A Non Techie Guide for Moving Your Website to a New Host

So you want to change web hosts, but you are not really tech savvy, this guide will tell you all you need to know. The easiest way is to get a techie to do the move for you. But since you are not a techie (just rubbing it in :)) Here’s a little analogy to help you understand what this is about.

Basically moving your website to a new host is almost like you moving to a new location. The major difference is that one is real and the other is virtual. So first things first, to move to a new building you must have paid for it, right? That’s the exact same thing you’ll do when moving your site.

Pay for the new hosting space and make sure everything is in order. As for the old host don’t tell them you are moving yet, otherwise they could suspend or cancel your account.  And this definitely will lead to down time. Another very easy way to move you site is to contact your new host and let them do it. A lot of hosting companies do this for free, you’ll be asked for a few details and voila the transfer has been done. If you want to do this yourself, here are a few steps to follow.

Get a new host

Make sure you have completed your transactions with your new host; this will include paying your hosting fee and selecting a hosting package. You also complete the set up of your new hosting location. This is to effect a seamless transfer of site assets.

Download your files

If you don’t have your website files from your old host, you’d have to download them. Use FTP to perform this step. If your website uses database, then you have to export the data base. There are several ways to do this, consult your old host for instructions.

Next upload your website files to your new host using an FTP client. And also import your database to your new host. This can be done via SSH or cPanel’s phpMyAdmin. Emails usually cannot be transferred, but you can download and save the emails from the old host. You can accomplish this by making a POP3 connection to each email address; the old emails will be downloaded to your hard drive. The new host will not have your old emails, but the new host will be able to get new emails.

Run a preview

Test your website to see if all the parts are functioning well. You can do this using your account’s temporary URL.

Change your DNS

Now you have files on both your new and old hosting accounts, it is time to change your domain name’s DNS. You should contact your new host to get the correct name servers (DNS) and the correct DNS settings for your domain name.

After this, contact the company where you purchased your domain name to make the change. If you purchased your domain name from your host, you usually need to ask them to make the DNS changes for you.

Last Step…

You usually have to wait for 48hours before the switch is fully functional, check to make sure everything is in order. Now you can contact your old hosts and terminate your contract with them, now you have a new host.

This is pretty straight forward, and it should work for smaller not complex sites. If you run a heavy website, then you are a techie and probably will not need this.

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