There are many reasons for a retailer to want to move an ecommerce website from one hosting provider to another, whether it’s to get away from a provider with a poor up-time or support track record, to move a growing website to a more powerful platform, or simply to move from a basic server hosting package to the cloud.
However, migrating a potentially complex website can be a daunting proposition, particularly when any downtime or performance issues will have a direct impact on your ecommerce business’ revenue.
In this blog, we share some of our tips for ensuring your ecommerce website migration is as smooth, painless and as cost-effective as possible.
It may sound obvious, but it’s important to take time to ensure your ecommerce platform and any other software used by your website is fully compatible with a new server. A comprehensive analysis at this stage will help you identify any possible areas which require attention before the migration process begins. This is particularly important if moving from on-premises or dedicated server hosting to the cloud, as the move from a physical to virtual environment can have implications for areas such as:
- Software licences
- Security and compliance
- Scope for custom development work
It’s vital to ensure your available resources in your new environment (such as CPU, RAM, storage space etc.) match your current environment and/or growth expectations. However, a common mistake for first-time cloud users (understandably in the physical hosting mindset!) is to overprovision rather than underprovision, so it’s important to get the balance right. Don’t forget that in the world of cloud, you can be flexible with your resource allocation - ask your provider to talk you through your options and help you arrive at the best solution for your particular scenario.
Staging and testing
Attention to detail is important when it comes to testing and troubleshooting your cloud environment. Run your new and old server in parallel for a time to ensure the new environment works as expected. Look for bugs but also stress-test and check the speed it takes to complete certain actions, as this will impact on performance and therefore revenue.
This testing period will also provide you with the opportunity to check additional aspects such as making sure that the responsiveness of your provider’s support team run smoothly before you intend to go live and check backup frequency and the restore process - would you be able to restore from a recent backup and in what time-frame?
Communication with customers
As you’ll be making changes to your website hosting, don’t forget to keep your customers in the loop! Where possible, let them know in advance about scheduled downtime, otherwise you could risk losing those customers to competitors if they think there’s a problem with your website or if they’re unable to complete purchases.
Assistance from your provider
Finally, talk to your provider to find out what assistance they can offer with the migration process, as they will almost certainly have experience of similar migrations in the past where they’ve made the process easier for both you and your customers to manage - keeping any downtime or disruption risks to a minimum. Some may also be able to offer financial terms that lessen the financial impact of the migration, such as an initial free period.
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