Moving From One Hosting Provider to Another

Moving from one hosting provider to another can seem like a near-impossible task. Fortunately, if you understand the basic steps that are required, regardless of your websites complexity and construction, then the entire process will be much easier. Once someone understands the entire process, they may opt to hire a professional to move their host for them, or still do it themselves. Regardless of what you choose to do, never make the decision until you understand everything that is involved with the process.

It is surprising how many people opt to stay with a hosting company that doesn’t make them happy, just because they don’t want to deal with moving their website to a new host. Fortunately, moving your website doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Depending on how complex your website is, the process can be fairly straightforward or extremely difficult. If the task seems like too much, then feel free to hire a professional. In fact, some hosting companies will transfer website for you to their server. However, before you decide who should actually do the moving, it is important to have a general idea of what the process entails.

Things to Gather Before You Begin

  1. FTP username and password for your website
  2. Administrative control panel username and password
  3. Database usernames and passwords

How to Move From One Hosting Provider to Another

  1. If you haven’t found your new hosting company, then now is the time. It is critical that you already have a new hosting account setup before you cancel your original account.
  2. Once you have your new hosting account, you need to backup all of your files that are on the original host. This includes makings sure that the directory structure has been maintained. If possible, try to compress all of the files into a single archive. This will minimize the opportunity for mistakes to happy during the transfer. (Until the move is completed, do not alter or delete the files on your original webhost.)
  3. Now it is time to upload the archive file(s) to your new hosting account. Once this is done, unpack the archive and make sure that the directory structure is still intact. Additionally, it is important to make sure that all of the sub-folders and files are all there as well.
  4. The next step is to copy your databases, which is when most of the problems can occur. Normally, you will be able to simply dump the database information manually or using the provided database tools. Once this is complete, you can upload the database information into the new database. This process can vary a little based upon the specific type of databases that you use.
  5. Once everything has been unpacked, take time to do an in-depth and thorough test of your website to make sure that everything is functioning properly.
  6. Now that you know that your website is up and functioning properly, it is time to move all of the miscellaneous data to your new website. This often includes email accounts and other similar account-types.
  7. The final step is to simply visit your domain registrar and update your DNS information. This points your URL to your server. It will not update automatically, however it should never take longer than 24 hours (it can also take as little as 5-10 minutes).

Once everything has been completed, it is time to cancel your old hosting account. This is often done via email or over the phone.

Additional Tips To Make the Move as Smooth as Possible

  1. If you have no idea what you are doing, hiring a professional may be the right choice, otherwise you may end up wasting hours (or days) without getting everything done. Many hosting companies will even offer to move website for you. Even if this is for a nominal fee, it may be worth the expense to avoid the potential headaches involved.
  2. If you are moving your website to a different domain as well, it is vital that you create a permanent redirect (301 redirect). It is important that you make sure that every redirect points to the corresponding page on the new domain.
  3. Anything that required a password on your old site, should remain the same on your new site. This will ensure that you can avoid modifying password specific files. However, if you need to change your passwords, do so after you have already completed the move and everything is already functioning correctly. The same is true for usernames.