How To Safely Move from One Web Host To Another
Whether you have a blog, business site, or complex programming website, you might feel the need to change to a new host at some point. There are different kinds of web hosts. Most small businesses and individual users tend to stick with remote hosts since the alternative is very costly.
What do you do when you found a good deal on another web host and need to move your site? How can your site transfer without downtime? Here are some tips:
Make sure you have a backup of ALL of your files – This includes website layout, content, files, documents, images, gifs, coding, etc. It’s relatively easy to backup most files – especially if you have an FTP or WinSCP application. But what about a dynamic website built on a database (like MySQL?) In this instance you would have to install the apps to the new remote host and then transfer the database file itself. If you’re running a blot hosted by a blogging platform, it should already come with functions that allow for an easy transfer, along with a tutorial. Check the tutorial out to find out what is required.
Reconfigure if needed – Sometimes blog platforms DO require some reconfigurations so that they will work with the new host. When using a database from the old host, it needs to be prepared for the new host. This MAY require new usernames and passwords as well as new database names. As long as everything is 100% the same between the two hosts, you should be able to use the original credentials.
Do some double checking – Everything must be working properly on your site once the files have been loaded onto the new hosting platform. Depending on your choice of a new hosting company, you might even be provided with a development staging/view platform so that you can preview your website before it goes live again. If this feature is not available, another option is to use a temporary URL in IP numbers.
Make sure the domain name servers have been correctly changed – The domain must be aimed at the correct host. If you don’t change the DNS information properly, nobody will be able to visit your site. Even if it’s up and running, people won’t be going to the right server to find it. The new host should have all of the information available, so check out the FAQ section to find out which nameservers and popular registrars it works with and follow the instructions. Keep in mind that it can take up to 48 hours to change the name server. Once the switch is live, don’t forget to inform your former hosting company that you wish to cancel.
Check for missing links and changes in the site’s structure – There’s always the possibility that something will mess up here or there. Certain graphics could become misplaced, or a file might be left behind. This leads to 404 errors, and 404 errors lead to problems with SEO. Be on the lookout for this both during the transfer and after. Analyze the 404 log to find non-working or broken links or files that will need to be fixed and restored so that the site will be fully functional. .htaccess redirect is useful in pointing the current file locations to the new ones.
Hopefully, this guide has given you an idea of what must be done in order to successfully move a website between two remote hosts. Learn more about building websites and databases and moving them at www.austincodingacademy.com/.