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Switching Web Hosts: 8 Helpful Tips for Migrating to Another Web Host

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Are you planning to move your website or online store to a brand new hosting provider or a different server? 

Picking the right hosting company for your website is an important decision. But sometimes, unprecedented things can happen. For example, you see growth in your business, and your server can no longer handle the amount of site traffic coming in. 

If that is the case, then the best decision that you could is to switch to a bigger and better web hosting company. 

However, migrating from one web host from another has its risks. A big concern is the downtime issue.

So, how can you switch hosts without stopping your website’s operation? In this post, we will walk you through with the eight tips when migrating your site to another web host:

Look for a better web host provider

Take your time to research reputable web hosts before choosing a new service. 

Even if you already have a preferred web host provider, make it a point to browse through online reviews and customer feedback. After all, it is easy to do.

For example, you are eyeing Bluehost as your new web host. All you need to do is type in “Bluehost review” on Google, and you should be able to see reviews and customer feedback about it.

Download your backup files

This is the most crucial process of moving your site to a new hosting company. Do backups on your website’s databases and files to ensure everything is covered in case something goes wrong during the web migration. 

Up-to-date backups will make sure that you are transferring the latest version of your site to a new web host. 

Transfer your files to the new server

After making backups on your site, you can then transfer the files and the database to the new host. 

Alternatively, you can get in touch with your web hosting company, see if they provide migration services, in case you are not comfortable or tech-savvy enough to do the process yourself. 

Transfer email accounts to the new server

To bring your email accounts along with your website to a new server, place your email accounts to the new server before switching the DNS.

By utilizing the temporary log-in info given by your new web host, you can log-in to your new account. Then, set up your email accounts on the new server.

PRO TIP: Make sure that you make a “catchall” address to ensure that mail would not bounce, in case you forgot to add some. 

You also need to create two accounts for every email address, then utilize the IP address of each mail server in the POP settings instead of using a domain name. That way, you are sure that you will not miss any email in the DNS propagation period. 

Test your website on the new server

Testing is essential. It should be performed during the migration process, and after it has been completed.

Any issues that you might encounter during the migration process should be fixed as soon as you find out about them, as it may cause delays in the migration completion time. In fact, it is better to expect issues during the process, so you are always on guard. 

While testing is the most critical process of migration, keep in mind that there is no foolproof process of preventing these errors. The process itself is ongoing and constant, and it should happen before the final sync and after, to double (or triple-check) everything. 

Moreover, it is crucial to be open with your audience, informing your loyal fans and visitors of the upcoming switch ahead of time. Inform them of the exact date, and time the switch will happen to avoid frustration in their part, or if ever something goes wrong, which could result in a temporary downtime. 

This will make them understand your situation more and prevents complaints in case something goes off with your new hosting environment. 

Change the DNS records

To complete the moving process, you need to let your customers know about your new location by updating your current address in the directories. Then, you can make the final move with your new host. 

Change your DNS records in your control panel with your domain registrar. Just make sure that you change the database strings in the control panel with your new hosting provider before changing the DNS records. 

Then, change the DNS name servers to the ones that you received from your welcome email from your new web host. You have to wait between 24-48 hours for the entire migration process to be completed. 

After the 48 hours is up, your site should consistently load on the servers of your new web host. At this point, it is usually safe to move on to the next steps on our list. 

Cancel your existing web hosting plan after the move

After doing the steps to make your site secure, it is now safe to cancel your old hosting account.

If you are using your old hosting provider to register the domain name, cancel only the hosting services within your account. Otherwise, you might lose your domain name and all your efforts of transferring your site and avoiding downtime are just for nothing. 

Close your old account 

Just like closing an old house and moving to a new place, you have to close your account with your previous web host. After checking that all your databases and files have switched your DNS record, then you probably have no qualms doing this final task. 

If you bought a domain name with your old host, you could keep the registration of your domain name, but your previous hosting account can go.

There is no looking back at this point, especially if you have done everything that you can to move on to a bigger and better server for your website. 

Final Thoughts

Switching to a new web hosting provider should not be daunting. In fact, changing hosts should feel like an upgrade. 

With careful preparation and planning, it is possible to transfer your site to a new web hosting company without anyone even noticing that something is happening behind the scenes. Remember these key web host features as it will make your site perform better, and your life a lot easier. 

We hope that this guide will help you move your website to a new host without any downtime.

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