Switching from one hosting provider to the other is the most tedious task for most of the webmasters.But there are certain points that one must bear in mind to make the movement simpler and smoother.There maybe many reasons to move to another web hosting service provider, namely the resources offered by the host may start falling short of what is required for your website to function smoothly. Following few simple yet important can prove helpful.
Probably getting your data backed up is one of the most important and the first thing that one must do.It is always advised that users take back-ups of the data on a regular basis onto local machines or remote back-up servers to avoid any loss of any mission critical data. Its always a safe option to keep the back up onto both the locations.
There are occasions when you have already paid for a hosting package with some of the hosting providers and you realize that they offer a different control panel onto which your back-up file cannot be automatically restored.In such cases, you need to manually upload your back up files onto your new server as the back up format isn’t compatible with the control panel. There is a possibility that there is a different directory structure, this makes the data restoration little messy. It is equally important that you are aware of the previous server configuration. This proves to be useful when making changes to the new server configuration.
It is also suggested that you take the back-up of the server logs as well. You may opt to use a log analyzer on your computer to take reference later.
Important things to remember:
a) A Good FTP program
b) Its important to know your new hosts DNS.
c) Get the temporary URL on your new host so you can check your site before you make a DNS change.
d) If you have a domain control panel the domain registrar must be informed with the new DNS.It is advised that you make the correct changes of the name servers.
e) If you run scripts:
– Get a copy of the original installation guide and the script. Sometimes after moving the scripts, they do not work right so you might need to install the script from scratch.
– Get a list of all the server paths such as Perl, Sent mail and home directory on your new server.
– If your script needs special server modules or programs ensure they are installed. Even though these might be covered before you ordered the account with the host but sometimes your host has removed it or haven’t installed it yet.
Its Important to Keep the Visitors Informed.
Most users are either unaware or overlook the need to keep the visitor to the website/s informed about the migration.This steps adds to the transparency and trust rank towards your website/s. You must inform the users about the possible downtime of the website well inadvance.This way the users are well aware of why the website/s is/are not working. You may also inform them about the approximate period for the website to be down. It is equally important to provide an alternate E-mail address, just incase someone from your user or customer list wishes to contact you.
Disclosure of the Schedule of the Migration.
It is a good practise to disclose the schedule of the movement. It is advised that you initiate the migration when there is least traffic to your website/s. Before the migration is about to begin it is advisable to take a data back-up once again. If the migration is supposed to take longer time, it is advised to split the schedule into different parts.While doing so remember that the website should stay fully functional onto your previous server.
Changes in the DNS (Domain Name Server)
Once the migration is completed successfully and all your data has been restored onto the new server/s, its time to change the DNS settings. It usually takes 24-48 hours for the DNS to resolve from the new server. Once you are rest assured that the website is operating smoothly from the new server, you may discontinue the services of the old host. To be on a safer side, you may keep the site active on both the old server as well as the server you’ve leased from the new web hosting provider.