The very first step in changing web hosting providers is to find one that meets all your requirements. Although you should have some experience in finding one from your last search, letís still review the main issues when choosing one. Take a good look at the disk space and bandwidth your future plan will provide you. As you web siteís bandwidth requirements may grow in time, purchase a little more than you need and take a good look at the costs of the bandwidth for exceeding your traffic quota. Also make sure that the new web hosting provider will offer you the same tools and installed software as your previous old one. Ask the technical support if the software or scripts in the offer are already installed and configured. It would be a bad experience to find out after you have completely migrated your web site that not everything is working properly just because the not all the software in the offer comes pre-installed and you should have requested its activation. All these are very important and ensure you donít have to go through this whole procedure of changing web hosts real soon in the future.
Sign up for the new hosting plan. It sounds obvious, but the thing you should look after is sign up for the new one while still having about two weeks until your old hosting plan expires. This will give you time to react if anything goes wrong during the migration of your web site and will smoothen the transition for your visitors or customers, your business enjoying as much continuity as possible.
Update your backup copy of your web site Ė you do have backups donít you? If not this is a very good place to start with. Best thing would be to have a backup copy of your web site burned onto a compact disk CD and store this CD into a safe location. Your backup will include the entire web site: files, images, directory structure, databases.
Upload your web site to the web servers of your new web hosting provider.
Now it is testing time. Most web hosting providers will offer you the possibility to preview your web site before it goes live. Use this feature to test if your web site looks good and its functionalities are all intact on your new web server.
Continue by configuring your existing e-mail accounts on the new web server. It would be a good idea to write down the new POP3 and SMTP you will be using soon.
If you havenít changed your web site design with this move, it will be a good idea to put mark the web pages on your new web server just o differentiate from the old one. In this way you will be able to tell when your DNS information is updated, which is the next step of migrating your web site.
Itís time to change your name server. As anxious you might be to transfer, it would be a very good thing to announce your visitors and customers about the imminent change of web hosting providers you are making and to apologize for any possible inconveniences of downtime your web site might encounter. I donít need to tell you how important this announcement is for the overall image of your web business.
Now you can announce your registrar to change your DNS information, or if you can change it yourself, go ahead and do it.
All you have to do now is wait for the DNS information to propagate across all the DNS servers. This entire process could take as much as 72 hours to complete, but it is possible to start seeing the first results after a couple of hours.
Final step would be to update the e-mail client you are using to match the new POP3 and SMTP settings.
You have successfully changed your web hosting provider. Good luck with the new one!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Calin Indre is editor at HostPinPin (http://www.hostpinpin.com), a Cheap Web Hosting Directory Resource.
HostPinPin.com is a resource for webmasters and consumers looking to find a web hosting company. Providing web hosting reviews, compare hosting plans, web hosting articles, tips and more.