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Migrating self-hosted WordPress

When I started this website in 2009, I was using Joomla. Then at some point I switch to WordPress because it was much easier to manage my posts. And it was hosted at one.com, where I initially registered this domain name. However, the network and service wasn’t really stable and I had a lot of hiccups back then. As a result, in 2017 I migrated the website to Scaleway.com, which offers very cheap virtual machines and small bare metal instances.

Another reason why I switched was because I was also running a real-time crypto price crawling and algorithmic trading service with a few servers, and since my website didn’t have a ton of visitors, I could put it together with other services. Back then a small instance cost only 5 euros per month, and I found it to be more cost-effective than other cloud computing providers like AWS, GCP or Vultr. As time went by, I had more resource intensive services running, such as staking pools which require large volumes. I ended up upgrading those tiny instances, and adding more resources from Scaleway. Then later when I phased out such services and reduced the number of instances, I couldn’t switch back to the smaller instances because either they didn’t exist any more or I couldn’t downgrade the volume size. So in the end I was paying a large monthly bill to run a small WordPress application.

And today I finally managed to spare a few hours reviewing the services I need, and decided it to migrate it back to one.com, which I was already paying anyway. As a side note, the price of one.com subscription also increase by 4x or 5x in 10 years.

Migrating WordPress alone is easy: backup all the files and database, then copy files to one.com, import the database, and setup the DNS on Cloudflare. I asked ChatGPT to draw me this flowchart:

During the process, I also tried setting up a local LAMP+WP service with docker-compose (this repo is very useful: https://github.com/nezhar/wordpress-docker-compose) and tried exporting my posts into GoHugo format. In the end I believed it was too much hassle and not worth it.

A few issues I encountered during the migration process:

  1. .htaccess files should be set up properly, otherwise WP complains about 404 for sub pages.
  2. Some WP plugins were outdated (code highlighting, for example), so it caused some page rendering issues. When I replaced the plugin such issues are gone.
  3. File permissions has to be 744 or 755 for the wp-content/uploads folder.
  4. I used nslookup daoyuan.li ns01.one.com to get the IP of one.com’s server, and manually updated it on Cloudflare, since I prefer to use Cloudflare to manage my DNS. In the future I may need to automate this process, in case one.com moves my VM to another server. Or at lease I should monitor the output from ns01.one.com versus kara.ns.cloudflare.com.

Besides migrating WP, I also had a few other websites to migrate. But since they are all static websites, I used Cloudflare Pages to host them and assigned the domains to the corresponding Pages project.

I probably spent 3 to 4 hours migrating everything, and double checking everything works fine. Then I went ahead and terminated all instances, elastic IPs and volumes on Scaleway. That would save me a couple of hundred euros a year. Not bad ROI!

Published in Tech Blog

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