There are various reasons why an online business owner like you has decided to switch to a new web hosting providers. Your old web hosting provider probably has very poor technical support, or their web server is always down, or may be your old web hosting provider cannot meet your hosting requirements anymore or you could have discovered a cheaper web hosting service?and etc. Regardless of the reasons, now you have found a new web hosting service and you need to transfer your website from your current web host to the new web host. Below is the step-by-step guide that you can follow in order to achieve a painless and error free of moving to a new web hosting provider.
Ideally, you should plan the transfer one month before you terminate your old web hosting plan in order to have sufficient time to perform a smooth transfer. Doing the transfer in less than one month time frame will put your website in risk of inaccessible.
New web hosting service registration
Now, sign-up your new web hosting service once you have decided the termination date mentioned above. Depending on your new web hosting provider, your new web hosting account usually will be set up within 24 hours.
While waiting for your new web hosting account to be created, it is time to backup all your web files on the old web hosting provider. In most cases, you already have all the files of your website on your local computer. However, it is still a good idea to backup all your files from the old web server. In addition to the normal HTML files, you may need to backup any script files, databases files, and even server logs files if it is necessary. You should create a directory structure that is similar to the directory structure on your web server and download the files into the respective directory.
Once you are notified that your new web hosting account has been created, you will receive a notification email from your new web hosting provider. In that email, it contains all the information required to set up website, this including the FTP server information. With that FTP information, you can now FTP to your new web hosting server and upload all your files. You should start by first creating the directory structures on the web server, and then upload all the files to the respective directory.
It is the time to install any script files or databases if there are used in your website. Likewise, it is a good time to set up all the email accounts through the administration panel.
Once you have finished uploading all the files and installed the script files or databases, you can now use the temporary URL to test your site. The temporary URL can be found in the notification email from your new web hosting provider. The temporary URL could be in the following format: http://viola.lunarpages.com/~your-webaccountname
Using the temporary URL directory, you can now test your web site online. Due to the fact that different web hosting server may require different server environment to execute. Therefore, you need to verify all the scripts (such as CGI, Perl) are working accordingly. In addition, you should test all the hyperlinks in the normal web pages if possible to ensure no broken links. While you are testing through the temporary URL directory, your website hosted on the old web hosting provider is continue operating.
Transfer domain name
Once you have finished testing your new website on the temporary URL and verified it is working perfectly. The next step is to contact your current domain name registrar (i.e. the company where you register your domain name) to change the old DNS (Domain Name Server) to point to the new DNS of your new web hosting provider. Usually, the DNS information is sent to you through email after you register successful with the new web hosting provider. Alternatively, you will be able to find the DNS information from the website of your new hosting provider.
Domain name servers control how a domain name is resolved. Typically, the domain name servers are in following format:
Some domain name registrar requires the IP addresses of the DNS. In this case you have to provide the IP addresses of your new DNS. For example:
Typically, it will take about 24-72 hours to get the DNS record to change and propagate through all the WHOIS servers. You can use Whois tools on the Internet such as whois.com to monitor the status of the DNS transfer. Once the transfer is completed, you will notice the change to your new DNS. Alternatively, you can make a minor modification to your home page (for example, adding a new image or symbol) and upload to the new web hosting server. When you access your home page through the normal domain name (www.your-website.com) and you notice the new home page, then you are sure that the DNS has been transferred successfully.
Now, your website on the new web hosting provider is officially transferred and online. You should repeat all the tests to ensure it is fully functional. Once you are confirmed the new website is working correctly, you can go ahead to terminate your old web hosting account.
Andrew Loh is the owner of Cheap Web Hosting, a website that provide complete and detail reviews on low cost web hosting providers. You can visit his website at: http://www.lowest-price-web-hosting.com/