Website Migration Or Bird Migration – Whats Harder

Editors note: This post got me banned from the largest (of 2 ) WordPress groups on LinkedIn


“Trying to control social is like herding cats” MitchR


On Feb 13, 2019, 2:14 PM CST I received the following email

Pere @ Cloudways <[email protected]>
Feb 13, 2019, 2:14 PM (5 days ago)
to mitch

Hi there,

It has been three weeks now since you’ve upgraded your account and I would appreciate if you can tell me about your initial experience with Cloudways. This is to make sure that everything is going fine and you aren’t lost/stuck somewhere.

I welcome your constructive critique, and I am pretty sure your valuable feedback will help me improve Cloudways for you.

Just reply to this email and I’ll initiate a quick chat.



Who the heck is Pere Hospital and why should I care?

Google returned this result –

Pere Hospital – Co-Founder and CSO – Cloudways | LinkedIn


Ever the opportunist I wrote back:

Hi Pere 

Thank you for reaching out. 

My day gig is blogging about pet birds –

My wife and I also operate

A site that defines “niche”.

I’ve migrated the majority of entities from to hosted by Siteground.


I haven’t even begun to blog about that yet but I’ve saved all of my support email transcripts in preparation.


I’m currently on a dedicated server whose host’s single uplink was severed last Wednesday and did not come back live until Friday morning


To begin with, here’s what onboarding to Cloudways looked like to me


I am growing weary of siteground and Cloudflare, support has become adversarial.


I originally created a staging site on Cloudways to see if certain anomalies were being caused by Sitegrounds server.


After the 36 hour downtime, I decided I need to make my site more bulletproof.


The plan was originally to rename to on Siteground but I decided to take things to the next level.


First I took my cloudways site live with a spare domain


Your support was a little disjointed


Day one I sent a screenshot of my aname configuration after waiting 12 hours for propagation and they said all I needed was the hostname and server IP


I am not used to aname for renaming sites – I always changed nameservers.


Day 2 after 36 hours with no propagation support didn’t make it easy and was very confusing but I finally figured out that I had to add @ and www as anames and the site propagated in like two minutes.


In thinking about my problems with Siteground – I decided to use the cloudways site migration plug-in which by the way doesn’t work for a staging site but your support team never really understood that.


Last night I duplicated on siteground to on Cloudways


(at 67 I’m still a fast motorcycle guy who rides a 140 CI triumph) I started time trials.


With two virtually identical sites, I ran speed tests on GTMETRIX, Pingdom and Google Pagespeed insights.


Turns out that varnish and breeze blows Cloudflare and wprocket away – Siteground is still arguing with me on the subject.


So the new plan is to make on cloudways the site to become the future home of


Every two or three days I will migrate the entire site from Cloudways to Siteground.


This way should a tsunami in the Mediterranean wipe Malta off the map I can re-point sitegrounds nameservers to and live happily ever after.


the end  

zygodactyl footnote

how I ended up on siteground –


Today 2/18/2019 Said called me from Malta and we chatted for 30 minutes about everything from physical fitness to hosting and support from Pakistan.
For the first time in a long time, I feel I’m not getting the fuzzy end of the lollypop from a host.
Here’s this post I forwarded to Pere:


I woke up this morning, hit the floor and did my first set (of four) 160 push-ups.


Stood up, stretched and said to myself “I’m going to migrate our dev site from SiteGround to a soon to be named host”.


We had gone through the process early last year not knowing what we know now


The reasons I am divorcing Siteground are many and will be found on an upcoming blog post.


I spent the previous evening vetting hosts online and expected the morning to consist of phone calls, chats, and emails trying to pin down the “ideal” website host.

I’ve been using WordPress with our current site for about 2 1/2 years but I didn’t get our WordPress with  Woocommerce e-commerce website up and running until last July (2018) which although its part of WordPress it has many unique characteristics.

Arctic Tern over water

Miniature new transmitters recently revealed that the 4-ounce Arctic Tern (113-gram) bird follows zigzagging routes between Greenland and Antarctica each year.

In the process, the arctic tern racks up about 44,000 frequent flier miles (71,000 kilometers)—edging out its archrival, the sooty shearwater, by roughly 4,000 miles (6,440 kilometers). read more


I created a set of questions for every potential host which I first researched using Google as well as using my own knowledge base.

