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How To Switch Web Hosts?

Aug 18, 2007
Moving a website is not something that most webmasters undertake unless they have absolutely no choice. There are many details involved with relocating a website, and all of the steps have to be completed for the move to be successful... Of course, the precise details involved with moving a particular website are to some extent specific to how that particular site is structured. However, there are some aspects of website relocation that are generally true for all sites, no matter how large or small.

Keeping the basic principles of pulling of a successful website relocation can help make the process of moving your website much less tedious, and increase the likelihood of success the first time.

Make sure you are aware of how much space your website is taking up on your current web host, so that you can be certain that your new hosting arrangement includes plenty of space to comfortably house your site as it is now, as well as sufficient room for future expansion, if such is expected.

You might even want to find out what types of expansion options will be available to you down the road if you have the wonderful problem of experiencing larger than expected growth of your business. You certainly don't want to have to move again if you can help it!

When comparing the storage space you had to the storage space you are looking at moving to, verify how both the old hosting company and the new hosting company count storage space. Apples to apples comparisons between storage space on different hosting companies can be difficult, because they don't all count space in the same manner.

Some hosting providers count only the files of your actual website toward your storage allocation, while others also count the space occupied be emails or log files. Different methods of accounting for space can result in significant differences from one hosting provider to another.

It is also important to find out information regarding relevant technical differences between the old hosting provider and the new one. While your website might be able to run on both a Linux server and a Microsoft server, you need to know if you are transitioning from one type to another before you begin the process of transferring the site.

For example, if you are relocating your website from a Windows server to a Unix server, and the scripts your site uses were written with a language that is Windows based, you might to have very good luck getting them to function properly when you move your site to a Unix server. You need to be prepared for the types of issues that might arise when you move your website from one platform to another.

Before a final decision is made on where your websites new home will be, you should check to be sure that the new hosting provider will effectively support the scripts that run on your website. You are much better off if you verify this before you sign a contract, and certainly before you start moving the site.

Failing to check this out in advance is like buying a condominium, showing up with all of your stuff and your three dogs and your pet parakeet, and then finding out that pets aren't allowed in the building. You have to check out all of the relevant information out ahead of time to make the transition as soon as possible.

You also need to be aware of the different types of software that are supported by the new hosting company. If your website was created with Dreamweaver, and you are looking at a hosting site that only supports FrontPage sites, you need to keep looking.

Don't build an igloo on a Caribbean Island. Some homes just aren't right for certain climates. All hosting providers are not right for all websites. There are so many choices in web hosting providers. Ask the right questions ahead of time, and be sure that you are finding a new home that will support your website.

Not only do you have to be certain that the particular type of software your site uses is supported, you also have to check the fine print too. Make sure that the particular version of software that your site uses is supported by the new provider. Sometimes there are significant changes from one version to the next, and not all versions are downwardly or upwardly compatible.

E-mail is an important consideration for many site owners, particularly businesses. Be certain that your new hosting company can provide you with a sufficient quantity of email addresses, and that the email features that you currently use will be available with the new company. For example, if you use the autoresponder feature with your current hosting company, make sure that the new one has the same capability. Don't make assumptions that the new company will have all of the same features as the old one.

Make sure to set up your existing email accounts on the new server before actually move the domain itself. This little detail can help ensure a relatively smooth transition for your site and for all of the people at your company who are dependent on email in order to perform the functions of their jobs.

Now that the pre-move details have been ironed out, it is time to start uploading files to your new server. If you expect the new hosting provider to handle this task for you, hopefully you asked ahead of time. Some hosting companies provide this service, others do not. Some companies that do provide this service charge a fee. Again, when its time to move, it's too late to ask. Do your homework ahead of time.

Don't cancel your old hosting account immediately. It may take a little while to make sure the transition went smoothly. Once the files have been uploaded to the new server, you are going to have to verify that everything transferred properly, and that it looks and works the way it should. When any tweaks have been made, then it is time to change your nameserver information with your domain name registrar.

Once you do this, your site will go live online within a couple of days. When you are sure everything is running smoothly in real time, then you can cancel your old contract and consider yourself moved in to your new home!
About the Author
Noah Mander invites you to www.webhostingshark.com, the top web hosting resource featuring a directory, consumer reviews, ratings, uptime reports, articles, host search, guides, interviews, news and much more to find your right web hosting plan.
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