How to Transition From Piwik Community to Piwik PRO Premium Web Analytics

Published: February 24, 2017 Updated: August 24, 2018 Author Category Analytics

Piwik is undoubtedly a great open-source platform, appreciated by both individual users and organizations alike. If you are looking for a cost-effective solution that guarantees data ownership and data security, this is your way to go. It is probably the only existing open-source web analytics platform that allows full control of data, which in this day and age is invaluable. Like all open-source platforms, however, Piwik too has its limitations. If you are reading this post, you’re probably at the point of looking for something more suitable for your business’s growing needs. You may be considering migration to a premium web analytics platform capable of managing your traffic volume without affecting database performance and system stability.

In this post we want to guide you through the process of transitioning to Piwik PRO On-Premises and Piwik PRO Cloud – the premium versions of Piwik that offer scalability, enterprise-level maintenance, and round-the-clock technical support. The prospect of migrating your web analytics instance may be daunting. We hope that what you read here will put your mind at ease about migration.

So let’s take a look now at some of the issues that may be bothering you.

road leading to the horizon balck and white

What does the transition process look like?

Broadly speaking, migration consists of 4 stages:

  1. Creating an account on Piwik PRO Cloud – if migrating to cloud, or having the application installed on chosen servers if going for the on-premises version.
  2. Exporting the database
  3. Changing your tracking codes (you’ll skip this step if you keep your current domain.)
  4. Replaying your server logs to have complete data.

Since starting an account on Piwik PRO Cloud is child’s play, we aren’t going to dwell on this bit. Instead, we will focus on the database dump.

Who is responsible for performing the dump is entirely up to you – it depends on whether or not you want to let us access your infrastructure. Should you for any reason not be able to let us in, performing the entire dump – copying the data and uploading it to the new infrastructure – will be done on your side.

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Learn how to boost Piwik’s reporting speed and strengthen web analytics data security:

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If you choose to be in charge of copying the data, please remember to do it in the default way (standard mysqldump). If we are doing the database dump, we will need your config.ini.php file to get the process underway.

If you have changed the domain, when we’re done transferring the data onto the new infrastructure we will let you know to change the tracking codes. This is vital for reliability of your data. Should you fail to replace them, all the data the codes track will continue being directed to the old Piwik instance.

Once you have diverted the data, there is just one more thing left to do. We need to fill in the gaps in your data. At this point, you already have the historical data in place on the new instance and you are collecting new data. What you are missing is the data collected during the dump itself. Remember that the dump does take a while. While we were performing this operation, data was still being collected on your old infrastructure. To fill in this gap, we need to copy your server’s logs and replay them on the new infrastructure.

How much data can I migrate?

The answer depends on whether you are migrating to the on-premises or cloud version of Piwik PRO. If you are going to host your new premium web analytics on your own premises, there is no cap placed on the amount of aggregate data you can migrate, whereas the limit for the raw data is 3 years. As for migration to cloud, the limitations are 2 years and 3 years for raw data and aggregate data, respectively.

If I track numerous sites and have a large database, is migration be feasible and safe?

The simplest way of migrating large volumes of data from multiple websites is to set your existing domain on cloud – changing your Canonical Name record (CNAME) to “companyname.piwik.pro”. If you have only a root domain, you will be able to add A record to an appointed IP address.

For safety reasons, Piwik PRO accounts are designed to work using the secure shell (SSL) protocol and the HTTPS protocol.

Will I be able to use Piwik while the migration is being performed?

Remember that any changes made in your Piwik instance during migration will be lost. For that reason we advise you not to use Piwik during the transition process, or at least not to make modifications in it, like adding new data (e.g. new websites) via API or UI.

Will I be able to use Piwik while the migration is being performed?

How should I prepare for the migration?

Before we start migration to your new web analytics for enterprises, you will receive a set of questions we need responses to.

We will need to know whether or not you want to keep your current domain (recommended if you have a lot of tracking codes all over your infrastructure), or if you would like to host your new web analytics solution on our infrastructure.

We will ask you about the volume of traffic you handle so as to advise you on servers when migrating to self-hosted Piwik PRO, or to see whether migration to cloud might be feasible.

We will also need information on your timezone as well as preferred times and days for migration so that we can arrange the process when it is most convenient for you.

If you opt to stick with your domain, we will ask you to set the domain’s TTL as low as possible while migration is taking place – this will speed up the whole process. This is important as there is a period of time during the migration process when some parts of the DNS system still point to your old infrastructure, whereas others already direct the data to the new one. The shorter the transit is, the smaller the gap in data we have.

Plus, as we have mentioned before, if the database dump is on our side, we will aso need you to provide the config.ini.php file and your SSL certificate to ensure a secure connection.

Can I migrate 3rd-party plugins and customizations?

Whichever web analytics platform – Cloud or On-Premises – you decide to migrate to, the transition looks basically the same. The exception is with copying 3rd-party plugins, which is something you cannot do when moving your Piwik web analytics to Piwik PRO Cloud. When it comes to migrating to Piwik PRO On-Premises, we can migrate 3rd-party plugins, but because we do not know their code, we cannot guarantee their performance when combined with future versions of Piwik PRO On-Premises.

Can I migrate an old version of Piwik?

Yes, you can. However, you must allow for the fact that migrating an older version of Piwik will take a little longer. To make the migration to Piwik PRO web analytics possible, we will have to update your Piwik instance. If you happen to run one of the older versions of Piwik, know that we will not be able to make a leap from your version to the latest one. On the contrary, your Piwik will be updated version by version – it will need to go through every stage of the evolution. The speed of the update will hinge on the version of Piwik you use, and on the size of your database.

Will I be able to handle the deployment process of Piwik PRO premium web analytics?

The deployment process is designed in such a way that it does not require advanced IT knowledge. Even your junior technical staff will be able to handle without hassle. On top of that, when migrating to Piwik PRO On-Premises you will receive your own project coordinators who will be there to answer any questions you have and provide support if needed.

We hope you will find this information useful. If there is anything else you would like to know before the migration, feel free to get in touch!

Optimize Piwik’s Performance Issues: A Free Guide

Learn how to boost Piwik’s reporting speed and strengthen web analytics data security:

Download FREE Guide

Author:

Urszula Kotowska, Content Marketer

I’m particularly keen on exploring the intersection of technology and social good. I strongly believe that technology, if used wisely, is able to serve people.

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