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Domain migration

Posted on 2011-09-09
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hi,
I am creating a new website for a client hosted on my 1and1 virtual servers.
The domain name is registered with Joker.com and the name servers point to demon.co.uk servers.

I am looking for help in building a strategy to migrate the site and email to my servers with minimum impact to my clients.
I appear to have two options to either transfer the domain or to just re point the name servers from the joker account to 1and1.

Ideally I would like to transfer the domain to my 1and1 account and manage the new site and email from there. This would keep every thing in one place.

The priority, though, would be have a minimal effect to the downtime on the email (the website not so concerned) .

If I was to just re-point the name servers to my servers, I see that there is a 24-48 hr possible downtime, so I want to manage that appropriately and sever questions are raised:

1) are the time estimates host provide elapsed time or work time, if I start this on a Friday night will the estimate be 2 working days, to Tuesday or 2 days to Sunday

2) does the estimated downtime on the name servers mean that it is down for that whole period of time. or does it happen in a instance somewhere in that 48hr window.

3) What is down in the down time once the request is made is it both site and mail that go down, what would happen to any mails sent in the period of time.

4) How best is it to manage the mail accounts? do you keep the old mail account and set up and a new one for the same email address with the new SMTP/POP3 settings, do you just swap over the email and any sent to the old SMTP will be automatically picked up by the new account.

So answers to these and any suggestions in managing the impact to the email would be great.
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Question by:Simon Cripps
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6 Comments
 
LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:Matt V
ID: 36510472
I would suggest repointing the DNS first, and then once you know that has propogated, you can commence with moving the domain and mail accounts.  This should provide the least amount of down time.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:mrhamen
ID: 36510651
Anytime that I am making DNS changes that involve email servers or web servers I always try to do that on a Friday at the end of business day just before I walk out the door. Most DNS changes propagate over the name servers in less than 24 hours but some can take as long as 72. When you make these kind of changes your servers are never actually down, what may happen is a user or two may have issues access the website as those changes make there way around.

Your best bet would be to get the new website up and running before making the changes to DNS, and I would leave the old website up and running for say one week after you put those changes in place. This way the site will always be accessible in some state as dns records update across the name servers.

As for the email I would create the same accounts on the 1and1 server. Than make sure that all of the email is downloaded or exported from the old hosted server. Make the necessary changes to the MX records at the same time on a Friday night at the end of business. You will have to have the user check mail on the old server for a couple days to catch anything that ends up there between making the initial change to the mx records and the completion of the changes making their way through the name servers.
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LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:Papertrip
ID: 36512122
Most DNS changes propagate over the name servers in less than 24 hours but some can take as long as 72

Depends on the TTL, that is all.
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LVL 12

Accepted Solution

by:
profgeek earned 2000 total points
ID: 36516130
If you want to migrate to 1and1, I would first do the migration of mail servers, as described above quite adequately (and which you can do with only minimal down time, over a weekend).  Once that has propagated, then you will be using the 1and1 mail servers.  From there, moving the domain isn't so hard, since the old domain host and new domain host will point to the same mail servers at that point.  You can do the same with the website.  So long as the domain host you are migrating from and the one you are migrating to point to the same IP address, there should be no down time during propagation.  Propagation isn't much more than flushing the cache of the DNS servers around the world and replacing the entry with the new information.  This will happen automatically as the TTLs of the entries expire.  If the old host and new host are both pointing to the same mail servers and web servers, then the transition will be seamless.  
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Author Comment

by:Simon Cripps
ID: 36534944
Thanks for all the useful info. i will update after we migrate over the weekend
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Author Closing Comment

by:Simon Cripps
ID: 36594571
All went smoothly, dns took minutes not hours.
Cheers
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