Moving to a new web hosting company can be a challenge. Following the steps below will help you with your move, make it go more smoothly, and possibly save you from having issues.
- Purchase your new web hosting account and set up your web hosting with the new company. Most companies are more than willing to assist with this process. Your new web hosting company will also help you with the transition. It is recommended that you do not inform your old web hosting company until the final steps of the transfer and do not terminate your old web hosting account until you have confirmed that the website is installed correctly on the new web host.
- Get a backup of your old web hosting account. Gather all of your digital assets via FTP (file transfer protocol) and download all of your databases. Also, keep an additional backup in case there are any issues.
- Make the changes necessary to your website and database to facilitate the transfer to your new web host. Change anything coded with an IP address or the server path (if that has changed as well). Be very careful with this step in moving your website because your entire website and the hosting account can be wrecked in the process.
- Upload and install the new database and FTP the website on to the new web hosting server. Make sure that all of your file permissions are the same for the new web host. Again, be careful with this step in the process. Your web hosting company should be glad to assist you with the transfer.
- Check all of your website settings and view the site to make sure that the transfer to the new host was performed correctly. Your web hosting company should provide a web address that you can view your website from on the new host before you change your domain to the new web hosting account.
- If everything is correct when viewing your site on the new host, you can now change the DNS settings of your domain (website name) to the new web hosting provider. Domain propagation (the time it takes for the domain settings to take effect) can take between 4-48 hours. If you are also transferring the domain from your old hosting provider, you will need to request that the domain is unlocked and that they supply a transfer code. Transfers are usually confirmed with a couple of additional emails to the owner of the domain, and it can take anywhere from 4 hours to 5 days depending on the old web hosting provider, how the domain is being transferred, and how long it takes to provide the email confirmation. Most domain transfers are completed within a day.
- After the domain propagates (your website and control panel are now active with the new hosting company), you can now check your site to make sure that there are no errors during the transfer. If you do find any errors, you can correct those as needed until you are satisfied that the transfer is complete. It is recommended that you keep your old hosting provider for an extra week or two just to make sure that there are no issues or additional assets you need from them.