What an exemplary world it would be where our businesses would be running smoothly, no worries about switching web hosts – where the site’s hosting provider offers amazing load times, really low costs and 100% uptime!
Unfortunately, this perfect scenario rarely – if ever – exists.
Switching to a new host can be a complicated process. You need to choose a hosting provider, choose the type of hosting you will need – shared server, dedicated server, VPS, etc., package up your site to ensure that all of your assets come with you, transfer everything to your new web host, and then point your domain to your new host by changing the DNS record!
Here we bring to you a Step-by-Step walk through for switching your hosting provider without facing any downtime.
Follow our steps to ensure that your move is smooth and painless.
Purchase a hosting plan
The first step is to purchase a hosting plan from the new provider you have chosen. Hold the call of informing your existing hosting provider of future changes as many hosting companies generally cancel the plan almost immediately – as in as soon as the customer’s call has ended. They could prematurely terminate your site and cause downtime, which can be extremely hard to recover from.
Transfer your files
At this stage, you should have your hosting accounts with two hosting providers (the existing one and the new one). Now, you need to transfer all files of your site from the old host to the new one. For this, you have to connect to the old host’s FTP and download all your files, and then connect to the new host’s FTP and upload all your files. Remember to maintain the same file and folder structure. If you are choosing to make Hostripples your new host, we can help you migrate your entire site free of charge.
The next step involves downloading your Backup files from the old host.
Login to cPanel and obtain compressed backups of the website files and database information. Now upload the backup files to the new host via FTP. You must then restore your databases from those backup files; this can be done via SSH or cPanel’s phpMyAdmin.
Emails do not normally transfer, but you can archive your emails from the old host. You can accomplish this by making a POP3 connection to each email address; this way all the old emails are downloaded to your local computer. The new host will not have those old emails, but the new host will be able to get new emails.
If you are choosing Hostripples as your new host, we can migrate your entire site (files and databases) free of charge! If your old host used cPanel, we may be able to transfer emails as well.
Another easy way to move CMS sites (WordPress, for example) is to zip and move everything in your “public_html” or “www” folder to the new web host and add the following two lines into your WP-config:
define('WP_SITEURL', 'http://' . $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST']); define('WP_HOME', WP_SITEURL);
During this process, be sure not to decompress any of the downloaded backup files. This is because this process will be completed by the new server when the file is uploaded.
Change the DNS
Now you will have all your files on both hosting accounts. So it is time to change your domain name’s DNS. Your new host will provide you with the correct name servers (DNS). You may need to contact the new host to find out what DNS settings you will use for your domain name, or you can navigate to the host’s support section and browse their documentation.
DNS name servers usually looks like this (replace “old-webhost.com” with your host’s actual domain name):
Once you have the correct DNS, go to the company where you purchased your domain name to make the change. If you purchased your domain name from your host, you usually need to ask them to make the DNS changes for you.
If you have purchased your domain name from Hostripples, our team would be happy to help you in making the DNS changes for you.
Changes to the DNS records will take effect in 12 to 48 hours in most cases, though some have experienced as little as six hours. During this time, both the new and old websites will function properly, and customers will see identical content no matter which hosted files are presented.
Cancel your account with old hosting provider
After the changes are in effect, your updated DNS will be fully functional. You can now contact your old host and cancel your hosting account with them. Be sure to test the website and ensure that all features are working properly; when everything is working just like it used to then go ahead and cancel your account. If you originally bought your domain name from the old host, do not cancel your domain registration.
Wait for complete change
Do keep in mind that posting content before the change is complete might result in loss of content or data after the new host files are active. While downtime won’t be an issue, we advise avoiding making any changes to the site’s design, files, or content, until you are completely sure that the migration is complete. When that becomes the case, the process of transferring a website seamlessly to a new web hosting provider is complete and you will have survived the transition without a second of downtime.
Switching to a new hosting provider can at times be taxing process, but it’s the best thing to do when you are stuck with a bad web host. If you’re already running a website, you shouldn’t have any trouble with the switch as it’s just the usual backup-download-upload thing that you are already doing on a daily basis.
If you have any additional tips for migrating that I may have missed out on – or if you have any questions – do drop in your comments below!