For many reason, you may want to transfer your website from one host provider to another. Moving a website is considered to be a daunting task by many website owners today. Just as is physical movement from one property to another, there are various steps that you need to go through while moving your website to a new host. The following are the 9 important steps that you need to go through to successfully transfer the website.
- Finding a New Host
There must be a reason why you are moving from the initial host. As such, you should get a host that suits your needs so as to avoid a repetition of what happened with your former provider. With numerous host service providers to choose from today, you need to be very careful while selecting a web host service provider. In this regard, you should consider such aspects as:
- Reliable technical support
- The right operating system
- Ideal data transfer
- Free migration of the site
- Hosting disc space
- Reliability and performance
Such considerations will ensure that that you get an appropriate host service provider to move your website to.
- Getting Registrar Details
To be able to move your website to a new host, you must be the administrator. As such, you should confirm the website registration details prior to try attempting the transfer. In this regard, you may use your registrar website-if you know it-or a “who is” service. This will display the administrative and technical contacts. If your website is registered under your name, your name should appear on the administrative contact information. You may also need to check the domain expiry date and move the website when the expiry date draws closer.
- Backing Up Your Data
If you are registered as the website administrator, you many now proceed with the transfer. Prior to moving the website, you should consider backing up all the website data-preferably on a hard drive. While some web hosts will back up the site for your, you should not assume that they will; it is advisable that you have a copy of the data in a hard disk in case of anything. In this regard, you may use an FTP program, which will download all the website data for you to store. Alternatively, you may use appropriate software to publish/import website data to your computer.
- Setting Up The New Host
Having established an appropriate provider, using the guidelines listed on step one, you should proceed and sign up with the new host. If you are making payments to the new host using a credit card, you should ensure that this is safe and that the host has an up-to-date security certificate. After successful registration, you should get your IP address, server name information, login and password as well as links to your website control panel. If you are not comfortable with the provided password, you can change it at this point.
At this point, you should be able to connect to your website through the provided IP address. To check his out, use web editing software or ftp program to create and upload an index.html (a temporary one). You should then type the IP into your browser to see if your website loads. If your website shows up, you can proceed and transfer your website data. While uploading the data, you should use the current directory structure. If prompted, you should use ASCII and avoid deleting or overwriting any important file during the transfer. Once through, you should consider testing the website before you flip the DNS switch.
- Preparing a New Email Account(s)
To avoid missing any email during the transfer, you should create a new email address. However, you may need to retain the old email account for two to four days after the transition. To create a new email account, you should follow the instructions offered by your new host on the process. This process will often require you to use either SMTP or Pop 3. If you use aliases, forwarding or auto-responders, you may set them up from your control panel.
- Switching Web Hosts
The most important thing for this step is the DNS information. You should also have the primary and secondary server information for your website. While some registrars allow website owners to make the change using online forms, others require confirmation-usually through email. Regardless of the case, you should follow their instructions. To switch hosts, some registrars will also require you to have your website password. As such, you should also know your password, in case it is required. If you had paid for secure server certification, you may need to get an account credit or a prorated refund-depending on your registrar’s requirements. After switching your host it will take between 24 and 72 hours for worldwide web servers to recognize the shift.
- Canceling the Former Host
If the transfer was a success, you should now cancel your registration with the old host. However, you may need to hold onto the old host account for up to a week after changing the DNS. The majority of host service providers will make it hard for you to cancel an account with them. Therefore, you should follow their account cancellation instructions.
- Checking Your Scripts
After a successful DNS change, the name of your website will now be showing on the new site. At this point, you should consider checking the scripts to ensure that they are pointing to the new site. This is particularly the case if you had altered the scripts to point to IP # instead of your site name, during the shift. In this case, you should re-configure the scripts to point back to your site name.
- Checking the Links
Once you are through with moving the website to a new host, it is advisable to run a link checker on the new site. In this case, you should check both the internal and the external links. At this point, you should correct any temporary link changes you made during the transition. If you had changed your domain name during the process or did not have one, you may need to ensure that no other site is linking to you. In this regard, you should refer to your stats and referrer log files. Alternatively, you may carry out a reverse link check on Alltheweb or Google search engines.
Transferring your website to a new host can be a cumbersome process, but the above mentioned steps will help you make the move with ease. If you do not have skills, in this regard, you may need to have a professional carry out the shift for you.