Need help with website migration to new host and Wordpress

Marc Chevalier
Marc Chevalier used Ask the Experts™
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Hello all, I have been asked to re-brand and create a brand new website for a company that is currently unhappy with their site and the lack of traffic it brings.  Here is the situation, they want a new hosting company to host their new site, using the same domain, using Wordpress.  I understand how to create the new site using Wordpress and implementing Google Analytics, but I have never migrated a site from one host to another host.  Also, their existing site was not created with Wordpress CMS.  So my real question becomes, how would I migrate their website from the existing host to Bluehost Wordpress CMS?  Or is it possible to leave the old site on the old host and create the new one on Bluehost Wordpress and then effectively cut over from one host to the new host?  I would assume you know what I am asking now and I apologize for my lack of knowledge and experience with this situation.  Thank you very much!  Please let me know if you need more information from me.
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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software Engineer

Commented:
I think ... before migrating the site and going to the extent of converting it to Wordpress ... the company would be better advised to look at the underlying problem and solve that first.

"unhappy with their site and the lack of traffic it brings"

Migrating an existing site to a new host and converting it to Wordpress is not going to solve the problem of not bringing in traffic.  They need to take a hard look at why it is not generating traffic.
Edmond HawilaChief Operating Officer

Commented:
This is quite simple. All you need to do is ask your client to change their A Record(s) in their Domain DNS Management to point to the IP of your new website host.

Now their A Record(s) point to an IP which is the current host.
You can verify this by going to www.dnschecker.org and checking for the A Record of their domain.

Let me know if you need more details but as a web developer you should learn about DNS Management! I have come across so many web developers who have no clue and it's sad, it's an essential part affecting your work.
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
1) So my real question becomes, how would I migrate their website from the existing host to Bluehost Wordpress CMS?

The term migration is used when moving an existing WordPress site between different hosting companies.

What you're describing is porting a custom site to WordPress. Here are the steps.

a) Setup a new WordPress site. If your existing site is foo.com then setup dev.foo.com for your new/dev site.

b) Be sure to wrap your dev site in HTTPS. Certs have been free for years. One of the reason new sites end up hacked so quick is because development is done on an HTTP site + login credentials are stolen off the wire during development. Then as soon as the site goes live, it's immediately hacked, everyone wonders why. All WordPress (or any other site with a logins) are far more likely to end up hacked if they run HTTP... at any time in their life... including development...

c) Once your site is setup, then you'll just port every content page off the existing site to the new site.

d) How you accomplish #1c depends on number of pages. If you only have a few, cut + paste content pages from old site into new WordPress site, one page at a time. If you have many pages, then likely you'll write a simple scripting tool using https://wp-cli.org to do a mass load of old site pages into new WordPress site.

Tip: https://pypi.org/project/html2text/ can be very useful if you have many pages of content.

e) Then each page of content will be edited, if required, to apply any special formatting.

2) Or is it possible to leave the old site on the old host and create the new one on Bluehost Wordpress and then effectively cut over from one host to the new host?

Yes.

As I said in #1. I your old site if foo.com setup a new site as dev.foo.com or any hostname (dev) you like.

foo.com != dev.foo.com

This means both sites will run independent of each other.

3) I would assume you know what I am asking now and I apologize for my lack of knowledge and experience with this situation.  Thank you very much!

Every question is a good question!

You're welcome!

4) I have been asked to re-brand and create a brand new website for a company that is currently unhappy with their site and the lack of traffic it brings.

Best to keep in mind, changing hosting or porting content from a non-WordPress site to a WordPress site will have little or no effect on site traffic.

Increasing site traffic is a long topic. Best to open a new question... maybe titled something like...

Provide me with your best tips on increasing traffic to my new WordPress site.

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ZeropointNRGHedge Fund Manager

Commented:
Brilliant answer, David.
Chief Operating Officer
Commented:
I don't think he wants to "Migrate" the current website.
He wants to create a brand new website on a new host and point the domain (i.e. foo.com) to this new host.
In this case it is just an A Record change to point on the IP of the new host.
Marc ChevalierIT Consultant

Author

Commented:
thank you!
Edmond HawilaChief Operating Officer

Commented:
Glad I could help Marc! :)

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