SharePoint Migration: Pre-upgrade Check and Considerations

Aftab Alam | Updated On - 07 Apr 2021 |

Read time 3 min

What will you do first when you understand that your SharePoint environment requires an upgrade? Many SharePoint administrators start the upgrade and migration without much preparation expecting better results from the new version of SharePoint. But their expectations are not met easily as a SharePoint environment is more complicated than one imagines – it has sites, lists, libraries, site collections, etc. Every new version of SharePoint brings compelling features which any business will like to implement. But improper planning and migration can ruin an upgrade attempt completely.

There are different factors that you need to consider before upgrading your SharePoint environment. Before you upgrade, check your environment by following the best practices –

  1. Conduct a full survey of your current SharePoint environment

    Check the hardware and software configuration and enlist their features and settings. It will help you manage the environment, plan the migration and use resources effectively during the migration. It will also help you to restore the SharePoint if the upgrade fails.

  2. Perform a test upgrade

    Performing a test upgrade will help you identify the possible issues that may occur during the actual migration. Try to use the same kind of hardware, URLs, and configuration in the trial environment as in the current environment. It will reduce the differences between the current environment and the destination environment and facilitate smooth migration during the trial and the actual migration.

  3. Try to use actual data

    When you run a test migration, try to use copies of actual databases. When you use the actual data from the database, you will get to know of the probable troubles, and you can fix them easily. Try to use a small amount of data to run the test migration. To test the complete data, you can run test migrations multiple times.

  4. Run trial migrations multiple times

    Running trial migrations multiple times will help you understand all the possible outcomes and any potential issues. Also, you will get insights into the best migration approaches to apply and mitigation techniques to follow to reduce the chances of errors.

    A trial migration will let you have an idea about the following parameters –

    • Time taken to complete the migration.
    • The condition of SharePoint data in the destination environment.
    • Time taken to complete the post-migration troubleshooting.
    • The appearance of sites, subsites, and other data.
    • The steps to be followed for the migration
  5. Make sure your SharePoint environment is working properly

    An upgrade of the SharePoint environment has several advantages, but it will not help you overcome the shortcomings in the current setup. So before starting the migration, you should ensure that your SharePoint environment is working completely fine and there is no such shortcoming that will impact the migration. For example, if you have any web application which you are not using and do not plan to use in the new environment, then you should remove it from the environment.

  6. Backup your SharePoint database

    Before migration, back up your SharePoint database completely. This way, you can retrieve your data in case the migration fails. For backup and restore, you can use manual methods or third-party tools.

  7. Discard unwanted data

    Discarding unwanted data is a useful option as it allows you to migrate only the desired data. It will help you save space and organize the remaining data properly.

  8. Look for professional SharePoint migration tools

    For actual SharePoint migration, you can use a professional SharePoint Migration tool. Kernel Migrator for SharePoint is a proficient tool that lets you conduct to-and-fro migrations between different SharePoint versions (2019, 2016,2013,2010). It migrates entire SharePoint data (including sites, subsites, lists, libraries, etc.) with metadata and permissions. It also facilitates Google Drive to Google Drive migrations and OneDrive to OneDrive migrations.


Upgrading SharePoint to the latest version will bring best results if done correctly. But you need to understand your current environment, future requirements, and possible issues before initiating the upgrade process. However, analyzing your environment requires a lot of time, energy, and resources.