Hey Building Moxie . . . What’s Been Doing? :: Moving a WordPress Blog to a New Host
For those of you making your way here for the first time: I made the unilateral decision to automatically opt-in a number of folks from my personal address book. I do hope you are cool with this and welcome! Really . . . feel free to request an opt-out; I have no issue if you do so . . . but I do hope you can stick around, well, for some of the doings.
And if by chance you are stumbling here by googling us, then haWell — this article may help in switching up hosts on your WordPress blog, so do read on.
For those of you returning to Building Moxie: I know what you are thinking . . . . Every year just about this time, he retreats into his batcave. And it really is just like that – minus the batmobile, a batsignal, the fancy gadgets, and a sidekick . . . ahhh actually there is Barry and, well, there is a computer too. If I haven’t shouted at ya, then you probably wouldn’t know, but I am just now finishing up with moving this site to a new host. It is (technically) the second time I have moved this site, and I wanted to do a quick post on it.
The first move involved changing platforms from Blogger to WordPress (Self-hosted), this time I simply changed hosts. And despite what you might think, this did not (well, directly) have anything to do with SOPA & PIPA and my host’s initial stance on those issues.
While it was something that I knew I needed to make happen for a good part of the last quarter of last year, I was in fact . . . putting it off. After all, I had some experience; I knew what would be involved. But the performance on this site, come on, made it unavoidable. I mean – check this one from the Hall of “Fame”:
Illinois contractor Holly Bertsch, …, blogged about a day on the job where the crew is tearing out plaster after applying dust containment all around the job (“More Reality about Working with the RRP Rule (It’s Hot and Uncomfortable!” by Holly Bertsch). This link loads kind of slowly, by the way — but Holly writes, . . .
Uggh! As a blog owner, the last thing you want to read (though I did appreciate the link in and I was pretty stoked about the discussion).
This, plus other circumstances, inspired me to work thru a good bit of optimization in 2011. I did ultimately squeeze out YSlow scores in the A/B range, but any boost I could glean eventually did degrade . . . and degrade big time. It got to the point when there was actually four-hour blocks where I couldn’t even get into the site’s back end. No lie! And you can imagine my frustration . . . I mean – instant death to blogging inspiration!
While I have since dialed back the “anger” I was directing toward my former host (Ogay Addyday — there if you hadn’t guessed), I am not beyond admitting that the issues in fact may have resulted from an erroneous change that I myself may have made . . . . Nah!
Anyways, nutshelling — here is what I did in switching hosts for my WordPress blog:
- The work actually started before the move. I compressed or resized every image that we have. At this point, there is some 1800 on this site. I removed url redirects I had in place from the last move (and this was the actual cause of some lost images for a few days. Oh! and No. Performance did not improve after I did this).
- On looking at hosts, I asked some of my heavy-hitting web mastery type friends. And I came to convince myself that a Virtual Private Server was the way to go . . . get people off of MY connection, you know. That was the way . . . but in the end and after several weeks of combing over it, I backpedaled and chose BlueHost (their basic package). On this, a quick shout to friend and fellow blogger Bob Borson. I mean — if they can handle his traffic, they certainly can handle ours. Thanks Bob!
- Next I installed a new WP file set-up and db. I donated to my theme and then I applied the newest version of it. I simply copied old settings from the old set-up to the new set-up (minus some things I knew I was going to get rid of). I was about 15 builds behind the current on that and I should get a little bump in speed right there. This whole process, if you ever wondered, took about an hour.
- Moving posts, pages, categories, etc. is pretty much a snap with WordPress. Export from the old and Import to the new. WP’s Import plugin will even download and move your attachments for you. I did this at night in an effort to stay out of everyone’s path. I employed a rec from friend Sadie Hebert @KatrinaSos and used FileZila for backup and for the down and up on our large files (for us, this is the audio files).
- I reinstalled plugins. In an effort to get lighter and leaner across the board, I have chosen to go with less than half of what I was using previously. (Ogay Addyday repeatedly claimed that the number of plugins I was using (about 20) was the sole issue affecting my performance.)
- I noodled with the theme a bit and cleaned up our categories and tags. You might have noticed the new logo, new menus, a “Best of” section, and the absence of our “Do Together Daily” tagline. Thanks out to long-time friend Jack Pierce at Jack Pierce Fine Art for the new artwork.
- The single largest block of time was spent in two passes on the posts. These were largely used for the auditing of images and for correcting inconsistent pathing to those images. This part of the process look a good portion of four days to complete.
- I set up a Content Delivery Network (or CDN). To do this, I found this article very helpful and the work itself surprisingly easy. Thanks out to the author of Set up W3 Total Cache with Amazon Cloudfront CDN.
- Finally I switched the Name Server settings on GD, pointing them now to BlueHost.
I was able to execute the move with zero downtime, and . . . I am happy to report, and having been fully “moved” since about Wednesday of last week, there have been absolutely no issues with performance (though there are of course a few more tweaks I would like still to make). I hope you like the new look, the “new” layout, and I hope too to be back in the groove, full-on blogging again soon.
And that’s what I have been up to. During the down time, I was able to connect with a few of you about new and possible partnerships. On these, I am excited. Least of which, the addition of a little segment we calling “Design Moxie” with friend and certified badass Lisa M. Smith, the Decor Girl. Look for “Design Tips” specifically crafted for Building Moxie starting hopefully in the next week or two.
For a preview of that fun, check it below and look for it in various sidebars. Oh and feel free to click the Get Widget option and take it with you! Ours too, which I hope to revise soon >> Building Moxie :: The Widget.
Cheers. Hope your 2012 is treating well and enjoy the week. ~jb
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About jb bartkowiak (259 posts)
A one-time construction manager, and always handyman, turned blogger and editor. My wife, Jen, and I are on our 6th property (. . . yes, together). She is a real estate agent. We have two beautiful daughters Evyn and Eva. We currently live and are restoring an 1889 farmhouse in Baltimore's Lauraville area.