What is Website Migration? – A Complete Guide

Website migration is a comprehensive process that involves significant changes to a website’s technology or setup, such as platform, structure, content, location, or design. Unlike simple updates, migration can impact your site’s SEO and functionality. Here’s a detailed guide to understanding and implementing website migration.

Reasons for Website Migration

1. Adding a Mobile Version:
With the majority of users accessing websites via mobile devices, optimizing for mobile platforms can enhance user experience and engagement.

2. Changing Site Navigation, Structure, or Design:
Improving navigation and design can boost user satisfaction and conversion rates.

3. Moving to a New Framework or CMS:
Upgrading to a modern platform can provide better features and performance, avoiding the limitations of outdated systems.

4. Shifting from HTTP to HTTPS:
Enhancing security by migrating to HTTPS can prevent browser warnings about unsecured pages and protect user data.

5. Moving to a New Server:
Switching hosts can resolve issues related to bandwidth, performance, and support.

6. Changing the Domain Name:
Rebranding or acquiring a more appropriate URL might necessitate a domain name change, which requires careful planning to avoid SEO setbacks.

Fundamental Rules of Website Migration

  1. Inform Users:
    Notify your audience about the migration to manage expectations and mitigate confusion.
  2. Gradual Migration:
    Test a sample site first, then migrate in stages to ensure stability and functionality.
  3. Avoid Multiple Changes:
    Do not couple multiple migrations (e.g., changing domain and redesigning) simultaneously to reduce risks.
  4. Low-Traffic Periods:
    Migrate during off-peak times to minimize impact and ensure quicker indexing by search engines.

Six-Step Process for Website Migration

1. Initiate Your Migration Plan:

  • Define scope, timeline, and budget.
  • Assemble a team with clear roles and responsibilities.
  • Create a detailed checklist.

2. Design and Development Updates:

  • Redesign wireframes and get feedback.
  • Optimize speed and functionality.

3. Technical SEO Planning:

  • Develop SEO specifications including URL structure, redirects, and sitemaps.
  • Analyze current site performance and export data for reference.

4. Launch and Testing:

  • Restrict access during testing to prevent search engine indexing.
  • Verify site architecture, usability, and performance across devices.
  • Ensure all elements, like meta tags and internal linking, are correct.

5. Migrate the Website:

  • Ensure robots.txt file is correctly set.
  • Check redirects and submit the XML sitemap to Google Search Console.
  • Maintain good site speed during migration.

6. Follow-Up:

  • Monitor rankings and traffic post-migration.
  • Use tools like Google Analytics and SEMrush to track performance.
  • Address any long-term traffic or ranking issues promptly.


Website migration is a complex but essential process for maintaining and improving your digital presence. While it can be managed in-house with a skilled team, persistent ranking drops might necessitate expert assistance. At Orafox, we specialize in seamless website migration to help you maintain and enhance your online performance. Contact us today to streamline your migration process and secure your website’s success.