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Moving a Joomla Website

Over the years I have built a lot of websites, a lot of them surprisingly enough is with Joomla. Exact numbers, I am not sure of as I type this article but I know it is more than 15 a year. None the less the one thing that constantly surprises me is the amount of people, articles and forum posts asking about how to move a joomla based website. Granted a lot of these are now dating back 6 years but they are still relivent today.

Moving a Joomla website can be done by following the 2 ways:

  • Slowly - Doing it yourself. Can be fast if you have done a few of them but are typically slow if you are not experienced. Nothing wrong with slowly and it is encouraged as it is always a handy thing to know.
  • Fast, CORRECTLY and Pain Free - Getting professionals to do it for you. Great option, it is usually fairly cheap (under a couple hundred bucks) and most importantly can be done in a lot of cases in under 1 hour.

If you are like most people scouring the internet looking at pages like this one the option is generally option 1. Joomla has a guide which currently is for Joomla 2.5.x and 3.x site moves. This is available at http://docs.joomla.org/Copying_a_Joomla_website. Hell that is where I got a lot of helpful little tips. Keep in mind it is generic and is specifically for Joomla ONLY. It will not cover 3rd party components that need some slight adjustments here and there.

The second option is the preferred method by a lot of graphic designers, developers and now even hosting providers are opting for this method. There is a few reasons for this and for once it is not based solely around peoples budget. Some of the big reasons people choose a 3rd party provider when it comes to moving a Joomla website is because of the fact it is done by people who deal with this particular job day in, day out. Another reason for getting help when you want to move a joomla website is because it can be slow, painful and more importantly frustrating when you keep getting errors popping up rather than the website.

One reason which a hosting provider owner said to me just recently which was a little mind boggling was ability of staff. This one was interesting as I had always believed that if you are a hosting provider with staff offering technical support that they should know how to move and manage a site move of most common platforms. So I asked the question of "Why would ability of your staff be an issue?". The response that they gave me was "while they are very skilled and knowledgable in what they do, they do not have time nor can I afford for them to play around of 'plug n pray' on a customers website for the mere few bucks a month we will make off of their hosting."

Granted there is a lot of merit in this comment and I had seen a few customers come through work with similar issues when dealing with other hosting providers. I then decided to have a look around and see if I could find any provider who offers such a service. There appears there is a few (which I have put a list together of below... and one is Suncoast Web Solutions of course). They all vary in the level of service they will offer and some even charge per MB of data rather than per project or hour. Some had no reviews, some had good reviews, some had bad but they didn't have much else that would persuade you either way.

All of this being said and done does leave the most important question open.... What option should I go for? Well this can be easily worked out. The definitive answer is not as clear cut as I would like it to be. So here is the outcome I came up with:

I would say that if you are on a budget, do it yourself or if you are moving hosting providers you maybe able to get them to do it if you commit to a contracted term. Heck some of them will do a FREE website migration from other providers. If you can find a Joomla hosting provider then you maybe in luck as they will often do it for free.

If it is more about the value of the website than it is your bank account or you would prefer to have a professional to do it, then you are probably going to save yourself alot of time and not suffer from a lot of undue stress. Afterall having a joomla website mover transfer a joomla website to another provider is probably a lot safer move as they deal with it regularly enough for you to benefit.

Here is a couple of the vendors I found who do Joomla Website Moves:




I hope you find this information both helpful and something that you will share with your friends or family who own Joomla websites when they need their site moved.