Sometimes, you just have to make a change. Moving your web site from one web hosting provider to another can seem like a painful process if you’ve never had to do it before, especially if you’ve had the same web hosting provider for years. That’s what many web hosting companies hope for, that your fear of moving might cause you to stick around longer than you would have otherwise, so you put up with crappy service that is hurting you and your business.
The truth of the matter is, what looks like a daunting task, is actually rather easy. To move your site from one host to another without much (if any) downtime for your customers here are the basics of what needs to happen. You already have your website setup with one web hosting provider. Your migration to the new host is a relatively straight forward task. What you want to do is find your new web hosting provider and register an account with them BEFORE doing anything with your old host. Lookup your package here on HostFinder for compatibility with your site if it uses packages like WordPress, Drupal, Moodle, vBulletin, Joomla, b2evolution etc.
Now you’ll have to begin the migration process using the following step by step procedure…
1. Leave your old hosting in tact, but register and login to your new web hosting provider of choice. Some examples of web hosting providers you may not be thinking of can be found on our overall top 10 web hosting providers listing. Each has different strengths for different applications so look at each one in depth and choose the one that’s best suited for your upgrade.
2. Backup your existing web site to your local hard drive. That means copy all the web site files, copy all the databases, copy everything!
3. Login to your account at your new web hosting provider. Take all of the files from your old site, that you copied locally in step 2, and upload them into your new web space. Setup all the required databases with your new host and setup other items such as email accounts, domain forwards, configurations, etc. depending on how complicated your new site is. At this point in time, while you’re loading up the new space, remember that your old site is still up and running! What you’re doing is creating an identical copy of your existing site so you’re site never has to go down.
4. Once you copy your site on your new web hosting provider, quadruple check it to make sure all of your features are working the same way they were at your old host. If you run into any problems, you may need to check with your hosting provider to see if it supports the features required to run your site.
5. If you’ve double, triple, and quadruple checked that the new site, all your email addresses, and new databases are all up and running at your new web hosting provider, the last step is to point your domain name from the old site to the new site. This is called changing the DNS information for your domain. Depending on your host, you will be able to get a list of their DNS hosting servers. For example, if you’re hosting at FatCow your new DNS servers would be ns1.fatcow.com and ns2.fatcow.com. Simply look up with your host as to what settings you need, or if you’re unsure send them an email to find out. Once you have the appropriate addresses, from your new web host, you’ll need to update the name servers for your domain at your domain name provider. For example, if you use GoDaddy, you’ll have to login to your domain manager and update the name servers for the domain. This is like changing the channel on the television, you’re turning off one channel while simultaneously turning on another. The time it takes for your new address to “propagate” (or work it’s way to everyone on the Internet) can take up to 48 hours. After that, your new site will be active and you’re all done.
That’s all there is to it. Once your new site is live, and you’re sure everything is up and running, you can cancel your account with your old host. Make sure you don’t cancel with your old web hosting provider until you are 100% sure your new one is operational. If you have any doubts at all about what to do, contact the support at your new web host and they will gladly help you through the process.