Tips for moving a domain to a new PS at Dreamhost

I finally got nginx to work with WordPress at Dreamhost, so I’m moving more domains (including this one) over to it. When you edit a domain in the panel at Dreamhost there’s a handy-looking way to move from one PS to another, including moving all of the files. Sadly, I don’t think it’s ever worked for me. Here are the issues I’ve encountered and their solutions:

  • “Site Temporarily Unavailable” after you move a domain, whether you try to move the files or not. Scary! Editing the domain again and saving with the same settings usually works for me, but sometimes I have to do it a couple of times. This is apparently due to slow DNS propagation, so you can also just wait it out. Why DH can’t manage to still serve the site from the old PS is a mystery to me.
  • Failure to move the files. This seems to happen when your domain has a lot of files – like a WordPress install – and the source PS is overloaded. To fix this I just use rsync to sync the files to my local machine, sync those to the new PS, then move the domain in the panel (unchecking the box to move the files). Upping the resources for the source PS would likely work too.
  • Sometimes nothing works. This is when most people would wisely contact tech support. I’m too stubborn for that, so I move the domain back to the old PS and try again later. Oddly, trying again the next day has always worked.
  • If you do use the panel to move a domain, the file ownership can be weird. Fix this by setting up an admin user for the new PS in the panel and using chown.
  • When you change an nginx conf file for a domain you’ll need to restart nginx (sudo /etc/init.d/nginx restart) using your admin user. I think it’s possible to reload the config without restarting using /etc/init.d/nginx reload instead.
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By isaac

I like cats. he/him