Moving Servers - a diary

Here is a record the steps taken to move internet servers.

What's going on?

A decision has been made: Nick is going to move house. The web and email server for anotherurl.com has been sitting in a store room in Nick's house for four years. Moving house also means "moving" the server.

Why have a server at home?

What are the disadvantages of having your own server?

Why can't you turn it off, take it round to your mate's house, and plug it in and switch it on?

The initial scenario

Andrew is a happy Easynet ADSL user with a fixed IP. He will provide a server and a connection while I move. 

I am a happy Demon ADSL user. I benefit from:

It is the last "benefit" needs sorting out as a first step.

Step 1 - Divorce

Domain name management is not related to providing the internet connection. This is where Demon and I will be going our separate ways. It was a rough romance. After 2 years of tolerable bliss, an amicable separation is what I intend.

Demon is not to be involved with the domain name management. This means that if or when I decide to close the account with them only my internet access affected.

Who will provide domain name management? I choose namesdirect. Andrew found them adequate for his domain.

SimplyStoned

I register an arbitrary domain name, influenced by a teenager who wants a site for his college IT studies. I make the request on 18th August 2002. Within a couple of days the domain name has reached most of the world's name servers. 

Setting up the IIS web server is straightforward. HTTP requests for simplystoned.net are mapped to the appropriate sub directory. 

Content of the site is left to the junior webmaster. (3MB images of hash plants is not acceptable. 60kB is really a limit for 600 by 400 pixel images.)

I now consider myself an expert in domain name management, and am ready to tackle the transfer of anotherurl.com.

Domain Name Transfer

I persuade Demon to relinquish control of anotherurl.com to namesdirect. This is an arduous, lengthy process:

9/8/02 I email the Demon Host master- host: "How do I proceed with the transfer request?"
  I get the reply: "By fax".
2/10/02 "What's the best fax number?"
2/10/02  "This one 020..."
8/10/02 I fax the request. I also fax them a copy of their monthly invoice as evidence that I'm bona fide.
8/10/02 "The fax that [we] received wasn't on company headed paper. Please resend this on the correct paper for Leading Edge Designs Ltd.
Clearly a Microsoft fax template wasn't good enough.
8/10/02 "Hi 

We don't use company headed paper.

If you like to submit some designs, that would be appreciated!

Now I could fax you the company registration certificate, or may be a VAT registration certificate. There are a bit bland, but may do the trick!

Do let me know what documentation you would like.

Regards

Nick

PS

I never was any good at art. I can do straight lines however:
               __________________________

I hope you enjoyed that!"

9/10/02

 

Hi Nick

A copy of your company registration certificate would be good. Could you please include this along with a covering fax header sheet explaining that you currently don't have any CHP and that you are an authorised signatory for
the company ie title. 

Thanks

[signed]

BTW love your lines ;-)
10/10/02 I Fax:

"Hello again 
One day I shall be moving the domain registration for anotherurl.com to namesdirect. 
Please permit this.
NamesDirect.com is an ICANN accredited registrar.
To give credence to this fax the following page is a copy of my companyís Certificate of Incorporation.
Your compatriot, [], asked me to say that we currently donít have any CHP and that I am an authorised signatory for the company i.e. title.
I am a director of the company, and signatory on the companyís bank account.
Please accept this as authorisation. Iíd be delighted to furnish you with any other particulars.
Regards
Nick Hubbard (nick@anotherurl.com)"

10/10/02 I leave the world of V17 fax modulation and return to email: 
"Is everything OK with my request? Did you get my fax?"
11/10/02 Your fax was received, we are awaiting a new template for the transfer.

Thanks
11/10/02 Perplexed, I email:

"Hi 

I'm unsure by what you mean by 'template'.

Is that you've run out of them and are popping out to get some more?

Or is it that I have to start the transfer with NamesDirect, which will result in a specific 'template' arriving.

Do I have to do something? Or do I wait for your say so?"

11/10/02 You will need to resubmit your request to NamesDirect, that will generate an email to us telling us what to do.

Sorry. Template was the wrong term to use. That would only apply to a transfer within Network Solutions.
12/10/02 I pay namesdirect. Transfer of the domain name should now "happen".
12/10/02 "Hi []

I expect that you will have an email from namesdirect regarding "TransferRequest for anotherurl.com".

Let me know if there are any difficulties.

