Changing your web hosting provider can be a very stressful and confusing process without the proper guidance. Most people simply rely upon their web hosting support staff to walk them through the process; however, there is always the chance that the support staff member may miss a step or cause you to lose crucial site data. As the old saying goes “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”
One of the most common problems that occurs during a web hosting transfer is site downtime. When you transfer your web site from one web server to another, there is always the possibility that your site could go down during that time. The following information can help you prevent such a mishap.
Don’t Cancel Your Plan
The first mistake that many webmasters make is canceling their current web hosting plan as soon as they purchase the new one. This can cause site down time, as there may be a waiting period as the domain names are transferred to the new host’s registrar and the DNS servers are updated.
Instead of canceling your current hosting plan, let it expire on its own, or better yet, purchase an additional month to ensure complete uptime during the transfer.
Prepare the New Hosting Account
Another way to minimize site downtime is to prepare the new web hosting account for your sites. You can do this by setting up any necessary cron jobs, becoming acquainted with the new control panel, and performing any other prep tasks.
Make sure you are satisfied with your new web shot before switching your main web sites to them, as this will prevent any unnecessary additional transfers. You can test the waters of your new host by setting up a small web site and experimenting with it before the actual web hosting transfer. By doing this, you are ensuring that your web sites are being transferred to a reputable hosting provider that does not experience site downtime.
Backup All Files
Now that you have two fully functional web hosting accounts, you will need to back up all of your files as an added precaution. Use an FTP client to download all of your sites files to your hard drive. Now that you have a complete backup of your site, you can begin uploading all of the files to your new web hosting account. This means you will have your entire site uploaded to the new hosting account; however, the old hosting account will still be hosting your web site and keeping it active.
After you have verified that all of your files are backed up and all of your site links are accurate, you can then transfer your DNS servers to the new web hosting account.
By keeping both web hosting accounts active and creating a complete backup of all of your site files, you can ensure that your site experiences minimal downtime during your web hosting transfer. If you are having trouble performing any of the above steps, then you may want to contact your web hosting support staff.