Questions Relating to Transferring all Content to a NEW Site URL and Host.

Hi,
We have a new site URL and host. I have redirected anyone who types the NEW site name to automatically be redirected to our old site. I have several questions about what is happening:
1. When I go to "Wikis" from the NEW site dashboard, I get a list that includes ALL the 600+ wikis in the old site (different URL name). How do I stop this WITHOUT stopping the user redirect?
2. The same problem exists for Wiki Category names. When I click "Category" from the Dashboard, under "Wiki", I get a list of all the categories on the old site. How do I stop this?
3. I will need to take our new site (and probably our old site as well) down for three days to complete a full file transfer, completely restructure our site with new Category names, add a numbering system to all 600+ wikis so the next and previous wiki topics will show in correct order (a problem from a previous WP Support question that was never resolved), add to the header menu, add an Index that will link to all Wiki Categories, etc. HOW do I make it so the users can not enter the site PAST the "Home" page, which I will alter to have a message saying the site(s) are down giving the estimated date it will be back up?
4. I have used Notepad++ after download of ALL the old site files, using Duplicator and Snapshot, to change the 6000+ places in files from the OLD site URL to the NEW site URL so everything works when I bring the new site up. I have NOT been able to complete this since WP's new version required all my plug-ins to be updated. I have had serious problems with both Snapshot and Duplicator in trying to download all the files to accomplish this. Is there a WP plug-in or tutorial page with precise instructions to 'move' all the OLD site files to the NEW site that will also change the URL name in all 6000+ places to the NEW site name?
The old site name is works-words.com/NSM-WIKI/WP/wordpress .
The new site name is skydiving-encyclopedia.com.

I will enable Support access to both sites.

Thank you VERY much, in advance, for your help.

Mary :o)

  • Michael Bissett

    Hey @Mary! :slight_smile:

    #1 & #2: By "stop this", do you mean "delete this"? Is the new site keeping the new wiki entries & categories, despite efforts to delete them?

    Could you clarify these two parts for me? :slight_smile:

    #3:

    HOW do I make it so the users can not enter the site PAST the "Home" page, which I will alter to have a message saying the site(s) are down giving the estimated date it will be back up?

    For something like this, instead of showing them the "Home" page, you can use a plugin like one of the ones mentioned below to create an "under construction" page to show to viewers:

    https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-construction-mode/
    https://wordpress.org/plugins/coming-soon-page/

    #4: By "files", are you referring to posts, and content like that, or are you referring to items inside of your old site's Media library?

    Your question makes me think of this guide over here:

    http://codex.wordpress.org/Moving_WordPress#Changing_Your_Domain_Name_and_URLs

    Please advise,
    Michael

  • Mary

    Hi Michael,
    RE: #1 and #2 - when I am in the Dashboard and go to the Wikis or Wiki Categories listings, the list shows all the Wikis and Categories from the old site. If you click on one, it actually goes to the OLD site URL and what I am actually seeing is on the OLD site. We have about 30+ NEW wikis loaded to the NEW site. When you click to Edit one of those, the URL is of the NEW site name. I WILL be copying the OLD site file to incorporate with the new site file, so I DEFINITELY do not want to delete anything that "appears" to be in the NEW site, because the browser says I am at the OLD site URL, so I 'believe' I would be deleting content in the OLD site. I do not, however, understand why the NEW site has the OLD site wikis and wiki categories. I did NOT copy them to the site. I am guessing that when I 'redirected' any users who type the NEW site name in their browser, the c-panel software isn't just redirecting the users to the OLD site name, but somehow it has created a linkage in WP from the OLD site to the NEW site.

    RE: #4 - The Media library on the NEW site is not affected. It does not show all the media that is on the OLD site. It just has the latest media loaded. Odd. By files I mean files, not content (which are in the files). My plan is to copy everything from the OLD site (every WP file with all its contents) to the NEW site. However, the 6000+ places where the OLD site name is embedded in fields in files are the problem.

