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How to Switch Web Hosts
By Tim Brown
So, the time has come for you to switch hosting providers. Perhaps you’re not receiving the level of technical or customer support you deserve; maybe you need more storage; or, perhaps you’re looking for better performance. Whatever the case, you need to learn how to switch Web hosts. The process is simple with very little technical skills needed to make a smooth transition. In just a few easy steps, you’ll be set up with your new host.
Find a New Host
First, you need to find a new hosting service. You wouldn’t move out of your house before you have a new place, right? Make sure the new provider offers the features your previous one was lacking. Then, register your domain name with a third party so your web address will be the same. Also, put a message on your site informing you are making a move and they may encounter some downtime during the transition.
Copy Files To the New Host
This is the real nuts and bolts of how to change Web hosts. With a new provider secured, you can begin to migrate your site to its new home. Start by copying all of your files and databases to your hard drive—just in case. After that, move them to the new host site. For your dynamic databases, open the corresponding app on the new host then use the import/export function to migrate the data. For all static files, such as written content and images, you can simply copy them over to the new host.
Make sure all internal links on your page are now pointing to your new home. It would be a shame if your new site redirected your guests back to your old page. After that, set your emails to direct to the new page, too. The process for that is different depending on whether your email service is with a domain registrar, third party, or the old Web host.
Now that you have everything stored on the new host, confirm your new site is functioning properly. While in preview mode, click through all of your pages and check that all of your content is where it is supposed to be. Finally, go through your databases to ensure all of the data made the migration without getting lost.
Change DNS Records
Your domain name system (DNS) tells the Web where to send your visitors. Have your domain registrar change your DNS to match your new host. This is the equivalent of having the post office forward your mail to your new address.
Once the registrar switched your DNS (which can take up to a day or two), your new site will officially be live! Contact your old hosting provider and cancel your service.
That’s it! You now know how to change Web hosting providers. If it seems to be daunting to do it yourself, you can simply look for a new host that offers free migration of your site as part of the sign-up package.
If you are looking to switch hosting providers and need some more information on the features and services they offer—including migrating your old site to the new host,—click here.