Moving to a new WebHost: trials and tribulations

Posted: February 11, 2010 in blogging, website design, Wordpress
Tags: , , ,

I got fed up. That’s pretty much the only way to describe it.

The reason I have a website/blogsite is to give me a place to write about anything tech-ish that interests me, and one of the worse things that can happen is to make that creative process lose its flow and disturb my line of thinking. That is exactly what kept happening to me on my previous webhost. So Many times I would get time-out errors while waiting for my drafts to save and lose the flow, let alone sometimes losing the work I’d put in because it didn’t save the drafts but gave me an error instead.

So i took the advice of a friend on Twitter and decided to check out SITE5.com for hosting instead.  The price was good, slightly less that what i was paying at Netfirms, and they have a 60 day guarantee so i was confident that if it didn’t turn out to be a good move, i could always switch back, since i still had nearly 4 months of hosting paid for at my current webhosting company.  I started an online chat, asked some questions of tech support and  was impressed enough with answers (although the lagg in the online chat was a bit annoying, but that may have been my internet connection) to see them as a viable option.  Throwing caution to the wind i signed up and got a pretty good deal on 2 years of standard hosting.

I backed up my website using my FTP client and then copied it all over to the new site again via FTP, verifying it was all current and then setup an email account the same as i had on old webhost, changed my DNSes and waited for propagation.  It seemed to go fairly quickly and i was receiving emails through the new webhost within a few hours, but my website was just showing a database error. Throughout the process i had been tweeting comments occasionally, and must have caught the eye of one of the guys at Site5, Ben, who was very helpful and helped me get to the bottom of the problems with the aid of the support people.  I was having issues with the database setup on the new host, the database would export fine, but didn’t seem to be importing in its entirety to the new host.  I went through and manually checked all the files and found it to be the wp_hosts portion of the database that was the problem, even exporting it by itself did not work though. It was Ben that suggested doing a DB backup within WordPress that solved the problem. A great little plugin WP-DB-Backup was all i needed.  Worked like a charm, once i had changed my DNSes back to the old host so i could get into my website that is.  The newly exported *.sql.gz file imported into the new webhost effortlessly, reporting no errors, so after a quick edit to the wp_config file and linking the proper database i was ready to change my DNSes back to Site5.  A few hours later with a few more confused emails back and forth with Site5 Support (which seemed to be just related to propagation of the site – some parts were not showing up) my entire site was up and running just like it had never been moved, with one major exception:  Speed.

Its tough to do a speed test between the two, since i can only have one really active at a time, but suffice to say when i click save when editing a post, or upload an image,  or load my site in a browser, it just works, and works quickly.  They may be smaller than my previous webhosting company, but so far i have had more interaction with them and gotten more help from them in a few days than i have in a couple years at my old webhost.  In fact i’m still awaiting a return phone call from last week from the old webhost billing department.  Nothing like ignoring your customers to make them feel special.

A sarcastic “thanks” to Netfirms, and a honest “thankyou” to Ben and all the people at Site5 who gave me 24/7 support throughout the transfer. To Paraphrase Humphrey Bogart, I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

tcg

EDIT: nearly two weeks after sending the request, i finally got a response from the Netfirms Support team about my raw database dump i wanted. Thankfully i’d already found a workaround, because they didn’t have an answer for me, merely acknowledging my support ticket. sheesh.

tcg

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