How to transfer a website from SBI (Site Build It!) to another host

***IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT***

You now have THREE tutorials to choose from:

  • Tutorial on this page, which proved to work hundreds of times. Basically we are going to easily copy our website and upload it to new host. The site is transferred in a static form, but if you would like to convert to WordPress you can easily do that too.

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  • My In Pictures: Move Your SBI! Website in Under 1 Hour, which is a super simplified and significantly improved version of this tutorial. Instant FREE access is available to those who buy ASO hosting via my affiliate link. The tutorial works great if used alone (without consulting other pages on this site) or as a helper to this tutorial. It has very few words and a lot of images which will minimize likelihood of you making a mistake and help you transfer your website incredibly fast. You will transfer your site in static form and will be able to convert to WordPress later, if required. All details here.

  • Straight from SBI! to WordPress (without using HTTrack and Filezilla) was written after multiple requests from soon-to-be ex-SBIers. Written in the end of 2013, it was successfully used by quite a few SBIers. The tutorial teaches you how to build a WordPress version of your website while your original SBI! website is still hosted by SiteSell and available to your visitors. Once you complete your work and verify that everything looks right you make one switch and your visitors begin to load WordPress version of your website. Instant access is available for $22 fee, you can get it here.


  • ***NONE OF MY TUTORIALS WILL CAUSE DOWNTIME FOR YOUR SITE***

How to transfer a website from SBI (Site Build It!) to another hostBack 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 demand seems to be very high and free information is not available 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.

We also have forum where you can ask questions. At the moment this tutorial is 100 percent free.


SUPPORT
FORUM
What are you waiting for?
Overview
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
Important note
Step 8: Transfer your domain


This tutorial contains affiliate links. This helps me keep this online and run somewhat resource-intensive forum where you can ask questions regarding transfer (or any type of question regarding your sites or web matters). I highly recommend that you use ASmallOrange. It’s an awesome company that focuses on customer service more than anyone else and no wonder, it is run by ex-owner of Hostgator Brent Oxley (Hostgator is now acquired by another company).

I don’t have donate buttons here, but if you decide to purchase web hosting via my link I will certainly appreciate.

If you don’t want to use ASmallOrange, I am also affiliate for

By now I tried them all except Dreamhost and WebhostingHub.

Also excuse me for so many affiliate links, I am using an automatic plugin to manage them which is much more convenient than doing that by hand. Thanks you!

*****


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 at all and can be used even for non-WordPress site(s). 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 for 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:

speed test

It’s even faster than the static site of poster who made that claim.

If you have indeed have huge number of visitors, like 5000 unique visitors or more + you want to use WordPress then yes, you probably need private server and it is very expensive and requires learning.

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 tutorial.

*****

Overview
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.

The Process

Hold my hand if you’re feeling scared; we’re flying up, up, outta here…
– Far East Movement – Rocketeer

STEP 1. Copying website.
Time: 5 to 20 minutes (depends on size)

Download Httrack software from here http://www.httrack.com/page/2/

This is a software that will copy your entire site on your hard disk. It will copy absolutely everything: pages, .css and .js files, images – everything. It will also preserve file structure, which is really cool. If you blocking access to some parts of your site (like .pdf files for ebooks or reports for example) via robots.txt Httrack will not copy it. You will need to get them manually just like you will do with your robots.txt, RSS and sitemap files (see below).

There is other software that does this but I had experience only with this one. It is also free. You will enter your website’s address, specify a folder on your computer were you want to save your website, perhaps tweak some other settings if you need to and push the button to copy your entire website. Here are detailed instructions on how to use HTtrack (text & video).

Once you download everything you should go through all files to make sure everything is correct. In my case two pages were duplicated, one page and around 4-5 images were missing. This is very minor so you can fix manually whatever needs to be fixed.

There are a few files you will need to pull manually. Here they are:

  • robots.txt
  • RSS feed xml file
  • sitemap’s xml file

Can you skip this? In my opinion if you don’t have thousands of RSS subscribers (you don’t because you are not a blogger) you totally can skip this, especially if you are planning to convert to WordPress soon anyway. WordPress will add its own robots.txt and RSS feed. I would take sitemap still although even this is not critical.

