What happens when we migrate your site?
Whenever we talk about migrating your site, what we mean is the transfer of all the files and the database from your old server onto a new server.
If it's done right, both servers will have an exact copy of the same website, then traffic starts to flow from the old to the new. It's important to keep the data in sync until the migration has ended.
That sounds easy!
This may seem easy, but some sites are so big and customized that the process can be very difficult and take a lot of time. This is especially true if the old server does not provide the most up-to-date tools to achieve this, or if there is broken or conflicted code at the source.
It's important to note that we will only take the files needed to run your site. We will not copy old backups, non-WordPress directories or other archives, zip files and server-related config files. These will all stay on the old server.
When we talk about migrations we normally talk about source and target servers. Where it is now; and where it's going to be. (Sometimes we talk about the old server and our server or the new server, but this can lead to confusion. Source and target are a little technical, but clearer for everyone.)
Domain name configuration
Once everything is in place on the target server, we proceed to configure the domain name. We change a few records from one IP address (source server) to another (target server).
This is a little like damming one fork of a river: almost instantly the water gets held up, and everything starts to flow into the new channel. However, a little of the flow can seep through that dam, and there can be a little turbulence.
It almost always takes just a few seconds to make this change, but there is a risk it'll take longer. This last step can take a few hours to propagate, but once it's finished, we'll have successfully migrated your site.
A few days later you can safely switch off the source server, as traffic is no longer going there. We recommend taking a full backup from that source server and downloading it before turning it off, just in case there's something important in a non-public directory that we're missing.
As part of the migration to our servers, we will remove plugins that are in conflict with our server environment. These are mainly plugins that replicate work we are already doing (like caching, backups, and security). From time to time, plugins with newly discovered security vulnerabilities will temporarily be added to our list of plugins to remove.
We will remove all inactive plugins, and update all remaining plugins. If you know of a reason why we shouldn't do this (to one or more of your plugins), please let us know.