In an ideal world, we would never have to worry about switching web hosts – our site would remain happily housed at the current hosting provider’s facility with great load times, low costs, and 100 percent up-time.
Unfortunately, the world is not ideal and this perfect scenario rarely – if ever – exists.
How Web Host Switching Works?
Moving your website to a new host is a bit like moving to a new home in the physical world.
Switching web host vs. moving to a new house
Think about it – when you move, you first find a new location, then sign the paperwork, pack up all of your belongings, and physically move them to the new location. If you are moving a business, after doing all of this, you finish the move off by hanging a new sign over your door to advertise your new digs.
Moving your site is something similar – only a virtual version. You shop for a new location, sign the paperwork to rent hosting space (in the account type of your choice – shared server, dedicated server, VPS, etc.), package up your site to ensure that all of your assets come with you, transfer everything to your new web host, and then point your domain to your new host by changing the DNS record; this final step is in essence hanging the sign over your new shop door.
Though it can be a process, it is completely attainable.
A Step-by-Step Walk Through: How to transfer your host from one company to another
Switching your host requires completing a series of actions in a specific order to ensure that everything transfers over properly. To move your website to a new host, complete the following steps.
1. Purchase a new web host
There are a variety of hosting providers out there, each with its own configuration. You will need to evaluate which is right for you based on a number of factors, such as cost, required space, and server configuration, to name a few. When purchasing, consider registering your domain to a third party provider so that in case you do ever need to switch hosts again, your domain can come with you more easily and without any potential complications.
2. Back up your sites to the new web host
Static files comprise any type of file that does not frequently change, automatically or via a content editor – such as in-place graphics or copy. To back up a static website, simply copy the old file structures over to the new web host.
For a dynamic site that runs on database (ie. MySQL), install the web apps to the new web host as they are currently held in the existing site; then move the database file to the new web host. In case your web application provides easy transfer functionality (as is the case in WordPress’ import/ export function), transfer all of your data files directly to the new web host. If your application does not offer any such functionality, you will need to tweak your MySQL and PHP configuration files accordingly.
Article written by: Jerry Low