Support » Fixing WordPress » Movement Saga

  • Believe it or not, I have spend over 29 hours trying to move my wordpress site to a new host. Perhaps I am hopeless.

    I have spent over three years developing this blog, and if possible I would like to not have to recreate it. Most important to me are the pages, my side bars, and my plugins. Over the years I have put in 3 different instances of ecommerce using various plugins in addition to maps and other various plug ins. We are a non-profit with very little funds to hire a consultant. I thought I was fairly technical until I started this moving process.

    I do have a couple of issues that have made it more difficult. My current host (the one I am moving from) is out of business so their is zero technical support. I have read all codexes regarding migration, moving, backup, exporting, and watched several videos on the same topics. My new host even had a wordpress expert and he could not figure out why it was not working on their server after I followed all the steps and he played around with my installation trying to disable plugins and change host etc.. My protocol was as follows:

    Download everything on old server (over 11gb)
    Upload onto new server (this took a long time at 1mbps)
    Export database (successful)
    Create new database on new server (successful)
    Import old database (successful)
    Change wp-config file on new server (successful)
    Change DNS (url remains the same)

    The result is blank page. I believe the fatal flaw to be the file structure on the old server which is hopelessly confusing with everything stored out of root with 100s levels of duplication in subdirectories. So when I upload the 11gb which seems really big for my blog (30 pages, 500 posts, 500 comments) I just nuke the first subdirectory folder (named docs) and put all the files in the root. Maybe this is my issue, is that everything was in a subdirectory to start with so maybe I should recreate that subdirectory on the new server. It just seems ridiculous that I have 11gb to have to upload and my upload speed is so painfully slow.

    Any ideas, I probably should just give up but hard to give up on 100s of hours of content creation and tweaking. I am so frustrated at this point, but I cannot stop thinking about. Maybe I can recreate a clean file structure by backing up from the old server and restoring on the new server. Or perhaps I should trying exporting from the old server and importing with a new install on the new server. I will probably try that next although i think I will loose all my plugins and widgets.

    At this point I have switched my DNS back to my old site but supposedly the new host is shutting dowm imminently. Any feedback would be very much appreciated, although for it to be truly useful you probably need to give me more than a couple of minutes. Of course, just reading this is quite an accomplishment.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
  • Any ideas, I probably should just give up but hard to give up on 100s of hours of content creation and tweaking.

    Please don’t give up. I’ll stick it out with you ’til the end if you promise me you won’t give up!!

    Now.. that’s WAY too much info in your post. Where exactly do you stand now?

    Josh! Thanks. I promise to I won’t give up. Lets start with step 1. Move my wordpress files from old server to new server. I have already downloaded them to my local computer. The files were stored in /public/docs on my old server. It is 11GB of info. I wish I could get around moving all 11gb as my upload speed is slow. One possibility is to get it running on my local computer and optimize, but I fear I could spend lots of time setting it up on my local computer and not succeed. Should I just go for it and upload all 11gb.

    Definitely not LOL. If you have it on your local computer try to figure out where the big parts are, which directories have the largest size? Also it would be helpful to show the basic tree of directories and files maybe 1-2 levels deep.

    Are you on Windows or Mac?

    On weekends I am on a Mac. During the week it is a PC. My mac has much faster downloads and uploads.
    I know this will look crazy but my first instance of the wp-admin folder on my old server for example is: /public/docs/docs/docs/docs/docs/docs/docs/docs/docs/docs/docs/docs/docs/wp-admin

    My solution is to remove all these doc files and just load the heart of the wordpress site which is found in the directory above with the wp-admin (also includes wp-content and htaccess and index.php etc).

    So I have successfully uploaded these file to my new server under /public so for example wp-admin is /public/wp-admin.

    I would download a fresh copy of WP 3.5.2.

    Then, I would extract it to my desktop for reference.

    Lastly, try to ‘duplicate’ the folder and directory layout in your ‘public’ directory.. and have it match that in the downloaded .zip file.

    Josh, some clarification. Above, are you saying for me to run the new version of WordPress on my local computer and duplicate the file structure and run it on my local computer. That would make sense and I think I can accomplish that, assuming I interpreted your message correctly.

    What I’m suggesting is that you try and replicate the basic layout of files and folders you see when you extract a clean copy of WP.

    Sure, you can do it locally… or live. Doesn’t really matter.

    The idea is to put these pieces back together and see if we can get them working together once again.

    OK, I think I understand where you are going. I was hoping not to have to upload the 11gb to the new server as it will take a while (at least 24 hours) but to duplicate the exact structure I will have to upload everything whereas originally I was trying to save time and only upload one layer since most the files appear to be duplicates. I will proceed to upload everything and then extract the wordpress 2.5.2 exactly to where it was on the old server. This makes sense, I just wish I could upload quicker or not have to upload everything. Talk to you in a little bit, unless you have more feedback.

    I prefer to do it on the new server as my DNS has been shifted there and I believe it will make live easier.

    Josh, how do I duplicate the clean version of wordpress when it so massively different than what was on the old server. I wouldn’t know where to start. it seems to me the for the database to work properly I will need to exactly duplicate the file structure on the old server on the new server. I have done this, but still cannot login. I did try to duplicate the exact file structure from the download (plus a few extra files) and this also failed.

    Optional Reading:
    The wordpress I downloaded has 3 folders and 16 files. Very clean. The wordpress from my old server is 13 levels deep, starting with the /docs folder and then within that folder the 16 same files (plus a few more) and another /docs with the 16 files and another /docs folder and then that goes on for 11 more levels and then finally on the 13th level I get what looks like the clean version of wordpress I downloaded. What the previous 12 levels have to do with anything, I have no idea. One point that is important, the first 12 levels look like duplicates of each other with the exact same files in each one. My first thought was to bag the first 12 levels and just put the 13th level in at the root, that way it looks like a normal wordpress installation, but I could not log-in with that set up.

