From Scaleway to Hetzner (with a magical ManageWP)
I migrated from Scaleway to Hetzner, 9 migrated sites with a truly miraculous and magical ManageWP.
I already writed about of Scaleway’s stupidity of raising its prices and removing existing instances to force people to switch to more expensive, lower performing offerings or leave. I preferred to leave because it cost me more. I would have tweaked my Scaleway offers to stay in the same price range. But Scaleway’s behavior is disgusting.
You don’t delete instances on a whim, leaving thousands of users in the doldrums. At Scaleway, I had 3 servers at home for a total cost of 40 to 45 euros per month. I had 9 sites on it, so 3 on average per server and mostly small blogs that I keep, because I still believe that one day the fashion for social networks will disappear. And then, as long as we can pay, why not.
Hetzner, a good alternative to Scaleway
I’ve looked for a few alternatives and web hosting is just as bad as VPNs. The first few pages are filled with stupid reviews, just to have an affiliate link. And all the alternatives were more expensive whether from Linode, AWS or Hostgator. On an article (in french), I hear about Hetzner. Never heard of this web host before.
It’s a German with servers based in Germany and Scandinavia. The prices make me tick and the minute later, I sign up. Upon registration, I am asked for my identity card or 20 euros to authenticate the account. Bad surprise, I still try to send the scan of my rotten ID card and a few hours, my account is validated. Frankly, not bad.
Hetzner is significantly less expensive than Scaleway. But let’s say setup is sport. One of the reasons that “expert reviewers” don’t mention it often is that you are often on your own. If you’ve already set up VPS and are really (but really) comfortable with sysadmin, then you might be fine. Account validated, therefore, but I had to migrate 9 WordPress sites with their databases in the space of a few days, because on December 1, Scaleway beheaded my instances.
Any WordPress user should use ManageWP
For years I have used ManageWP and for me, anyone with a WordPress blog should use this service. This is a service that allows you to add your WordPress site and manage your theme and plugin updates from one place. But it has other features like backing up your site including all files and database. ManageWP is free, but you have paid options.
For free, you can have a backup once a month. By paying for the Premium Backup Extension (2 dollars per month), you have a daily backup which is kept for 3 months. On two of my sites I have daily backups, but on the other 7, much less critical and less up to date blogs, the monthly free backup is enough for me.
I struggled for a few days, sometimes in total panic and again the support from ManageWP is pretty impressive. Response within 24 hours and it was complete giving me all the details. Myself, I was in a panic, because people are sweating when they have to migrate 1 site under WordPress, me, it was 9 with sometimes different configurations. In free mode, you can restore your WordPress site at any time. But ManageWp’s Clone feature is only available in paid backup option. And the Clone feature allows you to migrate server without changing domain name. So that was exactly my situation. And it didn’t work …
A little knowledge and tweaking required
In fact, it was a thorny issue of accessing SSH over SFTP and in the end I used Restore. I first created servers at Hetzner. I took the same configuration as at Scaleway. The server in question has 2 VCPUs, 8 GB of RAM, 80 GB of disk space and 20 Terabits of bandwidth. That’s enough for me, even if after having migrated everything, I sometimes feel a drop in diet. It’s also slightly cheaper than Scaleway. Because this server costs 8.90 euros per month not VAT, so x 3 and if you include VAT, you are between 35 and 40 euros for 3 servers. It’s cheaper anyway. So, I configure the 3 servers on Hetzner.
Already a first surprise, the connection by SSH is done only by OpenSSH, therefore, the keys in Putty format are not compatible. Okay, OpenSSH is available on Windows, lightning fast, I go to Youtube, see a sharp accented Indian explaining how to install OpenSSH on Windows 7 (in fact, you just had to unzip the ZIP in a folder and access it from the Windows command line and you can even add it in the environment variables).
Sito says as soon as done, I am using ssh-keygen to generate my OpenSSH keys, but I want to be able to connect with Putty and WinSCP. Fortunately, Putty and PuttyGen can convert the OpenSSH key to have a Putty equivalent. Sito says as soon as I do, I log in and configure the Hetzner server.
Restore sites in hours with ManageWP
Afterwards, it’s classic. You install the usual server packages like Nginx, PHP-FPM, MySQL, etc. For the graphical interface in database, I used MyWebSQL, it is quite good, but it sometimes bugs. You just have to unzip the folder to a directory on your site and access it.
That was the easy part … Now, the migration of the WordPress big bag of excrement. Like I said, I struggled to find the right method, but with ManageWP it was a cinch. In fact, I panicked so much that I activated paid backup for my 9 sites only to find that I didn’t need it. The bill for this month will be steep as we go into general bankruptcy. I deactivated them afterwards, but I will still pay.
How it works. First, I installed a new WordPress corresponding to my 9 sites on each of the servers and I made sure to keep the same information, the same username and password and above all, the same name for the SQL database. This is very important when you do Restore. ManageWP’s Clone feature allows you to change this information, but for me Restore is faster. Once the new WordPress are going to be installed, you have to wait … for the DNS propagation of your domain name to the IP of your new server. In fact, even if I struggled at the beginning, it is mostly this damn DNS propagation that is taking the lead and that slowed the process the most.
Hetzner holds the road more or less well
ManageWP interacts with your site via a plugin. Once you install the new WordPress and DNS propagation is done then ManageWP will be disconnected from your old sites, normal you have changed servers. You reconnect through the plugin and then you go to Backups and restore your last backup. And then you can go hooking or have a coffee. ManageWP will fully restore your site, all files, database, all background configurations!
You come back a few hours later and your site will be fully functional, as if nothing had happened. The first time it worked, I literally said: “It can’t be, it’s witchcraft !!”. And then I did the same steps again for all of my others. ManageWP’s Restore function was not specifically designed to change servers, but you can do so as long as you keep the same information from the old to the new site.
It’s been a few days and honestly the Hetzner servers are a little sluggish at times. I feel some slowdowns and therefore, we will have to wait. But actually, I don’t care, because I know I could migrate to other skies if necessary thanks to ManageWP. ManageWP had already saved the day when I switched from OVH to Scaleway (in french).
And again, he comes to the rescue. Small note when you do Restore, you are not consuming your bandwidth. Everything is done on ManageWP’s servers. After starting the restore, you can exit the page and come back later. I’m not saying it will be successful every time because every case and site is different, but frankly it’s great service.
Unbeatable prices on Hetzner
Regarding Hetzner, I must say that its prices are really competitive, because it offers servers from 2.89 euros HT per month. It’s not the fastest, but it actually holds up with a bit of tweaking and optimization. It has everything you need from a Cloud provider, Load Balancers, volumes if you want more space, floating IP addresses. You can also activate your server backups and it will cost you 20% of the server price more. I haven’t looked at all the offers and services yet.
We will have to see in the long term if it holds up, but Hetzner has been around for 20 years and therefore, we hope that it will hold. When it comes to ManageWP, it’s a shame that there aren’t more services like it, because it’s really excellent in every way.