It’s not uncommon for a webmaster to want to change a webhosting provider once in a while due to various reasons. For example, you might be unsatisfied with the services or hosting plan being offered by your current provider or perhaps in need of more web hosting resources due to a growth in your site.
In most cases, though, moving webhosting providers without having to endure downtimes is usually nightmarish for most webmasters.
So, how do you ensure the process is smooth and with no downtime? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it.
1. Find another webhost company
This is perhaps the most important step in this whole process. Before going out to look for a new provider, first evaluate your reasons behind undertaking the process in the first place.
Besides, outline a list of features you’d want your new provider to have. Having these details, you can now choose your preferred web hosting provider that promises to match your needs. You don’t want to migrate again soon after signing up with another company. If you’re unsure of the best hosting provider to go for, we’d recommend GoDaddy services. The company is not only affordable ($12 per annum) but also fast and offers a bonus free domain.
2. Test your site to see how it works on the new hosting provider
At this point, backup your current website before uploading it to the new host. A majority of hosting providers will be willing to assist whenever you’re stuck in the process. If you’re able to successfully complete this process, use the IP address provided to you by the new provider to test the website. This gives you an opportunity to make key adjustments and modifications to your site’s scripts just to be sure everything works fine. As such, you might want to visit all pages, links and images that you’ve placed on your site. This might seem a little tedious especially if your website is huge.
However, it’s such a critical process that is worth it. To test your site using the Cpanel provided by your new host, use the IP issued by your new host provider.
For example, use http(s)://100.111.222.200/~youraccount/.
3. Create new email accounts on the new host’s servers
You’ll need to re-create email accounts so that they’re featuring on your new web host. Besides, you may want to delete the old ones. If the new provider offers the catch-all feature, enable it to help you retrieve all emails sent to the non-existent accounts that you possibly forgot to re-create.
However, it will be impossible for you to test your new email accounts until the whole transfer is complete.
4. Modify the DNS servers to your domain
This process entails pointing your domain name to your new hosting provider. Luckily for you, the process is as easy as A, B, C. When signing up for any hosting services, your provider should issue you a unique DNS server for your site.
To modify your domain’s DNS server, you only need to log into your control panel and change it to that issued by your new host provider. In case you don’t have the new servers, consider contacting the support to ask for it. The support team will then issue two name servers, one being the primary while the other is your secondary server.
Usually, the process takes about two days to take effect although that duration could vary depending on how fast or slow your new server name information is synchronized across the web. During this time, your site’s visitors will still be able to access your old site without experiencing any downtime.
5. Terminate your old account
After you’ve successfully moved your name servers, you’ll receive a new mail from the new server. Your site can also be viewed from your new hosting account at this point.
However, it is imperative that you leave your old hosting account open for a few more days just to be sure that all your emails have reached you. You can give it an allowance of 3-4 days to allow you receive any email including those redirected to your old account. After this period, you can request your old host provider to close your account.
Following these steps, you can be sure that your site transfer process to a new hosting provider will be a smooth one. You’ll also not incur any business losses since there’s no downtime experienced.