When you own a website, it is important to always stay up to date with the latest services and updates from your own hosting service and competitors.
From time to time, you may find a hosting service that has better uptime, lower prices, or specific features that are important to your business. When this happens, you’ll have to move your website to the new host.
This isn’t a very complicated process, but it needs your full attention when it’s being done to avoid mishaps that can harm your profits.
Two Ways to Move to a New Host
There are two ways to go about moving to a new host:
- Do it yourself
- Have someone do it for you
If you have no technical background at all, it may be best to hire a web developer to help you through the process.
Some hosting services also provide a free transfer service and will guide you through the whole thing.
If you’re doing it yourself, follow the below steps:
Backup Your Website
Before you do anything, back up your site to the new web host. If you have a static website, this is done by copying all of the files. If your site is dynamic, you’ll need to make sure that your new host has the necessary apps or plugins to support it before installing.
Double Check Everything
Before making the final move, you want to make sure that everything is working properly. You’ve copied your site to the new host, so preview it in a temporary URL and see that everything is working as it should be. This stage will help you discover any problems before they can affect your actual website activity.
Switch DNS records
When you are convinced that everything looks ready, you need to change your website’s DNS records to point to the new host.
This is done at your registrar (where you purchased the domain). At this stage, you want to make sure everything is accurate, because any mistake can lead to an error in the website loading.
Make sure to talk to your registrar’s support team if you’re not sure how or where it’s done.
Once you’ve made the change, don’t panic – it takes a while to take effect. It doesn’t usually take longer than 24 hours so if it still isn’t working by then, go back and check that everything is accurate or talk to a support representative.
Once you are live and everything is working, you can contact your old hosting service and inform them that you are cancelling your account.
Things to Remember
This process isn’t very complicated, but it can lead to downtime if it isn’t done right, or worse – lost data.
If you aren’t sure you can do it on your own, it is better to hire a professional to help you out than take the risk of irreparable damage to your website and profits.
If you are doing it yourself, make sure to take every precaution. That includes backing up your website somewhere unrelated to the hosts, checking the website and testing every feature every step of the way to make sure it’s working, and be in contact with the support of your new hosting service in case you need assistance.