A step-by-step guide for how to change website hosting
There are many articles and guides online they claim to teach you how to change web hosting providers without experiencing site downtime. However, many of these guides do not provide a clear outline of the steps involved in changing web hosts. The following is a step-by-step guide for changing web hosts, while minimizing site downtime, preventing data loss, and finding the best quality service for your money.(1)
Find a Suitable Web Host
The first step in changing web hosting providers is finding a hosting company that offers a selection of services that can accommodate your needs and requirements as a webmaster. It is especially important to review the terms and conditions governing the hosting plan in relation to transferring domain names from one web host to another, as some hosts charge domain transferring fees. If you are unhappy with your current web host for a particular reason, it is best to inquire with any prospective host to avoid similar problems in the future.(2)
After narrowing your list of prospective web hosts, you’ll need to gain a thorough understanding of the hosting transfer process. During the hosting transfer, the data from one web server is transferred to another, thereby causing the websites to be hosted on the new hosting provider’s servers. However, it is possible for data loss to occur during the transfer process if server backups are not created beforehand. Fortunately, within the control panel of your web hosting account you should be able to complete server backups on a scheduled basis, which can quickly and easily be restored within the control panel of your new hosting account.(3)
Transferring Server Data
After you’ve found a suitable web host and created backups of your websites, there are two ways to transfer the server data to your new hosting account – you can utilize FTP (file transfer protocol) client’s to securely transfer the files from one server to another directly, or you can restore the server backup file that you exported from your previous hosting plan. Both methods are equally effective and ultimately accomplish the same goal, however the FTP method may need to be used if the backup module of the control panel offered within the new hosting account is not compatible with your created backup.
Adjusting Domain Registrar Account Settings
After you’ve restored or transferred the data to your new web server, the final step is to adjust the domain settings for each of your websites within the registrar account. To do this you’ll simply need to point the domains to the DNS (domain name system) servers of your new hosting provider, which will be given to you within the control panel of your new hosting plan when you attempt to associate a domain with the account. If your new hosting account includes two IP addresses and allows you to install DNS software on the server root, you may even be able to create your own custom name servers to be used for your websites.