The server migration has been quite painless, most things should work now on this site and all the subdomain. Read on for details.
First, why move?
iChris.ws used to hosted with Digital Sense Hosting. The deal and customer support was great, and they had everything I needed. Most importantly SSH access.
I was on their smallest Linux plan for the past year, and the space & bandwidth (100MB & 2GB/month) are being stretched lately. This is in part due to the hits from drupal.org, and in no small part to bandwidth suckers like WebCopier. The server has slowed down a bit in the past few months, and a check on server status shows that the CPU is always heavily loaded.
Also, even with the good work there have been doing, Digital Sense seem to do hosting only as side business. This got me nervous, and I decided to move about 2 months before the deal run out.
Choosing new host
This is the most difficult part. There are zillion of webhosts out there. To choose even a host review site is difficult. (may be there are 0.3 zillion of them) In the end I used FindMyHosting because the search is quite detailed, and their HostingAssured feature gives good reliability info.
So that’s settled for host review site. I then search it for plan on my budget, with more space and bandwidth about 10GB/month. For each plan, I look for details on their site, and search WebHostingTalk for comments. (This site is invaluable)
I ended up signing on for a new company. Waited 2 days. And SSH still wasn’t enabled. They asked which IP I will be accessing from. And I just go huh? I mean, I know SSH can be nasty for the hosting, if used improperly. Many hosts ask you to fax them some id before letting you use it. But to have to access from a single IP is rediculous. How many peoples out there has fixed IP?
So, after 2 days, I cancel that plan. (let’s see if they give me the refund they promised) I do the search all over again, and decided on hostgiga. The review is just so-so, and they don’t have user forums on their site. But the plan is great, and support seems good. The basic plan is just a bit more expensive than I used to pay, but offers a lot more. (Strangely, digital sense’s plans have less bang-per-buck the bigger the plan you choose, I can never understand that)
The moving process
Both hosts use CPanel. So, in theory, I can just backup everything with one click, get it FTPed automatically to the new host, and restore everything with another click. But that would copy over all the craps I accumulate on my /home directory too. So I decided to tar each subdomain (there are 4) and copy them over manually. The files first, then the database.
At the same time, I go to GoDaddy, where I host the domain, and change the name server setting to point it to the new server.
Restoring the site(s) involves restoring the databases, create new database users and assign them to the databases. Changing path config and database config in all my sites. (2 Drupal and 3 WordPress)
When the name server changes are propageted, the site is back alive again. (It took about 4-5 hours) First I thought there is some problem, but turns out my firewall (OutPost) is caching NS, so I never see the new server. After I purged the cache, all works.
The site runs a bit faster. And I don’t have to keep deleting raw stats to keep space usage in check.
The new host has AWStats installed, which is 10 times better than the Analog & Webalyzer combination that many hosts still use.
It also comes with free additional domains. Once thai-ntu.net domain is transferred to GoDaddy, I’ll host it on this same server too.
All in all, a good experience. 🙂