There are times when you need to think about moving your website to a new host. Sometimes this is because you’ve outgrown your current website host but more often than not it’s because you’re not satisfied with them. Maybe they’re charging too much, maybe their customer support is less responsive than you’d like it to be, maybe your site is too slow through no fault of your own.
Whatever the reason, you’ve come to the conclusion that moving your website to a new host is the only answer.
Sometimes this needs to happen in a hurry but more often than not you will have the luxury of planning your move.
Steps to follow for moving your website to a new host
Start by deciding who your new website host will be.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds as most reviews online aren’t exactly unbiased. There’s a decent amount of commission flying around and this tends to bias people’s views.
If possible, get an unbiased third party recommendation. If not, this hosting company are usually a good choice.
Then set up the new website hosting account. Sometimes this happens immediately, other times it can take a number of hours. That depends on the individual hosting company.
Next, copy all your files to your new host. If you’re using a system such as WordPress, check with your technical person to make sure you get everything right.
You’ll be given a temporary “url” with your new website hosting – use that to test and check that everything is working as expected. Pay special attention to images and any links.
You will also need to set up your email forwarding when moving your website to a new host. This is usually straightforward enough but you need to remember to do it!
Once you’re happy that everything is working as expected, it’s time to change the domain name servers (DNS) to point to the new website. These are the internet’s equivalent of the phone book and they tell the computers that work behind the scenes where to find your website.
The DNS takes time to “propogate” (work its way around the world) so there will probably be instances where your website is in limbo and you’re not quite sure whether it’s being sent from your old website host or your new one. That’s normal.
One other possible complication is if you bought your domain name from your old web host. You have the option to leave it there or move it. Personally I prefer to use a completely different company for my domain names.
If in doubt, it pays to consult a specialist company to make sure that moving your website to a new host is as painless as possible.