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How much should I pay for transferring to a new host?



5:22 am on Jan 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

I have a CMS-based website that I need to transfer to a new host (all files + database). I received a quote from someone who can get this done for around $200. Is that a fair amount for this kind of job? I can probably get it even cheaper if I go to elance but I prefer to get this done locally.


9:20 am on Jan 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

It isn't if you consider that it's a 5-10 minute job for an experienced webmaster.

Plenty of tutorials available online if you want to do it yourself; saves you $200.

First thing I'd do, though, is ask your new hosting provider for assistance. Some providers are willing to help you move your site to their platform for free.


1:36 pm on Jan 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

It depends on the CMS.

We just took over hosting for one of our clients whose is is in WordPress. I have no WP experience, but managed to find a tool to expedite the migration and it went pretty flawlessly. Granted, his site was pretty small, but size shouldn't matter much.


5:09 pm on Jan 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

You have probably already spent more time researching the question than it would take to do it yourself. Really.

When I first saw the subject header, I thought $200 was the new host's one-time fee to set up the domain. That's a whole different question, though.

"5-10 minutes" is the hands-on work. But you should factor in the time to babysit the upload. Computer technicians' time costs the same, no matter what they're doing.


6:00 pm on Jan 29, 2014 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It depends on the CMS.. I'm not sure I buy the "It would only take a couple of minutes"...

I really think that people in the web world need to start thinking and billing like lawyers.. "HI, should I sign this?" Lawyer looks at the doc for five minutes and adds $50 bucks to the bill.

Let's assume it is a Joomla site... Let's take a quick look at the time involved.

___ Initial contact - Find out exactly what you want
___ Emails to get the hosting data from you for the new and old host.
___ Backup the existing site - Akeeba will back up the site and database in an extractable/installable format
____ But - now we find out that your old site is running an old version of PHP so we have to dig up an old copy of akeeba to do the backup.
____ Download time
____ get into the new hosting. Hopefully they have a standard phpmyadmin for sql and not some screwy proprietary platform
____ Does the new host you picked out give all the access you need? I'm running into more and more geldling hosts.
____ Upload and extract. Hopefully there are no problems with the database connection.
____ Oh wait, the host's php setup doesn't work with your cms.. Gotta change that.. ooops, no php.ini file.. phone call to 'support'. Fixed that
____ Files uploaded, joomla installed .. current version is 2.5.6. Do you want me to update that to the latest secure version or do you want a hole you can drive an aircraft carrier through?
____ Oh wait, your email doesn't work now and you want me to help you set up the email clients for your phone, ipad and computer or will you take care of that.
____ Oh, your site was running the xxx extension which requires a higher version of mysql than what is on the new host? Let's find that in the control panel and see if they allow me to do the update or if I have to call support..
___ Gotta cover my time for billing and invoicing.

Some other assumptions
- The site hasn't been hacked.. Nothing like getting the big red alert box when uploading because the site was hacked and being used to distribute malware in a pharma hack.
- YOu are on a current version of the CMS.. Suppose someone is on Joomla 1.5. Try to run that on most hosts and you'll get an email that they are taking the site down.
- You know ALL the passwords used on the site. Yes, I can easily get around no password for Joomla IF I have access to phpmyadmin.

So, I would say something like this could go from about a half hour to perhaps 2-3 hours if you run into a crummy host and problems. For a price fixe, you and the web person are sharing the risk. If it takes them 15 minutes, then they made some good money. If they run into problems and end up chatting with 'support' run out of someone's basement, then they lose.



12:30 am on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lorax is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Welcome to WebmasterWorld ardel!

My first thought is what's your time worth? If you have no idea what to do and you have to learn it - that's time spent learning. If you're not confident in what you learn - you'll spend more time being sure. If you are confident, you might get away with 30-60 minutes and get lucky. And then there's the chance that you'll bugger it somehow, pay to get it fixed or waste more time trying to figure it out. Someone that knows the CMS and has the skills to do it is worth the money IMHO.

