How to Migrate a WordPress Site to a New Web Host
Jun 15th, 2017
While there are many reasons a person running a WordPress website might want to move their site to another web host, the thought of actually doing so can be enough to have them breaking into a sweat. Luckily, the entire process could take just a few hours and be quite simple, if the right tools are used. The most important thing to remember is that plugins are your friend if you’re going to be moving so that you don’t have to manually copy every single file. With the right plugin, your site can be moved with just three steps.
While there are many plugins that can help, All-in-One WP Migration is the easiest to use. To start, install this plugin onto the site that you want to move. Then you need to set up WordPress and get it ready with the new web host.
After this has been done, the site needs to be exported from the original web host. This can be done by opening the WordPress dashboard and clicking on the All-in-One WP Migration tab. Then click on the ‘Advanced options’ link. You’ll be given a list of options pertaining to the content that you do and don’t want moved to the new web host. If you want an exact replica of the site, leave all of these options unchecked but you can choose to leave the spam comments, post revisions, and more so they aren’t carried over to the new web host.
Once you’ve selected your options click on ‘Export To’ and choose ‘File’. The plugin will then place the entire website into one single file. Depending on how large your website is, this could take several minutes. Once it’s finished, you can then download that file to your computer.
After the website has been exported, you then need to head over to the website that’s been installed with the new web host and again install the All-in-One WP Migration plugin. Once installed, click on the ‘All-in-One WP Migration > Import’ tab. Here there will be an option for uploading the WordPress file. Click on that option and choose the website file that you downloaded and saved to your computer. This may also take a few minutes but this time it depends on the speed of your Internet connection, not the size of the file.
When the file is uploaded, you will see a warning that this file will override any current content on the site, which is exactly what you want since there shouldn’t currently be anything on the site. Click ‘Continue’.
The plugin will then also tell you to go to ‘Settings > Permalinks’ and click the ‘Save’ button twice. After doing this, you will have an exact replica of your site on the new web host.
At this point many people will think they’re done, but the chances are good that you’ll also have to change the domain name as it is likely still going to be pointing to the original site and web host.
This process can vary because there are so many different registrars, but it typically involves finding the domain management settings and choosing an option asking you to update its nameservers. You’ll then need to replace the old web host’s nameservers with the new. This part can be a little confusing and if that’s the case, just contact the registrar’s support team and ask them to help you. They’ll likely be able to walk you through it in just a couple of minutes.
Once the changes are all made, your website will be successfully transferred from the old web host to the new one, but it can take as long as two days for those changes to make their way through the web. After the changes are made, you can either delete the old site entirely and close your account with that web host, or turn it into a new website.
WordPress plugins make it very easy to transfer a site from one web host to another. So if that’s the route you’ve chosen, there’s no need to break into a sweat!
How to Decide which Control Panel is Right for You
May 11th, 2017
Website owners who are new to running and managing a website may wonder what exactly a control panel is, and which one is the best for them. Others, who have years of experience under their belts, may still wonder if the control panel they’ve been using is still working as it should; or if there’s one out there that might suit them a better.
Control panels are web-based interfaces that allow website owners or their administrators to manage the website and functions of the server from the convenience of a web browser. While there are dozens of different control panels that can be used, there are three key players in the industry. They are cPanel, Plesk, and Webmin; and these are the ones that will be examined here.
cPanel: The Standard for Linux Web Hosts
cPanel is a control panel that is offered by most web hosts, either by default or as an add-on. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is the fact that much of the Internet is powered by cPanel, and the fact that it’s built on a code base that has been proven time and time again over the years. But with all the advantages cPanel brings, it still has its downsides.
cPanel has one of the easiest to use interfaces that can be found in the industry. This control panel is so streamlined it can help organize workflow and accomplish routine tasks very quickly. It also has the advantage of one-click installation, meaning that those working with Wordpress, Drupal, or other common software don’t have to suffer through a multi-step installation process but rather, can do so in just one click. While this definitely lightens the web host’s load, it’s also a great help for those that just want to get their website up and running.
Of all the disadvantages that are out there with control panels, cPanel has relatively few. One of the biggest is that it does have a limited operating system selection, and that’s enough to keep some from using it. cPanel is only compatible with CentOS, RedHat, and CloudLinux servers. Those that wish to run their control panel from another operating system will have to choose another one to do it with.
Just like there is great debate between Apple users and Microsoft users, there’s also a world of debate between those who prefer cPanel and those who like Plesk. There is no one that is better; it’s largely a matter of personal preference. There is no argument though that Plesk certainly brings a lot to the table.
