Changing Web Hosting Providers Guide

If you’re no longer satisfied with your current Web hosting company. Perhaps they didn’t deliver on the level of services that got you to sign up in the first place. Or maybe your hosting needs have grown and your Web host can’t provide the scalability you need. For whatever reason, you may find yourself in a position to change Web hosting companies as quickly as possible. The last thing you want to happen during this transition is that a user attempts to access your URL and your site appears to be down or unavailable. 

What do you need to do to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible? Here’s an approach that can help you avoid headaches during the transition. Sign up with a new Web hosting company but don’t transfer your domain right away. 

First, upload and test a fully functioning mirror site to your new host’s server. Only when this mirror site is completely tested and synched with your live site should you transfer the domain to the new hosting company. Still continue to have your site served by both hosting companies for at least 7 to 10 days until the change has fully propagated. Now it is safe to discontinue hosting with your old company. Next, make an up to the minute back up all of your site’s content. This includes all of the HTML, images, scripts, database files, and any other files required to run your Web site. Now you are ready to upload your site to the new hosting company. But you’ll have to use an FTP program or other method they specify since you haven’t transferred your domain yet. Once you have uploaded everything, you must test every link and function of your Web site. Remember, the goal is to establish a fully functional mirror site on your new host’s server before you transfer your domain and go live. Once you have fixed any problems discovered during testing, make one more update of your mirror site’s content to be sure it is totally synched with the live site being served by your old hosting company. 

Now you can safely transfer your domain so that your domain name now points to the new host’s domain server. Unfortunately, this process is not like flipping a light switch. Because traffic to your Web site can still be directed to your old host’s domain server for a period of 7 to 10 days. You will still need to keep your Web site and any services (especially email) that can be located using your domain name activated with both hosting companies until this propagation period is over. 

Finally, it doesn’t hurt to make one final back up before discontinuing service with your old hosting company. This is a safeguard against anything being omitted or overlooked earlier. Congratulations – your change to a new hosting company is complete hopefully without any unexpected headaches.