In case you want to get them, here is how it’s done:

  • your robots.txt file is found at yoursite.com/robots.txt. Just open it, copy everything and save on your computer as robots.txt
  • for your RSS .xml file: you have it only if you had SBI!’s blog function activated. Go to your “Blog” page, right click and view page source. In the first few lines of code you will see something like this:
    link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS" href="http://www.knitting-hats-for-cats.com/knitting-hats.xml

    Copy the URL part. In our example you would copy:

    href="http://www.knitting-hats-for-cats.com/knitting-hats.xml

    Paste it in your browser and hit enter. You will see “something” but don’t worry about it. ONCE AGAIN, do right click and view page source. You should see a page full of code. It starts like this:

    ?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?
    rss version="2.0" xmlns:atom="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom"
     channel
    atom:link href="http://www.knitting-hats-for-cats.com/knitting-hats.com" rel="self" type="application/rss+xml" /
    
    .... the code continues
       

    COPY THAT AND SAVE IT UNDER EXACTLY SAME FILE NAME. In our example it is knitting-hats.xml

    Set aside.

  • your sitemap’s .xml file: in old SBI! it was individual for every site and you can find its location in the first line of your robots.txt file. Typically it was something like
    http://www.knitting-hats-for-cats.com/ABCdefgRRT234.xml 

    Open your robots.txt and find your sitemap’s address. Once again, make right click, view page source and copy that and save under exactly same name which in our example is “ABCdefgRRT234.xml”

So you basically should have three files: robots.txt, ABCdefgRRT234.xml (example) and knitting-hats.xml saved on your computer. You will have to upload them with all your files to main directory of your website. The easiest way to do that is to add them to HTTrack copy of your website which should be already saved on your computer. Open folders created by HTTrack, navigate to where you see ALL your pages and drop these three files there.

Q: I have a copy of my entire website on my hard drive. Why do I need Httrack?

A: You don’t. If you have a good copy of your website you can upload it with Filezilla (next step) to your new host as is. The problem, however, is that SBI’s includes will not work on your new host. You need to change all your includes to standard code that works on other hosts, THEN upload. Some HTML editors have Find and Replace feature that allows you to do that easily. It will automatically find and replace include code in all your files.

Here is how I do my includes (keep in mind it is only one of many ways to do them). Also, if you are planning to convert to WordPress you DON’T have to do includes. In this case it’s probably better to get a quick copy of your website using HTtrack as mentioned above and follow the rest of this tutorial. The reason for that is that WordPress allows you manage main parts of your website, such as header, footer, and sidebars, automatically. It also has fantastic solutions for your ads). No need for extra work ;-)

TIP: Some things like SBI’s FaceIt!, ezine subscription form, C2 forms and RSS buttons work only in SBI. Of course you can have it all (and much better) when you move, but you will need to use other tools. The tools SBI gives you work only on SBI. So it’s a good idea to remove RSS, ezine forms and Powered by Site Build It! in the footer before you run Httrack. These things will not work on your new host and it will be time consuming to go through your entire site to remove them. My suggestion is to remove them before you copy your site with Httrack.


STEP 2. Opening new account.
Time: 10 minutes

When purchasing web hosting plan enter your SBI! domain WITHOUT WWW !!!

Edited on August 8, 2014
Not long ago I recommended everyone to use Hostgator. However Hostgator was acquired by another company and things began to change. While they are still very good, they are not always as attentive as they once were. After running tests with several web hosts I found something that I consider best kept secret of web hosting world – ASmallOrange. Not only sites run great they are very customer service oriented and just as attentive as Hostgator once was. The reason why you probably never heard of them is because their affiliate commissions are not as high. Like it or not, this will always have an effect on what companies get promoted first. In addition, they don’t allow affiliates to use pay per click methods which will also significantly reduce the amount of advertisement you will see.

Anyway, this is a really special company whom I absolutely trust with my most important sites. And here is something that was a big surprise for me – ASmallOrange is run by ex-owner of Hostgator (Brent Oxley). So basically it is what Hostgator used to be – pure awesomeness. They really care about their customers.

99.9 percent of you reading this will need to use one of their shared accounts. To make it even more affordable, they have several shared packages, starting from $35 per year. They also offer 90 days money back guarantee and were kind enough to issue special promo codes for WebmasterDiary users (you will find the codes below).

If you go to their homepage you will see this:

A Small Orange web hosting homepage

Click on “Find Out More” under Shared and you will see this:

A Small Orange hosting prices

While I know the Tiny plan for $35 per year is quite tempting it is only good for websites with only few pages and images and little or no traffic, especially if you are going to install WordPress. However, their $5 Small account is not that small actually. I have three different accounts with them (because I am doing some tech alchemy here, you will need only one account no matter how many websites you have) and my small account comfortably holds one website with 1200-1300 daily unique visitors + 2 other WordPress websites with no traffic. There is still plenty of space.

If your website is closer to 2000 uniques per day, you might be better off using Medium plan for $10 per month (I have that one too). Once again, accounts SMALL and above allow you to host multiple domains so if you need to transfer more than one website or if you decide to add another website your monthly fees will not increase as long as you fit your hosting plan.

If you click on drop down menu you will see that if you pay for entire year in advance you get a little discount. Choose whatever you prefer.