One of the biggest advantages Plesk has, and that users will be quick to point out, is the fact that this control panel comes with a remarkable support system. Those who are working on a Microsoft SQL server will find this especially useful as they need to integrate all of their technologies, and Plesk will help them do this with ease. In fact, Plesk is considered easier to use overall than many other control panels within the marketplace. In addition to the great support that comes with Plesk, it can also be run on Windows servers as well as CloudLinux, CentOS, Debian/Ubuntu and openSUSE.
What Plesk offers in support however, it takes in resources. With any panel, administrators will have to sacrifice some resources for usability. But because of the crowded interface Plesk has, it tends to take much more. Plesk can also be confusing to use due to the fact that it has a single login for administrators and end users; so it’s good that it comes with the great support that it does.
Webmin has many advantages over both cPanel and Plesk, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. While Webmin is free, being that its code is completely open source, it’s also a fairly bare-bones control panel. This means that those who are very tech savvy can customize the panel however they see fit; but it also means that those that aren’t familiar with working within control panels will have a great deal of trouble performing even the simplest tasks.
Like cPanel, Webmin can also only be run on Linux servers, but it doesn’t have the friendly user interface that cPanel does. It also doesn’t have the support system that either cPanel or Plesk do, which means that administrators that face technical issues will have to fix them on their own.
Website owners and administrators who need to choose a control panel will typically end up opting for a web host that offers cPanel or Plesk. These are the two most familiar, and the choice will typically come down to the server they want to run their website on, and how much support they’re going to need. While Webmin is arguably the best open-source control panel on the market, it’s really only meant to be used by professionals that are proficient in the technical needs of a control panel, and being able to meet them and fix problems when they arise.
For those that are new to running and managing a website, the best advice is to choose a web host that offers both cPanel and Plesk. Discuss with them what options might be best for them and then choose based on that. However, it is also important to remember that cPanel is the most popular for a reason and just because a website is run on a Linux server doesn’t mean that website owners need to know code or use a Linux computer in order to manage or add to their site.
How to Back Up Your Website
Apr 20th, 2017
There are millions of website owners that don’t back up their website. But it’s not because they don’t want the safety and reassurance that backing up a website brings. It’s because they simply don’t know how to do it. When it comes to backing up your website, there are five different ways to do it.
The first way to back up a website is by manually backing it up. This is the least technical way to do it, but it’s also the way that’s going to cost the website owner the most amount of time. It can be done by installing Filezilla and then use that software program to connect to your account. From there a number of options will pop up to download your files. You’ll be able to choose whether to download all your files, or just the ones you want.
When using the manual method to back up a website, it’s important to remember to do it often. This can be done by setting diary entries to make sure the task doesn’t slip your mind. And while backing up all the posts and pages that might be on the site, there’s more to it than that. It’s also important to remember to back up all the databases, keep a logical folder structure with the date as the directory name, and to back up to multiple hard drive locations. This will ensure the files will never be lost.
Using cPanel to back up a website is also easy. You really just need to log in and press the ‘Backup’ button. Select ‘Generate/Download a Full Backup’ and then choose ‘Home Directory’. From there all you have to do is select ‘Backup Destination’ and enter your email. Then click ‘Generate Backup’ and you will get the email when your backup is ready.
When you get that email, you need to download the backup and store it onto your computer. Even though this is a simply straightforward way of backing up, it’s still important to remember to do it regularly and keep the backup files in a safe place. This should not be on your web host’s server, even if you have a file there. After all, if your backups are stored there and the server goes down, those files will do you no good.
Backing up to a cloud
Backing up to a cloud service is one of the easiest, and most secure, ways to back up your website. A cloud can expand as much as you need it to when files are continuously being added, and it’s fully redundant. There are also many different platforms and software programs such as Dropbox and Amazon S3 that can make the process even easier. While Amazon S3 is intended to be used for backup solutions and Dropbox is not, getting creative with backup solutions can often be one of the easiest ways to do it.
Rsync isn’t a cloud-based backup service in itself, but it can be used to back up to a cloud server. And while it might not be the easiest to use, it’s considered one of the best in the business for a reason. Rsync will only transfer files and portions of files that have changed, which is a great time-saver. But you will still have to back up your database, and you will have to do it on a Linux server.
Automated backup solutions
Using an automated backup solution means hiring a third party to do it automatically for you. There are many services available out there that will help you do this, and your web host might be one of them. But, even if your web host does offer backup services, it’s best to also have someone else do it as well. Remember, the more copies you have of your website saved somewhere, the better off your website will be, especially if a mistake happens that destroys it.
Backing up a website is important. But the reason most website owners don’t do it isn’t because they don’t understand the importance of it; it’s simply because they don’t know how to do it. These five options offer a range of ways to do it, varying from easy to difficult and affordable to quite expensive. All website owners have to do is choose the one that’s right for them, and then start backing their website up as soon as possible.
How Much Support Can You Expect from Your Web Host?
