Transfer Your Website In 7 Easy Steps

internet-vector-abstract_f1WyybDuThere are many reasons you may want to switch webhosting providers. Maybe you want to transfer your website because you found a better deal somewhere else? Maybe you hate your current service?

Whatever the reason may be, the task itself seems complicated. But it isn’t—at least, it doesn’t have to be if you are prepared.


Find a New Provider

If you’ve found a better deal, this step is likely already completed. If, however, you’re simply unhappy with your current service, begin the search for a new provider. Make a list of the things you don’t like about your current service and do your research. Consider tech support, operating system, databases, reliability, disk space, data transfer capabilities, scalability, and cPanel/WHM when reviewing the possibilities.


Confirm Domain Ownership

Once you have found a new provider, you want to be sure you have full ownership of your domain. Quickly check to make sure everything is in your name and the correct information is on file for the domain.

This is also a good time to think about whether or not you want to transfer your domain to a different registrar after the site transfer or simply switch the domain name system (DNS). The former requires you to register your domain with a different registrar, while the latter requires only that you switch the DNS to point to your new hosting provider.

If you haven’t had any issues with your current registrar, it’s best to simply switch the DNS. Note: It can take minutes to hours for a new DNS to propagate. Be prepared for the change to take a full 24 hours.


Halt Promotions

Be sure to halt any advertisements and promotional campaigns. Essentially, don’t post new content and don’t spend any money to send traffic to your current (soon to be old) site. This will save you money.


Set a date

Decide when you are going to make the switch and, if you have a newsletter, let visitors know that there is planned maintenance for that day. Also, consider creating a static maintenance page on your old server during the transfer.

When selecting a date, keep in mind what days are busy and what days are slow for your site. Consult Google Analytics. Choose a day and time that is slow for business, so to speak. If you’re unsure, Sunday is usually a safe bet.


Backups, Backups, Backups

Once content and advertising is stopped, you want to do a backup of your current site. This part is particularly important, so don’t leave anything behind. Be sure to include backups of the following:

  • Static Files
  • Site Plugins
  • Site Templates

The site backup can be done via FTP without the use of any separate backup service provider. Just make sure to include the full site directory—everything and anything. You should also be sure to backup all of your site emails, as they don’t transfer to the new server/hosting provider.

While some webhosting providers will make the switch for you, it’s always a good idea to do your own site and database backups “just in case.”


Test, Test, Test

Before doing a live migration, set up a test or development site and test the site migration. During the test migration, you will transfer all your static files and import the database. Doing this allows you to identify and correct any bugs or problems before you transfer your actual site. It may seem tedious, but it can save you time, money, and heartbreak in the long run.

If anything goes wrong in the test migration, identify the problem and try again. Rinse; repeat.


Make the Switch

Once you’ve done the planning and testing, make the switch to your new site provider and enjoy your new “home.”

Julia Richardson is a senior editor/researcher at Revuezzle. As a mom of 3 with a degree in Marketing, Julia loves to combine her passions- writing, researching, and people. In pursuit of these passions, she’s done a little bit of everything— From B2B sales, advertising copy, to writing, research, and the occasional celebrity interview. Her writings have been featured in multiple blogs and online publications, and she’s designed and implemented marketing plans for several Fortune 500 companies. Julia lives in Richmond, VA with her husband, kids, and her dog Phoebe.

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