Earlier this month, my web host since 2006 began experiencing extended outages. Normally, I wouldn’t care because I have been pretty inactive in posting to this site over the last few months. However, Downtown Host also hosts my professional site, at https://juanmonroy.com and because I post all my course syllabi on that site, uptime is very important, especially as midterm exams are nigh.
Back in the spring, I attended a workshop on Omeka as part of NYC Digital Humanities Week, and the presenter, Kimon Keramidas, recommended a web host built for academics, Reclaim Hosting. The latest outages forced my hand a bit: I signed up for Reclaim Hosting on Tuesday and began migrating my sites that day.
My professional site was really easy to migrate. Because that’s site is state-of-the-art for 1998 web sites, it consists of just static HTML content and some Apache server side includes. I just copied the files and changed the DNS record with Hover. Within ten minutes, the site on the new host was working as it always on the old. (The process was similarly easy for the East Village Softball Association, which I also maintain using equally antiquated web technologies.)
Less Easy Migration
Because this blog is hosted on WordPress, the process was more complex. Most of it worked according to this guide, but there were some hiccups, due to having a multisite installation. Without getting into too much detail, here’s the basic steps I took:
- Downloaded the files from the WordPress installation from my old host.
- Exported the MySQL database.
- Uploaded the file to the juanomatic.net domain directory on my new host.
- Created a new MySQL database and imported the old one.
- Change the DNS records at Hover.
- Reusing the existing
wp-config.phpfile didn’t work. I had to start from scratch. Thankfully, WordPress figured out that I already had an installation running and made me run through a database configuration instead of reinstalling everything.
- Reactivated Jetpack because that stopped working.
- Set up a Multi-site Network to resurrect the https://courses.juanmonroy.com blog.
- Added a
*.juanmonroy.comsubdomain with my new host.
- Reactivated the WordPress MU Domain Mapping plugin.
- Reactivated the WP Supercache plugin.
All of these steps basically got me back to where I was on Friday, except that the blog is now on a new host.
New, Same Old Site
So, after all that, I now have a couple of new websites, except that they should look like the old ones. But there are two distinct differences.
First, the sites seem to load a little faster, although that’s probably just a function of my imagination. After all this work, I might as well realize some improvement. The appearance to load faster might be that reward.
Second, the professional site and this blog now use HTTPS. The new host offered certificates from Let’s Encrypt, a free, automated, and open certificate authority that was launched to make securing web transmissions over HTTPS quick and easy. Now, transmissions sent between your browser and my sites are encrypted. A keen reader might have noticed a lock in the browser or that all the URLs in this post use https protocol instead of the insecure http. It’s very exciting.