Mar 12th, 2017
If there’s ever a problem with your website, your first call is probably going to be to your web host. After all, they’re the ones that have the server so they should be able to figure it out, right? Well, sometimes that’s the case, but sometimes the support that’s needed goes beyond the realm of web hosting. This can cause some customers to become upset with their host, because they see it as simply a lack of interest on the web host’s part, when that’s not necessarily true. So how do you know when your web host can help and when they can’t? How much support can you expect from your web host?
For example, let’s say you’re having a problem editing your website’s template. A problem arises, and because you’re dealing with the template, you assume it’s a scripting issue. So you quickly go to your web host’s website to file a support ticket. Once there, you don’t see the category you need, so you call them instead. After explaining the problem, they tell you it doesn’t seem to be a scripting issue at all, but that it’s actually a problem for your web designer. Frustrated, you get off the phone thinking that the web host has now “passed off” your problem because they didn’t want to help you.
Situations like this cause a couple of problems. The first is the confusing support tickets, and the second is the answer from the web host that you weren’t really happy with. But is the web host really to blame for this? While it’s easy to lay that blame at the feet of the person you think is responsible – in this case, your web host – they’re not really at fault.
While the categories of support tickets can be confusing, most of the time they do include just about every issue you could come across with your website. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for there, a simple call should help. But what if you’re unhappy with the answer, as in the example above?
In that case, a short call to your web designer will probably clear up the problem, but not every issue will be just like that scenario; and sometimes, you might not have anyone else to call. So what do you do in that case?
All you really have to do is check out the Terms of Service of your web host before signing up with them. The TOS will fully explain what the web host’s support staff will be able to help you with, and what they won’t, which can eliminate some surprises later on down the road. Another good rule of thumb to remember is that if the problem can’t be fixed through your control panel, your web host probably won’t be able to help.
Web hosts generally do their best to help their customers with issues regarding websites, but they can’t fix everything. If there’s ever an issue on your site, knowing what to expect in the way of support and what’s out of the web host’s hands can help get your problem fixed sooner, and with less frustration on your part.
How Much Can You Expect to Spend when Starting a Website in 2017?
Feb 05th, 2017
So you want to start your own website. Whether it’s for your business, or you just want to claim your own corner of the web to speak your thoughts, one of the first things you’ll probably ask yourself is: how much is it going to cost? Between domain names, hosting packages, and other features, the costs can quickly add up. So when all is said and done, how much can you expect to spend when starting a website in 2016?
$0 - $100+ per year
Your domain name will be the name of your website, or the address they type into their browser to get to your website. How much you pay for your domain name will depend on the type of domain you want, and who you purchase it from.
If you find a web host that offers free domain names, you won’t have to pay a penny for your domain name. If you want to purchase your domain name on your own, from a site such as NameCheap, you’ll end up paying about $15 for a simple .com domain name. There are top-level domains you can also buy such as .guru or .global, but the yearly cost for those can be as high as $100 or more.
When buying a domain name, it’s important to check not only how much it costs to buy, but what the yearly renewal fee is. You will have to pay a fee to keep your domain name, and therefore your website, every year and you want to make sure it’s not going to run you more than you’d like before your final purchase.
The average domain name costs about $10 per year.
$0 - $1000+ per year
If you’re going to have a website, you’re going to need a web host. Unless you’re prepared to purchase, install, and maintain and operate your own server, this is unavoidable. But just like domain names, you can spend as little or as much as you’d like. It just depends on the type of web hosting you choose.
Free web hosting is available from a number of different web hosts. Their hope is typically that you’ll move from free web hosting full of pages of ads to paid hosting, which will give you full control over your website. Free web hosting is also shared web hosting in the way that your website will be placed on a server with many other websites. The difference with paid shared web hosting is that you won’t have any of those ads and for a fee of about $7 a month, you’ll be able to choose the ads you’d like to run on your site, and run different features.
VPS and dedicated web hosting are other types of hosting available, but they are a bit more expensive. VPS typically runs about $50 a month, while dedicated can be as little as $60 a month, or as much as $200 a month.
Features, templates, and plug-ins
$0 - $100+ one -time fee
Features, templates, and plug-ins are all the little extras you’ll want for your site. Features and plug-ins will let you and your visitors use and interact with the website, and templates will get your website looking exactly how you want it to. Just like domain names and web hosting, you can find all of these for free but you might find your choices to be a bit limited. You can find these same items through your web host or online, and if you’re willing to pay a small one-time fee, it can drastically change the look and feel of your website.
Unfortunately, there is no one definitive answer as to how much you can expect to pay when starting a website in 2016. The entire process can be completely free, or you can spend a thousand dollars or more on it. The good news is that all the different things you’ll need to start a website are available in varying price ranges, so people of any and all budgets can get online with their own website!