Time will come when your small hobby-turned-eCommerce website will need more resources to accommodate the surge in demand and traffic on your site. If your website has outgrown your web hosting plan’s resources or customer support is frustrating at best, then moving to another hosting provider will likely be a great choice for you.
Moving your website effortlessly will depend on how well you can manage the migration for these top three important things: web hosting, domain name and email. In this article, we’re going to give you rundown of the important things to remember before you transfer a website to another web host.
Checklist Before You Transfer a Website to New Host[udesign_icon_font name=”fa fa-check-square-o”] Create a backup of your website files [udesign_icon_font name=”fa fa-check-square-o”] Export Database [udesign_icon_font name=”fa fa-check-square-o”] Choose a new web host provider [udesign_icon_font name=”fa fa-check-square-o”] Import new database and upload website files [udesign_icon_font name=”fa fa-check-square-o”] Transfer Domain Name [udesign_icon_font name=”fa fa-check-square-o”] Move all website emails [udesign_icon_font name=”fa fa-check-square-o”] Test website if it is set up correctly
Create a backup of your website files
Before you could transfer a website, you need to have a backup in place for all your website files. There are many plugins available to do this job but it will require a more manual approach or you can use free, open source file transfer tools like FileZilla to connect to your web host and copy backup files from your website’s directory to your computer. Depending on the volume and type of files (texts, media, etc.) on your website, it might take some time for everything to finish.
For dynamic websites that use databases, you would need to export databases to your system through third-party programs such as phpMyAdmin. This is to ensure that your website will run smoothly on the new server. Here’s an article from our Knowledge Base that covers how to export your old database using phpMyAdmin.
Choose a new web host provider
While there are thousands of web hosting providers available nowadays, choosing the right one can prove to be difficult if you’re not sure what you want in the first place.
Two things you need to consider when choosing a web host is their server location and support team. Following that, you need to take into account other factors such as price, bandwidth, security, speed and customer support. We have written an article about this topic more extensively here: Important Factors in Choosing Web Hosting Package
Feel free to read that page before you decide on switching web hosting service providers. Once your subscription has been confirmed and activated, your new web host will send you a welcome email that contains important information about your new account.
This should include: log in details, instructions on how to access your cPanel account, how to contact their customer support specialist for the website transfer process, among other things.
Import new database and upload website files
Before you can start migrating to your new web host, you have to establish a new environment to host your website. To do this, you have to upload your website files with the help of FTP into public_html directory on your new web hosting account. Make sure to contact your web hosting provider to assist you further on this.
For those websites with databases, this is the perfect time to import it to your new web hosting account. Keep in mind, you have to create a database first using cPanel and import the database backup using phpMyAdmin.
Transfer Domain Name
If your website’s domain name is registered together with your current web host, you will need to move it as well. Your web hosting provider should be able to provide you with a step-by-step guide on this so contact them as needed.
If your domain name was registered from a different company, all you need to do is edit the name servers as soon as your new website is up and running.
There are two things you need to decide on, whether or not you want to change domain registrars or just switch DNS (domain name servers) on the domain name. Here’s the difference:
- Switch Domain Name Registrars – This is when you want to switch domain registrars. So the entire settings of the domain will remain the same and the billing information and customer support will be transferred to the new domain registrar.
- Switch DNS – This is when you want to stick to your current domain registrar but you want to switch the domain’s DNS to point to the new hosting provider.
It might cost you more if your domain name is hosted by another domain registrar but you will find it more beneficial in the long run, especially when you have multiple domains.
There are companies who make domain transfers a little difficult for their own customers, so be sure that you will be able to get required information for domain transfers easily from your selected web hosts. Once you have the authorization code to move the domain name, do the next step.
Move all website emails
If your domain name is hosted by your web hosting company, then your emails will most likely be managed through their servers. These emails will need to be moved, as well. If your email account is hosted elsewhere, then you can simply change the DNS settings as soon as the new website is set up.
Your email host should be able to provide the DNS information. We’ve written here the complete steps on how to successfully set up your email with your new web host
Once your new webmail account is now the one receiving all the email messages–you can test it by sending yourself a test email, or have your friend or colleague do the same. From there, make sure to copy all email you need to keep from the old to the new account before you finally delete the old email account.
Test website if it is set up correctly
After you have loaded the files to the new web hosting configuration, do a final check if everything is working for your website as it should be. You can preview your newly hosted website with the help of a temporary URL in IP numbers.
Some web hosting providers may even provide a development staging platform where you can effortlessly preview your website before going live. This allows you more time to fix any issues behind the scenes.
So what happens next?
After your website has been switched correctly to your new host, you can then end your old web hosting contract and delete all website files, including the email account. If everything goes well, then your website should look exactly as before you made the transfer.
Expect there might be some hiccups with how your hosting is configured, so it’s best to contact your new hosting provider to assist you with it. In fact, the quality of their customer support should help you gauge if they are indeed what they promised to their clients.
However, there’s another option if you don’t want to transfer a website by yourself. Here at Vodien, we offer free website transfer on your behalf when you decide to switch with us.
For each new hosting account subscription, we will provide free migration for 1 website and 5 email accounts. Alternately, you can visit our helpful Knowledge Base where you can find the step-by-step process of migrating your website.
So have you migrated your website recently? Let us know what the experience is like and how you were able to do it successfully in the comments below.