Moving to a new web hosting service is not a tiresome work like moving to a new apartment or something like that. It is an easy task if done correctly and systematically.
Well, you may ask “why do I need to move at all?”. Ask it to yourself and you will find the answers. It may simply be the fact that you are not satisfied with the features the current service is offering you. It may be because you do not have the necessary storage space or bandwidth, or maybe because of bad customer services, etc. it may also be for the fact that you found a new and better price somewhere else and who wouldn’t want to reduce their cost and maximize savings?
Regardless, there are several things to consider before you do move out to a new hosting service provider. I have tried to discuss some of them here:
- Backup your data first → You really do not want to move to a new host without backing up your data properly at first. There is always a chance to lose important data if you do not save it beforehand. You should thus, put in a considerable amount of time behind backing up your data as it is to be done manually and hence takes up quite a bit of time.
- Research your new web host → Many times it happens so, you move to a different host and come across compatibility issues while trying to install your applications on the website. Then, it becomes a total waste of time and money. Hence, you need to research your new web hosting service before you make the move. Check if the new host is an FTP client or not because you will be needing that for transferring all your data (files and databases) without any downtime to the new site. Also, collect the DNS information so that you can modify the settings as per your need in the future. Also, have a temporary URL in order to test the new site before moving.
- Some etiquette to follow → Before moving let everyone (your users) know that you will be making a change from one host to another. It is more than just good etiquette. This is because on doing so, your users will understand if not fully, your needs of transferring to a new host and as such will comply with you during the time when you carry out the move from one host to another. Otherwise, they will wonder what is wrong with the site and you may end up losing valuable clients.
- Plan your move → Chalk-up a plan of action for moving onto a new web host. Schedule the move in such a fashion that you select the slowest time of the day, speaking strictly in terms of internet usage. This is done so that the whole transfer process affects the least number of people.
How to move your website to a new host
Typically, moving to a new host is a four-step process:
- Transfer the files → For transferring the files, the best way would be to do it via an FTP. First, connect to your existing account and download all the files onto your PC. The, connect to your new hosting account and upload them there (usually www or httpdocs, etc).
- Transfer the database → the nest thing to do is to transfer your database from the old account to the new one. Again like before first you have to connect to your existing account, but instead of downloading you export your database (as you cannot download it) into a SQL file and save it onto your PC. Then, you log into your new account and import the SQL file there and you will have transferred your database.
- Configure applications onto the new host site → The next step you need to follow is to configure all your applications that you were running on your site onto your new one. The basic setups for the apps are more or less the same. It depends wholly on the applications itself, like, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, SMF, etc.
- Change the DNS → finally what you would need to do is to make changes in your domain name as per the host you are selecting. This is done by accessing your domain registrar account and configuring it from there. It generally takes up to forty-eight hours or two days for the domain to work properly, but these days it occurs much faster than that so as to minimize the number of users troubled by this whole process. If there is any kind of an issue with the process, you can go back to your old account and configure the settings as per the issue at hand. This is why it is recommended not to delete your old account as soon as you create a new one.
After a few days if you are satisfied with the new one and there are no more problems with it you can go and delete the old account. If you follow these steps then your move will go smoothly. However, expect the unexpected and so consider all the possible contingencies as best as you can.