    PLEASE go to the new site, skydiving-encyclopedia.com, but make sure you go to the dashboard. IF you just type the name, you'll get the OLD site because of the redirect. THEN, go down to WIKIs and click WIKIS. You'll see over 600 wikis. Look at your browser and make sure you are still in skydiving-encyclopedia.com. Then click on EDIT under a wiki on the list (don't pick anything with a 'created' date newer than 30 days). It will take you to the OLD site. How is it doing this?

    Mary :o)

  • Michael Bissett

    Hey @Mary,

    I do not, however, understand why the NEW site has the OLD site wikis and wiki categories. I did NOT copy them to the site. I am guessing that when I 'redirected' any users who type the NEW site name in their browser, the c-panel software isn't just redirecting the users to the OLD site name, but somehow it has created a linkage in WP from the OLD site to the NEW site.

    A redirect would only handle the redirection from one URL to another, it wouldn't copy over content from one URL to another (or anything like that).

    However, it does seem that the content was copied over from the old site to the new site in the past somehow, either by your previous endeavors with either Snapshot or Duplicator, or by other copying efforts (whether that was handled by you, or by someone else).

    If the content of the two sites were somehow linked, then changes to content on one site would affect the other site. To test this, I tried modifying the categories assigned to your "Skydiving" wiki entry on both sites (one site at a time), and the list of assigned categories only changed on the site that I performed the modification on, the other site wasn't affected.

    (don't worry, I set things back to the way they were before :slight_smile: )

    PLEASE go to the new site, skydiving-encyclopedia.com, but make sure you go to the dashboard. IF you just type the name, you'll get the OLD site because of the redirect. THEN, go down to WIKIs and click WIKIS. You'll see over 600 wikis. Look at your browser and make sure you are still in skydiving-encyclopedia.com. Then click on EDIT under a wiki on the list (don't pick anything with a 'created' date newer than 30 days). It will take you to the OLD site. How is it doing this?

    Hmm... odd, I'm not seeing this over on my end, please have a look at this screencast:

    http://screencast.com/t/0LRAd4YciXY

    The wiki entry I went to was quite a bit older than 30 days.

    By files I mean files, not content (which are in the files). My plan is to copy everything from the OLD site (every WP file with all its contents) to the NEW site. However, the 6000+ places where the OLD site name is embedded in fields in files are the problem.

    My apologies, but I'm still not quite sure I follow what you're saying? With this:

    By files I mean files, not content (which are in the files)

    It sounds like your old site's URL is showing up somewhere else (not inside the files), yet:

    However, the 6000+ places where the OLD site name is embedded in fields in files are the problem.

    It sounds like it is showing up inside of the files?

    It could be that I just need another cup of coffee, but could you clarify this for me please? I'd really like to make sure that I'm not giving you the wrong advice here (sounds like you've had enough issues with moving the site already). :slight_smile:

    Kind Regards,
    Michael

  • Mary

    Michael, You make me laugh. THANK YOU! It's been a lonnnnnnng day - all on WP or WP Codex, or WP plugins, or . . . . you know. LOL.

    First, I love your screencast live 'snapshot'. I'll have to look into using it.

    OOPS!!! I said (above) "PLEASE go to the new site, skydiving-encyclopedia.com, but make sure you go to the dashboard. IF you just type the name, you'll get the OLD site because of the redirect. THEN, go down to WIKIs and click WIKIS. You'll see over 600 wikis. Look at your browser and make sure you are still in skydiving-encyclopedia.com. Then click on EDIT under a wiki on the list (don't pick anything with a 'created' date newer than 30 days). It will take you to the OLD site. How is it doing this?"

    The sentence that says "click on EDIT" is wrong. Click on VIEW. THEN you'll see that it is, indeed, going to the old site. Dahhhhhhh. I am soooo sorry. :o(

    Mary

  • Michael Bissett

    Hey @Mary,

    Glad I could make you laugh this evening, I agree that working with WordPress can prove to be quite irksome sometimes. :slight_smile:

    The sentence that says "click on EDIT" is wrong. Click on VIEW. THEN you'll see that it is, indeed, going to the old site.

