How I successfully moved my WordPress Multisite Network to HostGator from 1and1

Just in time for Christmas, I finished migrating from 1and1’s webservers to Host Gator, a Houston-based web hosting company that was running a great deal on all of its hosting plans for Black Friday last month. (I’ve hinted before at some of my frustration with 1and1.)

I jumped on that, saving an estimated 60 percent of web hosting costs over the next two years.

It’s a move I’ve been meaning to make for a long time, as I’ve steadily grown more frustrated with 1and1’s occasional but not frequent downtime and the resources my shared web hosting plan provided. I’ve been with 1and1 since 2004, I believe, when I signed on to a bargain of a deal of the first year or two being free. That’s back when they were entering the web hosting market here in the states.

I don’t have a lot of bad things to say about 1and1, but I was eager to leave for a plan that uses cPanel (another Houston-based company) and that will allow me to more adequately scale my web resources as I need to.

Of course, after purchasing, I discovered that there are plenty of discussions out there about Host Gator’s performance, the reputation of its new owners who are buying out a lot of the key players in the market, and its emphasis on dirt-cheap shared web hosting and loud marketing efforts.

But a bargain is a bargain. I’ve come to love a good bargain.

And the exercise of moving enables me to keep my site in shape so I can move next time there’s a good bargain and I’m out there looking. We’ll see how this goes.

And honestly, folks — so far, so good. HostGator has been a reliable solution that hasn’t failed me or frustrated me yet. I’ll keep you posted. This post and this site is not for sale.

Migrating My WordPress Multisite Network to HostGator

While transitioning this site from 1and1 to HostGator, I found that exporting the MySQL database and importing it at the new host’s phpMyAdmin didn’t work for me. I did this with a manual install of WordPress’ core files and changing my .htaccess and wp-config files to reflect the newly imported database, and in the process, reading this page on over and over again a thousand times.

I even pored over HostGator’s support docs, including this page specific to WordPress MU.

So, I started over and used the WordPress’ admin panel’s export function and added the import plugin to a brand-new install of WordPress that was installed using Fantastico, a script one-click-or-so library that allows HostGator (and other web host users) to quickly install an optimized version of WordPress on their web host’s server. This worked much better, but as such, all of my photos are no longer in the Media Library.

No database, No Media Library

Which meant that any posts that contained a photo gallery created by the media library had to be rebuilt from my computer’s hard drive archive, as the media library no longer recognizes all the photos and the unique IDs they were given when originally installed in the previous database. Lucky for me, I only had to do this three times, as I don’t typically use WordPress’ built in photo gallery feature, instead, opting to use Picasa Web Albums (Google+ Photos) instead. I have a lot of photos. Way back when, I wanted to pick a photo solution that was future-proof, though — heh — I doubt one exists.

They are still all on my site because I was careful to ensure the paths to them didn’t change as I uploaded all of my images and other wp-content goodies via FTP.

In retrospect, I think this was a good decision because it allowed me to start my database, essentially, anew as well as WordPress’ core files as well.

WordPress is great because its team of expert developers at Automattic pride themselves on backward compatibility. However, after time, a WordPress blog that has been around forever seems to be weighed down by past artifacts that are no longer needed, or at least that’s my inclination.

New multisite upload file structure

Another stumbling block I came across was content found on my network subsite.

For my Hire Me site, which is its own WordPress “site” as part of my multisite installation, the way assets are filed in the directory structure changed with one of the more recent versions of WordPress. Since my old multisite network on my old server was installed before this change, WordPress’ backward compatibility features kept everything in the old file structure — and it just worked.

But migrating to a new installation that didn’t know that, my images on my portfolio page were no longer working when I created a new site in my new multisite network, and imported it in.

Using as a resource, I was quickly* able to discover what happened (a change in the Uploaded File Path), change the structure of my images, and then go in and alter every IMG tag to reflect the new file structure, then it worked.

