The Complexities of Server Migrations

As part of my web design service, I host some of my clients on a virtual personal server. A VPS is a cost-efficient way of providing hosting to my clients, which allows great flexibility and responsiveness with regard to configuring the hosting to meet my clients’ specific needs. 

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In order to maintain a high standard of hosting provision to my clients, I took the decision to upgrade my server to a more secure, up-to-date and robust cPanel system.  As such, I have been gradually migrating my clients across to the new server over the weekends, to ensure minimal disruption to their websites and email accounts.  A change in DNS server details can take up to 48 hours to propagate across the internet, and so a weekend is the preferred time to start a migration in order to guarantee that websites and email accounts are fully functional at the start of the working week.

Central to any server migration is the backing up of all website and email data before changing the domain DNS settings. In the case of emails, this is not such a simple task when clients have particularly extensive and complex email folder filing systems so large that the server times out when attempting to download the emails for backup. So it has been necessary to research various alternative backup methods, and on identifying the most suitable, thoroughly test them before finalising the migration.

In one particular case, the filters applied by the ISP of one of my clients meant that successful configuration of his email account on his Apple Mail local email client was not possible. To ensure minimal disruption to his email provision, we decided to migrate his email away again to a different hosting provider and chose G Suite, provided by Google, which is widely used and supported.

Notwithstanding this small issue with the ISP filters, all server migrations have been a success and my clients are now enjoying the benefits of more powerful and secure hosting with SSL certification and faster website loading times.