Move Website Hosting with MediaTemple SiteMover

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Chris Coyier on (Updated on )

CSS-Tricks has always been hosted on MediaTemple. It started out on their inexpensive grid service (gs). In all honesty, I was never a huge fan of (gs). It eventually outgrew (gs) and I moved it to their dedicated virtual (dv) service and I’ve had very few issues in the many years it has been there. Nothing major and nothing they couldn’t quickly resolve. They have pretty great customer service, including paying attention on Twitter (all too rare).

MediaTemple is now declaring EOL (End of Life) for the 3.0 and 3.5 versions of the (dv) service. Their main reasoning is that the installed version of Plesk, the server management software on those servers, is also being EOL’d by the company that makes it. I’m not sure why Plesk can’t be upgraded, but nonetheless, I’ve been wanting to move everything to a 4.0 (dv) because they are more badass anyway. They are more upgradable, faster in general, running newer software, and, you know, not going away.

Dreading the Move

I have 20ish sites between two (dv)’s. My process would likely be:

  1. I’d use FTP to download all the files from each of the sites (I don’t yet have every single site on my servers with complete version control).
  2. Re-upload them to the new server. That would probably mess with a bunch of file permissions and be slow as dirt.
  3. Google for the 100th time the exact terminal commands to export a database as a mySQL file (30-40 of those).
  4. Log in via Plesk again and use the file browser thing to download those files.
  5. Upload them to the new server and figure out the commands to make new databases and import the data. During that process I’d probably screw up character encodings or something else weird and crazy that’s never happened to me before.
  6. Switch the DNS to point at the new server. But first I’d forget to set the “time to live” on the DNS to a short period, so when it screwed up and I had to re-point back at the old site, it would take 24 hours each time.
  7. Go insane.

I know just enough about server stuff to get it done, but I’d probably go completely gray and be a generally unlikeable person for a week.

So instead…

I noticed MediaTemple starting to offer a SiteMover service. For $150 per site, they’ll move it. Of course they will move it from some MediaTemple hosting to different MediaTemple hosting, but they will also do it from other hosting services or even away from MediaTemple.

I totally jumped on this. I would way rather spend my time working on all the other fun and important projects I have going on right now than spend time moving sites.

Full disclosure: MediaTemple hooks me up with free hosting as they do many other web design-y sites. I do see this post as a thank you for that, but I absolutely wouldn’t do it if I thought their hosting or support sucked.

My experience

My experience with SiteMover was fantastic. I did, as you would expect, almost no work at all. I’d say it took them about 3-4 hours to move the 5 or so sites I have on the CSS-Tricks (dv). There were a couple of minor things we needed to fix (e.g. ensure WordPress media uploader worked), which they did readily. They even helped re-install some third-party server level software that I never would have been able to figure out.

My only gripe was that they probably should have been more clear about the data transfer timing. They did warn me not to post any new posts, but I didn’t think about the forums. I think we lost about and hour or two of new forums posts, which is a bummer, but not a disaster. We may have lost a couple of blog comments as well, not quite sure. We would have been better suited tossing up a quick “down for maintenance” page across the site and then yanking it down after the transfer was done.


They can move your domain as well, which can be just as this.

I should also say, if you decide to go with MediaTemple hosting, the coupon code csstricks20 gets you 20% off the monthly cost. Coupon no longer valid.