One day I had interesting chat with a colleague. At work, we have windows and mac computers supported by our IT department. You can also run linux but in that case you’re mostly on your own. Meaning if you have problems you need to figure it out yourself.
Many of us are migrating away from Webfaction. In earlier post, I wrote about my new favorite alternative hosting service Opalstack. In this post I’ll give you an overview how to migrate WordPress from Webfaction to Opalstack.
Opalstack is Webfaction -like shared hosting provider (also VPS provider). If you’re familiar with Webfaction you will feel at home in the first second at Opalstack. It’s actually run by people who have left Webfaction.
Migrate WordPress from Webfaction
Basically all WordPress installations that do not contain any magic or crazy stuff will go with the same flow. If you’re moving your own site, this is basically what you need to do. If you’ve bigger site that is probably developed by some software vendor, let them do the work.
First: Create tarballs and dump the database.
It’s time to ssh to webfaction. First, dump your relevant database.
mysqldump -u [db_user] -p [databasename] > ~/db.sql
It will ask your password after that. In case you need fancier dump, you can always look for more sophisticated options. After running that command you’ll find db.sql containing dump of the whole database in your home directory.
Then, let’s create tarball of the wordpress site’s files. It will contain all code and all media files. Note that if you have such directory setup that is not following the default approach you may need to alter this phase a bit.
tar cvf ~/site.tar ~/webapps/[your-wordpress-site]
It will create a file to your home directory (called site.tar). It shouldn’t take too long.
Second: Create Apps and Databases at Opalstack
Login to Opalstack control panel at my.opalstack.com. Create a new app. Don’t create a WordPress app but just PHP-FPM Apache app. That’s important as we don’t want to get new wordpress site up but move your old one to Opalstack.
As always, I recommend creating a new user for each WordPress related app in Opalstack. It’s easy and it will limit damages if your WordPress gets hacked.
Next step: Create a MariaDB database and database user (user is created automagically if you want to). Note that all the default passwords etc. can be found from Notices at the left sidebar.
Add domains (probably a test one? Or if you’re feeling lucky, just your production ones). Add routes. I’m not explaining this more deeply as you’re from Webfaction and the concept is exactly the same (except naming).
Either change existing DNS entries to point to Opalstack or add a new A record for a subdomain (like test.yourdomain.com) which points to Opalstack.
At this point we should be able to go to your new application sitting in the domain you already set up. There should be only white screen or error page. But it should resolve alright!
Third: Install WordPress from Webfaction to Opalstack
Then it’s time to load data from Webfaction to Opalstack. Open ssh terminal to Opalstack, go to your home directory and fetch data.
> scp [email protected]:db.sql . > scp [email protected]:site.tar .
Now you got your data from Webfaction to Opalstack. Then let’s load it up. First database:
mysql -u [db_username] -p [databasename] < db.sql
Don’t worry it saying mysql even though its MariaDB that Opalstack is using. They’re 100% compatible in our case.
Then, lets go with the tarball. Extracting it:
cd ~/apps/yournewapp tar xvf ~/site.tar
If you happen to have too much directory structure after that (so that your site files are found in ~/apps/yournewapp/oldapp/), just go to oldapp directory and say
mv * ..
You probably need to check that it also moves all dot-files, so after that check
And if any dotfiles are there (usually .htaccess), move it also
mv .htaccess ..
Now we have data in place. Go back to your apps root folder. Edit wp-config with your favorite editor (I prefer vim) to update database connection credentials.
Also, if you’re testing your site with a new domain, check your options from wordpress documentation.
That’s pretty much it! Try to login, test that everything works.
Oh noes, my site behaves weirdly or just shows source code
Fear not. They’ve used a bit different methodology in Webfaction than they use in Opalstack and if you’re running old site you’ve probably added SetHandler directives into your .htaccess to choose right php version to use.
In Opalstack you choose php version from the control panel. Just delete segments regarding that SetHandler and it should fix the problem.
If not, you can always post question to community forum which is very helpful or send directly email to support. They answer very.. very fast!
It was quite much of text but action itself is quite straight forward. Try this methodology over those wanky migration plugins that will cause you more headache than give you benefits.
Looking for good hosting alternatives? Below I’ll be introducing you the Opalstack.
Webfaction was awesome
I believe that many of you share my feelings when you first heard that GoDaddy bought Webfaction. Webfaction has been my favorite hosting platform in business and private. Back then I was so convienced of the quality of Webfaction platform and customer service that we decided to put tens of clients to Webfaction hosting. To be honest, maybe over hundred.
It was so easy to ramp up usage as your costs don’t go up every time you want to test something. In case that you’ve tens of simple wordpress (or similar) sites even the smallest hosting plan goes just fine without any additional costs. Because low usage sites doesn’t generate memory or disk usage that much. And thats about all that generates costs in Webfaction.
Webfaction not so awesome
Well. A week ago Webfaction sent an email to its users. Hello all, we are about to migrate your accounts to tsoHost (UK) . It makes sense. Godaddy doesn’t want to have competing hosting companies under its umbrella. They want to get synergy out of its companies.
Unfortunately, tsoHosting is not very appealing for me. I don’t know what would be the migration plan as it was not described in the migration email. But from pricing perspective Ultimate would be the similar level than my Webfaction account.
And they have those numbers in their pricing. 10 hosted websites. Free standard SSL (for first year). 3 Migrations. Etc. Those numbers I don’t like as I’m coming from Webfaction where you could host 1000 websites in your account if you wanted to. Even though my needs are quite simple nowadays I still want feel the freedom.
Earlier I’ve been able to provide hosting to my hobby clubs etc because why not. I want to be that great guy in the future too.
The best managed shared hosting
So I started googling. Good Webfaction Alternative. Well, the results are poisoned with big players in the market. A lot of marketing sites of big players and too much noise. There’s so many hosting companies that you literally get millions of theoritically relevant results.
So, I didn’t do anything. Too much choices and all them seem to be bad.
A bit later I tried again. Twitter this time. Where would I go if I wanted to change hosting company but wanted to keep similar service than with Webfaction?
Soon I got responses (surprising actually). There happens to be a one-and-half year old company founded by people left Webfaction. The business idea is very same. Simple pricing. Lot’s of tools for developers and admins. Easy setup. Very predictable pricing. All that Webfaction had but design is better and tech behind the solution is better and more up to date.
It’s called Opalstack. They have servers in United States, Germany, Amsterdam, and Singapore. They probably will have more in the future. And they’ve really good customer support. Automatic Let’s Encrypt certificates (no limits) and if you need something they don’t have, you can install it to your user. Rather than trying to limit you they actually support you in all these tasks – even weird ones.
I personally believe that for people like me who don’t want to spend time upgrading OSes in VPSes this kind of managed shared hosting is very good way to fulfill all the needs. And for people that cannot really use cloud native components. As they’re not very cheap if you want to run your own WordPress or similar.
I don’t anymore have clients to put there (I’ve changed jobs). I definately would give them a chance even for that case. My experience of customer support is pretty awesome. They answer very fast and in multiple channels. Even though I’ve had also problems with my sites I’ve got always support in minutes.