    Ah okay, I did notice that it took me to your old site when I clicked on View there. :slight_smile:

    It seems like with the way that you've set up your redirect, that it's redirecting any URL (that doesn't have /wp-admin in it) to your old site, I would need to know more about how it was set up though to be sure.

    First, I love your screencast live 'snapshot'. I'll have to look into using it.

    Glad you like it, I know that it's been very handy for me here at work, whether it's providing walkthroughs for folks, or working on bug reports (especially narrated ones). :slight_smile:

    Kind Regards,
    Michael

  • Mary

    Michael,

    In re-reading your last reply, I realized you may have given me the EXACT answer as to HOW this happened. You mentioned something may have happened when I was using Snapshot. I NEVER had problems with using it UNTIL I really needed it to move everything. In my many, many attempts to get it working right, which happened to coincide with your new WP release, one of my 'attempts' may have worked. I did NOT check every time I ran the software because I kept getting error messages that said the process had aborted or failed. Again, dahhhhhh! So it appears that at least once it did work.

    BUT, this does NOT solve the problem as to how to stop it from going to the OLD site when I click VIEW. My theme is not set up (obviously), but I will test to see what pages show up from the 'front' end (user end). We will be taking the old site down as soon as I have the new site working right. That absolutely needs to be done by next week. I have 7 days. This problem must be resolved within a few days.

    Also, the reason I am certain that it must have been Snapshot that did the 'move' is because only the wikis and categories came over. Snapshot kept spitting up whenever I tried to move all my content, including the media library which has over 2000 images, videos, etc. SO I attempted to move just the categories and wikis first. When I got error messages on this too, I never checked to see if it had worked. It obviously did work, but it 'remembers' the old site and is going back to it. How do I fix this?

    And in reference to: "By files I mean files, not content (which are in the files)", I mean FILE contains programs, data, objects, media, etc. When I talk about a file I mean a php, css, sql, htm, txt, exe, bat, etc. By content I mean the stuff inside the file, whatever it contains. In my original question, I have re-read it (#4) and I was too vague (thinking too fast). What I meant was that every time I downloaded my WP site, using Duplicator or Snapshot, I would use Notepad++ to 'find' and 'replace' all instances of the string 'works-words.com/NSM-WIKI/WP/wordpress' to 'skydiving-encyclopedia.com' in EVERY file that Duplicator or Snapshot had copied and I had downloaded. Using Notepad++, I changed every file that contained that string (the old site name) to the new site name. I knew I had to do this BEFORE I uploaded the files to the new site. I did read, however, in a Codex this morning, that some fields in some files don't have fixed length fields for data. By just 'finding and replacing' all instances of the OLD site name with the NEW shorter site name, I may have inadvertently created some problems due to file indexing that is not based on fixed length fields (did I say that right?), or looking for delimiters (which should not have changed with a find and replace because I did not include any delimiters when I did the 'find' and 'replace'). My background is as an 'old school' mainframe programmer so I generally think in terms of fixed length field lengths. Is WP set up some 'different' way so that my 'find and replace' could have changed where a program is looking for a field in a file?

    I may be totally wrong about what happened here. At least once or twice I used Export, sending the file(s) to Dropbox, as it kept saying it couldn't copy such large files to my computer(dahhh) but it would copy them to the 'cloud'. THEN I used Import on the NEW site, but I got errors and didn't think it worked. Export is a WPMU Dev product, and it can't download big files to my computer. Neither Snapshot nor Duplicator are WPMU Dev products, and though I had a multitude of problems with them, downloading the big files always eventually occurred. Seems like I'm facing problems whichever way I turn.

    My OLD site is intact and updated. If you believe I need to overwrite the NEW site files with the OLD site files to fix all these problems, then I definitely will. But when I asked for Support help when I started this move (from OLD to NEW) Michelle gave me great encouragement, but very little real help in accomplishing it. I am stumbling. No, I am outright falling down on my face trying to get this done. Can you PLEASE help me?

