Since about 2005, all my WordPress powered websites have been hosted with GoDaddy. It’s not due to any particular loyalty that I’ve stayed this long. Au contraire! There are actually a heck of a lot of things GoDaddy has done to totally tick me off over the years, but I stayed because I always assumed that changing my web hosting with be really hard, a lot of work and just generally a big frickin’ hassle. Never underestimate the appeal of sticking with the annoying thing you are familiar with over the hassle of switching to something that could maybe suck less. But the annoying things with GoDaddy were getting worse while the good things were also going downhill (Customer service, man, what happened there? They used to be so good!) and I finally decided to bite the bullet and move to a new host.
So, how hard is it to switch your WordPress site from one web host to another?
Though I went into it completely dreading the process and figuring that it would be really hard and annoying, when I started, I found that… it was just as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe worse.
It took forever. Things kept going wrong. I was forced to learn new things against my will at 1:30 AM while sick. (Like SSH. I have gotten this far in my life without having to learn how to use SSH, why should I start now? As far as I am concerned, SSH stands for Super Sucks, Hate. SSH, phbt. Back in my day, Sonny, we used FTP on a dial-up modem and we LIKED IT.)
It was a nightmare, basically, and I say to you who are wondering if you should switch from one web host to another: cling to your current web host. Cherish them and their flaws. Love them and hold them to your bosom and do not stray because the grass is not greener, my friend, no it is not.
OK, fine, I’m being dramatic. It wasn’t really that bad and it was well worth the trouble even if it was because my new host, SiteGround (referral link because I’m happy to recommend them), is a billion times better in every way than GoDaddy was.
But if you are wondering how smoothly the experience will go for you, switching web hosts fro your WordPress site would be a lot easier if…
- You have only one site. SiteGround offered to transfer one site for me free when I signed up. Groovy but… I have five WordPress sites so it was either pay $30 a site (ew) or do the rest myself which was a lot of extra work.
- Your site is small or new. The source of most of my transfer problems was that my sites are many decades old with years and years of posts so my databases were huge and required more complicated and annoying steps to import than a smaller database or newer website would. In fact, my one new site that has a super small database imported in a snap while I was still tearing my hair out and rending my garments trying to get the rest of them to transfer correctly.
- Your domains are moving along with your hosting. My domains are managed by a different company than my hosting so that meant additional delays while we waited for the DNS forwarding to update and more headaches trying I got everything to play along nicely that it would have been if everything was together in-house.
- You’re using cPanel and switching to a site that supports it. Apparently, if your current hosts uses cPanel, your new host can just import websites, settings, everything in one swoop. I say apparently because the kind of cPanel we had at GoDaddy wasn’t the right kind so they couldn’t do mine and it made me sad. But if yours is one of the magical ones that they can transfer all in one swoop, that would make it a heck of a lot easier!
- You’re very tech savvy. While SiteGround’s support was great, we eventually hit a point where they had no idea what to do or how to fix things and what saved us was my nerd ass. The more experienced you are with WordPress, computers, and web hosts in general, the easier the process will be and the faster you’ll be able to get things done.
- You like change. Do you love the challenge of looking for that one setting for an hour on the new site that you could have found in half a second on your old host? Then changing web hosts is for you! Part of what made changing web hosts so difficult was getting used to all the changes from my old host. New things to learn! New weird annoying site ticks to workaround! New names for things why can’t we just call things the same from site to site whyyyy?
- You’ve switched web hosts before. Let’s face it, sometimes just having been through something before it enough to make it easier the second time around. If you’re old hat at this, you’ll waste less time looking things up and already know which problems to anticipate before you hit them. Now that I know all the pitfalls to watch out for, I’m confident the next time I switch web hosts will be a much faster and smoother process!
In the meantime, however, I’ve gone ahead and pre-paid for my new SiteGround hosting for a good long time because I am in absolutely noooooo rush to go through switching my web hosting again anytime soon!
What about you? What happened the last time you switched web hosts? Was it a walk in the park or a swim with a shark?