People relocate their websites on the internet for a variety of reasons, such as dissatisfaction with their current hosting provider or high costs. To ensure a successful website migration, understanding the process is essential. In this article, we will go over key elements of transferring your website from one to another hosting provider.
Preparation Steps Before Moving Your Website:
Before embarking on the website transfer, a few preparatory steps should be taken. You’ll be required to complete a form providing your contact details and specifics about how you currently access your hosting. Why is this important, you may wonder? Well, the new hosting provider where you intend to move your website needs a grasp of how your existing hosting functions to determine the best approach for your site. They will need this information for these two reasons:
1. Selecting the Appropriate Pricing Plan: It helps them identify the right pricing plan that suits their website’s needs.
2. Ensuring Seamless Migration: They can determine if they can replicate your website’s functionality on their hosting, matching its performance before the move.
Once they have a better idea about your situation, they’ll discuss the conditions for the transfer. For instance, they might waive the migration fee but suggest a different pricing plan. After you agree to these conditions, they will work with you to determine the timing of the migration. From a technical perspective, the specific date is less critical because your site will remain on your old hosting until everything is prepared on the new one. What truly matters is that the timing aligns with your preferences, as a proper website migration does require some time and careful coordination.
Hold Off on Changes
When the new hosting provider initiates the transfer process, refrain from making alterations to your website, databases, or settings until the transfer is fully completed. Any modifications made during this period may not carry over since the new host won’t be aware of them.
Operation from Old Location
Throughout the migration, your website will continue to function as usual from its existing location. Visitors can still access and interact with your site without interruption.
Completion of Transfer
Even when the new hosting provider notifies you that the site transfer is finished, it doesn’t mark the end of the process. Your site remains hosted on the old server. Before making the complete transition to the new host, thoroughly test your site to ensure everything is functioning correctly. This step is crucial for a smooth transition.
Viewing the New Site
If you want to preview your website from the new hosting before the official switch, you can edit your host file. However, keep in mind that this change will only affect your viewing experience. Other visitors won’t see the site from the new hosting since they haven’t made adjustments to their host file.
During the transfer, consider placing a file on the old hosting, such as “transfer.html.” This file will serve as a notice to inform everyone that your website is in the process of being moved.
Making the Move Official
If your transferred site functions smoothly on the new host, you can proceed to update the domain’s settings to point to the new hosting provider. This involves adjusting the A-records within the domain’s zone file, which associates the domain name with the server’s location hosting the site. Your domain registrar can assist you in locating the zone file. Typically, this change takes around 4 hours to propagate and become effective.
Managing Website Migration:
To gain control over both your website and its DNS records via the new hosting panel, you must make adjustments to the DNS servers. It’s important to note that it may take up to 72 hours for the updated information to go to the DNS system. During this period, your website may not be accessible. Therefore, it’s advisable to implement these changes during periods of lower website traffic, such as weekends or late at night.
A useful tactic is to reduce the TTL (Time to Live), which determines how long information is cached for A-records and NS-records. This adjustment can expedite the DNS updates.
Once your website has been successfully relocated to the new hosting, you are free to make any necessary modifications to its functionality.
After updating the A-record and/or DNS servers in the Registrar Panel and confirming the completion of DNS updates, you can remove the corresponding entry from your host file.
In conclusion, moving a website to a new hosting provider involves several crucial steps. Understanding the process, being cautious during the transfer, and ensuring proper adjustments can lead to a successful and seamless transition.