So is the fee reasonable? This person is local you say? He's probably aware that you live close by - not that it should matter - but it does.

Hire some knucklehead on eLance and you're gambling with your site. Check this guys references and then hire him.


1:42 am on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Another way to look at it: What does it cost in YOUR time? Most webmasters (not all, but many) have other jobs. Consider the cost in your time vs the turnkey result the other fellow is charging... and if he fails first time he has to get it right for the fee agreed.

The actual transfer is how fast is your connection. The actual setup and confirmation on the new host is the second... and that can take a bit of time. After all, you want to make sure every thing works!

Unless you have done this before, or are confidemt in your trouble shooting skills, having some one experienced do this might not be that bad an idea.


9:33 pm on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I just did this myself for the first time some weeks ago.
- Researching on how to do transfer a WP site to a new host took me about 2 hours in total (finding good advice, reading and understanding it).
- requesting Auth-codes from the old host: 5 minutes (fill out form, sign and fax)
- buying new webspace from my longtime favourite webhost: 20 minutes, but only because we chattet a bit on what to watch out for - he is always very helpful.
- declining his offer to do the full transfer for me: 2 minutes as he wanted to charge an hourly rate and not a fixed price. Also these sites are not big earners yet.
- installing 2 plugins (DB backup and DB importer) to the sites: 5 minutes
- downloading the full WP directories of 2 sites: 1.5 hours
- backinig up the DBs and emailing it to me: 5 minutes
- in the meantime my new webhost setup the webspace for both sites and created aliases so I can upload and test before we transfer the domains
- uploading the WP directories to the new webspaces: 2 hours
- importing the DBs to the new WP install: 10 minutes
- configuring the theme and plugins to the settings they had on the old webspace (soemhow the lost their settings - don't know if this is standard or if I made a mistake): 1.5 hours per site
- testing of design and function, last configuarion changes: 30 minutes
- when satisfied: send the Auth-Code to the new webhost so he can switch the domain: 2 minutes
- done

If you count the hours and minutes, it is a lot and you start to value the people that do things like this for a living more. I love to play around with my diverse websites and am always happy to learn new stuff. But if you have a real money site and and cannot risk that something goes wrong, spend some and put the work into the hands of someone you can rely on.


10:11 pm on Jan 30, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

- downloading the full WP directories of 2 sites: 1.5 hours
- uploading the WP directories to the new webspaces: 2 hours

Is that active, hands-on time, or computer-in-the-background-while-you're-doing-other-stuff time?

:: envious of ISP that yields download:upload ratio of 3:4 instead of 1:10 or worse ::


6:11 am on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Onlineben - That was a great examply

Lucy24 - I have 50/25 fios. I get closer to 60/50 most times. However, with a large upload download the impact is a bit more complicated if you are multitasking. IOW, If I start a large upload or download using filezilla I usually don't us FZ for anything else. I want to be able to easily see if any files failed to transfer properly.

If I have my laptop handy, I can use that so it minimizes the impact.


7:07 am on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Again, I have really begun looking at how I billed in relation to how lawyers, accountants, auto repair shops, print advertising etc bill.

Another thing that is coming back to me is the concept of Total Cost of Ownership. I taught that in 500 level classes and forgot it. The concept was 'how much does it cost to keep a PC on a desk?" It was a LOT more than people thought.

If you are in this business, and you quote things on a fixed price, you tend to be a victim of scope creep. I was literally giving dozens of hours away with no compensation over the past years. I was underquoting large and small jobs because I felt I could not afford to lose any potential work. I've changed things around and now have a steady inflow of work. I now make every effort to make as accurate an estimate as possible. (AS to how I got the work, I'm going to post something in the FOO forum after this about affirmations. They sound goofy but they do work)

I'm involved in something with a lawyer now. He quoted a fixed price for a very narrowly defined scope of work..If I need an extra letter written, that is x dollars extra.