A Small Orange discount

Next you will need to make sure to choose “I want to point my domain to you” so it turns green, enter your domain (make sure you don’t make typos in your domain name, also no need to enter www) and domain extension in separate box.

A Small Orange domain hosting

On next page, they let you choose your billing cycle (monthly or yearly), pitch you some addons (you don’t really need them, although security scans may be a good thing but not necessary), offer you free Adwords and Bing credits (US/Canada only). On the last page before checkout you get the option to enter promo codes and of course I have some for you!

I have 15 percent coupon and $5 on first order coupon. Basically, if you are paying for several months in advance you save more by using 15 percent off coupon. Here it is:

wd15

But if you are going to pay monthly it is usually better to use $5 code. If you are getting a Small account for $5 a month it means you are getting your first month for free. Here it is:

wd5

Here is screenshot to show you where to enter the coupon:

a small orange hosting coupon

A Small Orange hosting coupon

Once you did this part you can check out. They accept PayPal, credit cards and checks or money orders.

You will receive “A New Hosting Account Welcome Email” which acknowledges your payment and contains important information we will need later:

  • your site’s future IP address
  • name servers like ns1.asmallorange.com and ns2.asmallorange.com

Here is screenshot of that area just so that you feel confident (your IP and server name will be different):

a small orange email

Read entire email. There will be a link to client area and instructions how to change password to something you can remember. Do that before you proceed with this tutorial.

There will also be another link to Getting Started Guide, but it’s not relevant in your situation. You will need to follow this tutorial instead.

Still want to use Hostgator? Take a look at these Hostgator coupons.


Step 3: Uploading your site to new webhost.
Time: 5-20 minutes

Download something like Filezilla (also free) You can do that here.

You will connect Filezilla to your new control panel at your ASO, Hostgator (or whatever) account using your new user name, password and IP address or name servers (they will provide it to you in welcome email) and upload your entire website from your hard disk to your new host. I wrote instructions on how to use Filezilla to upload your files here.


Step 4. Check your work.
Time: up to you, but not much.

Once again check your website live online by entering your IP address and make sure everything is ok.
The way to preview your website is to enter your IP address then slash ~your user name. For example your IP address is 123.45.678 your username is teddybear. In this case you will be able to preview your website by entering in your browser

123.45.678/~teddybear

Adsense won’t show in this preview. Here is why »

It is a good idea to set up your email at this point to minimize risk of lost emails. This is very easy to do if you are using Cpanel (and most probably that’s the case).


Step 4.1: What to do with emails and subscribers.
SBIers aren’t typically using emails at their domain.com because it’s very unreliable in SBI! Guess what? You can have that now and it really works! And if you actually used your webmail in SBI and are receiving emails there then it’s important to create that here too. It is very simple. Go back to your cPanel and find Email Accounts:

Click on that and fill the form you will see to create email address at your domain.com

From now on you can find your emails at

yourdomain.com/webmail

where you will have to sign in with your email address and password you specifically created for email. There are other great options like redirecting all incoming emails to your Gmail, Yahoo or whatever you are using the most (very handy if you have many sites, so you don’t have to check 10 emails every day), but that is beyond the scope of this tutorial.

Also if you had eZine subscribers in SBI! you should download them from SiteCentral. However for email newsletters you will need to use either MailChimp (free under 2000 subscribers) or other paid services. WordPress has some free solutions which I never explored. I heard most of it will end up in Spam folder, just like it was the case with SBI anyway. MailChimp or something paid is the way to go.

For Contact Us forms,

  • WordPress users will be guided in static to WordPress tutorial
  • static people can set their forms as described here.
Please note that this will transfer email address but NOT your old email messages, drafts, replies or contacts. There is no way to transfer that and if you have something critical there you should print that or back it up in some other way. If your old contacts will be sending you emails on very same address you will receive that. You don’t need to notify them about anything unless you decided to change your address.


Step 5: Contact SBI to unlock domain.
Time: ask SBI about it…lol

Now you can tell SBI you want to move your website to another host so you need them to UNLOCK your domain. DON’T TELL them to cancel your account. Tell them you want to change your NAME SERVERS ONLY for now and  YOU WILL MOVE YOUR DOMAIN LATER. Your domain privacy settings have to be set to public at this point. If you had your domain privacy active, you need to change it to public until the transfer is complete. Here is how to do that »

In addition, I will save you time so you don’t mail back and forth with SiteSell’s support. When you first contact them asking to unlock your domain include following information:

  • original order number when you purchased SBI!
  • last four numbers of credit card you used
  • your IP address as it appears here

Use email address that appears in WhoIs record otherwise they will not unlock it.


