Painless Move to a New Web Hosting Service

Change Server

Sometimes, you need to move your website to another web host. The reasons vary from escaping poor customer service, to the provider's inability to meet your technical needs, to finding a better financial arrangement. Depending upon the complexity of your website, the process can be simple enough for an amateur to do or it can be difficult and time consuming enough that you need to bring in professional help. If you don't know the moving process already, then you probably need to hire a professional to do it for you. The cost of not doing so could be a corruption of your site's data. Let's examine an overview of the moving process so that you know what's involved even if you're not doing the move yourself.

The steps involved in moving from one web host to another

1. Before you do anything else, the first and most important step is to locate a web host and open your new account. This new hosting provider should be able to accommodate your technical needs, and you should be absolutely sure that you want to move before you begin the process.

2. Next, you need to back up all of the files on your original host. Make sure that the directory structure is maintained, and try to compress the total website into a single archive file to minimize mistakes. Do not alter or delete the currently active website at this time—you could break something and be left without a working copy if the archive is lost or corrupted.

3. Now, upload the archive with the website's files to your new host. Unpack the archive and verify that the directory structure was maintained. Make sure all of the files present on the old host are now on the new host. Do not delete the original archive when you are done unpacking—it works as a backup of your latest known-working configuration, and if the new host doesn't work out for some reason, it will allow you to escape back to the previous host.

4. Now you need to copy over the database. That usually involves dumping the database information to a file manually or through database tools, uploading it to the new server, and then feeding the dumped file into the new database. For instructions on how to do this, review the support literature for your database software.

5. Finally, now that you have everything unpacked, you need to thoroughly test the site to make sure that everything is working. You should try to break the website to ensure that all is working at least as well as it was on the old host.

6. There's still some work left. If you had e-mail accounts or other accounts on that server, they need to be backed up, shipped over to the new server, and set up there. Also, you need to visit the domain registrar and update the information to make your URL point to the new server. It could take a while for the DNS to update, so you may want to switch that before you begin moving over the e-mail accounts.

7. Once everything is moved and verified as working, you can close the old account without fear of losing data.

It can be intimidating if you haven't done the process before, so your best bet is to practice with a disposable website until you are confident or hire a professional to do the job for you.

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Anonymous:

Moving big ecommerce site is harder

It is easy to move not too active dynamic site to another host. But if you are moving big ecommerce site than it is a bit harder because you have to keep two databases synchronized. During the propagation time people will be visiting site at both location depending on where they from so that will cause differences in two databases.

Nathan:

Connect old site to the database on the new host

The easiest way to solve possible differences in databases is to connect site on the old server to the database on the new one.

Lucio (not verified):

Wouldn’t that decrease speed

Wouldn’t that decrease speed of the website on old host?

Nathan:

The easiest and cheapest move

It will, but not drastically. And propagation usually takes less than 24 hours. So it is the the easiest and cheapest way. Or you could use database replication and synchronization software. For those who are afraid to do all this on their own, there are services like WebSiteMovers specialized for moving sites to another server.

Rider (not verified):

Useful post

Bookmarked. I plan to change hosting soon; this post will be very useful.

Mierya (not verified):

How long can propagation

How long can propagation take? I have changed my domain name servers 46 hours ago and I’m still seeing site at the old IP?

Nathan:

Decrease TTL time

If you control your name servers you could increase the propagation speed by decreasing TTL time. You can set it to 10 seconds or any short interval before moving site. However, some visitors will still see site at old location for a day or two because some ISPs don’t follow set TTL for the domain name server level. Instead, they set cache period for their data and after it passes, check for dns changes.

Anonymous:

Changing hosting

I would like to change my hosting. But I don’t want to register new domain because I will lose my rankings. What should I do. Help please!

AnoN (not verified):

Changed host 4 times this year

I have changed my hosting company 4 times this year. My latest move was also move from shared host to dedicated hosting provider. I’m pleased now, finally. The whole server is mine, and only mine, no more annoying downtime caused by overselling, slow loading time during peaks or anything. I hope I will stay at my current host for some longer period. I’m really tired of moving site from one server to another and all over again.