There are hundreds of articles about moving a blog from WordPress.com to Bluehost, written by blogging experts. Most of the articles cover clear step-by-step instructions with images and videos. If you are new to migrating between hosting services, you are most likely to go through a few of these posts to get a hang of the process before-hand. However, there are chances that you come across something completely unexpected or unfamiliar during the migration process, which you have never read anywhere about.
This series, ‘Moving from WordPress to Bluehost’ is a compilation of such less-known nuances which I came across while migrating my 7+year-old blog last month from WordPress.com to Bluehost (may I add, ‘successfully’ ?).
Let me first confide that I am a beginner too with respect to website hosting. Let me also add that I have no clue of what PHP, SQL, FTP and any such technical terms mean, even as I write this post. So, keep in mind that you are reading a technical post from a tech-illiterate; that means it is more about practical experience, mistakes and learning and not about technical expertise.
Who is likely to benefit from this series?
Beginners who are about to migrate their free WordPress sites to Bluehost hosting for the first time, all by themselves, without any technical support.
What will you learn?
A few tips good-to-know before moving a WordPress blog to Bluehost that are not explicitly made known otherwise. This is not a how-to-do guide. Rather, it’s about additional, trivial information which are a part of the migration process.
Use the Bluehost Chat Support before Sign-Up
You did your preliminary research on hosting. You may be getting somewhere close to Bluehost. Yet, as a beginner, there could be a number of apprehensions bogging you down. Are there chances to lose your data during migration? Will your site go down during the migration? Are there any hidden charges? You wish an expert cleared all your doubts though you may not be sure where to start and whom to start with.
I suggest you to first mentally go over the migration process, its need and consequences with respect to your blog. Jot down all the questions that arises inbetween. Understand the available options provided by Bluehost – shared vs. wordpress vs. VPS vs. dedicated hosting, bluehost.com vs. bluehost.in, number of domains, domain transfers if involved, levels of hosting plans, their prices etc. For instance, in my case, I already had a domain name registered with GoDaddy with free WordPress hosting. Now, I was to transfer the domain name from GoDaddy to Bluehost and as well move the hosting from WordPress to Bluehost. Said that I am new to the process, I preferred Bluehost for the mere fact that its recommended by WordPress and is one of the popular ones; Bluehost just felt safe though I am sure other hostings could have been equally good or even better.
Once you have created a list of questions, take help of the Bluehost chat support. You can find it on their homepage.
You don’t need a Bluehost account or registration to avail the chat service. Give your name, enter as a new customer and dump your questions. I mean it!
You can ask as many questions you want, open the chat support any number of times and most importantly, the questions can be anywhere between silly and genius – it’s the matter of your blog you’ve worked on for dearly and your money; so, there’s no right or wrong in understanding information.
Alternatively, if you need opinions and clarifications from outside of Bluehost, check for blog hosting support forums like Web Hosting Talk.
How much a Bluehost Plan Costs depends upon from where you Sign-up
So, you have decided on going ahead with Bluehost! One of the first steps is purchasing a Bluehost plan. All of us wish to pay the least possible amount for any service, right? That’s why it greatly helps if you can do a quick check of the available offers just before signing-up with Bluehost. For instance, let’s check the deals for the basic plan for WordPress hosting from Bluehost.com as on today (20th February, 2018). If I was to land directly on the Bluehost official website, this is what I might have to pay:
However, if I was to sign-up through an affiliate link, I might actually pay even lesser. You can find such links on popular related posts. The example below is from Harsh Agrawal’s ShoutMeLoud.
If I was to do a little more search on this, I might find an even better deal. The below examples are from sources mentioned on the image below. You might as well want to check on these links.
If you notice, the landing page for the sign-up is the same in all the above examples; however, from where one lands from makes the difference in the prices. Note that the prices may vary on all of these sites from time-to-time. Also, Bluehost might sometimes send you a surprise offer pop-up to claim, once you reach the payment page. For instance, if I was to sign-up today, this is what I would pay (a 60 months package for the same cost as a 36 months package).
So, point #1 is keep your deal search open, up until you reach the payment page.
Don’t forget the Tax!
Inspite of the fact that we pay GST for every little thing we shop, it may skip from our minds to consider the tax amount that will be included in our Bluehost bill. Yes, the bitter truth is that the per month plan price we are shown during sign-up is excluding tax. In the below example, the total amount displayed just before payment is $106.2. However, along with tax, $124.2 will be debited during payment.
It is a good idea to know the final amount that will be debited from your card/bank account before-hand, especially if you are comparing prices between hosting services. Again, you can ask it through the Bluehost chat support.
Keep your References Opened or Bookmarked
Okay well, the payment is done and you are all set to begin the migration process. The entire process may involve a few steps to get to the completion – For instance, files backup, transfer of domain, changing DNS servers, WordPress installation, importing files, site redirection, transfer of subscribers and more. If it’s your first time, it is a good idea to look for authentic resources for each of the steps which include relevant screenshots and keep them either opened in separate tabs or bookmarked so that you can be sure of what you are doing.
Bluehost Support Representatives are not Guardian Angels
Yes, they are great when it comes to delivering basic information. However, should you face a glitch in the process, you will mostly have to face it alone. Perhaps, this could be my subjective perspective; yet if it happened to one, the chances it could happen to another are not far. Hence, I include this warning here that the Bluehost support are not guardian angels, though I cannot deny that all of them were absolutely polite and patient even when they had to be on a chat for more than an hour; but in terms of technical help, there’s a limitation with what they can handle remotely.
Next in the series: The Mystery behind Backups and Losing Blog Data