Canceling a Server at ThePlanet
It’s always exciting for me to get a new server online. But sooner or later the moment comes when it is time to shutdown a server for good. Planning for that moment is important. No matter how good a server might have performed over the years, the older it gets the higher the risk of a hardware failure will be. Nothing lasts forever and that is especially true when it comes to computer hardware.
If you own your hardware planning ahead is even more critical. Unless you always have a spare server sitting around, you will need to order parts or the server itself. Ordering a server – depending on your supplier – can take a few weeks. The server then usually gets build and customized and receives some monitoring before it gets thrown into production. These tasks can add up and suddenly 2 months have gone by. If you lease hardware you need to check what the market prices are and who your supplier will eventually be. You will also need to check availability of hardware.
For the remaining part of this tutorial we will concentrate on the termination of a leased server at ThePlanet.com. In this case I brought up a new server at Softlayer.com due to ThePlanet.com not being able and willing to provide a comparable price quote. The new server came online at the end of August. I had Rack911.com prepare the server setup and match the old server and new server in software version setup and configuration to prepare for a smooth transition. Some minor problems came up when moving the first websites, but these issues were solved fairly quick. So, that went through pretty good. Here is a quick check list that I used and that made the move of several dozens of websites a success.
1) MySQL / PHP / Apache are on exactly the same version/patch level
2) Both servers match the modules that have been installed
3) Cpanel settings are configured the same way on both sites
4) The firewall rules are the same
5) Enough IP addresses are available on the new server
6) Reduce the DNS TTL (Time to live) value on the old and new server to 600 (= 10 Minutes). This should be done 3-4 days in advance of a website move
7) Cleanup unnecessary files and folders in websites; delete unneeded MySQL databases; etc.
8) Communicate the upcoming move with customers at least 2 weeks in advance. Send reminder emails. Communicate an exact schedule and work out that schedule with customers.
9) Make sure that access to the domain registry is either given or that the customers know the new DNS servers
10) Practice several moves. Don’t move important sites first. Let the less important sites hit the new server first and find the problems.
11) Find out what the cancellation terms for the old server are
Once move activity winds down and you get a good idea when you will be done, it is time to cancel the old server. Log on to Orbit (that is the ThePlanet.com customer support area on the Internet). Find the accounting section and then put in a cancellation request. The next page will show you when the cutoff for the next cancelation is to avoid having to pay for another month. The system will ask a few questions about why you are leaving. Once that is done you can submit the form and a special-drafted ticket is created. The next thing that happened to me was that sales contacted me trying to find why I was leaving and if they could do anything to make me stay. Since I am leaving under good terms I honestly provided the information that I had inquired about pricing on a new server and did not come to an agreement with the options Sales had me provided with. I liked the service I had received in the past (except for some minor issues), but could not justify the premium they were asking for on a comparable server at Softlayer.com. The next message I received was that my cancellation was accepted and that all billing for my server had been stopped. The server would remain online until the end of the current billing period.
That’s all I needed. I have 2 websites left to move. The server has been canceled and the remaining time in the billing cycle gave me enough room to move my sites and to clean up the server.