Are you thinking about changing web hosts but you’re thinking it’s too complicated to do or you’re too worried out about possible downtime when making the switch? Then this post might interest and help you.
Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to switch to a new web host, with no downtime.
If you aren’t happy with your current web hosts, if you’re paying too much, the service isn’t reliable, or whatever other reason – it’s time to switch web hosts. It’s a straightforward thing to do!
Most web hosts can do it for you, for free even
Most web hosts out there can help you out, so it’s worth reaching out and ask if they can do the website migration for you. Some will do it for free (e.g. HostGator.com & GreenGeeks.com (offer an extra 20% OFF if you’re switching from a competitor!), while others will charge you for it (e.g. Bluehost.com).
If you want to switch web hosts yourself, don’t worry it’s a straightforward process. Let’s jump straight into how to do it!
Sign up with your “new” web host (but don’t cancel your “old” web host)
Sign up with the new web hosting company you have decided to go with. Now this is important. Don’t cancel the old hosting service just yet, don’t cancel until your site has fully migrated and the DNS has propagated (more about this later).
Copy your website from “old” web host onto “new” web host
Backup and download your website files (.html, .php, .jpg, .gif, .png, etc) from your “old” web host to your desktop. You can use FTP to do this. If your website uses databases, you’ll want to obtain a backup of your databases and download them to your desktop computer. If your site is on WordPress here is a detailed guide and you have an array of backup plugins to make your life easy.
Now upload your copied website, its files and databases, and upload everything onto your “new” web host. Now is also a good time to create the email accounts on your new web host. Remember to update your email settings in your email client (Gmail, Outlook etc) as well.
Cut over the DNS to point to your “new” web host
Now you should have a carbon-copy of your website on your “new” host server. Now it’s time to switch your website DNS/nameserver record to the “new” web hosts servers at your domain name registrar.
Name servers connect your domain name to your web host server. Name servers (DNS) are managed from where you registered your domain name. Here’s how to change nameservers if your domain name is with Namecheap.com or GoDaddy.com.
Pro Tip: If you want to speed up the DNS update and have the option of changing TTL values, you can change the value of the TTL from 24 hours (86400 seconds) to 5 minutes (300 seconds).
Wait for the DNS change to propagate through, bear in mind that this can take a few hours to a day to happen. You can use this handy tool to get alerted when the DNS has propagated.
Cancel the “old” web hosting account
When the DNS has propagated through and your website is on your “new” host you can go ahead and cancel the old web hosting company. If you want play it extra safe you can wait 1 or 2 days after the DNS has updated before shutting down your site on your “old” web hosts. This is to ensure that you will not lose any organic search traffic as search engines like Google tend to update the DNS records every 24 hours.
That’s it, you have done it!