How Kinsta Migrates Dynamic WordPress Sites (Ecommerce, Community, and Membership)

Updated on December 07, 2017

Migrating dynamic WordPress sites

Sites that are updated continuously, such as ecommerce (WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads), membership, and community sites, must be placed into maintenance mode during migration to prevent data loss. This article explains Kinsta’s standard procedure for migrating these types of sites.

What is Maintenance Mode?

Placing a site into maintenance mode means that site content cannot be updated. This is usually done by installing a maintenance plugin from the WordPress.org repository. However, if you have a preferred method for placing the site into maintenance mode, that can also be accommodated.

While the site is in maintenance mode, a maintenance message is displayed, orders cannot be placed, users cannot register or edit their profiles, and new content cannot be published on the site.

What Is the Migration Process?

Once maintenance mode has been enabled we proceed to migrate a copy of the site to our infrastructure. Upon completion, we will send you instructions on how to preview the site before it goes live.

The copy of the site hosted at Kinsta will not be in maintenance mode. However, it will not be publicly accessible until you update your domain’s DNS records to point the domain at Kinsta.

This means that your site will remain in maintenance mode until you update DNS and the site goes live at Kinsta.

As soon as possible after the migration has been completed you will need to carefully review the site, test site functionality, and then update your domain’s DNS records to point the domain at Kinsta.

As soon as DNS has been updated and fully propagated, your website’s visitors will arrive at the site hosted at Kinsta and be able to continue placing orders, registering users, and publishing content.

How Long Will My Site Be In Maintenance Mode?

That’s a difficult question to answer because it depends on many variables:

  • The size of your site.
  • The speed of data transfer between our infrastructure and the prior host.
  • The time-to-live (TTL) values associated with your DNS records.
  • How quickly you can begin reviewing your site after the migration is complete.
  • How much time you need to review your site thoroughly following the migration.
  • Any unforeseen complications that arise during the migration process.

As a general rule of thumb, most migrations take between 1 and 3 hours. After that, most clients need between 1 and 3 hours to review the site. DNS propagation usually takes about 1 hour but may take much longer in some cases if extended TTL values are associated with your current DNS records. With Cloudflare, the propagation is much quicker, usually less than 10 minutes.

You can use this information to get a sense for how long your site will need to be in maintenance mode, but please note that the factors mentioned above do mean that we are unable to accurately predict how long your specific site will need to be in maintenance mode.

How Can I Minimize Downtime?

You can minimize downtime in a few ways:

  • Schedule the migration for a time when you’ll be available to immediately start reviewing the site the moment you receive notification that the migration is complete.
  • Watch carefully for our Engineers’ message notifying you that the migration is complete.
  • 12 to 24 hours before your anticipated migration timeframe, reduce the TTL value associated with your domain to 5 minutes (300 seconds) to speed up DNS propagation. Note that you’ll want to increase this value, normally to one hour (3600 seconds), after the site is loading from our infrastructure. If your site uses Cloudflare, you do not need to edit the TTL values.
  • Review our knowledge base article on how to preview a site on our infrastructure so that you understand the technical steps required to review the site after the migration.
  • Review our knowledge base article on how to point your domain at Kinsta so that you are prepared to do so as soon as you’ve confirmed that the migrated site is ready to go live.

What if this Process Doesn’t Work For Me?

If this process simply will not work for your website please get in touch with our support team using the chat system in MyKinsta when you’re ready to request your migration so that we can discuss other possible options.

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