I once changed hosts. I simply had run out of space. My site was small, maybe 5-7 pages but my host only allowed 15 MB and I wanted to add a blog. I had about 2 readers at the time, including my mom. Moving my site was clumsy, but not a huge deal.
You may be thinking about moving your site. Maybe you need more space. Maybe you have experienced down time.
If your site is small it may be easy. But if your site is large it may be a bit trickier to do. Here’s the basic process:
- The first thing is that you don’t want to lose any important incoming emails in the process. Set up a dummy email address such as a Yahoo address or Gmail one. Then change the email address to the new one on everything that’s out there.
- Next you are going to set up your new host and purchase a dummy domain name. This domain will be for working in so you can name it anything you want.
- Now you are going to back up all your files and databases to an online file storage program. If you have a lot of sites to move or you have a very large site you can overload your server causing your host to shut you down. You can notify your old host that you are planning to back up your files and ask them when the best time to do it is, or ask them how many files can you back up at a time and do it over the course of several days.
- Ask the new host to do the file transfer for you from the old host to the dummy domain name. Especially if you have to move a database. If they don’t do that, then you will have to move the files yourself.
- Test everything, all pages, all links. Make sure they all work properly on the new host.
- When all pages are working properly, change the DNS (name servers) and wait for them to propogate. This may take a day to two weeks. You may experience down time. This cannot be helped.
- Once the domain name has propogated, move the files from the dummy domain name to the correct domain name.
- Send out the new email address (which is really the old email address) to everyone you notified in the beginning of this process.
- Wait two weeks before you cancel the old host just to be sure.