sales. So I tried to make up for it by having a special flash sale to thank my readers for their patience as well as give sales a little boost!
7. Plan Ahead
Mid-way through the site migration, I was busy taking care of two kids who fell ill.
I also had to crack my head to figure all the technical details that support staff was throwing at me but not fully explaining to me the implications.
On top of that, with the dip in traffic, decrease in ad revenue, a drop in sales, a decrease in subscribers rate, the entire process site migration just suddenly seemed so overwhelming.
For a brief moment, I did regret doing the site migration. I wished I had delayed it because I felt like I was killing my blog growth just at a time when traffic was spiking like never before.
Yet, my Bluehost contract was expiring in March and I knew I didn’t want to renew with them and so, I just had to pull through this. ‘
But I certainly did wish I had a proper plan before I jumped right into my site migration naively thinking that it would be done in a day or two.
Even though the entire process of transferring web host from Bluehost to Siteground turned out to be a week filled with much frustration, now that it is all over, I am really glad I did it.
It didn’t take long for blog traffic to go up again and my ad revenue to increase.
All that trouble has indeed been worthwhile and good for my blog business!
I think there WILL come a time when you would transfer web hosting, too. I think it’s inevitable.
And to be honest, you WANT that time to come because it would very likely mean that your blog has grown so much that you need to look for a better web host with more advanced features to accommodate your thriving blog business.
Therefore, I am really happy to share with you these 7 essential tips that I wish I had known before I transferred my web hosting from Bluehost to Siteground. I truly hope you find this post useful!
Let me know in the comments if you have had experience changing web hosts and how the experience was like!
I wish I had this when I migrated in September! It was so stressful. Luckily everything is fine now, but these tips would have come in handy.
I can totally understand how stressful the process of site migration is! I sure hope that this post will still be helpful if you ever need to do a site migration again!
I’ve done a site migration before and it was a pain in the butt. Thank you for this easy to follow article! I’m going to bookmark it in case I ever switch web hosts again. 🙂
I’m sorry you had a hard time during your site migration. I’m happy to know that this post has been helpful to you and that it will be a good source of reference for future site migration!
Super helpful for those of us who are tech-impaired! thanks!
I am one of those! That was why I struggled during the process and I really hope this post will help others, too!