Choosing a hosting plan is a vital decision to make when establishing a web presence for your passion project website, small business, or e-commerce site. Your choice of web host also plays a crucial role in the success of your website in achieving your online goals. Being stuck with the wrong hosting plan or web host could affect your ability to expand and meet the needs of your user base.
Decisive factors to put into consideration when picking a web hosting provider could be the availability of scalable hosting plans, excellent uptime to ensure your website stays up and running, or reliable technical support to meet the growing needs of your website. So if you are experiencing poor performance, technical issues, or your website has outgrown the current hosting plan and your web host does not have the hosting plan you want to upgrade to, then it might be time for a change.
Typically, when migrating a website, you will move all your files and databases from one host to another. However, most people are not sure about the procedure for moving your website and domain name to a new web host, which might lead to them following a wrong protocol that may fail and lead to loss of valuable data.
Follow these straightforward steps to migrate your website;
How to change your web host
- Create an account with your new hosting provider. The first step is to purchase a hosting plan in the web hosting company of your choice. You need to initiate the hosting transfer process before terminating your old hosting account. Cancelling your existing web hosting plan without activating the protocols for files transfer in a new web host could lead to loss of access to your old account, which means you will not have access to your website files.
- Back up all your files. For a smooth transfer of the hosting account without losing content, you need to create a backup of the existing content, including website files and emails. Ensure you download all the files in your hosting account via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and back up any databases present in your account to avoid starting a new website from scratch. Then download the backup in the control panel, using the ‘cPanel’s Backup’ to make it easy to retrieve the files and move them to the new host.Depending on the amount of data in your account, this can be a time-consuming process, so the earlier you start it, the better. We can assist in the backup creation if you are currently using a control panel that has the ‘Backup Wizard.’ We also help migrate your website files if you are using cPanel. If you are not using cPanel, you will be required to do the backup from your end and upload the content to our servers after your hosting is activated.
- Transfer your files to your new account. After your new hosting account is active, you can now upload your backup files to the new account using the ‘Backup Restore’ feature in your control panel. Ensure you do this before your account at your hosting company expires to give your new hosting provider ample time to transfer all the files.
- Create mail accounts. Ideally, you should create email accounts with your new hosting provider before pointing the Domain Name Server (DNS) to the new host to avoid losing your emails after the domain servers are changed. The transfer process can take any amount of time, from hours to days, so creating mail accounts beforehand prevents the loss of important emails.
- Change Domain Name Servers. After an account is created in your new web host and all the data transferred, the last step is to change domain name servers. Contact your new host to provide you with their DNS settings and proceed to change the DNS addresses with the registrar where your domain name is registered. You will then have to wait for the propagation process, which takes about 12-24 hours for the changes to take effect for your site to load from your new host.
- Cancel your old account. After completing the process and your website is loading from your new web host, it’s now safe to terminate your account at your previous hosting provider.
How to transfer your domain name
After migrating your website, you can also opt to transfer your domain name to make it easy to manage both hosting and domain from one account. For this, you will need to meet the minimal requirements for transferring a domain name. Your domain name must be active, and you need to have an account at your new registrar.
Follow these steps to transfer your domain name successfully to a different registrar;
- Initiate domain transfer at your new registrar. You should create an account with your new registrar and initiate the process of the domain transfer. If your domain is about to expire, you can opt to pay a yearly registration fee at your new registrar. Since it takes approximately 7-10 working days to transfer a domain successfully, it’s advisable to start the process before the domain’s expiration date. Waiting till the last minute might cause the domain transfer to fail.
- Update your name servers. If you are migrating your hosting too, you need to make sure that the name servers are updated to point to your newly-migrated website.
- Get Your Authorization Code (EPP Code). Get your current registrar to unlock the domain name. Usually, a domain name is locked to protect against unauthorized changes. Then have the current registrar issue you with an EPP code. The authorization code is required by your new registrar to ensure that the person initiating the transfer is the owner of a domain to prevent unauthorized or fraudulent domain transfers. We will use the code to transfer the domain name to us.
- Disable Whois Domain Privacy. Ensure you disable the domain privacy feature at the current registrar so that the new registrar can confirm that you are the owner of the domain name.
- Verify the Domain transfer. Ensure you have access to the administrator email address of the domain, and the domain contact information is updated. During the transfer process, the admin email address receives all emails regarding the transfer. Access to this email address will make it easy to go through the domain verification process, which is a crucial stage when transferring a domain name. You will then need to approve the domain transfer by clicking on a link sent to the admin email.
After completing these steps, it will take approximately 5-7 days for certain TLDs to transfer to us, while some it is immediately. Our team can advise on the same. However, if there are any issues in the domain transfer process, it might take a little longer to resolve.
Transferring your hosting and domain name from one web host to another doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Using the right protocols, you should be able to do it successfully without experiencing much downtime. Whether you need help migrating your website, domain name, or are looking for hosting plans, you can get in touch with us for expert advice.