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Switching web hosts

By Staff

Switching Hosts

What do you do when your current web host isn’t meeting your needs? It’s time to think about looking for one that will. It’s not unusual for businesses & consumers to search out better hosts that provide more services and technical support once their site grows and becomes more popular. Webmasters are thinking ahead and looking for hosts that can provide an effective level of scalability or technical support. 

Before you move, it's extremely important to make sure that you have copies of everything related to your site. Archive all content, including Web pages, databases and scripts. This should be done at regular intervals to prevent data loss, not just because you are switching web hosts. It should be a regular part of your maintenance routine.

Regular backups and archiving will ensure that all your data is stored and compressed in its original directories, which is very important if you want to retain the full-working integrity of your Web site when you move.  After all your website integrity should be a priority with you and it’s worth taking the extra time regularly to prevent potential disaster down the road.

Search for New Web Host

Once you have archived your site, you are now ready to go in search of new hosting services So, what should you consider when seeking a new host? First, conduct your search using an advanced search utility to make sure the companies you consider offer exactly the requirements that will fit your new requirements. Make sure that the new service that you select includes basic services that surpass the service you had with your previous provider. You don’t want the same old thing that you have currently. It would be pointless to change.

You need to seek providers that can offer you more of something that your current provider can’t give you. Maybe it is improved or increased technical support, maybe it is a service that you always wanted but don’t currently have. Whatever the reason, you need to get what you want at a price you can afford. You don’t want to rush into making a bad choice only to have to seek out another host down the road. It’s important to keep this in mind.

Found a New Host, Now What?

Now that you have found a new web host who meets your new demands effectively, you will need to follow a process to ensure that you upload your archived data successfully. When your new host account is activated you will need to do the following to ensure proper transfer of information from your current host server to your new host server.

         You will be allocated an IP number from the new hosting company.

         Upload your archived Web pages, database and scripts to the new host.

         Take time to debug and test the new site from the individual IP number. 

         Verify that all site functionality is operative.

         Transfer your domain name service (DNS) servers over from your old host to your new host. 

 Transitioning from Old to New

During this DNS transition period, the "propagation period," your Web site will be in transition by both your new and old host. As new DNS information about your Web site filters through the Internet worldwide, it will take about 1-2 weeks for the transfer to fully propagate around the Internet.  It is important during this transition period to keep your old site running in case you get visitors whose ISP's name servers haven't fully updated yet. 

You will need to check your e-mail from both hosting providers because some regions of the Internet will direct e-mail to your old host, while other regions will start sending mail to your new server during the transition.  In addition, both hosting services must operate simultaneously during this period to ensure stability of data transfer between the Web servers during the period of propagation.

Once the transition period has passed, you can cancel your account with the previous hosting company. It is extremely important to make sure to pull the plug on your old account ONLY when e-mail stops arriving from your old server.  Then the transition will be truly complete.

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