There are many different reasons to want to change hosting providers. Sometimes it’s the service you are getting that encourages you to move, or maybe you have found a different provider who can better meet your needs. Suffice to say, most website owners will experience transferring their website to another hosting provider at least once, or quite likely multiple times over the years.
Unfortunately moving your website is often a dreaded task. It can be tedious, time-consuming and fraught with problems. So how can you make this job a lot easier? How can you avoid losing files and all your hard work in your site’s setup and design?
Here are some basic steps you need to take in order to ensure you have a smooth transition when moving your website to a new hosting provider.
Backup Your Website
Before you do anything else, make sure you download all your files from your web host to your computer by using an ftp utility. Don’t assume that everything on your website is saved on your computer. And don’t count on it all being in the same place. You may have added scripts from the Internet, or have other aspects of your website that are on the server but not your computer. Backing up your site ensures you have a copy of all your most recent files together in one spot.
Purchase A New (Better) Web Host
Pick a new hosting provider that meets the needs of your site. Make sure that you know the specific details of what your new web host will provide, including web space, customer support and bandwidth. Check out reviews of the new hosting provider on other websites, and try out their customer service for yourself before you buy.
Transfer Your DNS
Change the details in your domain name registrar (this is the place where you bought your domain) and change the DNS (Domain Name Server) or name server information to your new hosting provider’s name server.
Be prepared for your site to go down while your DNS record is being changed and sent throughout the world’s WHOIS servers. It usually takes about 24 to 72 hours for this process to be completed.
Make sure to keep existing services on your old domain name such as email forwarding, web pointing and website hosting until the transfer is complete to ensure that you still maintain contact with your customers and prospects.
You can check the progress of your transfer by using a domain name search facility like whois.net. It will show that you have transferred your web host when it is completed.
Upload All Your Files To Your New Website
Once you have verified that your domain has been transferred to your new web hosting service have transferred your domain, you can start uploading all your backup files to your new server.
When everything has been moved to your new web host, it is time test out your site and all of the services, including email. Make sure that everything is working properly on your new hosting provider’s server. Then you can go ahead and cancel all your remaining services with your previous host.
With these steps to guide you, you will be able to make your hosting transfer as smooth as possible. Your new hosting provider should also provide any support you may need in getting things up and running on the new server.