Moving to a new server

Posted on 2014-08-21
Last Modified: 2014-08-21
Saturday evening I have to move my web sites to a new server.  The server itself is up and running and I have full access to it.  Here is what I think I have to do.  Please tell me if it looks like I am missing anything:

1) Change the dns in godaddy to point to the new ip address.  This will render the sites "down" until the dns propagates.

2) While the dns is propagating and the sites are down,  move my sql server data files, create the data bases in my new sql server and attach the databases.

3) What about my mx records.  I currently use Mandrill as my smtp server.  Do I need any mx records, "A" records, or other settings changed at godaddy or at my new server?

I would like as little down time as possible for my sites, limiting it just to the time that the dns takes to propagate.
Question by:Bob Schneider
    LVL 29

    Accepted Solution

    A few thoughts:
      First, you can start now, changing the TTL on the DNS records.  For example, if you normally have a twenty-four hour Time To Live on your DNS entries, you can change just the entries related to the web server down to, say ten minutes the day before the change.  Then, on the day of the change, you can make your change, and the propagation should be done in less than ten minutes.

      Second, just the DNS propagation won't, on it's own, take down your sites.  Users will still hit the old or the new site, depending on which DNS entry they have.  If you choose to have it down, put up a maintenance page on the web servers while you make your changes.  (Or you can set-up a redirect on the server which is shouldn't be accepting traffic to go to the server which should be accepting traffic.)

      Third, if your databases are relatively small, the SQL move sounds like a plan.  Have you already run a test move of the databases, and make certain the necessary logins for your application(s) end up on the new server as well.  (Testing the database migration shouldn't interfere with the normal operation of the servers.)

      Is your new server _receiving_ email too?  The MX entries would be needed if (1) you want it to receive email from other servers, or (2) it'll be sending email out without going through a host which explicitly trusts it.  (Hmm, and a quick look at Mandrill, it appears it's an email service provider.  If my quick read is correct, all the MX entries should direct to Mandrill servers.  Confirm that your existing MX entries point to their servers, and for extra comfort, I'd confirm with their support desk that you don't need to make changes to MX or A records for email.  (And I'd also check with their support desk if you're server sends out email through Mandrill to confirm they don't need to make any changes on their servers just to accept email from the new server(s).  That'd be completely separate from DNS records.)

    Author Closing Comment

    by:Bob Schneider
    Very helpful.  Thank you!

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