The Awkward Website Transfer

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Transferring most WordPress websites from one hosting provider to another is straight forward. The dialogue is open between all parties, everyone is respectful and nice to one another… it just flows!

Then, on the rare occasion, things just get “Awkward”.

One sunny weekday afternoon, a new client approached us due to a very “limited” experience with her previous hosting supplier. She expressed her concerns about the…

VERY limited WordPress Dashboard (backend) access

  • Poor response times from the host/designer
  • Having to rely on the designer to edit settings + make some changes
  • NO access to deleting old images, PLUS
  • Little to no WordPress Core, Plugin or Theme updates putting her website at risk of security breaches (amongst other issues).

“Easy!” I said… “We transfer sites all of the time. We’ll take care of everything.”


#1 – Our clients existing hosting provider wouldn’t provide hosting logins nor WordPress Admin Level access. They then proceeded to delete/deactivate several Plugins (I assume, because they were worried we would steal their product licenses).

#2 – I then personally entered into somewhat of a hostage negotiation on our client’s behalf. We informed her seemingly paranoid/not-happy-she-was-leaving hosting provider that we are a legit web design agency with over 15 years in the business. I also assured them that we would not interrupt their backup protocols nor change anything on the existing site except install one plugin to aid in its transfer. They finally trusted us enough to provide the access and credentials we needed. This about took about a week on its own.

#3 – As we begun our normal transfer procedure, it became apparent that the current hosting account didn’t offer enough space to create the backup we needed. We attempted several different approaches… then we remembered, our client has never had access to her old images. She kindly offered to delete some to reduce the overall size of her site.

#4 – Voila! By giving our client FULL access to her own WordPress Dashboard, she was able to run through and delete 1000s of product images she no longer needed – enough to bring her website size down small enough for us to finally transfer it within about 30 minutes.

The Bottom Line

Not all hosting providers are made equal!

When you first get your website built you’re likely thinking of moving your site anytime soon, but there are some key questions worth asking to save yourself the headache.

Ask your soon-to-be new hosting provider:

  • How much your ongoing monthly/annual costs will be and specifically what’s included?
  • What happens if there is a technical issue with your website? e.g. do they fix it, does it cost extra
  • What’s involved if you choose to change hosting suppliers? e.g. do you own the website, will it be compatible with other hosts
  • Is there a cancellation fee?

This, in addition to getting a feel for how responsive they are, how they communicate with and treat you will also give you a good indication as to what to expect.

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