    Mary

  • Michael Bissett

    Hey @Mary, thanks for your patience here, and thanks for providing the clarification that you have so far! :slight_smile:

    With coffee in my veins, let's dig into this:

    BUT, this does NOT solve the problem as to how to stop it from going to the OLD site when I click VIEW. My theme is not set up (obviously), but I will test to see what pages show up from the 'front' end (user end). We will be taking the old site down as soon as I have the new site working right. That absolutely needs to be done by next week. I have 7 days. This problem must be resolved within a few days.

    The question on my mind is... how is this redirect set up presently? Could you elaborate on that? If I knew that, I'd be more able to help on that front. :slight_smile:

    In regards to this though:

    And in reference to: "By files I mean files, not content (which are in the files)", I mean FILE contains programs, data, objects, media, etc. When I talk about a file I mean a php, css, sql, htm, txt, exe, bat, etc. By content I mean the stuff inside the file, whatever it contains. In my original question, I have re-read it (#4) and I was too vague (thinking too fast). What I meant was that every time I downloaded my WP site, using Duplicator or Snapshot, I would use Notepad++ to 'find' and 'replace' all instances of the string 'works-words.com/NSM-WIKI/WP/wordpress' to 'skydiving-encyclopedia.com' in EVERY file that Duplicator or Snapshot had copied and I had downloaded. Using Notepad++, I changed every file that contained that string (the old site name) to the new site name.

    ...oh. Hmm.

    Here's the thing: when using Snapshot to migrate a site from one server to another, you shouldn't need to go about opening the contents inside the .zip with Notepad++, and edit the entries to point to your new site, they should be adjusted accordingly upon importing the snapshot to your new site (speaking from my own experiences with migrating via Snapshot).

    In the midst of this though, I also have to wonder... given that there's already the multitude of wiki entries on your new site (you're just not able to view them, due to the redirect that's in place right now)... why not just try making a snapshot that contains only the media library items, and import that? We may just want to focus on getting Snapshot to go here, instead of trying to take a more manual approach (which you indicated may be causing problems in it's own right).

    Speaking of which, when you say this here:

    I did read, however, in a Codex this morning, that some fields in some files don't have fixed length fields for data. By just 'finding and replacing' all instances of the OLD site name with the NEW shorter site name, I may have inadvertently created some problems due to file indexing that is not based on fixed length fields (did I say that right?), or looking for delimiters (which should not have changed with a find and replace because I did not include any delimiters when I did the 'find' and 'replace'). My background is as an 'old school' mainframe programmer so I generally think in terms of fixed length field lengths. Is WP set up some 'different' way so that my 'find and replace' could have changed where a program is looking for a field in a file?

    Here's the thing: If you ever plan to be editing database entries on a mass scale manually, you're really going to want to use something like this:

    https://interconnectit.com/products/search-and-replace-for-wordpress-databases/

    As to the why behind this, I'd like to quote one of the codex entries:

    http://codex.wordpress.org/Moving_WordPress#Changing_Your_Domain_Name_and_URLs

    When your domain name or URLs change there are additional concerns. The files and database can be moved, however references to the old domain name or location will remain in the database, and that can cause issues with links or theme display.

    If you do a search and replace on your entire database to change the URLs, you can cause issues with data serialization, due to the fact that some themes and widgets store values with the length of your URL marked. When this changes, things break. To avoid that serialization issue, you have three options:

    1. Use the Velvet Blues Update URLs or Better Search Replace plugins if you can access your Dashboard.
    2. Use WP-CLI's search-replace if your hosting provider (or you) have installed WP-CLI.
    3. Use the Search and Replace for WordPress Databases Script to safely change all instances. (If you are a developer, use this option. It is a one step process as opposed to the 15-step procedure below)

    Note: Only perform a search and replace on the wp_posts table.

