Moving Hostname from Old Droplet to New One

December 23, 2014 1.2k views

I'm looking to move from a Digital Ocean droplet where I have a webpage hosted on a standard LAMP setup and i'm looking to move to a new droplet where I have an Express/Node.js setup.

My question is what is the best way to assign my Hostname to my new droplet while:

  • Not affecting my search engine rankings.
  • Making downtime for the website minimal.
2 Answers

Your search engine rankings will depend much more on the content on your site than the IP your domain is pointed to so that should not be a concern if you have taken the same steps to optimize your new site as you did with your old one.

You can use a host file entry on your local machine to test your new site using your domain name before changing over your DNS. If both servers are active the DNS change should not cause any downtime but for a couple hours (while the change propagates) some users may see your old site while some see the new one.

  • The only potential issue I can see different is now express handles the 301 redirect versus .htaccess like on the LAMP stack. Other then that all the content and proper tags for Google should be the same.

    I think i'll take gp+digitalocean's advice though and keep both droplets active until I can prove no other users are using the old droplet.

Keep both sites up until the TTL for the A record that you changed expires. You can confirm with logs if visitors are still accessing the old site. Once traffic stops happening, turn the droplet off.

Search engine ranking is not something you have control over, really.

  • Thanks for the response. Your advice seems reasonable, pardon my ignorance but does this logging exist somewhere I can see or do I have to implement it myself?

  • Depending on the Linux distribution running your old site you can find your default Apache access log either in


    on Ubuntu/Debian, or


    on Fedora/RedHat/CentOS

  • Apache usually logs requests in /var/log/apache2/access.log unless your VirtualHost configuration specifies a different path. You can use tail with the -f option to follow a file's content so whenever a new line is appended to the file, it will be appended in the command's output too:

    sudo tail -f /var/log/apache2/access.log

    Once you stop seeing new lines, it means that there are no more requests hitting the old droplet.

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