At present, my domains are registered with GoDaddy, while my websites are hosted with Arvixe.
I am looking for a new domain registrar to move all my domains to and based on research, I am trying to decide between name.com and namecheap.com. If any of you have any thoughts/suggestions with regards to this dilemma of mine, please feel free to let me know. 🙂
Arvixe is an affordable hosting company. Their plans are feature rich. My experience with their support team has been great overall. However, from the time I started hosting my sites with them (Windows hosting plan), I noticed that speed was an issue. Every site would take a long time to load. We all know that visitors are an impatient bunch and that if a site does not load in a few seconds, they’re gone! I know I have done it myself. While I have no evidence to back up this claim, I believe that they are hosting too many sites on each server, which would make sense because if that wasn’t the case, they wouldn’t be able to have the cheap hosting plans that they do.
Here are the steps I went through to get everything working and by that, I mean when it was all said and done, “www.srikanthnair.com” would load “srikanthnair.azurewebsites.net”.
- Export existing blog content
STEPS: Tools -> Export -> All content -> Download Export File
Log into the Dashboard of the existing WordPress site and export everything! Keep this XML file safe.
Create the WordPress Windows Azure Website
STEPS: NEW -> Compute -> Website -> From Gallery -> Blogs -> WordPress
Log into Windows Azure Management Portal and do the following.
If you don’t have Windows Azure, you can always sign up for a 90 day free trial.
Add Web App / Configure Your App (Azure Website Details)
- URL – Enter the URL for the site. This is the Azure Website address of the site.
- Database – In most cases, you would select “Create a new MYSQL database”, unless you already have an existing MYSQL database that you would like to use.
- Region – I selected East Asia because that’s closest to where I live.
- Subscription – Select the appropriate subscription against which this site will be created.
Create New Database / New MySQL Database
- Enter the database name (or select existing database) based on your previous selections.
- Agree to the ClearDB terms (based on previous choices)
STEPS: Browse to URL (from step 2)
When you browse to the URL, the WordPress installation will prompt you to create the admin username/password and enter a few details. When you complete this step, your WordPress site should be up and running and accessible if you browse to the Azure website URL. In my case, that was srikanthnair.azurewebsites.net.
At this stage, you can import the XML file (from step 1) into this new WordPress install. When importing, WordPress will prompt you if you want to download the images associated with your posts. I said yes.
Configure Windows Azure Website
STEPS: Azure Management Portal -> Websites -> Site Name (from step 2)
Log into the Azure portal to configure your newly created website.
- Go to the SCALE section.
- If you want to use your own domain name on your Azure Website, you have to switch your WEB SITE MODE to SHARED. Make sure you click SAVE when you have switched to SHARED.
- Now go to the CONFIGURE section.
- Click on “manage domains” and you will see this note: To verify authorization, create a CNAME resource record with your DNS provider that points from either www.yourdomain.com to YourAzureWebsiteURL.azurewebsites.net, or from awverify.www.yourdomain.com to awverify.YourAzureWebsiteURL.azurewebsites.net.
This is how my “manage domains” looks like, IP address masked.
- Go to your domain registrar (GoDaddy in my case) to create the CNAME records (see step 5). Without creating these entries, Windows Azure Websites will not allow you to use your own domains. Also, do not forget to enter the appropriate MX records so that your emails will keep working. I got caught out by that because my emails are hosted on Outlook.com 🙂
This is what my DNS entries look like on GoDaddy. It may not look the same for you.
- Go to the SCALE section.
In my case, I kept my old WordPress site running until all the DNS changes had propagated. I was able to test this by stopping my website (www.srikanthnair.com) under Arvixe. Initially, I would get an error, which meant that the domain changes were still not active. When it finally started working, typing in www.srikanthnair.com led me to my Azure Website. Please note that DNS changes can take up to 72 hours to become active, so don’t expect everything to work just because you have entered all the right settings J
That was my experience folks. My site loads up so much faster now and I am happy that I made the move to Azure Websites. It remains to be seen what happens when the feature comes out of Preview, especially the costs associated with hosting my site on Azure. Fortunately, my site doesn’t receive much traffic, so I doubt that would be a huge problem J Overall, it was a relatively painless experience.
If any of you are planning on moving your WordPress blog to Azure or are in the middle of it, either way, if you need some help, tweet me (@SrikanthNairPro) or send me an email and I will do my best to help you.
Thanks for reading.