Site Migration Watch for These

Migrating a site from one host to another can be a daunting task.

There are a lot of things that can, and often do go wrong. Why? Because a site migration requires doing a lot of things in a specific order. Get one of these steps out of order and it can become a nightmare on any street, not just Elm.

Migration done – Setup Complete

But the home page is the only one that comes up. All the other pages give a error usually something involving Apache servers and contacting the webmaster to get it resolved (Well, that would be YOU) and you have no idea how to resolve this issue.

Here are two quick things for you to try.


try this: rename the .htaccess file to .htaccess.txt

this will render it inoperable yet available to restore if this isn’t the issue.

Custom Permalink Structure

If renaming the .htaccess file doens’t fix the problem and you have a custom permalink instead of the default try this:

Set the permalink structure to default and save.
Wait a minute and set it back to the custom permlink structure and save.

I’ve only had to start doing this since WP 3.0. Before the latest version I never ran into this issue. But since, I’ve found this little step usually fixes the issue.

Site Migrations Reset

Right after you make a migration it can be hard to determine if what you are seeing is the new site or the old one still coming up.   This is especially true in those first minutes after throwing the final switch to the new site location.   How do you know?   I’ll often put an extra word in the site title to let me know I’m on the new location.   Once I know the migration is complete I simply change the title back.

If they are identical, don’t assume all went well when it comes up.   Wait an hour and browse your site again, and don’t just look at the home page.   Navigate the site.   If it all comes up . . . “Go ahead, breath again”


  1. If you were to move from godaddy today. where would you move to or would you.

    I am thinking of getting a dedicated server through go daddy, but now sure if that is a good route to go.

    I welcome your thoughts

  2. Curtis,

    Hum, let me see . . .

    Bluehost hosting

    Maybe the widget at the top of the sidebar will provide a hint. 🙂

    I’ve used GoDaddy hosting for years. But last year I bought a bluehost hosting pack on a deal and couldn’t believe the difference. The longer I’m with them the better I like them. Speed, reliability, etc. I send all my clients looking for new hosting to Bluehost.


  3. I am looking at changing hosting. Currently I use GoDaddy VPS and I think their service sucks compares to Hostgator. It was helpful hearing Blue host may be good, but it is hard to know who to trust. As far as site migration, do you recommend upgrading to wordpress 3.0 before or after migration? Thanks for the article Dave.

  4. Chris,

    I recommend you do the upgrade before the migration. With complete backups before you do it. This way when you lay down the new database in the migration it is clean and up to date.


  5. We are in the process (sort of) of moving one of our sites and I have had great concern over loosing what we have. Your suggestion are right on the mark! I never thought of changing the file name! I will certainly be looking at blue host as well. thanks

  6. I was using godaddy for quite some time and decided to move to Hostgator, haven’t had too much of a problem with them.. yet..

    Haven’t looked into them

    You’re right, migration is a risky process and there are too many things that can go wrong, especially if you’re migrating a VPS or have complex hosting requirements,

    Thanks for the article, the .htaccess file has caught me out many times.

  7. This is great to see the tips on site migration. Have been considering a move to a different server but you are correct that the task seems daunting. Hopefully when I make the move it will be a smooth transaction

  8. Laurie,

    Glad you got something from the post, if you need any help or have questions let me know. I’ve done a lot of site migrations.