CMS & WordPress
Having undertaken some graphic design work for a UK-based charity they have asked me to help them with their website. Their existing site is built on Drupal (a platform that I have no experience with) and is hosted with the company that built the site. The relationship between the charity and the design company has broken down since the charities previous CEO left (as I understand it he and the lead designer are best friends).
Initially the charity want me to pick up the hosting of the website and make a few minor changes, with a complete overhaul and redesign of the site to follow in the next few months.
After a lot of hassle I have finally got the design company to upload the files to my hosting account. At the moment the Nameservers still point to their server as the charity are backing up emails, etc but these re due to change at the end of next week.
If I view the site at the Temp Web Address I can see content on the home page (with no CSS styling) but none of the links to other pages on the site work. I am primarily a designer who has limited developer skills and I work solely in Wordpress. The existing design/hosting company have been less than helpful and have not answered any of the questions I have posed to them.
With all this in mind I have a couple of questions:
- Is there anyway for me to check the site works before the Nameservers are changed?
- Will the users existing login details continue to work after the Nameservers are changed?
- Is there anything I need to do to ensure the switch over is smooth?
Thanks in advance for any help on this matter.
The website should still be viewable even if the files are on your hosting provider. Does the old host still have the files on their servers? Did you change the DNS settings on your host to point to theirs? The reason you can’t see the site in its entirety could be because changes haven’t taken effect yet however if you can see anything at all, this means that the transfer took place successfully. If CSS isn’t being applied there are either missing files or the file paths are incorrect.
In answer to your questions:
1- You should be able to check of the site works before the transfer however keep in mind that changing DNS settings has nothing to do with moving files around. If the site worked with one DNS setting it will work with another. Its when you start moving files around that you have to worry about things breaking or being lost.
2- It depends on how they were logging in. If the old host had some kind of server-side login program for users, then no, their logins won’t work. If the login process was handled by documents that were included in the docs they uploaded to your server, then yes it should still work (although I’m guess you may have an issue with this too if CSS isn’t even rendering correctly).
3- Moving a site is tricky and you can do some things to ensure there are fewer hickups. For instance you can warn your users that there will be changes happening that effect them. You could do this by email or by posting a message on the home page. If URL’s are going to change, you need to have something in place that will redirect traffic. You mentioned broken links. Redirects help you solve broken links. This is done with a server configuration file like .htaccess or web.config.
Here is some good information from Google on moving a site, maybe it can give you some direction,
1. Yes, depending on the hosting environment there are a number of ways to check, some better than others.
On shared hosting it's usually something like http://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx/~some-site-name/ (xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx being the ip of the hosting acccount). The downside is that often this type of arrangement will not resolve 'paths' properly and the design will slip away.
VPS sites are often better and will look something like http://example.com.xxx-xxx-xxx-xxx.hosting-company.com/ (xxx-xxx-xxx-xxx being the ip number of the server). That type of arrangement does allow the paths to resolve correctly and you should see everything as it would look once the DNS is switched
- Check with your hosting company for the best method.
2. If you've moved the site correctly, you'll have migrated the database from one site to the other and all data and user login info will have come with it.
3. If it's been migrated correctly, it will just work without any fuss. I always migrate our sites myself.Typically when I move a site from one server to another I use a Drupal module called Backup and Migrate. I create a brand new 'Vanilla' Drupal site on the new server. All of my work will be contained in the /sites directory. I add all of the required modules to the /sites/all/modules directory making sure to get the same ones and same versions that are used in the existing site. I upload any themes to /sites/all/themes and I grab all of the files from the existing site and put them in /sites/default/files. At that point I'll clear the cache on the new site in case any cached files came over with the files. Then I grab a 'backup' from the existing site and 'restore' it to the new one. I've done that in some 30+ websites without a hitch.
You didn't mention the version you are using. If it's Drupal 7, it can be easily configured to make it simple to manage. It's usually a matter of turning off features rather than turning them on. If it's a Drupal 6 site, you can add things to make it easier. I always recommend the follow:
Admin Menu (I use this for Drupal 6 and 7 but in Drupal 7 after I have installed Admin Menu I turn off the Core Toolbar)
Seven Theme (Drupal 6 - This is an administration theme that make it a cleaner experience managing a site)
Plugin Manager (Drupal 6 - Gives you a tool to automate updates and installation of modules)
Good luck with the move!
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