A website owner maybe want to move the web site to a new hosting provider to replace the previous hosting account due to many reasons. It could be due to the lack of technical supports from the previous hosting company, the bad server reliability, or maybe the hosting account cannot provide the required features, maybe the website owner found a better deal from other webhosting company, and many more. Whatever your reasons are, when you have decided to change your web hosting account you have to transfer your site from the previous hosting to the new one.
Below are some tips you can use to move your website to the new hosting server without any problems.
Create a Plan First
It is suggested for you to plan your website transfer before. Plan your transfer a week or even a month (depends on your website size) before you stop your previous webhosting. It is required so you have sometimes to prepare it so the transfer will be done smoothly. It will reduce your website down time into minimal.
About a week before you stop your previous web hosting service, register to the new web hosting company you choose. Most of the time, your new web hosting account will be ready to use within 24 hours after the registration.
Make a Backup for Your Website Files
Now you need to make a backup on your website files from your old hosting provider. Depends on your website sizes it can be done in an hour or it may needs a few days to do the backup. This is not a hard task since you have built a website before. Download your web site files, pages, database, and scripts, and store them on your computer hard drive. It is suggested you arrange your directory structure similar to your website directory. Use an FTP program to download and arrange your files easily.
Upload Your Website Files to Your New Hosting Account
When your new hosting account is ready and you have finished backing up your files, now you need to upload those files to your new hosting server. Login to your hosting account with your FTP program to upload your files. You will get your new hosting account details, including your FTP login, on the email you received when your account is ready. Make sure your directory structure is similar to the previous structure.
If your website requires certain scripts and database, you can install and set it up now. When everything is done, you can test your website from the temporary address. You can find your temporary URL on the email you received from the hosting company. If there is no information about it, just ask about it to your hosting provider, they will provide you this temporary address.
Test your entire website to make sure your website can run properly, including here the scripts, database, and also all the links on your web pages.
Domain Name Transfer
When you have finished your test on the temporary address and find no errors, it is the time for you to change your old DNS and point it to the new DNS you get from your new hosting account. This information will be available on the notification email you received when your new hosting account is set up. To change your DNS setting you need to log in to your domain registrar account.
Different hosting provider may use different DNS format but usually it will be using the following formats:
or it could be using IP address format:
Depends on your domain registrar, usually it will need sometimes for the changes to be recorded. It could be few minutes, few hours, or even more then 24 hours for the changes to complete. You can use a whois service (it’s free anyway) to check whether the changes have been completed or not.
To make it easier for you to know whether the changes has been done or not, you can add a sentence, words, or image on your home page. You can place it on the footer if like. If you can see the added words or image on your website when you access it, then you know that the DNS changes has been completed. Remove the images if you want.
Now, you need to make sure that every aspects on your website can run properly by doing similar test you did before. In this level you also need to check your email accounts. When everything works properly, you can stop your old web hosting account. It is suggested for you to clean up your old server before you stop it.