View Full Version : Move site hosting off of Westhost, but keep email here

01-12-2011, 08:32 PM
I am getting ready to move our website from westhost's server to mediatemple's. We want to keep the email as is and continue to host it from our westhost account.

My understanding is that we log into our westhost control panel DNS settings and change the A record to point to the new ip address of the mediatemple account.

Will this keep the current email operating correctly without a lapse in service?

I am unfamiliar with DNS settings and am having a more experienced programmer help with the switch, but I would like to understand what's going on as best as possible.

01-13-2011, 07:00 AM
Who is your domain registration through? Are you simply pointing your registration to the WestHost nameservers at your registrar level?

I'll go on the assumption that you did registrar the domain with WestHost at the same time you purchased your account. In that case, yes what you describe above should work for you. The reason I asked about who you are registered through, is that you could possibly do the same thing at that level thus bypassing the nameservers. It is also possible that you could direct your domain name to the new nameservers of the company you are moving to and then use their interface to direct email back to your WestHost account if it has a static IP.

01-13-2011, 09:48 AM
Thanks for the reply, Wild Joker. Here's the whole story in a nutshell.

I've taken over as webmaster for a site that is hosted on Westhost (has been since 2003). The domain is owned by my client's agent, on Network Solutions. We are working on transferring ownership of the domain over to us, but at the moment we don't have access to the account on the registrar, since it isn't ours and the owner has several other domains on the same account and doesn't feel comfortable giving us outside access to everything. So we will hopefully soon transfer ownership of the domain to us, but we don't have it at the moment.

We've made some marketing/design changes and our site traffic has dramatically increased, which has caused some trouble in the WestHost account. We are pushing to increase traffic more, and we have decided to move to a Dedicated Virtual server hosted on MediaTemple, since this is where I host all of the other sites I work on.

I don't want to lose any email uptime with my clients, and they have several email accounts set up that they are accessing in a number of different ways (Apple mail, blackberry, google apps, gmail, ect.) I've never moved an active site from one host to another, I've always started fresh on a server. Since our account on Westhost isn't expensive at all, we decided the best thing to do would be to keep the emails running as is on the Westhost server, and point the URL over to mediatemple.

When I spoke with customer service at Network Solutions about transferring domain ownership, they told me that, with what I'm trying to do, I should be making all of the changes on the westhost server, specifically changing the A record to point over to the MediaTemple server.

Sorry for the long winded answer, but I wanted to paint a clear picture.

Thank you for the help.

01-13-2011, 11:01 AM
No that is good to give details. :) It sounds like their advice is pretty spot on for this. If you create an A record for the domain itself that points to the new IP you should be showing the new web content on the other account in a short time with no interuption to email accounts. In fact there shouldn't even be any interuption to the site it self. There well perhaps be a period of time where some are pulling the content from the WH account and others from the MT account but if your content is not changing very often that should not be an issue either. For example if I where to move one of my accounts that host a PHP-MySQL forum then there would be a point where some folks may be posting to the old server and not the two if propagation had not resolved for them. So I would actually "stop" the use of the forum on the old account just before I made the DNS change just to be sure there where no post lost. :) I my self have always seen changes done via Site Managers DNS show up with in the hour if not immediately but others have had issues.

01-13-2011, 04:02 PM
Thanks again. With your advice and two days worth of researching DNS, A Records, and MX records, I feel like I at least have a basic understanding of this. So if we were to create an A record pointing to the new domain, if we later removed/deleted that A record, would the site point back to it's original host on westhost? I'm asking this because we're planning on keeping a copy of the site on westhost and using it as our development server. If the anything ever happened at MediaTemple, could we just remove the A record and users would then be directed to the Westhost hosted site? (After the time it takes the change over to process)

01-14-2011, 06:59 AM
Yes that is correct. :)

01-16-2011, 08:15 PM
How do I actually create an A record? So far I can get this far:

1. Log in to Site Manager
2. Click on "DNS Records" in Domain Settings menu
3. "Add" a record
4. This is where I'm not sure what to do next. I know I should select A record as the DNS Type. Should I use "www" as the subdomain? Do I need to do anything with the CNAME Record that already has "www" as it's subdomain? Or does the A Record only override the server that the browser URL points to?

I just don't want to make a mistake that will cause any major errors with the site setup.

Thanks again.

01-16-2011, 09:13 PM
You know what I may have been wrong. I just checked my DNS section in Site Manager and realized it covers sub domains only and that you can't redirect the main domain from there... or at least it does not look like it. You may have to do this at the registrar level instead. At the registrar level you would not point at the WestHost nameservers but instead create the A records MX and C records there.

01-16-2011, 10:06 PM
Okay, thank you. I just talked with the Westhost tech support through online chat, and they told me that I need to submit a support ticket through the site, since I'm trying to create an A Record for my primary domain. I believe that they will set the A Record for me. I'll post again after I submit the ticket, with the results, incase anyone else has a similar situation.

Thanks again for the help.

07-27-2011, 04:20 PM
I'll post again after I submit the ticket, with the results, incase anyone else has a similar situation.

Here I am in a similar situation...
I have opted to keep my employers email on this website to avoid interruption. Eventually I need a different domain name here, but for now I am trying to work on developing the sight here. The original domain is now a live site somewhere else.

The problem now is I cannot log on to manage this site because it redirects to the other site with that domain name! Can we just have no domain name for now with westhost? I am waiting for response after creating a ticket, and hope someone else has tips on doing this.

07-27-2011, 05:42 PM
If you have a dedicated/static IP for the account/domain here at Westhost you can always reach it via that IP. If you had a shared IP then it makes things a bit more difficult since you would have to find out what server you where on. They should be able to answer you that in your support ticket. The preceding is assuming that you have an older Site Manager account with them.

07-29-2011, 08:32 AM
I did find all that information, and the alternate name for the site
[original domain].whsites.net

but when I appended "/manager" the server was redirecting to
[original domain]/manager/index.htm
which obviously would not work because that domain is no longer pointing here!

So I learned the easiest solution is to include the "index.htm" in the url to bypass that redirection:

http://[original domain].whsites.net/manager/index.htm

07-31-2011, 03:09 PM
If you need to get into the Site Manager and the primary domain for that account no longer resolves to WestHost, then you should be able to connect via the IP address for the account [if dedicated] or the temporary domain like mydomain.whsites.net.

To prevent a redirect, use the full URL path, so for example mydomain.whsites.net/manager/index.htm

You can also get the full server address if you SSH to the account [via IP if the domain doesn't resolve here] and run:
sh /var/www/cgi-bin/.admin.redirect.sh

It does give you a lengthy address, but connects you right to the server address to get logged into Site Manager.

If that doesn't work, do contact Tech Support via phone or chat and we can assist you further!