To those who have enough time and would like to jump straight to WordPress: this tutorial is more suitable for you.
Back in summer 2012 I moved my website from SBI (or Site Build It! just for search ) to another host and during my first week away from SBI! I received many emails from other SBIers asking how I did it. I wrote some very lengthy emails with instructions (which I am happy to do by the way) and since the demand seems to be quite high I decided to post the instructions here.
For your convenience I split the tutorial in bite-sized chunks. Use the buttons below to navigate to whatever you are working on or read it all at once.
What are you waiting for?
BlockBuilders can move too
Step 1: Copy your website
Step 2: Open new account
Step 3: Upload your files
Step 4: Check your work
Step 4.1: Emails and subscribers
Step 5: Contact SBI!
Step 6: Switch name servers
Step 7: Do nothing
Step 8: Transfer your domain
UPDATE DECEMBER 2013: About few days ago SBI! released WordPress plugin that contains Brainstormer, cleaned up version of Action Guide, TNT, monetization articles and access to their forum. It is surprising because, as you probably know, SiteSell spent years bashing WordPress, which was quite ridiculous. The plugin costs $149 per year for multiple sites and has a free trial for 14 days. I will tell you more: the way plugin works right now is not “plugin-like” at all and can be used even for non-WordPress sites. I will not elaborate on what I think about this plugin, but seriously what are you waiting for? I can’t come up with one even half-convincing reason to continue paying $300 per year for one site on a clunky proprietary system.
Let’s say you have three SBI sites and are paying 900 per year. How do you justify spending this amount when you can pay $149 for all three sites + any potential sites you want to built using same keyword research tool and much better site building tool? That is $751 difference.
There is an argument that you still have to pay for web hosting. It is true. But most SBIers don’t need more than shared hosting, which can cost anywhere from 4-9 dollars per month for multiple sites. I have seen a post in SBI forums saying that shared hosting is painful and slow. IT IS NOT TRUE. I don’t have space to debunk these myths here, but just trust me it’s not true. This site runs on shared hosting. Was it too slow for you? I got so annoyed by this blatant misinformation that I took a speed test for this particular page. Despite it’s a WordPress site it is faster than 86 percent of all tested websites and loads in 1.18 seconds from New York:
It’s even faster than the static site of poster who made that claim.
If you have indeed have huge number of visitors, like consistent 10,000 -15,000 unique visitors per DAY or more + you want to use WordPress then yes, it won’t be cheaper than SBI. You will probably need a VPS which can cost anywhere from $30 to $80 per month and requires some learning (although there are always managing solutions for extra price).
SBI hosting is not faster than any other shared hosting. Static websites, like SBI provides, are fast everywhere. And if you want to use WordPress there is a simple trick to optimize it so it will run as fast as this website.
If you like SBI forums, you can have free access by simply opening a free bizXpress account and you will be able to post, ask and answer questions pretty much the same way like you do now. A part of forums will not be available to you, but in my understanding it’s not a very useful part. It is their embarrassing Wish List threads, perhaps some other SBI-specific stuff. Access to forums doesn’t expire after 14 days, so you’ve got nothing to lose (Update: apparently this was a bug on their side. Access to forums expires after 14 days now).
Then there is another thing: by opening their forums to public they exposed vulnerable sites of SBI owners to entire world. It was bad enough that you couldn’t post there without exposing your domain, but now anyone can open a free account, read forums and, if you ever bragged about your successes there, copy your website. SBI! websites are notoriously easy to copy. There is absolutely no guesswork as they are heavily templated websites. If you are successful and care for your website you should leave as quick as possible.
So, back to what we were talking about. Should you rush and buy that plugin? I am not sure. Move your website from SBI? Most definitely. You don’t want to be in situation when you HAVE to move and don’t have much time to learn new things. Better now than when you are forced to. Back to our tutorial.
It is not difficult to move your website from SBI. It’s a straightforward process, but you have to be very attentive to many little details. Please follow the instructions carefully. These instructions are accurate, proven to work dozens, if not hundreds, of times (Update August 2014: now definitely hundreds!)
The process boils down to:
- copying your entire website using a free tool like Httrack
- uploading your entire website with all its folders with another free tool (Filezilla) to your new webhost – a matter of pushing one button really!
- changing your nameservers from SBI! to your new webhost (not more than 10 seconds)
- when everything is done and settled you’ll have to register your domain with another registrar (tutorial on domain transfer is available here)
- you might also want to convert your website to WordPress (optional, 3-part text and video tutorial here »)
All details are below + some additional links to Httrack, Filezilla, includes and WordPress tutorials (text and video). If you do it exactly the way I described, there will be no downtime whatsoever.
It works, it’s safe, you won’t lose your traffic. THERE IS NOTHING TO WORRY OR STRESS ABOUT. Trust me.
People who know tools or went through this process at least once before can get their sites transferred in under 30 minutes. Most of you reading this don’t know the tools we are going to use so it might take a couple of hours for you. It’s okay to split the work over few days to a week if necessary.
My tutorial may seem overwhelming but it is actually easy. Just trust the process, hundreds of SBIers (some of them admitted to be technically challenged) went through this process before you and were successful. There is no reason why you can’t do it.
BlockBuilders can move too
Some people think they can’t move because they are using SBI’s BlockBuilder. They assume they either have to copy-paste their entire sites to WordPress or transfer their sites to their own HTML first and only then move to another host. I thought so too, but recently Ken Evoy said you actually can take SBI’s template with you. His post is available in SBI forums here. So apparently there is no problem in taking your SBI template with you and the process of transfer will be exactly same like with your own HTML Once you move your block-built website will look just like it did with SBI but of course there will be no SiteCentral and building blocks backend (or whatever they have now in BB2). Your site will be in plain HTML now and you will need basic knowledge of HTML to edit your old pages. You will have two choices now –
- learn some HTML to be able to add new pages or
- convert your entire website contents to WordPress which needs some work but is worth it. Again, you don’t have to do it all at the same time. You can take a break after the initial transfer and take as much time as you need to convert to WordPress one page at a time. You will find a link to instructions on how to do this at the end of this tutorial.
I would recommend the last.
Hold my hand if you’re feeling scared; we’re flying up, up, outta here…
– Far East Movement – Rocketeer
The link to full version will be available shortly.