Step 6. Switch name servers.
Time: 20 seconds

SBI will verify you are real and unlock your domain. You will then have to go to a special page in your SBI account manager where you can change your SBI name servers to your new host’s name servers (it’s located here http://build.sitesell.com/manage.html. You should sign in with username and password SBI! sent you when you first opened an account with them. It’s different from your regular password you use to sign in to SBI! To find it, search your emails for an email with title “SITE BUILD IT! MAIL”).

Now all you have to do is to change ns1.sitesell.com and ns2.sitesell.com to your new host’s nameservers which you received with your new hosting account.


Step 7. Do NOTHING
Time 24-72 hours

Once you switch your nameservers  you will start seeing your traffic viewing your website from your new host location (usually this information will be available in logs). However it will be different for different places around the world so just keep it that way 48-72 hours to make sure the transition is complete. You don’t have to do anything special during this period. Of course if you want to add new pages or edit your old pages you should do that from your new host’s backend.

When I was transferring my site my SBI’s homepage was absolutely identical to my Hostgator’s homepage, except that my homepage hosted by SBI was saying “Recent Articles” and my homepage uploaded to Hostgator was edited to “Latest Articles”. This way I knew that if I refresh my homepage and see “Latest Articles” everything is working. This of course doesn’t mean everyone is seeing the same thing, but you can do this little trick just to reassure yourself that everything works. It might switch back to old host’s version and then back to new host’s version several times. In all cases wait for up to 72 hours.


Step 8. Transfer your domain.
Time: real work that requires concentration only few minutes.

After about 72 hours the transition will be complete. This means your site is fully hosted by your new host and you can move domain name itself. Here is detailed tutorial on how to transfer your domain management to another registrar ». DON’T FORGET TO DO THIS. IT’S NOT OPTIONAL!!!

After you moved both – your website and your domain you can safely cancel your account. In fact, you should make sure you canceled it  because SBI will charge you automatically for another year if you don’t do this on time. You will have access to all SBI tools and forum as long as your account isn’t expired or canceled. SBI email makes you think that once you change name servers you will lose access to Site Central, but that’s not what happens in my experience. They might fix it later, so no guarantees.

As you see it is totally doable. There is no reason to be

frightened turtle inside the shell cartoon

Sorry couldn’t resist! After all you are a strong self-reliant turtle in this big amazing world wide web, a turtle with options I would say ;-).

This is more than enough for successful transfer but I will follow up with some details that are also quite important, such as :

  • How to convert your static site to WordPress »
  • your includes (if you were uploading your own HTML and don’t want to use WordPress)… Done! It’s here »
  • how to make your website faster and use hosting resources effectively (this is optional, and again, you might want to do this if your website will stay in static HTML and you are not willing to convert to WordPress. For WordPress there are automated solutions)… Also done, it’s last point of this post »
  • how to allow users submit C2-like posts (for WordPress users) – I tested User Submitted Posts plugin (free) and it worked great for me. Credits go to our friend ex-SBIer Joe Trent who found this solution
  • for non-WordPresss sites: how to set up email and contact form in Hostgator – here »
  • how to transfer your domain management to another registrar – here »
  • this is really optional – how to add Facebook comments using PHP includes (if you are doing WordPress, you don’t need this), here »
  • WordPress security tips – optional but highly recommended. Probably best to use when you are used to your new host, cPanel and WordPress itself. Here »

In addition, you can find some useful information I covered in forums when answering others’ questions. For example, here is how to add RSS feed to your static website (again, WordPress does this automatically). You can also find more answers for common issues.

IMPORTANT:
1- One huge  problem is that SBI adds tracking code to all your outgoing links so all your affiliate links or links to other websites will be broken and you will have to fix them manually. You will have  to go through your entire website and remove this piece of code

onClick="window.location.href='http://www.yoursite.com/cgi-bin/counter.pl?url=http%3A%2F%2Fyourlinl%2Ecom%2FLink-LinkU&referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eyoursite%2Ecom%2Findex%2Ehtml'; return false;"

This was a good idea while you were with SBI but once you leave you won’t be very thankful for this ;-)

2 – It is very important to preserve your URL structure. In SBI your website had www. prefix before it and you should make sure you keep it after you transfer your website from SBI to another host. It is simple to do, but for some reason I saw many people neglect this as if it were a minor detail. In fact, it is an important detail. Technically your URL with www. and without www. are different URLs!  Once you transfer you files to another host, find your .htaccess file (usually it is in hidden files) If you can’t find it ask support to point it for you. Open your .htaccess file and paste this there (if you are doing WordPress, you don’t have to do this. You will set this from your WordPress dashboard instead):

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yoursite.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.yoursite.com/$1 [L,R=301]

Obviously replace yoursite.com with your website’s address.

