Things I learned moving my blog to a new hosting service (it’s easy!)

Over the last few weeks you’ll may have noticed that I’ve been writing and twittering about moving my blog from the .net domain to .com.

A few years ago I managed to grab when it came open, but I’d not decided what to do with it until recently. I’d been having some performance issues (my blog, that is) and decided to test a new hosting provider.

So, the issue. How to move the blog, keep the same look and feel, not lose any Google Juice, and not lose any feed subscribers. Not a trivial set of considerations!

Of course, I turned to my good friend Google for advice:

  • How to Move Your WordPress Blog To A New Web hosting – great technical advice on backing up and restoring your WP blog
  • Use the WordPress Database Backup plugin – I wrote about it recently when my blog crashed, but backups created with it are entirely suitable for use in blog migration
  • Redirecting incoming traffic to the new blog – well, since I’m using the same data structures and permalink structure, the only change is one from .net to .com, this was quite simple; a .htaccess 301 redirect as described here and here. Slightly technical, but not really too tough.
  • Moving RSS subscribers was also quite simple, since I use Feedburner to manage RSS subscriptions: simply change the Feed Title and Original Feed URL on the Feedburner Feed Details page. DO NOT CHANGE THE FEED ADDRESS as this will disconnect your readers from your feed — a bad thing 🙂

A couple of other observations:

  • Set up your new blog/destination site first. Complete importing your data and building your look and feel. Yes, also duplicate posting to this site. You will want to make sure as your readers move they don’t lose any content…especially for the tardy ones.
  • Immediately change the RSS Feed address in Feedburner. Any new subscribers will never notice, as you are posting to both sites right?
  • Prominently post about the fact that you are moving your blog. Add a widget or two to the sidebar (make them obvious) to alert your readers to the fact that you are moving. You want them to begin to identify with the new URL, not the old one, as soon as possible.
  • After a week or two, close commenting on the old feed, with a message directing readers to the new site.
  • After another week or two implement 301 redirects. And test them! @hownottowrite and @lijit both recommended, through twitter, this HTTP header scanning tool and FireFox plugin to validate the redirects (thanks again!).
  • Finally, remember every place you’ve ever used the URL / Domain name, and change it.

So, after all that…did you notice? 🙂

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