After a day of wrestling with DNS changes and FTP, refreshing my UNIX and phpMyAdmin skills, I’m ready to relax and say that my experiment was successful.
Long story short: Yesterday I created a new web site for follyblaine.com and I moved all of the pointers and files and references to this new location. It basically went fine, except for my impatience and several hours of panic that happened while I attempted to troubleshoot a problem that could only be solved by waiting.
In college I studied dramatic art and psychology as part of my degrees, but my part-time job was in the computer lab and I am still grateful I had that opportunity. It was there I learned about navigating through my files and folders at the command line, using chmod to change permissions, how to troubleshoot technical issues in general, and if you make backups before you begin you can always restore later, so why not experiment?
All of this came in handy yesterday.
Long story longer: As of Friday, typing follyblaine.com into your browser would have taken you to a site hosted on Blogger. (It was really just a name that pointed to a blog hosted on blogspot). I created a brand new site elsewhere, and I wanted to redirect follyblaine.com to point to the new location.
So I had to remove the domain name redirect inside Blogger (Settings > Publishing > click an X to kill the redirect on the Publishing page), go into my web host where the name was registered and remove the DNS records that pointed to Google (deleted the custom A and CNAME records that I added once upon a time) and that killed the redirect so typing follyblaine.com into a browser would take you nowhere. Cue panic. (Even though this was expected. For a brief time I couldn’t remember a vital password and I thought I’d lost some files, but I hadn’t.)
Then I went to my web host’s Control Panel and played with redirects and mirrors, which basically brought the site down even harder (I accidentally killed my staging site for a while) and didn’t get me what I wanted.
See I’d built the new site on another domain (follyb.com) and wanted to move everything to follyblaine.com, but using mirrors still kept my staging domain associated and I wanted all the options to redirect to follyblaine.com, so I had to keep going even though I was tempted to keep the staging domain forever and say screw it.
I updated General Settings in WordPress to point to http://www.follyblaine.com, I used Secure FTP to physically move files from the staging folder to the live folder. I replaced all references within WordPress and its database to point to the new domain name (since I had created it under a different domain name.) And I then I waited overnight for the DNS changes to propagate across the Internet.
More panic happened at the point where I calmly relay to you that I “waited overnight,” because honestly I didn’t know how long I had to wait and I wasn’t sure if I’d permanently broken everything forever.
To pass the time I drank a couple of beers and watched a movie. (It’s important that you follow these steps exactly.)
When follyblaine.com finally came up this morning, it was resolving to the new location. I had to disable a caching plug-in that was still pointing to the staging domain, but then I reenabled it and it worked fine. So far so good!
I’m sure there will be kinks to work out, but it looks as if I’ve actually done it. After waffling over this action for a year or two, I have finally gained full control of follyblaine.com and installed it entirely on my own web host. With only one day of low to mid-level panic.
By the way, I am not planning to migrate old blog posts to this new site. But if I was, Blogger has a way to export that data in an XML file so I could have. If you’re following along at home, this would be an option for you.