    Let me know if this helps please! :slight_smile:

    Kind Regards,
    Michael

    P.S. In regards to this:

    At least once or twice I used Export, sending the file(s) to Dropbox, as it kept saying it couldn't copy such large files to my computer(dahhh) but it would copy them to the 'cloud'. THEN I used Import on the NEW site, but I got errors and didn't think it worked. Export is a WPMU Dev product, and it can't download big files to my computer. Neither Snapshot nor Duplicator are WPMU Dev products, and though I had a multitude of problems with them, downloading the big files always eventually occurred.

    I should note that Snapshot & Snapshot Pro are our products, I have a feeling though that by "Import" you're referring to the importer inside of:

    Tools -> Import

    And that by "Export" you're referring to the exporter here:

    Tools -> Export

    Just wanted to clarify that before we move forward here. :slight_smile:

    How's your day going, by the way?

  • Mary

    Michael,

    THANK YOU so very much for the very detailed reply.

    I opened a NEW TICKET earlier to day after I could NOT get into my NEW site (skydiving-encyclopedia.com). I also opened up a ticket with my hosting company, Arvixe, about the same thing.
    BEFORE I had opened either ticket, I did a hard-boot of my computer. I did this because I recalled a similar problem after migrating from my PC localhost environment to my web based site. Restarting my computer actually fixed it. This was NOT true of this problem.

    However, shortly after I opened a ticket with my host, I got this reply back: "Can you please check the site now after clearing the browser cache. The issue was with the permissions for the files and folders in the website and I have corrected it now for you. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any additional problems, now or in the future." So the problem occurred on the host's end. I am VERY happy that was the case.

    BUT, once on the NEW site, the exact same problem exists that did before reference above: "THEN, go down to WIKIs and click WIKIS. You'll see over 600 wikis. Look at your browser and make sure you are still in skydiving-encyclopedia.com. Then click on VIEW under a wiki on the list (don't pick anything with a 'created' date newer than 30 days). It will take you to the OLD site."

    SO, I believe, after LOTS more reading, this is serialized data stored in WP files. This needs to be changed, and I understand now why a simple find and replace won't fix it. The array specifies the length of the domain name including prefix (http://, http://www., https://).

    My question is: Backup Buddy has a migrate tool called Import Buddy. One of the options is to do a find/replace of old domain to new domain. On that page, it says "Serialized data is handled by this replacement". Sooooo, will this fix the obvious still existing OLD domain name problems without screwing up the serialized data? I do NOT want to assume anything since I've had so many problems with this migration/move.

    Thank you VERY VERY much, Michael!

    Mary :o)

  • Michael Bissett

    Hey @Mary,

    My question is: Backup Buddy has a migrate tool called Import Buddy. One of the options is to do a find/replace of old domain to new domain. On that page, it says "Serialized data is handled by this replacement". Sooooo, will this fix the obvious still existing OLD domain name problems without screwing up the serialized data?

    Given what you've laid out here, that's what it sounds like to me. But given what you've run through already here, might I suggest trying to set up a test site first, and then importing the backup (or whatever they call it :slight_smile: ) onto that test site?

    If I were handling this transfer, I'd want to try doing that first, before I were to try replacing the new site you have right now.

    Another thing I'd do before importing into the live site: removing the redirect you set up inside of cPanel for your new site. It might not make a difference for the import, but then again, it might. And with all that you've run into, the last thing you need is an odd element to throw a wrench in the works.

    Hope this helps! :slight_smile:

    Kind Regards,
    Michael

  • Mary

    Michael,

    I removed the redirect today. We have had sooooo many problems trying to get this set up and working properly. MANY lessons learned that I need to document in case we ever change to a different URL with much the same content but different structure.

    One thing that really stands out that I learned from this "adventure" is the many functions and activities of WP that ARE affected when a redirect of the site URL occurs. Logically, it should not have made as big an impact on the development of the NEW site, live, while the OLD site was being accessed by the users using the NEW site name. But the actuality of it is that MANY things didn't work right on the NEW site because the redirect was active.

    IF you are aware of a CODEX or an article or even a blog post that discusses this, I would be VERY interested in reading it.

    Thank you for your continued excellent support.

    Mary Todd, Webmaster/Developer
    Skydiving-Encyclopedia.com

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