Hosting Accounts and SSL
I recently created a WordPress site on my hosting service at GoDaddy. The site looked great and I was ready to apply an SSL certificate to it. The issue was that this site was not my primary hosted domain on my account. It’s actually hosted site on my primary domain. Before I pulled the trigger to buy the certificate, I thought it wise to call GoDaddy to see if the lowest cost SSL cert (about $70/yr) would work in this scenario, because I wasn’t sure. Happy I made that call.
The low cost SSL cert can only be applied to the primary domain associated with the hosting account, not a hosted site. A hosted site is essentially a folder you create under the primary domains folder and then use the Hosted Domains control from Go Daddy to point a different domain at the folder. From what I can tell it works better than domain redirection or forwarding with domain masking, but seems to function in a similar manner. So I was told that I would need to buy the next level SSL certificate in order to apply it to multiple domains. Its a cost of about $150/yr, so more than double the cost. So I decided to hold off and do a little digging before dropping that much $.
What I discovered, was that you can actually change the primary domain associated with the hosting account fairly easily using the “Domain Change (Primary)” function under the Settings in the Hosting Manager. Since I wasn’t using SSL on the primary domain, I could make this switch and apply the SSL cert for $60. Problem solved.
The other option, which I opted for was that I could sign up for a new hosting account for 2 years, get a domain registered for 2 years, get a SSL cert for 1 year, and get on a more current virtual service with cPanel for a little more than the cost of buying the second level SSL cert. This was a win-win for me! My original hosting account is up for renewal in a few months and a new hosting account had a great promotional discount available. So I get my cert fora year, my main concern but can also migrate all my other sites from the old hosting account the new one and not have to renew at the higher rate. So all in all I’m saving a bunch of $.
The issue that I had to figure out next was how to migrate a WordPress site from one host to another. So there are a few options that I tried.. FTP is a no go since a database needs to be restored to a different mysql host and files repointed. So I needed a tool to help. I looked into some paid tools and a free tool called Duplicator which I ran a test migration with from the the original site to a sub domain hosted on the same server. It went extremely well!
After running my test migration, I started the same process of migrating the site to the new host. It seemed to go well, but checking the site after the restore there were issues with fonts and graphic rendering. So so good. I changed a few settings and tried it again, and again with the same issues. Extremely frustrating and hours were being lost.
The solution. When I went to cPanel to setup a new WordPress site on the new host and looked a little closer at the options, I noticed an option to migrate a site. So I choose the option to migrate from the other host, submitted a few details and 1o minutes later the site was migrated to the new host without issues! From there its easy to enable SSL and other tweaks.
Lesson learned: 1) Don’t take the more expensive default answer you get from Tech Support. 2) Explore the free tools you already have in a hosting account before you look for third-party tools that do the same thing, but ar for a fee or free but not supported.