  • Are you Woocommerce centric?
  • Is a Free SSL available?
  • Do you offer 24/7 ticket, phone and/or chat support?
  • Do you offer self-purge caching meaning I can purge the server cache anytime I need to?
  • Is Softaculous available in cPanel for a self-install of WordPress or is WordPress preinstalled?
  • What’s your CDN offering?
  • Do you have Dedicated Servers?
  • What PHP Version will I start with?
  • Can you provide 768 MB uploads?
  • What is the cost of an e-commerce website migration?


It’s important to note that I set out on this journey last July with an empty knowledge base with respect to woocommerce but which didn’t make fixing stupid any easier.


Some of my findings were as follows:

No ticket support available until the $203/mo plan

Uses Cloudflare railgun which blocks Elementor page builder that gives me design superpowers and is a key component of my current design arsenal.

Uses Cloudflare railgun which blocks Elementor page builder looked interesting, as well as



Has a great site but when I made the following query via email

“Are you Woocommerce centric?”

Gus replied:

“WooCommerce is an option for hosting your domain for business purposes.

This option is mainly used by a larger business whose website is more business related to selling a large number of products.

The handling and business aspect of the domain is not managed or handled by us”.

Bring out the scissors.


Intrigued me.

They were recommended by Woocommerce and offered some good jabber about it

I started looking at pricing and although I want to end up on a dedicated server once pushing live, I don’t need to spend the big bucks while in development.

Initially, I did not understand the listing of server types at the top of the price list, (please click the “All Plans button” we will come back to that.

I knew from the cPanel in Siteground I needed at least 8GB to start.

I opened a chat window with Cloudways support.

Bilal Noqvl began the conversation.

I began to think that carrier pigeons would be more efficient at providing the information.

Not that I ever digress but I find it interesting that this company is located in Malta.

I had to use google maps finding out it’s a small island about 300 miles south of Italy.

Before I die I’ll find out why 2 million websites are hosted in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

Anyway, Bilal Noqvl did not do a very good job of explaining the onboarding process.

If you’ll note in the link that I posted about Cloudways pricing, (please click View All Plans” button” every tier ended with a button that said, “Start Free”).


When I tried to onboard on an 8 GB server for $80 a month I found I would need 50% of that placed in a “funding” account.


According to Bilal, this was to prevent spammers from accessing the higher tiered servers.


I didn’t want to spend any money until I saw the backend of Cloudways.


I closed the chat window, got a fresh cup of coffee, made some lunch and came up with a plan.


640 push-ups later the bulb came on.


I went back and took a hard look at the pricing then realized that you could select the server you wanted.


I had to do some research as I had never heard of Vultr, Linode or Digital Ocean.


I knew Amazon AWS, we store our 60,000 image library AWS and complete website backups as well.


Fun Factoid: Netflix is hosted on AWS


I knew Google cloud because I use Firebase for our push notifications app.

Both were the priciest.


I selected Vultr because of its reasonable pricing and I could hop on a server in Chicago which is my location.


I set up a 4 GB Vultr server that met their “Free Trial” requirements.


Once the server configuration and necessary apps added. I created sFTP logins and all the other baloney so I figured I’m ready for migration.


I looked at their free migration which resolved to a page with a video of their migration plug-in which looked kind of cumbersome



My plan was to use VaultPress (from Jetpack).

I navigated to settings for a restore but wouldn’t you know it, Vaultpress couldn’t connect with (the dev site).

Long story short while I was still doing some testing on the dev site (on Siteground) I had totally disabled Cloudflare which shut down the site (there are individual components like Rail gun and Rocket Loader that can be disabled).

Now I had to open up support chat with Siteground (in Romania) who after about 30 minutes, was able to find the proper “I just screwed up Cloudflare” settings and made the site live, once again.

Guess what, VaultPress still could not connect to the live site.

(I’ve always said Mr.Murphy was an optimist)

Plan B.

I installed the Cloudways migration plug-in and after about 20 minutes I got stuck because Cloudways didn’t want to recognize its own IP

Back to Cloudways support chat

Name: Mitch Rezman

E-mail: [email protected]

Choose a department: Tech Support

Type of customer? Existing customer

Bilal Naqvi Wed, 01/23/19 05:07:09 pm America/Chicago

him: Hello! Welcome to Cloudways! Please let us know how may I help you today?

him: Hi there

Mitch Rezman 05:08:49 pm

me: I’m stuck on this migration step.

I need the right sFTP Host/Server Address – what am I missing? ->

Bilal Naqvi 05:09:40 pm

him: May which application are you using to connect via SFTP?

