Migrating your Domain from Microsoft Office Live Small Business to any Webserver in 10 Steps

Migrating your Domain from Microsoft Office Live Small Business to any Webserver in 10 Steps

Microsoft will shut down their great online CMS Microsoft Office Live Small Business with the end of April, 2012. As OLSB was entirely free, the official way to migrate a website to payable Microsoft Office 365 will not be chosen by many Microsoft customers.

I hosted several websites like blyndfold.com for example on OLSB. At Blyndfold we used all SharePoint-like features. We moved the static parts of our site to my company’s website provider. So at least we had a quick solution for our site.

Please follow the following 10 basic steps to migrate your website to a provider of your choice. After the migration you won’t have a content management system anymore, but your current website will be available on your new provider’s web server.

1. Download all pages with the corresponding images:

I used the HTML downloader HTtrack to get all ASPX files from the sites.  I fed the tool with an URL list of all ASPX files to be sure, that I get all pages, I need.

2. Manipulate the pages to remove OLSB-specific content:

After that I opened all files simultaneously in Notepad++. I removed all OLSB-specific things like their user tracking at the end of each site. I had to repair the links in my navigation bar, because I might have chosen wrong options in HTtrack. I made all this changes by search and replace through all opened files. For example I replaced all occurrences of “-2.aspx” with “.aspx” for the navigation menu repair. Replace all contact forms with alternatives like custom JavaScript based HTML forms or just add an encrypted link to your mail address.

3. Test the site with the local files.

4. Upload the pages to a website hosting provider of your choice:

Use FTP to upload the sites to your new provider. A simple FTP tool for you might the Firefox plugin fireftp.

5. Create a .htaccess file to ensure, that ASPX pages will be accepted as HTML:

The content of the file should be the following:

DirectoryIndex default.aspx index.html
AddType text/html aspx

Save the file as plain text. because it might not be possible to name it .htaccess in Windows, just name it htaccess without the leading dot.

6. Upload the htaccess file and rename it to .htaccess

Use FTP to upload the htaccess file to your new provider. Rename the file to .htaccess inside your FTP client.

Attention: Please assure, that your provider supports .htaccess files. If not, rename all files to HTML and replace all internal links in the pages. In this case you might loose your good ranking in search engines, because the old files do not exist anymore.

7. Test the site on your provider’s web server.

Test the site with a temporary domain name, given from your provider. Alternatively add the domain already to your provider’s control panel without activating it and create an entry in your local hosts file with your domain name and the IP address of the provider’s web server to test it with your real domain name.

8. Transfer your domain from Office Live Small Business to Melbourne IT

As there is no option for a direct transfer of your domain to a provider of your choice, please use the OLSB domain name manager site to transfer the domain to Microsoft’s domain name provider Melbourne IT in Australia.

Note: You are free to choose Melbourne IT as your new domain provider and just point your DNS records to your new web hosting provider. In this case, just add the DNS management module to your Melbourne IT account.

9. Transfer your domain from Melbourne IT to your web hosting provider

If you want to have everything in one place, you have to transfer the domain to your web hosting provider. You have to request an auth code at Melbourne IT and to unlock the domain. Both tasks can be managed in the Melbourne IT control panel.

Melbourne IT will send you an auth code by email. I transferred several domains from Melbourne IT to my provider successfully, but in no case the auth code, sent by email, did work. Sometimes they show you another auth code in red color in the top right area of the control panel. This auth code will work.

In other cases the actions to request a code or to unlock the domain are even not available. In this case you have to contact Melbourne IT by phone and request a new auth code. Because of the cancellation of OLSB, they are currently very busy. Please plan 30 to 90 minutes phone queue, depending on the time you are calling them. Alternatively you could send an email to customersolutions@melbourneit.com.au or registryaccounts@melbourneit.com.au. I don’t know, which of them provided the solution at the end of the day. You should send the email from the same address as used for your Melbourne IT account.

In your new provider’s control panel add the domain and configure it as a domain, you already own and want to transfer. If you are asked for the auth code, type the auth code, you got from Melbourne IT. If it will fail, you are able to repeat this action on your own or with the help of your web hosting provider.

10. Allow some time for the DNS replication.

Because providers all over the world are caching DNS information, it will last some time to have the domain name available everywhere. While some internet providers will be able to access the transferred domain shortly after transfer, other will need a day or two.

In the meantime providers with outdated DNS information will still access the Office Live web server. In this case OLSB will accept their requests, but will forward them to yourdomainname.something.officelive.com. If your domain would be blyndfold.com, your temporary domain might be blyndfold.web.officelive.com for example. Therefore your website content will be available all the time, but the navigation bar in your browser will redirect to the strange officelive.com domain instead of just showing your real domain name.

– This process might need some very technical knowledge about domains, DNS, HTML and the Internet. Please ask an IT professional to assist you.
– I just wrote this article in a few minutes from my mind. I cannot guarantee, that the steps above will work, and I’m not able to support you in this process.

– This process does include your HTML content only. Please assure to migrate your documents and email accounts as well and prepare your new web hosting provider to be able to receive your domain’s emails.