    Man alive this is tough 🙂 Hmmm. So you’ve installed a fresh wordpress.

    Themes live in wp-content/themes/thethemename
    Plugins live in wp-content/plugins/*
    Then there’s your wp-config.php file

    If you can try to put those files into place from your old system into the newly installed one, and connect it to your database, and load up and see what happens 🙂 Let us know.

    Think install a fresh 3.5.2 and then build is the way to go

    So I would go with a different mindset – stop thinking “copy” – think re-create – ie load up items rather than copy across!

    That way you can start to eliminate the issues rather than copy them across.

    So wordpress consists of only 6 items

    1. The wordpress installation
    2. The theme you are using
    3. Any plugins you have installed
    4. Any bespoke files you have changed
    5. Any images/media/docs you have uploaded
    6. And finally everything else (you posts/pages/comments/settings/widgets/plugin settings etc.)

    – a few tweaks needed at the end to change some settings, but in essence the above is what you need to re-create. So not really that hard to do one step at a time.

    So I would create a fresh area, where neither database or files have been – maybe a new subdomain, once you’ve proved the process you can delete all exiting files in your target live area and repeat the process or copy.

    I presume you are using wordpress 3.5.2 on the old site?


    1. Install wordpress 3.5.2 in the new clean area– don’t copy it from anything existing from your site- install it from wordpress site or your host if they give that ability.

    2. Download a clean theme if you’re not using default wordpress ones – go to the theme owner’s site and pull this down. Only copy from your existing theme directory if you can’t get it from elsewhere.

    Check the theme is working

    3. Download the plugins – again use clean versions from developers’ websites. Do this one at a time, and check that each is basically functioning as you go. Not sure whether you’re using 3 ecommerce products at the same time, or have changed over the years, if the latter then just upload the current one.

    Again only copy across from the plugins folder if you can’t get hold of the originals from elsewhere, or if you have subsequently changed them

    4. If you have changed any coding files beyond this , this is the time to carefully consider copying these from your existing site – hopefully you don’t have any !

    5. Hopefully you know where you get your images from – normally this is all in an “uploads” directory. This you will need to copy across. but maybe only copy across a few to start with, just to prove that the final site is working.

    check point

    I’d then create a couple of pages, posts, an ecommerce item – just check that the site has the core functionality that you had – a good point to find anything you’ve missed.

    6. Then there is the everything else – this is all held in the database. Two possible strategies here.
    a. You could copy the database – this’ll bring across and change as you’ve done. I’d probably go for this as first attempt if the wordpress versions match ie you’re on 3.5.2 on the old site.

    b. Otherwise with if you still have access to the old site, you could consider exporting the pages/posts etc. Dashboard>tools>export, then simply import them into you new site. since you’ve only got 30 pages and 500 posts/comments this should easily come across, and it’ll bring across your ecommerce items as well. This strategy may mean that you have to set up your widgets, and all the plugin settings, but it should give you a working site rather than a non-working one.

    Finally do the tweaks as you did before. You may need the velvet blues plugin to change the urls of the images – but think you stated that you’re keeping the url.

    Very clear Robin W., I like your thinking. I am executing now and will let you know how it goes. I am excited that this will work, it is so logical!

    I am up to point 6, will finish tomorrow. I also still need to tweak the theme a little to more closely match my old site. So far so good. I already exported everything into an xml file from the old site and will try to import tomorrow. What about my menu structure, should I set that up before I am import? I am not sure how the content on my pages will fall into place if I do an import. It seems to me I will have to set up the pages first and use the exact same names, otherwise how will it know to import that data to the right page. If you have some steps I should follow that would be helpful.

    Ok, It’s a while since I used this method, so am working from memory.

    No don’t set up menus or pages – the import imports the pages and posts not just their content, so if you have created them it skips and says “already exists” so you’ll get nothing ! Any custom menu’s will come across, but they’ll not be activated, so again don’t set up menu’s.

    What I would do immediately before the import is export or create copies of the database so you have a saved copy of the ‘just before import’ stage. That way you can restore back to that point should you want to do the import again or and do a fresh one. Pretty sure you already know how to do this , but come back if not. Would be a shame to spoil your efforts so far !

    Now what you may need to do before import is set up users, they don’t come across. Each page & post has an author on the old site, and the import process has to allocate these to users on the new site. If who wrote what doesn’t matter to you, then as you import you’ll get a prompt, and you can allocate all of them to “admin” or any other new site existing users. If it does matter – eg you have a post that was written by Fred, and your website displays this, then you’ll need to have a “fred” user on the new system before import.

    When you do the import, once you’ve clicked import, and selected wordpress, it’ll prompt to set up the import plugin. Then it’ll ask you who to assign posts/pages to. Finally it’ll ask a question about attachments – never really understood this one, as it doesn’t seem to copy these in the export. Think I ticked yes last time, but can’t quite remember what to! What I do remember is that some of the links between images I’d uploaded and this stage didn’t remake, so on the site I had a few x’s where I should have had images. I simply went into the page/post and reset it up, but then that site wasn’t heavy with images, so whilst a pain, didn’t take long to fix. I also seem to recall that the galleries didn’t come across, but that may have been me. Again I did these manually.

    So good luck, and come back with what happened. It may take you a couple of go’s, but should work !

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
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