But I was really glad I didn’t have to do this on thousands of pages on multitudes of sites within the network. Then, I’d likely have to use a database search and replace tool like Database Search and Replace Script in PHP from interconnect/it. I did use this tool on my 1and1 server to change the domain name and site URL to another one so I could compare the old version with the new, once my domain name had propagated.

* Once I discovered the problem wasn’t about my DNS settings of my domain propagating to Hostgator’s nameservers, an incredibly slow process thanks to 1and1 and their inability to offer tools like setting TLD to speed it up, alas – another story. 


Moving is never easy. It requires attention to detail, and backups, backups, backups. Make sure you back up your database via phpMyAdmin first, then export your WordPress blog’s XML file via Tools -> Export second, then make a back up of every thing in your wp-content folder before you even begin shopping for a new web host.

Then, when you finally make a decision and purchase a new space, then make another back up.

You can’t have too many backups.

Once you have a new web hosting provider, and you’ve changed the nameservers of your domain name and added your domain name as an add-on domain [This is how cPanel does it; make sure when you’re finished you fix its need to create subdomains off your main domain by redirecting the subdomains (for example: to the proper domain, but this is another issue], then and only then try importing your MySQL database. Maybe it will work for you. It should — I really can’t explain why it didn’t work for me, especially considering I was keeping the same domain name and everything.

But since it didn’t work, I think it allows me to keep my database more slim and trim because my previous entries in the Media Library no longer exist.

One of the immediate benefits I’ve found with my new web hosting home at HostGator is that I can now upload larger images into my media gallery, previously, I was capped at a very laughable 1 MB (though, it did force me to watch my page weight).

What’s next for

As we approach a new year on a new host, I think now is as good a place as any to detail some plans for this site in the coming year.

  • New Twenty Fourteen child theme for the new default theme that ships with WordPress — And this time, I hope to share it with the community by uploading it to’s theme repository. Get a sneak peek at it as I develop it.
  • More long form articles like this one aimed at sharing what I have learned about WordPress and web development in general during my time hacking away at sites for fun and profit since 1997.
  • More links to other articles that have helped me learn.
  • More, more, more (Don’t want to commit to all the crazy ideas I have right now.)


I’m not saying people won’t give away their wares for free online in the future, I’m just saying this whining that you can’t make any money, that everyone expects everything to be free online … those days are just about through. Sure, you can read posts for free on Facebook and Twitter, but those sites were built on the public’s back. And they’ve peaked too.
Bob Lefsetz, The Web Has Peaked and No One Wants to Read Your Tweets


Less than 24 hours after updating all the WordPress sites I manage on Monday to the latest version 3.7 which came out on Friday — it looks like the new 3.7.1 is available.

Can’t wait to see how the new automatic update feature works on this site.

Here’s a good read about the choice to keep automatic updates simple in the admin, via the Tavern.

Also, I’m waiting for my custom vanity URL for my Google+ profile.


Google Analytics Fundamentals

Today, I completed a Digital Analytics Fundamentals course offered by the new Google Analytics Academy. (Of course, it has its own Google+ community, too.)


I learned a lot about the basics of Google Analytics and what the always-improving platform can allow you to do to gauge the success of a web site and the efforts of a marketing and communication team.

The course consisted of six units which each consisted of a handful of subunits, each of which contained a YouTube video with instructor Justin Cutroni explaining how to set up Google Analytics, how to manage it to get relevant data for your organization’s needs and how to analyze it to improve performance.

I scored a 97% on the final course assessment.

IS13: online marketing thoughts and strategies

Yesterday, I attended the Houston Interactive Marketing Association’s annual conference titled Interactive Strategies 2013: Marketing in a Multi-Screen World. You may have heard about it on Twitter.

It was a great learning experience and I met many people who work in the business of online marketing in the Houston area.

The following is a recap of notes I took during the event.

See photos from the event on the HiMA Facebook page.

The photos here were taken with my Google Nexus 7.2 – the single device I used throughout the conference to take notes, photos and live tweet (@uhbauerredesign). So, yeah — the photos are kind of blah.

