Ideally, when a dynamic Web site is created it should use a database server to store the site's data. Doing so helps maintain good performance on the Web site, and it improves the site's stability as well. If your site currently uses an Access database, you should plan on migrating it to a database server such as MySQL or Microsoft SQL Server soon.

Several free tools exist to aid in the migration of data from Access to MySQL or MS SQL, among which are the programs below:

When using these tools, they will connect to your Access database and convert the data into a series of SQL statements saved in a separate file. Once the file containing the SQL is complete, you can use that file to import the data into your database on the servers. For example, if you decide to convert to MySQL, you can import the file using phpMyAdmin as shown in this video:

Before using your new MySQL or Microsoft SQL Server database on the site, though, you'll want to test a copy of the site against the new database. This can be done easily by creating a subdomain (named 'test', for instance) then copying your site files to the subdomain. Next, modify the code in the subdomain to use your new database server instead of the Access database. Now if you load the subdomain and use the site, you will be able to verify if the site works well with the new database.

Sometimes modifications need to be made to the code to ensure it works with the new database. The most often encountered issue is with date formatting. For example, on sites that use ColdFusion, we've had to implement the use of the createodbcdatetime() function for any dates/times that are inserted into the database.