While considered a nightmare experience for some website owners, transferring a website to a new web hosting provider doesn’t need to be a traumatic experience. Whether your website has outgrown the current web host or the provider fails to deliver on offering quality customer service or reputable network uptime, often it’s necessary to change hosts for a variety of different reasons. In order to make the process go smoother, consider the following steps for a hassle-free hosting transfer.
Planning and Preparation
It’s essential that you plan for the website transfer at least a month in advance. It’s recommend to transfer your site at least one month before terminating the existing web hosting plan. Depending on the old hosting provider and package, user terms and agreement varies, so it may be necessary to refer to the user agreement in regards to account termination. Once a termination date has been set, it’s time to choose a new host to transfer the website. Many web hosts even offer free domain transfers.
It’s vital for a successful transfer to choose a new host that can adequately support your web hosting needs. The same guiding factors that you used when selecting the existing web host should also serve as guidelines when opting for a new host including: price, network uptime and reliability, customer service, guarantees, and hosting features (disk storage space, bandwidth, e-mail accounts, FTP accounts, OS, and MySQL databases). The next step is to sign-up for an account with your new hosting provider. Typically, users are granted access to new accounts within 24 hours.
Backing Up Files and Organizing Directories
While waiting for the new account to be setup, it’s important to back up all of your files from the existing hosting provider. In addition to backing up HTML files, it’s also a good idea to backup database files, script files, and server logs. Consider creating a directory structure similar to that on the web server and download files intro the appropriate directories.
As soon as your new web hosting account has been established, you should receive an e-mail notification which includes information on how to set up the website using FTP. Once receiving the instructions, the next step is to create directory structures and then upload files to respective directories. Also, install any script files or databases required to support your website. Additionally, using the administration panel, setup all desired e-mail accounts. Now that all of the files have been uploaded and the necessary script files or databases installed, you can test the new site by clicking on the temporary URL included in the notification e-mail.
After any last minute tweaking and fine tuning, the final step is to contact the current domain name registrar and request to change the existing DNS to be redirected to the new DNS. The DNS information can be found in the registration e-mail sent by the new hosting provider as well as accessing the control panel of the new web host. Usually, the change in DNS is reflected in 24-72 hours as well as being propagated through WHOIS servers. To ensure the DNS has been transferred successfully, try to access the home page by testing your domain name. Once the new home page appears, then the DNS has successfully been transferred. The final step in transferring web hosting providers is to terminate the existing web hosting account.
Although the thoughts of transferring a web host may seem overwhelming, however, with some careful planning to prevent downtime, the process doesn’t have to be a daunting task!