Website (and host) migration time


I have many (5) sites running on a smallish Digital Ocean droplet, using Serverpilot to manage the instances. I originally set this up over 4 years ago. At the time, ubuntu 14.04 lts was the bomb.

However, earlier in 2019, the 14.04 lts went end of support, and that means that it will barely get severe security updates. It was long past time to move on.

Serverpilot warned that it was not a good idea to upgrade the OS, but they said that it could work. Alas, after saving a snapshot, it turns out that upgrading two major versions (skipping the intermediate 16.04) wasn’t in the cards. So I set off on the latest task, to build a new server, add it to Serverpilot, and then migrate all the sites.

As more motivation, my wife’s site, a wordpress using a professional theme (Aqua by BlueOwl Creative) was ancient and supported no php version more recent than 5.3. In fact, WordPress had begun warning me that it was a security risk (when WordPress tell you you have a security risk, you begin to pay attention.)

Alas, that is now no longer supported, and that triggered an upgrade.

The Process

This was not a painful migration. I had 5 sites (my wife’s site, my personal blog (and a .org redirect – More on this in a separate post) and one for my dogs, as well as my professional blog.

The folks at Serverpilot have a migration tool, called data shuttle, that helped. It worked OK for my smaller sites, but it choked on my main personal blog (1000+ posts, over 7 years) so I had to do the manual migration process. Not too painful, but I had to get intimate with mysql (I touch it bout once every 2 years, so I am perpetually rusty).

The weird thing about the data shuttle was that the first site I migrated worked fine, but the others all reported failed. Fortunately, by editing the wp-config.php file, with the new database name/account/password fixed the failures, except for my main site (

Now I have changed all the domain entries, and am awaiting them to properly propagate, then I can shut down the other droplet, and fix any incidental items.

My Wife’s Site

That is a bigger problem, she needs to pick a new theme. The one she has selected is no longer supported, and it is old enough that it isn’t responsive. Time for an update for sure. But that will mean a lot of tweaking that I will have to do to get everything just right for her main business page.

What a waste of a day

At least I am close to done. Time to write my year end posts, and to clean up.

I did get to be frustrated overnight with why the URL redirect wasn’t working, but all in all, it is working, and after grabbing a snapshot of my old droplet, it will be obliterated.

unsplash-logoJoshua Earle

About the author


Product Manager in Tech. Guitar player. Bicycle Rider. Dog rescuer. Techie.

By gander


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December 2019

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