This is an outdated post (which I published in 2013). If you are planning to switch web host – please read this step-by-step guide instead.
Yes I know migrating from one web host to the other sounds like a hell lot of jobs to many. But when the web host can’t keep up with your hosting needs; the best thing to do is, always, say goodbye and move on to a new hosting company.
In this article, we are going to talk about the preparation jobs before the breakup. What are the things to be done before you dumb your web host?
1. Find a good web host that suits your hosting needs
“Eww, that’s a dumb statement. Of course I know that I need to find a web host before I can switch a web host!”
Isn’t far too obvious, right? The answer is No. In fact, many users who switched their web host did so little in researching their new web host.
The key is not about finding the best web host; it’s about finding a good web host that provides the necessary hosting features and scripts support. How many MySQL databases are allowed? How many addon domains are allowed? How many FTP access points are provided? Does the new web host support auto-installation for necessary scripts?
It’s important to be aware that not all hosting deals are the same and it’s (apparently) your job to filter out the good but unsuitable ones.
2. Backup everything on your website
The next to-do is to backup everything you have on your current server to a secure location. Your PC hard drive, the new web host, external hard disk… store it anywhere you like but make sure you have at least two copies of the data (yes, this includes your email address and PHP configuration files).
3. Transferring your domain name to a third party registrant
Rule#1 on how not to get screwed by your web host: You don’t register your domain together with your web host. If, unfortunately, you did register everything with your web host, transfer your domain name to a third party registrant before your web host knows that you’re dumping them. This is a crucial precaution because we do not want anything on the hands of someone that we are breaking up with!
(Sadly, some web hosts will actually impose extra cancellation fees when they are holding your domain.)
4. Let your visitors and your new web host know about your plans
First, determine when you are going to switch your web host. Preferably, pick a time when your website has the least visitors as this will minimize the negative impacts when any part of the switching process goes wrong.
Next, inform the new web host and website visitors about your plan. Why tell your new web host about the switch? To assure that immediate technical supports are available during the switch. Why tell your website visitors about the switch? To reduce negative impacts when any part of the switching process goes wrong.
5. Setup and test everything before the actual move
All the basic things such as file permissions, database connections, and application scripts should be setup and tested properly before the actual server switch. These are fundamentals and you need to get them right if you want the transferring process to be smooth.