Changing Managed Hosting Providers

Changing Managed Hosting Providers can have lots of headaches involved.

For certain areas of Infrastructure, different providers will have different "standards" that they support. So you'll probably want to migrate to maximize the quality of support that they give.

  • corporate IMAP/SMTP: we moved from PostFix and UW to Q Mail

    • we had to convert everyone's IMAP folders, because PostFix apparently uses a non-standard format

      • we had to make sure that script properly handled folder names with spaces and other strange characters
    • all the IMAP folders were forced into being sub-folders of each person's Inbox, which they hadn't been before

      • which broke any Fat Client filters set up to push things into subfolders
    • we also had to change everyone's Fat Client "username" to include the domain - I'm not sure whether this is inherent in Q Mail or a side-effect of some config choice with the new provider. But it was a surprise (blame our SysAdmin) and kept users from being able to migrate themselves

    • somewhere in the migration only some of our email aliases made it over

  • automated SMTP messaging to clients: moved from SendMail to Q Mail

    • the Q Mail was configured in a way that required certain Mime Header-s (e.g. Date) to be included, which meant we had to tweak a bunch of pieces of code (we hadn't refactored the code yet to bring all that together into a single handler).

This transition can be a good time to do some upgrading of servers (e.g. Web Server, Application Server, Data Base), which can be good for its own sake, but also pushed by the provider for support ease. But this is an extra variable that requires more time/testing.

  • We tried moving to PostgreSQL v8.1.4 but moved back to 8.1.2 when we found that certain processes took much longer in the new version.

  • We upgraded Apache and switched to a more-standard build (which our SysAdmin should have gotten to before). And upgraded PHP a bit. We ran into some issues here.

SSL certs

  • Verisign says that you need to buy new certs to avoid the security risk of transferring cert files between providers

  • But this is mostly FUD.

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