Migrate your website

We offer 1/2 hour of free assistance for cPanel-to-cPanel website migrations.

Please note: If your website is currently hosted on the cPanel hosting platform, which we use for all shared and reseller hosting, migrating your website to our hosting environment should be as simple as obtaining a full cPanel backup from your current host and providing that to us. If you are NOT hosted on cPanel, the process can rapidly become complicated. We offer 1/2 hour of free migration assistance for cPanel-to-cPanel site migrations, so the more compatible your current host is with our environment, the greater likelihood we can help get you set up in our environment free of charge. All of our migration services are offered during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm, Pacific.

If you already have a website hosted elsewhere and are considering moving it to a new host, Canvas Host has crafted this article to help explain the process so you can better understand what is involved in migrating off of your old host, and make an informed decision.

Whether you want to transfer an individual website directly to us for hosting, or are already a Canvas Host reseller and want a site copied into your existing reseller account, the process of migrating (copying) a site follows the same technical steps.

Please note that “migrating a website” is not the same as “transferring a domain”. Please see our article on Domain Transfers for additional information about domain transfers.

1. Preparing For The Migration

Before performing any migration, it is important for you to be aware of the following information about your website.

  • What control panel platform is the site currently hosted on? cPanel? Plesk? Ensim? etc.
  • Is the website written in PHP/MySQL or static HTML? Does it involve custom CGI or other application code?
  • Does the website have custom settings in a .htaccess file?
  • Does the site need a static IP address and/or SSL certificate?
  • Does the website provide email service for the domain or does it use an externally-hosted mail service?

2. Accessibility Is Key

Depending on the answers to these questions, the process can be more or less automated, more or less streamlined, and with more or less complexity/risk involved.

If the sites are accessible to remote access, such as if you can provide Canvas Host with SSH access for the current site, our cPanel Transfer Manager can normally get in and copy most everything over without issue. If the site is already hosted on cPanel, the migration can even be seamless.

On the other hand, if account access is limited, such as if you only have FTP access, then it becomes more complex, especially if there are many mail accounts and MySQL databases (which are inaccessible via this method). We may even need to build up the site from scratch – first uploading the files, restoring the MySQL database(s), adding in the email accounts, and so forth.

3. About Existing Account Passwords

Many customers who transfer sites want to know if they can keep the same usernames and passwords.

cPanel limits usernames to eight (8) characters. Passwords generally can be any length. If the Transfer Manager is able to get the sites moved over to cPanel, passwords are typically brought over, too — but we’ve found it can be easier to just reset passwords when in doubt or if your users run into any issues.

4. Performing The Migration

Once you have gotten organized and provided us all account, email, SSL, password, configuration and other settings, we will be ready to proceed with the migration. This may be done by cPanel’s built-in migration tool, or manually via FTP/SSH connections to your old Web host.

After migrating a site over to our servers, we will reconstruct any broken MySQL connection strings so the site can speak with its database again.

We will verify that all requested email accounts are set up again with the correct passwords.

If your site runs on a static IP and SSL, we will assign one of our own IPs to your new site. If you have an existing SSL Certificate from your current hosting provider you can try to install it into our environment. Please note, we do not provide any support for SSL Certificates purchased or previously used outside of our hosting service. We do offer many affordable SSL certificate options.

5. About Email Migration

If your site is being migrated over from another cPanel hosting service, then email accounts, messages, passwords, and address books should transfer over without issue.

If you are migrating over from any other platform, your email accounts will need to be recreated from scratch. Additionally, Webmail messages and address books hosted on non-cPanel platforms cannot be copied over to the new account on our Web servers. Therefore, before the actual migration takes place, we strongly advise all customers to make a backup of any Webmail messages or address books, as this information will no longer be accessible once the domain begins resolving to our servers.

6. Going Live

At this point, we will notify you of the new/updated nameservers that must be changed for the domain at each domain’s registrar account, in order for the site to go live on the new hosting space. If we are already your domain registrar, we will make the change for you. Otherwise, you will need to contact your registrar (whether GoDaddy, Network Solutions, Enom, etc.) and make the changes yourself.

Once the nameserver changes are made, there is a propagation time of up to 36 hours in which a site may or may not resolve to the new server. At that time, we can easily go through and make any additional changes/corrections to site files and settings. Simply open a support ticket and we can assist you further.

7. Summary

All of our migration services are offered during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm, Pacific.

We’re happy to help. It’s our way of saying “thank you” for choosing us as your new host. It is also one way we can demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that your needs are taking care of right from the start. While we cannot guarantee the migration will be seamless or that 100% of your website will function as you would expect, in most cases the migration can be performed with the desired results.

Additionally, we offer custom website migration assistance at the rate of $80/hour, with a minimum 1 hour charge, for websites hosted on a platform other than cPanel (such as Plesk), or for larger cPanel sites or multiple cPanel accounts (such as for reseller or dedicated server customers). Migrations may take as little as five minutes or as long as two hours depending on the size and complexity of your website. Preparing for a migration alone may take several days. For this reason, we ask for a minimum one business week to prepare for and perform any site migration. Please inquire if you would like to learn about our migration assistance.

To better assist us in helping migrate your website, please get us as much information as you can by opening a ticket with our support staff detailing all of your account access information with your previous host. Further, if your old host can provide you a complete cPanel backup of your site, that will greatly facilitate our ability to help migrate your site over to our network.