That’s all. Hope this helps someone. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask in my help forum.

THE LAST QUESTION: DID MY TRAFFIC DROP AFTER MOVING FROM SBI TO HOSTGATOR? – the answer is NO! :)


Last updated: August 7, 2014 to reflect latest recommendations for hosting

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Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this detailed post. I have been trying to figure out how to move my SBI to wordpress for a long time now. I just discovered that wordpress hosted sites are prettier than SBI hosted sites, plus lots of plugins.

    Thanks once more,

    Sam
    http://www.womensbodyclinic.com

  2. Hi Elena,

    Thanks for all the work you’ve put into this article. I’ve thought about transferring from SBI too… in fact, I’ve just followed your exact instructions here, using Sitesucker to copy my site and Cyberduck to upload it.

    My question though is: I’m currently at Step 4 of your process, the IP address thing. But I don’t understand how to get it to work in my browser.

    I have my IP address and the username from my host. But everytime I enter it, www gets added on automatically in front of the IP address, which means it doesn’t work. What do I do? How else can I see the uploaded files of my website?

    Jon

    • Hi Jon :)

      IP address preview works for most hosts but may still not work for some. Another reason why it doesn’t work for you may be that you already have another site at your new host. If it’s the first site you are uploading there try to search their help documentation or ask them how you can preview your website before pointing name servers.

      If it’s your second site there you will usually find preview at like described in this post http://webmasterdiary.org/forums/topic/preview-your-website/#post-2171
      (can be different between different hosts but should work for most).

  3. Hello Elena,

    I hope you are well.

    I recently bought a website that is currently on the SBI platform. It has about 370 pages in HTML format. I would really like to move it to WordPress but am really scared about losing my traffic. I would like to hire someone that has done many SBI to WordPress transfers before and has a lot of success having done it. It sounds like you might be the right person.

    Is this something I can hire you to do?

    Best,

    Clarke

    • Hello Clarke,

      I am not doing transfers at the moment but you certainly can find other people willing to do this. Check this thread http://webmasterdiary.org/forums/topic/any-services-for-sbi-move/#post-3711

      Thanks!

    • Hi Elena,

      I’ve just tried your tip (and looked in the post you recommended) but it doesn’t work. Can you give me a specific example of what I’m supposed to type? Do I type in the actual IP address followed by my username and subfolder for my site? Because I did that and got an error message? Or do I type “ipaddress” like in your example? I find your help here really confusing.

      • Hi again Jon,

        it’s hard for me to tell why you are getting an error. There could be differences between hosts and maybe it’s different for yours. On Hostgator, Bluehost, Site5 and many others that’s exactly what you would do and I know it works there. It’s either your host has a different system for IP preview or something went wrong during file upload process and your files are not where they are supposed to be.

        • My upload worked fine, Elena.

          But can you explain – in simple terms – what I’m supposed to type into my browser? It’s not clear in the post you linked to. I need to see an example, so I can understand you.

          Also, I am going to ask my host if I can preview my website. But do I say to them, to make it clear that my site is hosted elsewhere? Do I just ask them “can I preview pages for an add-on domain except the website is hosted elsewhere?” I want to phrase it so they understand what I mean.

          Thanks again for your patience, Jon.

          • Just follow example given in that post: IP address like 123.456.67 then your is username preceded by ~ then subfolder where your files are. Usually that would be site.com

            You phrased your question correct. They will understand you, because nobody will want to preview website that is already hosted by them. The only time client might want to preview his site is before the site is transferred.

            I understand that upload worked, but sometimes you might put files in wrong place. That’s what I meant. If you have any questions please start a forum thread and I will help you there. http://webmasterdiary.org/forums-index/

          • Hi Elena – just to report back on our thread, to say yes, I can see my website now on my new host. So everything’s ok now, phew. Onto your next step with moving my site.

            Thanks again for your patience.

            Jon

          • Awesome Jon! Hope it goes smoothly :)

  4. Hi Elena, thank you so much for this amazing site – it has been perfect timing for me, and I am progressing through each of the steps. I have a question, and I am sure it is within your instructions but perhaps I am not understanding it. I have copied and transferred to HostGator my files and set up my site WITHOUT the www. in HostGator. I do intend to eventually utilise WordPress (not immediately, it will be done over a period of time), so do I need to re-establish the www. at some point? I thank you for any information you can advise or a link where the information is, and apologise in advance for bringing up something that you have no doubt answered hundreds of times :-).

    • No problem Nicki :) I would suggest that you re-establish WWW immediately using .htaccess code mentioned at the end of this tutorial. WWW is important because Google sees sites with WWW and without WWW as different URLs. When you start working on WordPress, don’t forget remove that code from your .htaccess before installing WordPress. Once you install WordPress, you will see it has an easy way to add that again. For now it’s important to have it though and the only way you can add it now is using .htaccess.