Thanks

Nick"
12/10/02 NamesDirect reply: We have received your request to transfer your domain registrar to be NamesDirect.com.
14/10/02 "If you don't see a transfer confirmation email from your previous domain registration company within 72 hours, either call them or send them an email regarding this to make sure they release your domain. Since your previous domain registration company's transfer confirmation email does not come from NamesDirect.com, we have no control whether this 2nd email gets to you. Thus, you must be persistent with your previous domain registration company to ensure they release your domain if they did not send you an approval email."
22/10/02 "Hi []

Have you had the request from namesdirect yet? I requested the change on the 12th Oct.

"A new Registration can take from 24-72 hours to become active, and visible to all."

OK we are in the UK. So I've given it a bit longer.

I've inspected the "whois" record. A year has been added to the expiration; this shows they've done something.

The Technical Contact field is still with you.

Have you an objection? Was the notification in the wrong mime format?

What do I have to do now?"
22/10/02 This was received and authorised on the 14th.

We authorised it as everything appeared to be ok. I'm afraid I have no idea why this has not yet gone through. I can only suggest speaking to Namesdirect and asking why they haven't completed it.

22/10/02 I send a web "email" to namesdirect enquiring as to the delay.
26/10/02 Domain transfer declined by current registrar: Network Solutions, Inc.

Your domain transfer has been declined by your current registrar. You will
need to contact your current registrar to find out why they have declined
your transfer. Once you have resolved the issue with your registrar you may
re-submit your transfer.

Your card will be credited the amount that was charged.
26/10/02 I email Demon:

"What should I do?

It seems anotherurl.com is inextricably linked to Demon and will be for evermore.

Please tell me what buttons to push and what order to push them in."

26/10/02 I reapply to namesdirect
28/10/02 Demon reply:

Hi Nick

... I can only suggest re-submitting the transfer request.
Once received we will approve it again. Hopefully it should work ok this time.

Sorry I cannot be of further help.

Regards

28/10/02 NamesDirect reply: We have received your request to transfer your domain registrar to be NamesDirect.com.
28/10/02 NamesDirect again say: "If you don't see a transfer confirmation email from your previous domain registration company within 72 hours, either call them or send them an email regarding this to make sure they release your domain. Since your previous domain registration company's transfer confirmation email does not come from NamesDirect.com, we have no control whether this 2nd email gets to you. Thus, you must be persistent with your previous domain registration company to ensure they release your domain if they did not send you an approval email."
28/10/02 "Hi Nick

Just received the new transfer request, which has been approved.

Regards"
30/10/02 "Greetings,

The domain anotherurl.com has successfully been transferred to NamesDirect.com Ltd.

Thank You"

Good! Now we can do things...

Step 2 - The replacement machine

As followers of Bill Gates, well will go the dot net route. Andrew installs .NET Server, release candidate, on a computer at his house.

I make a CD backup image of the web sites running on my server. Andrew gets his server up and running. He copies over the sites, enabling scripts, and getting familiar with the new IIS 6 interfaces. .Net Server does email too - we'll use it!

Step 3 - Transfer SimplyStoned

Now's the time to make it happen. The namesdirect name server is adjusted for simplystoned. If anything goes wrong, it does really matter? One teenager's web site goes off the air.

Various cats are assigned email addresses on simplystoned.net. These test accounts let us play with nslookup, and mx records.

I make the name server change on 7/11/02. Andrew and I observe the changes as the new DNS propagates on our various ISPs, Easynet and Demon. The new server IP address is on our ISP's within 6 hours. Email and web access is fine. An ASP script helps identify when and where the server is.

Andrew is satisfied with progress - he "risks" transferring andrewandlaura.com.

Step 4 - The Transfer

On 8/11/02 we decide to bite the bullet. 

I change the entries for anotherurl.com on namesdirect name server.

I monitor activity on "my" server: On the first day traffic falls to 20%, on the second 5%. On the third day only a couple of search engines connect to the old server.

Andrew's web server sees a similar increase.

NOW (11/11/02)

We'll keep both servers running for a week - then I'll pull the plug on mine.

I test in anger: I create this page as a remote FrontPage client. It seems to work!

Future Plans

Once the house move has completed, and I'm installed, I'll restore the server ownership. I'll get a nice new 19 inch rack and stuff it full of pc's ! (Assuming I get a decent broadband connection - I'm bound to: Milton Keynes is such a modern new city!)