How does one properly migrate a web site to Brownrice?

First, please know that Brownrice will migrate one customer site per service free of charge for new customers.  We're very good at this and happy to do it.

However, if you are migrating multiple sites on your own into a VPS or dedicated server, these are the instructions that we use:

Pre-migration check list:

  • Ensure that you have access to your old host's DNS control panel.
  • Ensure that you have FTP or SSH and database (phpMyAdmin) access to your old host (SSH access is really useful).
  • Look up your database username, password, and database names on your old host server and save them somewhere so you can refer to them in the steps below.  This information is often located in your old host's cpanel or within your web site's code, often in a file called "config.php" or something similar.  It may take some digging to find this.
  • If you are also planning on migrating your domain registration to Brownrice, you will need access to your current registrar account.
  • Brownrice automatically assigns subdomains for each new service that is set up on our server.  i.e.  If your web site is then we'll automatically set up which will point to your web site on our servers.  Ensure that this is working and pointing to your new, Brownrice server as its important for testing.  If its not please let us know and we'll set it up for you.
  • Check your current PHP version on your old host.  Then check it on your new Brownrice server.  If they don't match let us know and we can downgrade or upgrade your PHP version on your new Brownrice server to match. You can also do this yourself through the Dashboard following instructions found here.
  1. Login to your old host's DNS control panel and change the TTL for your domain to a small number, like 30.  This will ensure a quick transition to your new Brownrice server.
  2. Using an FTP program download all of your web site files from your old host to your computer.  Then upload them to your new Brownrice server's document root.  Advanced users with command line access to both your old server and new Brownrice server can use scp or rsync to directly copy files from server to server.  Saves a lot of time!  Examples below are run from your old host server.   Be very careful with these commands as entering the wrong paths can delete and overwrite real data!
    scp -r /var/www/
    rsync -avz /var/www/
  3. On your Brownrice server set up the same database users, password, and users-to-database permssions that were on your old host via our Dashboard:
  4. Using phpMyAdmin or mysqldump (mysqldump is used from the command line), export a copy of all of your database files to your computer or web site.  Then using phpMyAdmin (or mysql from the command line) on your Brownrice server (can be accessed via the Brownrice control panel at import all of your database files. 
  5. At this point there is a small chance that everything will work!  But its not likely and you'll need to check a few things by navigating to your Brownrice subdomain to see how things look.  i.e.  Now go to and see if your web site works!  Its often database connection issues that will need to be addressed by editing the database connection scripts (remember the config.php type file above) and user permissions, which can be changed via FTP or SSH access.  Feel free to contact us if an error is stumping you and we'll be happy to help you through it.
  6. Once all errors are gone from and you are ready to make the switch you'll want to login to your old host's DNS server control panel and change the A record for your web site to point to your new Brownrice IP address.  Your IP address can be found in our control panel.
  7. If you changed the TTL for your domain in step one you should start to see traffic on your new Brownrice server nearly immediately.  If you did not change the TTL it may take a few hours before things start to happen.
  8. Wait at least 48 hours, then pull the plug on your old hosting service.  Done with your site migration!
Next steps to think about: Migrating DNS, email, and domain registrations to Brownrice...

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