In this series, Lee looks at a range of WordPress tools that can add value to both the development process and client interactions. For each episode, Lee will define a problem, discuss his agency’s solution, and share a use case.
Lee Matthew Jackson
Moving a large WordPress website to a new host can be tricky. A large database can time out during restoration, transferring files can take hours, and updating database tables to reflect the new changes can easily go wrong.
We using Duplicator Pro to create an installable package that we can easily transfer to another host, run the included PHP script, fill in the prompts, then sit back and relax whilst scripts do the hard work1
- Handing off a website to a new developer/agency.
- Scheduling regular backups of a site to a cloud server.
WordPress tools to try before you die. Sorry about that. Time for the next tool.
Welcome to another episode of WordPress Tools to try before you die. My name is Lee Matthew Jackson, and if you haven’t listened to any of the other episodes of this series, can I recommend you check out the Show Notes for a link to see them all? In this series, what we do is we present you with a problem. We share our solution that we use in our agency, and we also share some use cases. Right at the very end, you have the opportunity to get involved in the conversation and share what your solutions to our problems would be.
So let’s jump right into today’s problem, and that is migrating large websites from one host to another. Moving a website can be stressful at the best of times. And back in the day, we would connect to FTP and download the files, then we would export a copy of the MySQL database, then we’d head on over to the new place it’s going to live and upload everything and put in the database and all sorts would go wrong. It would be a pain in the backside. Trying to edit the WP config was a nightmare.
I mean, this is a long time ago because there have been tools to do this in WordPress for a long time. However, I would underline that larger websites fail very easily with a lot of these freely available migration tools. So our solution is to use Duplicator Pro by Snap Creek. You can find a link to Duplicator Pro in the Show Notes so you can check it out for yourself. You can use their free version to move pretty much any website and it works out of the box perfectly.
So certainly recommend, if you want to try the free version out, check out the link in the Show Notes. Also, however, the reason we use Pro is its support for larger websites, but also its support for online backup through cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive or Amazon S3. Two of my favourite features include, first of all, scheduled backup, which you can set and forget, and it will automatically backup your entire website to the cloud. And then the second is the ability to quickly and easily create a brand new backup of your site, all contained in one archive with one installer file. That means all I have to do is download the PHP file and a zip file and then pop them onto the new host, run that PHP file, follow the instructions, jobs are gotten, I’m in, and the site is transferred.
With the pro version. There is a lot of support for different types of servers, different types of databases, so you’re very unlikely to hit that issue where the restore might time out at some point. If I’ve ever come across any issues trying to restore a website to a new server, the documentation has been second to none and pretty much every eventuality has been thought out and I can find a solution for it quickly and easily. Backing up is super easy, but also restoring has been made super easy with their installer PHP, and if you have Cpanel, you can connect directly into that and it’ll do everything for you. Otherwise you can still input your MySQL details, run a quick test to make sure it’s going to be okay, and then run your restore.
And again, whilst there are many other tools out there that do this, I do love the ease of use and the ability to simply have two files that I can pop onto another server or I can provide to a developer if I’m handing off the website to somebody else. Which leads us perfectly to the use cases. The first use case for us is when we hand off a website to another developer. When we close down the Angled Crown brand, for example, we had a few really large websites that needed to be handed off to new developers who were going to take on the development and also host. We could quickly create the package and upload that and then send instructions to that developer.
It didn’t matter what server they had, they were then able to restore everything in fully working order and hey, job was done. We met with no issues and we could rest and relax and focus on the Trailblazer FM brand. And then our second most common use case is pretty much across all of our websites where we use duplicate a pro for backup. We have it connected to a couple of third party cloud platforms. I don’t like having all of my eggs in one basket.
That means we run a schedule on a nightly basis, and every other night we are backing up to the opposite cloud platform. So, for example, say Dropbox and Google drive. So worst case, if I need to restore a website, I have everything I need to restore a website to a branch banking new server on either of those two cloud platforms. So now it’s your turn. How do you migrate websites from one host to another?
How do you back things up? What are your use cases for Duplicator Pro? Let us know in the comments. Just check out the show notes in order to access the comments on this particular episode. Also, did you know that if you have thoughts and opinions and feelings and you want to share them in person, you can do that in person at Agency Transformation Live 2022.
This year on the 10th and the 11th of November, Day One will be a fully fledged conference with awesome speakers and Day Two will be an in-person mastermind where you will get support and help from the brain power of the room in order to define what your small achievable actions will be for the next few months. To take your agency to the next level. You can find out more information over on agencytransformation.live. Folks, if we don’t see you in the comments, if we don’t see you at the event, then why not see us in the next episode.