For information on how to use SFTP to upload/download files from your server, please check

SFTP is a secure version of FTP.

Mitch Rezman 05:10:16 pm

me: I’m using the Cloudways migration plugin – blogvault

Bilal Naqvi 05:12:35 pm

him: Oh I see.

Mitch Rezman 05:13:09 pm

me: Filezilla is connected, blogvault is not – is there another sFTP Host/Server Address I need to know about?

Bilal Naqvi 05:14:00 pm

him: sTFP credentials are same as the master credentials the port that you will use is 22

Mitch Rezman 05:15:14 pm

me: blogvault is not asking for a port it’s telling me my server address is incorrect

Bilal Naqvi 05:15:52 pm

Allow me to check it again for you.

The server IP you are using as an address is correct.

May I know the website CMS which you are migrating

Mitch Rezman 05:28:21 pm

me: WordPress using the cloudways migration plugin

(at this point I grabbed a fork and held it close to my eye)

Bilal Naqvi 05:28:55 pm

May I know if you are following our guide for it?

Mitch Rezman 05:29:49 pm

step by step and now I’m stuck, why won’t the Cloudway’s plugin see the information as correct?

look at the screenshot THAT’S the issue 

Bilal Naqvi 05:31:29 pm

him: I am checking it again for you

Mitch Rezman 05:43:39 pm

me: Unable to access the wpconfig file.

Please check if WordPress is installed on the destination address.

Also, check if I have permission to access the folder.

Bilal Naqvi 05:43:53 pm

Mitch, can you please reset your permission from your console

If you’re having issues with permissions on your web application, you can use our “Reset Permission” option. Please refer to the following link for details:

This will apply our default permissions to all your files in an application and change ownership of all these files to that of your master user.

Further, you can also request for manage migration where we can do it for you

First managed migration for each account is free.

If you want us to do additional migrations for you, then there is a per migration fee depending on the application. You can check it out here:

(scroll to the bottom for prices).

Mitch Rezman 05:46:37 pm

me: I just need one migration – how do we go about that?

I see the Application

Bilal Naqvi 05:48:00 pm

Permission reset is in the application setting bar on the left.

I would recommend you manage migration for hassle-free migration.

Mitch Rezman 05:50:46 pm


Bilal Naqvi 05:52:20 pm

This is basically the migration plugin.


I will recommend you to use our manage migration, you can request it from your addon section.


Mitch Rezman 05:53:02 pm

not the page

Bilal Naqvi 05:53:52 pm

Let me share it again

May I know if you got it?

Mitch Rezman 05:57:22 pm

me: OK, I applied – it says it is free but will cost $25 much like your hosting prices what’s up with that?

Bilal Naqvi 05:58:12 pm

him: Basically, we will check it from our end, if you haven’t availed it before it will be free for you.

Mitch Rezman 05:58:36 pm

me: so I’m waiting for an email?

Bilal Naqvi 05:58:54 pm

him: Yes exactly. We will email you

Mitch Rezman 05:59:03 pm

me: ok thank you

Duration: 51m 54s

Chat started on



Later that evening I got my website backend to talk to me on Slack


Written by Mitch Rezman


zygodactyl footnote: 6 weeks later Cloudways went down for 3 days, we had not migrated over yet.


A fishing trawler cut their single uplink.


We have abandoned cloudways.


New first questions to potential hosts, “how many uplinks do you have”?

5 Replies to “Website Migration Or Bird Migration – Whats Harder”

  1. Holy Moly Batman!!!!
    Best of luck with new website. Your a power of example to the rest of us that still have no idea what any of that meant

  2. I dont run a store, but I do .. do some wordpress blog/info stuff on GoDaddy. Not the cheapest options in the world but I know they do stores as well. I havent had much problems with them and when I ask for help, they seem to want to help. As for me, I am about as smart, ie, techsavvy as my college education got me before I went back into the active Duty Army in 2002. SO… my tech-knowledge is a bit dated. With basic help though, I do run my Veterans information site pretty effortlessly.
    Have you checked them out? if so, why have you ruled them out? I ask, as I.. am curious. I look upto all of the crazy wild stuff ya’ll do there was Windy City.

  3. That was way to much like work! Always thought it was easier, but what do I know about setting up or for that matter moving established web addresses-not a thing! I do have a question though, why did you have to move to a new server? Is it because you physically moved? Thanks for the update, your new digs sound awesome for you and the gang! Good luck with all your newness!! Love you guys!

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