A successful WordPress site gets migrated to another host or another server within the same host, at least once in every few years for a number of reasons. Better operating system, to upgrade the PHP version, to handle larger traffic, etc. The first step is to test your migration on a staging server. Most issues (such as theme / plugins incompatibility) can be caught, if we test our migration using an existing (full) backup of the site. So, the following list applies only to live site migration. Here are the list of areas to check after the migration…
There are hundreds of plugins available to take a complete backup of your site. Each one is prone to errors. If you visit the official wp.org support forum for each of the backup plugins, you’d understand what I mean. The new host (or the server) may have some limitations that may not work well the current backup plugin. That’s why it is recommended to use an external backup solution that doesn’t rely on WordPress core, or its plugins. I have a dedicated Github project to take backups of WordPress sites using simple bash scripts.
Four things to consider while checking backups.
- Make sure local database backups are taken correctly.
- Make sure local files backups are taken correctly.
- Make sure offsite backups are working.
- Make sure the backups are verified.
No backup is useful, if it is not verified for authenticity of what it contains. That’s why it is important to have a workflow to test the backups, with automated tests.
Unlike backup (that is basically a complex process), email is relatively an easy process. That’s why there are thousands of plugins available related to emails in wp.org repo. Because, people use email in a WordPress site for a number of reasons. To send a upgrade email to administrator, to get messages via contact form, to send newsletters, to get informed about the new user registration, to get notified about new e-commerce order, etc.
Even though, email is as old as internet itself, reaching inbox is a complex process. Most common issue with WordPress sites is that the email never leaves WordPress in most cases and would be simply dropped at WordPress itself. That’s why the most used contact form plugin still recommends an add-on plugin to keep an archive of all messages that come via the contact form.
If you use a SMTP service and a plugin to send emails via WordPress, then, in most cases, the emails would continue to work, after the migration. It is still recommended to test emails by submitting a test entry via the contact form.
If you depend on the server or host to send emails, then you may be in trouble, as certain host blog ports related to sending emails. For example, Google blocks port 25 on its compute platform.
Other items to check
There are some less-priority items to check after the migration. Here’s an incomplete list…
- Cron: Check if cron hasn’t stopped and continues to run events as expected.
- Cache: Check if your full-page caching plugin caches posts and the web server serves cached content if exists. Server response time is the most critical factor. You may check it at https://web.dev/ or in Google Search Console that provides historical data.
- CDN: If your CDN depends on the IP of the server and if your server IP changes, then it may not be able to pull the content. You wouldn’t even aware of this, as CDN caches contents for an average of 24 hours and checks for newer content only once in a day or week. So, you’d understand the CDN related issues only if you create and publish a new post with images.
I will add other items as and when I come across or if it is important. Do you have a checklist whenever you migrate? If I missed anything, please feel free to add it via the comments section.