  5. I am SO relieved to find you!

    In spite of the fact that I’ve been uploading my own html and css files to SBI, I’m a tech idiot. A tech wizard friend of mine strongly suggested it would be easier to update my site and add a blog to it if I were to switch to WordPress.

    I’m almost at the point of adding a blog, and and after reading through the SBI forums on the subject I know that is not a road I want to try to travel.

    It’s hard to leave SBI. They’ve given me a really solid start. When times were hard (the crash of ’09) and I couldn’t afford them anymore, they put me on their ReviveIt program so my site could at least stay up and running until I could get back on my feet again.

    The forums are SO helpful, and so is their customer support. The people bend over backwards to help you. I understand with their WordPress “plugin” (I think it’s called bizXpress), you wouldn’t able to post to the forums. I don’t know what access to customer service would be like.

    SBI has been invaluable to me.

    But they just don’t seem to be set up to handle some of the features I want to add . . . or I’m not tech-savvy enough to figure out how. True, they have a service where someone will do stuff like that for you, but I just can’t afford that. If I want to follow SBI’s advice and keep growing my site, I may end up outgrowing them.

    I went through a huge learning curve with SBI. I was not only building a new site following their very helpful (if a bit annoying) Action Guide, I was also learning to code. Sometimes the frustration and doubt was so great I’d end up in tears.

    But I now have a site that I’ll be proud of (once I update the look), is making a little money, and has lots of potential. I’m very grateful.

    So sadly, I’ll be transferring soon. I’ve bookmarked your page — don’t want to lose you!

    Thank you for this!!

    • Thanks for kind words Kelli :)

      Regarding bizXpress, even with free account you have access to SBI forums. Initially people with this type of account couldn’t post there but they changed it and the last time I checked I was able to post there. Nothing to worry about :)

  6. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! For this priceless information! :-)

    I will definitely use your affiliate link for hosting. :-)

    Question: I don’t see anything regarding switching over our newsletter subscribers and our email address which are both currently reliant on SBI software.

    Is this addressed somewhere and I am just missing it?

    Thank you :-)

    • Hi Danika and thanks for kind words :)
      Regarding email at yourdomain.com, setup is very simple. Here is the link to tutorial on how to setup your email and make a contact form http://webmasterdiary.org/how-to/add-contact-form-hostgator/ You will need contact form part only if you decide to go with pure html (no WordPress). If you are going to use WordPress there is a plugin for that and you don’t need to code anything manually.

      For ezine subscribers you can use MailChimp, it’s free until 2000 subscribers (unless you want to use autoresponders). All other services are paid, but then again, they offer so much more than what you had in SBI!

  7. Hi Elena,

    It’s not clear to me on your site how you add new pages to your SBI site once you leave SBI. My site uses a Blockbuilder 2 SBI theme. I know you can take this SBI theme with you – but when you add new pages, will these new pages still appear in this theme?

    Also, your tutorial about converting the site to WordPress. Are we basically making a copy of every page, adding the no.2 to every page, e.g. index-2.html? Then, when you are ready, you swap the original version for the copy?

    Thanks again,

    Jon

    • Hi Jon,
      if you follow the tutorial above you will need to know HTML to add pages to your website or to convert to WordPress. In WordPress tutorial you just copy the contents of your pages into WordPress, delete old version and publish new one. It is all covered here, but I realize it could be too much information to grasp at once especially if you don’t know HTML or aren’t very technical. Just follow the steps and you should be fine. I designed these tutorials with your needs in mind, you just need to be very careful when following the instructions.

  8. I’ve been using Hostgator for over a year and I’m just deciding to transfer my SBI site to WordPress.
    Once you finish all the instructions, the thing I’m wonder is where do you login to update your transferred SBI-to-wordpress site?

    Obviously you’re not logging in to Site Central so how do you set up the username and password for WordPress like you do for other sites?

    • When you install WordPress you will have to create login details. And if you don’t use WordPress you will use cPanel to update your website.

      • So I do have WordPress and have created login details for my other sites. Now I’m wondering when my site does move over to HostGator, how do I create those login details for the newly transferred SBI site?

        • If you have an account there you already have login details for your cPanel.

          • Looks like I need a little bit more help. I did the whole transfer, everything as instructed, but when I login to my site I don’t see any pages or my site.

            At what point do I take the pages I uploaded in Filezilla and put them back into WordPress? I may need some more assistance, so who should I contact or what’s the easiest way instead of on this comment field?

            Thanks.

