Moving a WordPress site on a 1and1 host

It all started off with the new DD Metal Products site that I built using WordPress, this was built on a subdomain as the old site was still live. Unknown to me at the time, my host – 1and1.co.uk were not very friendly to moving databases around :(

With the help of members on the UKBusiness forum, I installed a wordpress plugin called Duplicator, this was announced to be the best way to move a WordPress site. The instructions were followed but it failed to create the new database – this is the 1and1 glitch. Of course, being a relative newbie I had attempted to move my site into the live domain folder, this failure resulted in the destruction of my live site – not a real problem if you can get the new one up and running fast but this task took me three days!

Google provided lots of results and most of them seemed to follow the standard route but 1and1 does not allow extraction of .zip files or the creation of databases by programs – these two points took a while to discover. I tried doing a blank WordPress install, this worked as WordPress is provided by 1and1 and the installer works well but you cannot apply a duplicator package on top of it, it fails every time.

Then I needed to get rid of the now corrupted blank wordpress install, it was late and I inadvertently deleted my development site folder as well! This left me with the sum of six weeks of work existing only in a Duplicator archive – not a comforting position. Whilst a forum member was setting up a rescue site on a different provider I installed an application called Xampp on a laptop – this allows running websites without using the internet so I could trial and error much faster. I managed to get my site running on the laptop so my data was at least safe.

On my 1and1 host space, I tried many options to get the install working in a subdomain again, finally I managed it. This was no easy task as each upload took me nearly an hour to complete and each delete took about 25 minutes. Finally I had a working site! It was an easy task to repeat the steps to create another copy in the real domain folder – it worked again and I was back up and running.

Here is what I have proven to work when moving WordPress sites on the 1and1 host…

1-Remove any unused themes and plugins from wordpress – this saves time as FTP is slow.
2-Using duplicator, package up your site – this works really well and takes no time, check for errors on the progress screen.
3-Download your installer and archive files as instructed by duplicator, make a copy just to be safe.
4-Decompress the .zip archive file, do not alter the file name or contents.
5-Using FTP, upload the installer and decompressed archive folder to the root folder of the domain, this folder must be empty – do not do a blank wordpress install as some Google results will suggest. You will also need to upload the compressed .zip folder (use the copy)  as this is needed to prove ownership of the data.
6-Using the 1and1 control panel, go to the MySql database control panel, create a new database using a sensible name. When you press “create” you will get a response showing the database details, make a careful note of the host name – this was a long name like “db123456789.db.1and1.com”, your user name “dbo123456789” and your database name “db123456789”.
7-Run the installer by going to “http://yoursitename/installer.php”
8-You will see that host is “Localhost” – this is a failure point, remove it and enter your host data, user, database name and password you used when creating the database.
9-Select “Connect and erase data” at the top of the screen – this is a failure point as 1and1 will block the auto-creation of a new database by the installer.
10-Press “test connection” and make sure you have green lights for server and database – do not try and proceed without green on both.
11-Go to “Advanced options” and choose “Manual Extraction” – this is another failure point, 1and1 does not allow .zip extractions on their webspace accounts, this is the reason for my first three failures and two days wasted.
12-Press the “Go” button, bottom right-hand corner and keep fingers crossed.
13-Hopefully you will get the second stage button, this imports your data into the database, press it and cross fingers again.
14-You should end up with a report screen hopefully showing zero errors.
15-Update your permalinks-this requires logging in to your new site and saving the link data.
16-Test your site – at this stage you can relax as the process seems to have worked :) Test it fully.
17-Delete the install data – do not skip this step as some of the files represent a serious security breach.

A fun time? No, but now I know a lot more about moving WordPress sites :)

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