June 12, 2012 | By:

Moving Your Site to a New Host

Moving Your Site to a New Host: Why You Want an Expert

Moving a website from one host (a service like GoDaddy or Network Solutions, which provides a server that houses your website) to another can range from completely painless to an unmitigated disaster. It’s hard to tell whether your move will be simple or not, so it’s best to consult an expert web team first, and maybe even have them manage the move.

Here’s a rough idea of what happens when you move your site:

1. Back it Up!

Your entire website, including all of its files and databases, should be backed up…as in downloaded to a computer hard drive and stored offline. This is probably the easiest step!

2. Upload Data to the New Host

Before you even consider changing your domain name’s settings to point to your new host, you need to get the entire website- files AND database! The database part is where people tend to get stumped, because it has no obvious file structure, and messing with it involves some familiarity with phpMyAdmin or other database programs. It’s vitally important, however, because if you use a content management system (CMS; like WordPress), this database contains all of the content on your website: blog posts, user accounts, etc.

3. Check For Problems

You should make sure that your content management system is up-to-date, along with any plugins you may have installed on the site. After everything’s updated, you’ll want to check and make sure the site still works as it should. It’s best to test every link as well, just in case something changed in the transition. Finally, if you have an SSL certificate (used for transmitting secure data, like credit card information), you’ll need to transfer it to the new host.

4. Transition the Domain

Once all of the above is done and you’re very confident that everything will work as it should, you can change the DNS information for your domain to point to your new host. It can take up to 24 hours for this information to propagate so that everyone around the world sees the site at the new host instead of the old one, though some people may see the change within an hour or two.

5. Troubleshoot!

As soon as you’re seeing the site on the new host, you must check to make sure that everything is in good working order. If all of the above steps went well, it may be…but it’s very easy to let a small piece of the puzzle slip through the cracks, and suddenly your website is completely broken.

Web development is tricky. Content management systems and the easy CMS installation many hosts offer makes getting started much easier, but if you’re moving hosts or doing anything complex, the best way to prevent unnecessary downtime or a broken website is to let web professionals handle it.

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