          • Hi Damien, please use forum if you need more help http://webmasterdiary.org/forums-index/

            If you did everything as instructed you will see your pages in file manager in your cPanel and you can convert to WordPress whenever you feel comfortable, usually people start converting after a few weeks they complete html transfer.

  9. I noticed the comment that if you have 5000-plus visitors (I’m assuming this means daily) that is would be expensive and require a lot of learning. My site currently has over 300 pages, and I am hoping to move it without too much difficulties? Eventually, I hope to reach that 5000-plus daily visitor mark. What is your opinion on moving a site this size?

    • Hi Suzanne, 300 pages is not much at all and if you haven’t reached 5000 visitors yet don’t worry about that statement.

  10. Hi Elena – just to update you, that I’ve now successfully move my site from SBI, ended my account there as well as converted it to WordPress. All’s working. Thank you for your tips here, made a difference. Nice not be with SBI anymore. They also tried to sell me on BizXPress on my way out, but seemed unable to justify why it cost $150 a year for essentially the keyword tool (since I already know the AG) other than “we know better”. No thanks.

    • Hi Jon, thank you so much for taking time to write this! It makes me happy and is a great inspiration for others who are still researching and maybe doubting whether or not they can do it. Wish you success and if you need anything don’t hesitate to post in forum here. Good luck!

      • Hi Elena, thanks for this. And to say to anyone on the fence about leaving SBI – Elena’s steps -do- work. Just be patient with each step and ask questions if you don’t understand. I was stuck a lot too, with some steps, but was determined to leave SBI. And now my site is free. Elena, thank you for your website and what you do. Can’t thank you enough :)

        • Hi Jon and thank you for taking time to write this. Yes, following this tutorial requires learning new things but it’s worth it. Feeling free feels so great! When I was in SBI! I spent a lot of time on needless manual tasks that can be easily automated with WordPress. If I wanted to change design I had to edit every page. I felt deprived, but not anymore. One bite at a time anyone can learn basic autonomy of their websites, understand file structure and learn to download and upload files. Thanks again!

  11. kasmedia says:

    Thanks for this terrific resource. One question that maybe you can help with or maybe only SBI support can. You say in your instructions:

    When you first contact them asking to unlock your domain include following information:

    original order number when you purchased SBI!
    last four numbers of credit card you used
    your IP address as it appears here

    That might be quite a high bar for me to get over. It’s been many years, several computers and one office move since I first signed up for SBI. Does anyone have experience of getting domains unlocked when you do not have this information available??

    • Hi Kasmedia, that’s SBI’s requirements. If you don’t have this information you should talk to their support about it.

      • kasmedia says:

        I feared as much. Thanks.

      • Thanks for the reply, Elena. I was afraid of that.

        One other question: Since I was hoping to take the opportunity of a move to get rid of those dreaded hyphens, I have already purchased the “un-hyphenated” version of my domain name. That said, I assume moving my site from a hyphenated version to an un-hyphenated version would result in the loss of all my traffic, correct?

        • Hi Michael, I never tried it myself. If I was you and there was no reason for me to believe that hyphens hurt my site I wouldn’t take the risk. Otherwise you can research for best ways to do it, see what people with experience say and just do your best to make those redirects properly. I think nobody can tell for sure. Some people gain traffic, some people lose. But then again, maybe they didn’t do redirects properly. You never know!

  12. For a small website, with about 15 pages or so, would it be okay to jump right into WordPress instead of copying and uploading the whole site first?

    • Hi Suzanne, it’s okay as long as you don’t change link structure and keep menus same. It’s not really about size.

  13. Hi Elena, will our website looks exactly the same after transferring to wordpress? or will it be a mess and we need to redo all pages? Do we have to reinsert adsense code and affiliate links and images? I’m nervous :p

    • Hi Susane, if you decide to convert to WordPress your site will not look exactly same but won’t be mess either. In WordPress there are fantastic solutions for ads where they can be added, modified and rearranged site-wide in one click (great for testing!) and as for affiliate links, you can do them manually or automate with plugin where your keywords turn into affiliate links. It is all covered here and hundreds of people did this before you using this very site. No need to worry. Please note that the tutorial above is for transferring site in static form though, not WordPress. You can convert it to WordPress later or jump straight to WordPress using my other tutorial.

  14. Hi,

    Could you please tell me how do I move SBI site to Google Blogger?

    Thanks

    • Hi Nesika,

      you can’t move an SBI! site to Blogger because Blogger imposes its own URL structure and all your URLs will change, hence you will lose traffic. If you are okay with that you can simply open a Blogger account something like myblog.blogspot.com and start copying and pasting the content of your SBI! site. When you are done you can take your SBI! domain and transfer to another registrar using this tutorial. When this happens SBI! version of your site will disappear and yoursbidomain.com will be giving errors for a while. When domain registrar will confirm they received your SBI! domain, you can go to your blogspot blog and set that domain name as custom domain for your Blogspot blog so when people will enter youroldsbidomain.com they will find your blogspot blog, however all other pages (other than homepage) will have different URLs.