Tae E. Kim

Tae E. Kim's cheat sheet to win the Zero Moment of Truth
Tae E. Kim’s cheat sheet to win the Zero Moment of Truth

Tae E. Kim, Head of Channel Partnerships in North America at Google, was the keynote speaker at the conference.

His talk kicked off the event and he focused on tailoring marketing campaigns and online presence to win the moments that matter most.

Kim outlined steps to win in the Zero Moment of Truth (link to, a concept Google coined to describe how consumers now discover new products and services online. Top on the list: Putting someone in charge. “If everyone is in charge, no one is in charge,” Kim said.

The Evolved Mobile Experience panel

Paul Tapscott compares the percentage of time consumers are now spending on mobile devices (12 percent) to an industry average of how much is spent on mobile ads (3 percent).

Paul Tapscott, Director of Mobile at marketing firm CENTRO, moderated a panel discussion about the evolved mobile experience.

Tapscott presented really great slides about where the industry is right now, and panelists Paul Simmons from Celtra and Brian Kilmer from Paypal Media Network offered colorful antidotes about specific campaigns they’ve worked on and experiences with clients interested in making an impact in the mobile space.

Here are some interesting things I heard during the discussion:

-Tablets are the fastest growing technology in the history of technology

– We check our mobile phones 150+ times a day

– Mobile does some things really well. Others – not so much.

– “Don’t just slap a static banner on the page and be shocked when you don’t get engagement.”

– Display interactive HTML5 content within Facebook or Twitter – where the audience already is. You’ll get higher engagement.

– Are you helping consumers save time or money?

Keynote Panel

The after-lunch keynote was a panel discussion moderated by HiMA President and University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business adjunct Kelsey Ruger.

The discussion featured Jay Steinfeld,; Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, Gallery Furniture; Susan Saurage-Altenloh, Saurage Research; and Brent Richey, Tapad.

Kelsey Ruger led the panel discussion between Jay Steinfeld, Jim McIngvale, Susan Saurage-Altenloh and Brent Richey.

Steinfeld said it is important to experiment without the fear of failure – and he said his company is working to improve the conversion rate of its website on mobile devices. He also said that sending direct mail to lists his marketing efforts didn’t create has never worked.

McIngvale said they’re working on making the web as exciting as the store experience, but he said it’s hard to get the monkeys, birds and play area for the kid on a mobile phone.

Richey said tablets are changing everything and he stressed the importance of aligning your creative work with your business and marketing objectives.

Yoel Kluk

Yoel Kluk asked, “How might we emphatize with each other in a world where we are now more connected than ever?”

Yoel Kluk, Director of Global Consulting Services at Grupo-Piensa, presented “The Power of Human Center Innovation to Fuel Your Marketing Campaign.”

Kluk champions empathy, the acknowlegment that the user is always right, and stresses the importance of an open mind … and scope.

“I want to know what makes my customers yell … in excitement,” Kluk said. “Marketing is about understanding people. If we only focus on the product, we are misreading it.”

Justin Segal

Justin Segal, Boxer Property

Another breakout session I attended was led by Boxer Property COO Justin Segal – I was interested in this speaker because of my prior experience in the real estate business when I worked in the marketing department at RE/MAX of Texas.

Boxer Property is a commercial real estate and property management firm founded by friends in the early 1990s, and its first project was attempting to lease a downtown Dallas office building that had been vacant for six years prior.

“We know we couldn’t become what we wanted to be by doing what everyone else was doing,” Segal said. “Our whole business was built on going direct to tenants.”

Segal focused his session on the company’s many efforts to develop interactive apps for mobile devices – at first, they just wanted to be in the app store.

“It was a quick and easy tenant app – it allowed us to collect email addresses and allow tennants to send messages to us,” Segal said.

Now they’re working on a comprehensive app and website for all of their audiences and needs.

“You have to decide which audience gets priority,” Segal said. “(Our development team) has a monthly prioritizing meeting. We don’t schedule development cycles because priorities change so quickly.”