1. Backup, backup, backup
Your website is a precious possession and you do not want to lose it. You need to make a copy of your site as it is and then move it across to your new host. There are various ways of achieving this.
You can either
a) Use your favorite FTP program and copy the files from your 'old' host to a safe place on your local PC. Copy all the files and folders from your server to your local machine. This will ensure that all your files and pictures are located in the right folders.
b) You can use the built-in backup facilities of your control panel. In CPanel it is easy. For other types of control panels you will have to read the documentation or find out from your hosting provider how to do it. In CPanel, just select the Backups icon and choose the 'Download a home directory backup' link. This will create a ZIP file of all the files on your server.
If your site consists of straightforward HTML pages, a file backup is all that is required; however, if your site has dynamic content and is built on a database engine, you must backup your SQL database as well. This can also be done in two ways.
a) By selecting Download a MySQL Database Backup in the Backups option in your CPanel, or
b) By going directly into your MySQL database and running a full SQL export.
If you are not sure whether your site makes use of a database or not, you should definitely consult your webmaster or web hosting expert to do this for you.
2. Making the move consists of
a) creating an account with the new hosting providers and
b) changing the name server entries for your website. This can be done by logging into your domain registrar provider and selecting their 'Name server Setup' option. When you created the new account with the new provider, you should have received an email with the name servers that you should use. These are normally in the form ns1.nameserver.net or dns1.nameserver.net… You should have received two new name servers - enter these into the name server fields and save.
Your domain has now been set to point to the new name servers, but it takes anything between 8 and 48 hours for the actual change to take place (this is called DNS propagation).
Your account has been created, the domain is going to point to the new servers, but your files have not been uploaded.
In your welcome email from your new host, you should have received information about your FTP account, as well as how to access your Control Panel account temporarily until the DNS propagation has taken place properly. You can now either upload your files through FTP, or log into your control panel (hopefully CPanel again), and go to the 'Backups' option again. You can now restore the file backup that you made previously, and restore the MySQL backup that you've made.
Your website now basically exists in two places, on the old server as well as the new server. While the DNS propagation takes place, some visitors will see the old site, and some the new. As soon as the propagation is complete, all your visitors will see the new site.
Some points to consider:
1. If you are running a dynamic site with lots of visitor interaction (e.g. a forum) it might be wise to switch off the old site completely while the propagation takes place. You might lose some visitors to the old site, but if you don't do this you will find that visitors will still interact and post messages on the old site and these will never end up on the new one. (Remember, your backup is a snapshot in time. Anything that is posted to the old site after you have taken the backup will NOT appear on the new site)
2. Emails must also be set up on the new site. For a while you ARE going to have an interruption in the email service. It helps to change your mail server settings in your Outlook or Outlook Express to point directly to the IP address of the mail server.
3. You will lose all your logs, including all traffic logs and visitor statistics, when you move. If you are interested in retaining your log files you might or might not be able to download them to your PC and use an offline analyzer.
4. Make sure that you do the move during a low-traffic period. You should be able to see from your website statistics which periods during the week have low traffic. Remember that the move is going to take 48 hours to complete, at least.
5. Inform your customers and, visitors and web hosting company of the move.
6. Keep your old web hosting account for at least another week or two to ensure all problems are ironed out and that the DNS propagation has taken place properly.
Powered by WHMCompleteSolution