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What is Domain Migration?

Nicole Madison
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Domain migration is the process of moving data from one domain to another, without losing data or impairing security. The data moved in this process can be in many forms, including, but not limited to, text, Internet, authorization, and authentication files. In order for data to be usable after it is moved, careful attention must be paid to transferring files in their appropriate formats, using the right file extensions. The correct file permissions and ownerships must be preserved as well.

Domain migration is necessary when a server is upgraded and the data on the original server must be transferred to a new system. It also occurs when an administrator selects a new Internet Service Provider (ISP) and needs to transfer data files to the new company. Additionally, it is used by a website administrator to transfer the specific data that constitutes a web page over to a different domain or system.

When upgrading a server, the domain migration procedure used will depend on the type of server. Each server type has certain procedures that should be followed. For example, the domain migration process involved in moving to a Unix server may differ from the procedures used to migrate to a Windows server. Likewise, each ISP or web host may have a different procedure for accomplishing domain migrations. To make such moves easier, many ISPs and web-hosting companies offer to handle domain migration tasks for their customers.

Often, individuals consider using File Transfer Protocol (FTP) for domain migration. FTP can be used to download files from the local system and upload them to the new server. However, FTP has several deficiencies when it comes to domain migration. It doesn't provide for the adequate preservation of file permissions or ownerships. Transfers using FTP can cause ASCII files with unknown extensions to upload as binaries. Furthermore, FTP involves moving files in their uncompressed forms, wasting system resources.

Using FTP alone generally requires too much effort in terms of both time and the adjustments required after the process is complete. Instead, it's more efficient to use other tools for domain migration. However, depending on the particular migration, FTP may be a part of the process.

Accomplishing a successful domain migration is not as easy as it sounds. However, even those with no experience can learn to successfully accomplish this task by reading some of the many tutorials available online. Still, there are many technical terms and processes that may make the procedure frustrating for the novice. In such cases, enlisting the help of a professional may be the most practical idea.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGEEK writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

Discussion Comments

By jjanolo — On Mar 12, 2009

I am doing a domain migration. I have a couple of users who are using PGP Desktop Encryption. I wanted to know how the PGP will affect the migration since it only *moves* the files and data, but does not access it. Any thought would be greatly appreciated.

Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGEEK writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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