It’s been a low-key stressful fortnight as I experienced website update issues, so in my quarantine wisdom I decided this would be the ideal time to migrate my domain and website out from my husband’s US based host and server, and over to my own server space.
Yes, it was time for me to move out.
After performing what I believed to be the relevant back ups, I took the leap and signed up with a London based host service (I decided to go with the same providers as Sunita – purely for the moral support whenever problems should occur) but it wasn’t anywhere near as simple as I had envisioned.
Here’s what I didn’t (and still don’t) understand about being on the internet…
WHY does a domain (the url address) need a hosting service, but you never really own it outright, you essentially lease it (although when we buy a house irl, we don’t need to buy the address separately). But to have anything on that domain you need a server – a separate service – for which you also pay rent. Different providers will have different pros and cons… and then to build on the space that you’re renting you need to either a) fudge and figure your way through the available free site builders or b) pay someone to do it. Whichever you chose, you still need to put all your info and words and pictures together in a specific format to fit that build. Once all your shiz is on the site, it doesn’t automatically tidy itself either… THEN when things break, it doesn’t tell you where or why it’s broken. But you have to research online from a mostly volunteer constructed hive of information from various parts of the internet and try several possibilities to discern the cause of the issue….
Can you sense my frustration?
A very patient friend reached out at this point to explain some of the intricacies of the internet, from her experience of working on the hardware side of IT. She explained that yes, the website is like the house you live in so your hosting fee is like council tax. Then the utilities to the house form the website framework you decide to use (Wix, WordPress, self-coded, etc). Then the furniture and home decor of the house is the content you put on your website (if you have a garage full of extra furniture and decor then I suppose this would be your backup). But what about the domain? It turns out, this is not the address of your house as I thought. It’s actually more like the gate/path/driveway or entrance to your house, with security cameras and passcode access. And the reason it is all covered separately is precisely for the sake of security – should any part of it be hacked (broken in to/burgled/ransacked) then all the other components can be closed off and salvaged.
At this point you can imagine I was lamenting that surely the internet was created by men as women would not have let things get this complicated.
Meanwhile, my website was in a state of limbo. With the domain moved over to my new host, but the website itself still being on my husband’s host service provider. So like any creative entrepreneur out there, I decided to have a go at migrating my website over myself. I figured I had all the backups and Google is always available – so what’s the worse that could happen?
Well. That taught me a lesson.
By now (if you’re still with me here) I was throwing my hands in the air, singing ‘Jesus, Take the Wheel’ (Carrie Underwood), and just cursing the entire website. I lied to myself that it wasn’t important, updated my Etsy store instead, and tried to ignore it. Incase you wondered how successful I was with that: I wasn’t. The website came up in two of my counselling sessions, that’s how peeved I was.
And then in stepped another patient friend, this time seeing my website stress he reached out to offer to take a look at my website. At a loss and with all hope gone I surrendered all of my administrative details and told him to have at it – he surely couldn’t do worse than I had.
It took 3 days. But only because we had to return to my husband’s hosts for some php access (don’t ask me – it’s something to do with databases with my content inside). The host was prompt with support – It just took my husband two days to get round to accessing the support (do you see why I had to move out?) Then armed with the new details, my friend had another try. He was so, so close. He managed to restore the wordpress and the content but nothing was displaying as it should be. Then FINALLY my new host’s migration team contacted me to do all the migration for me. It’s a part of their service and would usually only take 2-3 days but due to lockdown/pandemic/quarantine/WWiii the timeline was now more like 10-14 days. So we tidied up what we’d done, summarised everything we had attempted, and then handed over to the migration experts.
Problem solved, right?
Erm. Still no.
It was such a beautiful relief to see the familiar layout of my website again – but my migration tech, Iveta, advised me that my images were not displaying properly. She suggested that I or my developer (!?) needed to take a look at the issue.
FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE
In brief, my friend came to the rescue again. He was able to delve into some of the code, locate a questionable permission script, remove it and it was FINALLY ****ing fixed!
Ok, so I’m not going to mention the missing menu in the mobile version of my website – so just pretend everything is fine, because I am not going through any more tech support stuff for the rest of the month if I can possibly help it. And if you want my honest advice about having a website for your business:
Outsource it. All.
Just save all your earnings and give it to someone to do it all for you – someone who can handle all these menial admin type jobs and won’t cause a fatal error like I did. Seriously. You won’t regret the investment.
On that note, I am now going to see if I can activate the commerce function. If the website dies for a few weeks, you now know why!!