Painless Move to a New Web Hosting Service
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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