At some point in their business journey, every website owner can encounter the need to migrate their web host. As more lucrative hosting options are making their way in the industry–VPS, shared, or dedicated hosting—it's no surprise that many website managers choose to perform host migration. 

This article provides support in handling one of the most popular DevOps services, hosting server migration, by outlining five essential steps that help you complete a successful migration.

Challenges of Migrating Drupal to Another Host

Migrating a Drupal website to another host can be a complex task, as Drupal has a modular architecture and stores various settings in the database. 

Here are some common challenges of Drupal migrations to another host:

  • Database structure: Drupal websites rely heavily on the database to store content, configuration, and user information. Migrating the database to another host requires careful handling to ensure that data integrity is maintained.
  • File structure and paths: Drupal stores files (e.g., images, documents) in specific directories. When moving to a new host, it's crucial to update file paths to match the new server's file structure.
  • Module and theme compatibility: Drupal websites often utilize various contributed modules and custom themes. Ensuring that these modules and themes are compatible with the new hosting environment is crucial to maintain website functionality.
  • Server configuration: Different hosts have different server configurations, including PHP versions, database types, and server software. These differences can lead to compatibility issues that need to be addressed during migration.
  • DNS propagation: After migrating to a new host, it may take some time for DNS changes to propagate worldwide. This can result in temporary access issues for users.


12 Steps to Safely Migrate Your Drupal Website to Another Host

Now, let's go through the actionable steps to safely migrate a Drupal website to another host:

Step 1: Backup Your Website

Before attempting any migration, create a backup of your entire website, including the database and all files. This ensures that you have a safety net in case something goes wrong during the migration process.

Step 2: Set Up the New Host

Get your new hosting account ready and ensure it meets the necessary requirements for running Drupal. This includes verifying PHP version, database support (usually MySQL), and server configuration.

Step 3: Transfer Files

Transfer all Drupal files from your old host to the new host using either FTP or SSH/SFTP. Make sure to maintain the file structure during the transfer.

Step 4: Export Database

Export your Drupal database from the old host using tools like phpMyAdmin or Drush. Save the exported .sql file for later use.

Step 5: Create a New Database

Set up a new database on your new host, ensuring that the database name, username, and password are correctly configured.

Step 6: Update Settings.php

In the Drupal installation directory on your new host, locate the "settings.php" file (usually in the "sites/default" folder). Update the database connection settings with the new database name, username, and password.

Step 7: Import Database

Import the previously exported .sql file into the newly created database on your new host using tools like phpMyAdmin or Drush.

Step 8: Update File Paths

If your file structure has changed on the new host, update the file paths in Drupal settings to match the new configuration.

Step 9: Verify Module and Theme Compatibility

Ensure that all the contributed modules and custom themes used on your website are compatible with the Drupal version running on the new host. Update or replace any incompatible modules or themes.

Step 10: Test Functionality

Thoroughly test your website on the new host to check for any issues or errors. Test different functionalities, forms, user logins, and ensure that everything is working as expected.

Step 11: Update DNS and Go Live

Once you're confident that the website is working correctly on the new host, update your DNS settings to point to the new host's IP address. Be patient as DNS propagation may take some time.

Step 12: Monitor and Troubleshoot

After the migration, closely monitor your website's performance, and address any issues that may arise during the initial days of the migration.


If you're considering server migration or just need some professional advice on how to handle your hosting server successfully, our team of Drupal experts at Optasy is glad to help. 


Photo credit: bsdrouin on Pixabay. 




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