How to Best Prepare Migrating Your Site Over to Servebolt

Migrating a site over is a pretty straightforward deal, especially if you make use of our white-glove free migration service, but there are still a few things that can make the process go smoother. Here are some steps to take into account:

  1. Prepare you DNS records for the migration first
  2. Turn off DNSSEC if you’re also moving to Cloudflare
  3. Move mail over to a trusted mail service
  4. Order SSL certificates with Servebolt as soon as you’ve migrated the DNS

Prepare you DNS records for the migration first

Your domain holds a record of where your website is stored. These records are called DNS records. Each of those records consists of three components:

  1. The kind of record is it.
  2. The location where that records needs to point at.
  3. The Time To Live (TTL) timestamp for that entire record

The kind of record

There are primarily two kind of records that are import with regards to where a site is hosted, namely the A record or a CNAME record.

The location it’s pointing to

The A record will have a value in the shape of an IP address. A CNAME record is a record that will point to another record, most likely the main A record, or an outside domain. The vast majority of sites have the A record for your site point to the IP address of your server, and the CNAME record with the value of WWW (and thus covering the www part of your domain URL) will point to that one A record.

The TTL setting

The TTL settings basically indicates the time set (in seconds, minutes, hours or a day depending on your domain registrar) per record for how long it should stay valid. Based on this value, your record will be cached on the internet.

Why all of this important

When you’re ready to migrate your site from your slow server to our fast server, you’ll have to change the value of the A record(s). You can find the IP address of your site in your Bolt Settings screen/

But, if you change the IP address for your domain, and the TTL of that particular record is set to 24 hours or a full day, it’s going to take that full day to have your site’s DNS migrated properly. Resulting in confusion, broken services, and downtime.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to make this a smoother process, and that is to change the TTL of your relevant records to 5 minutes (or 300 seconds if you have to store it in seconds) a full day before the actual DNS migration.

All this will do, is make sure your DNS records are cached no longer than those 5 minutes after that full day has passed. Effectively, if you were to change it today at 11:00 in the morning, you’ll have a flexible DNS migration path with a 5 minute TTL starting at 11:00 the next day. Meaning you’ll site will be pointing to the new IP address within 5 minutes after having changed it.

Turn off DNSSEC if you’re also moving to Cloudflare

Our services at Servebolt have a deep integration with Cloudflare’s services and this is why we recommend using Cloudflare in front of Servebolt. If you’re preparing to move to your site to us and you’re also adding Cloudflare to the mix, you’ll need to turn of DNSSEC first. You can read more about this in our How to Migrate Name Servers for DNS Zones with DNSSEC active article.

Move mail over to a trusted mail service

Servebolt doesn’t provide mailboxes for your domains. Yes, your site still can send emails, but we don’t support mailboxes under your domains. Our focus is to deliver you the fastest hosting. Hosting mail, alongside your website itself, slows your site down. We therefor recommend using an email provider like:

  1. Google Suite
  2. Microsoft Office 360
  3. Fastmail
  4. Protonmail

So, before you change the DNS of your site and thus move over your site to our servers, you’ll have to move your email hosting as well. Any of the above hosted email providers will have help documents on how to best migrate over your email.

Order SSL certificates

You’ll need an SSL certificate when you host your site at us, so when you move over from your old host, you’ll need to order one as soon as possible right before you’ve changed the DNS records in your domain. We provide several free and paid SSL options.

Please contact our support team and they’ll gladly help you out making this a smooth as possible process.

And there you have it, preparing your migration with these steps in mind will make the migration as smooth as possible.

Next steps

If you’ve prepared all you needed to prepare, then there’s nothing left to do but to upgrade your trial Bolt with a subscription. These next steps are outlined in our how to go live with your site on Servebolt article (starting with step 5).