Websites are parts of a foundation for communities and governments. Whether you own a personal page or operate an eCommerce business, the worldwide web plays an affluent part in every day life. What if a person found a web hosting company that offers better deals or superior services? Luckily, it’s not all that difficult to transfer your website from one host to another.
Although some may feel that moving all that data could be difficult, the process is actually not hard to do. All it takes is a bit of patience and knowing what to do to keep all of the data secure. Here are five steps to make transferring the site easy.
Step 1: Backing Up the Website
Before any transfer is attempted, a site owner should always make a backup copy. Of course, this is a good practice to get into regardless if the site is being moved or not. This can help in recovery efforts in the event of a catastrophe, such as a natural disaster or even from being hacked.
A common method for backing up the site is by using a program for file transfer protocol, or FTP, such as FileZilla. This allows the website owner to connect to the server and save all of the website files onto his or her computer system. If the application is set up correctly, an exact duplicate of the site can be downloaded and stored.
A site owner will also want to save a backup copy of the database, if one is being used. This often stores important information and settings such as usernames and passwords. Applications such as MySQL usually offer an export feature that will allow this backup to be performed flawlessly.
Step 2: Take Note of Important Information
Before transferring a website, there is a lot of information that needs to be recorded. Email addresses, users and any other additions need to be written down before transferring. This information is going to be used with the other hosting company, and much of this can be lost once your old account has been deactivated.
Software configuration settings are another aspect to consider. Perhaps the website relies on a specific version of PHP running from the host. Any changes made to the website from the hosting perspective need to be addressed before moving. This will make the transition from one name server to another seamless and easy to manage.
Before moving the website, make sure all of the security settings are recorded as well. This may also include any adjustments in the .htaccess file, even if you are saving it as a backup copy. Saving security settings can be ultimately important when protecting the site from attacks, and it should never be overlooked.
It may also be prudent to go through the email folders and forward important documents to a secondary site or save them to the computer. This will help keep the website owners and users from losing valuable information.
Step 3: Inform Your Visitors
Keeping visitors apprised of the move can be helpful to them, especially for repeat eCommerce customers. In the event the site is briefly unavailable, visitors will know and understand why. The last thing any web developer wants to do is make it look like the site is no longer available. That’s a great way to lose out on sales if the site is an eCommerce or business-related platform.
Although some transitions can happen without visitors or customers realizing the change, prior warning can alleviate anxiety from guests. Perhaps providing an alternate contact page or email address can help keep visitors from missing out on the website after it has been moved.
It all boils down to customer service and keeping visitors in the loop of major changes. It’s often the small things such as informing them of a host change that keeps them coming back to the site when all is said and done. After all, it’s these individuals who will help keep the bills paid if the site is set up for eCommerce.
Step 4: Upload the Website
Once all of the files have been prepped, it’s time to upload them. Using the same FTP program as before, files can be added to a root folder without issue. This includes importing a database providing the new host uses the same platform.
For systems like WordPress, files can be easily imported into the system. After making a few configuration changes, the website could look just like it did prior to the move.
Make sure that all files get put in correctly, this includes the database. Otherwise, a lot of information can be lost such as customer data or login information. It will do no good to upload a site that the owner or users are unable to log into.
Step 5: Change the DNS in Your Registrar
Finally, changing the DNS record with the registrar will ensure the domain is being pointed at the right hosting company. The name servers of the host will be different than the old one, and no one will be able to visit the site without it.
If the new hosting company is the registrar, then this may already be done. However, not all hosting companies act as the domain provider. For instance, a registrar company is often used as a domain host while a website hosting account is provided by a secondary company. In this case, the name server for the domain in the registrar company will need to reflect the new host. This process can take anywhere from a few minutes up to a couple of days. It’s wise to leave the old account active until the name server has been changed so visitors can still access your site.
That’s All there Is to It
When you transfer your website, it doesn’t have to be a scary event. As long as you take the process nice and easy, you could be benefiting from your new host in no time. If you’re ever unsure about getting all of the files you need, you can always ask for help. Most hosting companies will be glad to offer assistance.