      Once again this of course results in loss of rankings, but if you never had traffic to begin with you could do this. In my opinion Blogger is quite restrictive and copying and pasting content to Blogger takes just as much time as copying and pasting it to WordPress and with only $60 per year you can have a better site hosted by a professional host without any loss or broken URLs.

  15. Hi Elena, around how long does it takes to move 330 pages using the “SBI straight to wordpress” ($22) method?

    • Hello Lean,

      it’s about copying and pasting and uploading images for each page. If you are seeing WordPress for the first time but are good at following tutorials I would expect it will take you around 30-40 minutes to get initial setup and set your homepage. From there on it’s a simple copy/paste job. You might want to spend some time playing with themes but you will have plenty of time for that later as you can switch themes in WordPress with one click. Realistically, I have seen people taking up to 3 months for this, because they took a lot of breaks. It can also be done in a week. Up to you basically.

  16. I asked SBI to resend my Site Build It! Mail. I logged on to my http://build.sitesell.com/manage.html. using the details provided in the Site Buid It! Mail. But I can’t access the page. This is what appears on the page.

    Error Page

    Invalid username/password entered.

    I asked again the SBI about it but there is no replay yet. Any idea why did it happened?

    Thanks.

    Darwin

    • Hi Darwin, only two possibilities here: either you are using wrong login details or some technical problem on SBI! side. If you are sure you are using correct details (from Site Build It Mail, NOT your SiteCentral username/password) then it’s definitely some SBI’s bug which they must fix for you to be able to get in.

      Another thing I recall is that you can’t just copy and paste login details from email to login box – it won’t accept it. You have to actually type it yourself. Try this, maybe that’s the issue.

      • Thanks for the info, i tried to encode the username and password but it is still not working. SBI said they will investigate further. I hope they can fix it. :)
        Thanks once again.

  17. Hi again Elena,

    I already changed my name servers using my account in bluehost. Your instruction is not to do anything for(72hrs). But i tried to check my site (after24hrs :) ) if it is still live but I only see Welcome…bluehost etc. I also tried to see my site traffic in the logs but there is none. I just see my old sites there. Do you think is it normal? Do I have to completely wait for 72 hours before I see my site again. I am just a little bit worried because Maybe I failed to follow your instructions correctly and I’ll loss my entire site. Please advise. Thanks.

    Yours,

    Darwin

    • Hi Darwin,

      definitely something is wrong! My tutorials when followed correctly do not cause a minute of downtime, leave alone 24 hours. Here is what to do:

      1. You can come back to SBI!’s name server management area and switch Bluehost name servers back to SBI’s. This will bring SBI version of your website live (might take up to a few hours to become live again).

      2. While your SBI site is live again, figure out what went wrong. I suspect you messed up with file system when you were uploading Httrack copy. You either uploaded some unnecessary files or you uploaded correct files, but to a wrong place in your cPanel. These mistakes are common and I have warnings in Httrack tutorial. I will send you password to my “move in under 1 hour” tutorial to your Yahoo email (which I can see). Normally it’s only available to those who buy through my affiliate link but I think you need help to find your mistake. The screenshots there will hopefully help you find out what you did wrong. You don’t need to make new copies, you only need to figure out where you did mistake with file system. Email will arrive now.

      Once you correct your mistake you can preview and make sure everything works then switch name servers back to Bluehost.

      • HI Elena,

        I would like to express my deepest gratitude for all your help rendered to me during my transfer process. You are correct, I made a mistake in uploading my copied site through filezilla.

        I uploaded the entire folder instead of the folder that contains my domain only. I deleted what I have uploaded previously and then I followed your instructions thoroughly. After few moments, BANG!!! it works.

        Thanks for the mail. I really appreciate that. You have no idea how happy I am after my transfer. I am planing to convert my static site soon to wordpress.

        Though, I’ve been using wordpress in my other sites, I still have to read all your tutorials and watch the videos to figure the conversion out.

        How I wish i had found you two years ago.:)

        Once again. My Gratitude. Tomorrow, I’ll cancel my account in SBI.

        Darwin

  18. jerry hendrix says:

    I’m very new to IM, and have a couple of questions. Would you suggest I start out with sbi, then move on later, or start some other way? How do people copy your website, and how do you prevent this? Thanks

    • People can copy your keywords and site structure. In SBI! sites keywords are very obvious. I don’t suggest anyone to use SBI.

  19. jerry hendrix says:

    Thank you

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