Same thing with my accountant.. If the nearby city sends me a screwed up tax notice and I forward it to him, that adds x dollars to my bill.

So, why shouldn't professionals in this business bill for the full amount of their time and expertise?

One other thing is the perception that "If it's da innertubes, it should be free/real cheap".. I had a case of someone whose financing people wanted a website for a multi million dollar project but wanted the budget for the website for EVERYTHING to be less that $1200. Gee willikers batman.. A steeenking one column by 3/4 inch ad for their product/service in a local paper would cost $150 per insertion. (and probably have no more usefulness than lining someone's birdcage.)

An advertising company associated with a local business association sends out 'Get in on this great deal' emails about once every 2 months. They put out a 3x5 index card and sell 1/8 spots on the back for about 800 per town.. Yet, the same people who fall for this won't spend $1000 for a full blown website.

So, going back to the OP.. I don't think 200 is too much. It all depends on a number of variables as I mentioned in a previous post.

My general guidelines for myself are

- Stay away from fixed price quotes. I will sometimes do a not to exceed cost for a project. I'll take the high estimate and make that the not to exceed. If it comes in with less time, then the client pays less.
- Use a spreadsheet to calculate high, medium and low quotes. Give the client an expected range and a very clear set of deliverables. Explain that anything outside the scope is billable at xxx/hour. This stops the 'oh, by the way, add ....."
- In some cases, when a client runs into a problem that is neither their fault nor mine, then I split the difference with them. If it is something that I can use for other clients, I might stop the clock. If I run into something where I find it a mental challenge and want to tweak it beyond what is absolutely necessary or originally agreed on, then I do it.. Television sucks for the most part anyway..
- IF I BREAK IT, I PAY FOR IT.. that doesn't happen often, but if it does, then the client doesn't pay for it.. e.g. My machine crashes during a process and I have to backtrack or I screwed up and was trying to use an incorrect password.

BTW - lmao when I noticed that I'm writing this as a "Quick reply"


8:32 am on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

FWIW, if the site is on a cPanel server (which is very common, if not the MOST common), then the transfer takes 2 clicks to do. We don't charge new clients anything to transfer from an old cPanel server to ours.

If it's not a cPanel server, then I still don't see why this should be much different than a simple *nix command (submitted on the new server):

rsync -avupog --progress -e 'ssh -p aaaa' root@bbb.bbb.bbb.bbb:/home/old_account/ /home/new_account/

Where "aaaa" is the old server's port #, "bbb..." is the old server's IP, "old_account" is the account name on the old server, and "new_account" is the account name on the new server. After you submit, it will ask for the old server's password.

Also, note that there's no break in that command.

The transfer itself might take forever, but once you enter the command you're just waiting for it to complete.

BTW, cmendla... I feel your pain, in every word you typed! I can't tell you how many times I found myself working for a month on a $1,000 project, just to see them spend 10 times that on a print ad that took 15 minutes to make. That's one of the many reasons that I stopped doing professional web design, and now just work on my own sites.


11:34 am on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Is that active, hands-on time, or computer-in-the-background-while-you're-doing-other-stuff time?

:: envious of ISP that yields download:upload ratio of 3:4 instead of 1:10 or worse ::

most of that time was spent doing other things - taking the kids to bed :)

Re download/upload: I have a glasfiber with 10Mb in both directions. Much better than some DSL connections of (advertised) higher speed that have a lot of latency and get clogged easily when everyone in my neighborhood is online.
I thought about changing the provider to get some phone flatrates etc in the package, but then they wanted to cut the fiber.


1:59 pm on Jan 31, 2014 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

GoNC - I'll file that unix command away and try it some time. I'm wondering how it will handle the sql databases but it would be interesting to try.


10:03 am on Feb 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

That's actually the exact command that I use to back up my MySQL databases. I have 3 servers, and one has a bit of extra storage, so I copy the entire /var/lib/mysql nightly.

The entire transfer is just under 5G, and the largest file is 1.5G. It takes awhile, but it doesn't have any errors.

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