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How to Move to a New Web Host

Published on 7/21/2010 by

Even if you're content with your current web hosting company, there may come a time when you'll need to relocate to a new company, and you'll want to take your website with you. The most common reasons for changing web hosts are:

  • Your hosting company goes out of business.
  • You've outgrown your hosting company and now need a bigger plan, VPS or dedicated server.
  • You're dissatisfied with service.
  • You'd like to move to a new platform.
  • You want to try new features that your current company does not offer.

Whatever the reason for your move, you don't want to leave your data behind. Let's take a look at how to successfully move from one host to another.

Find a new host

Before you tell your old hosting company that you're leaving, find a new host. Remember to read reviews and interview potential new hosts to make sure you'll be a good fit. Once you've found a web host you're happy with, sign up for a plan. You'll immediately receive a welcome letter from your new host, but don't do anything with it just yet.

Backup your website

While your website is still on your old host's server, you'll want to backup all of your files. If your hosting company provides a control panel, such as CPanel, you can automatically backup your entire site, including email accounts, with just a few clicks of the mouse. If a control panel was not part of your hosting plan, use an FTP client to download your website to your computer.

Change your nameservers

When you registered your domain, you likely changed your nameservers to point to your current webhost. Once you're sure that your website is backed up properly, refer to the welcome letter you received from your new host to find out what your new nameservers will be. Go to your domain registrar and delete your old nameservers, replacing them with your new nameservers. Nameservers will look something like this:

ns1.mynewhost.com ns2.mynewhost.com Save the changes with your domain registrar.

Upload your site to the new host

It can take up to 72 hours for your nameserver settings to propagate or point to your new web hosting account. In the meantime, your website may sporadically appear offline. While you're waiting for propagation to complete, you can still upload your data to your new web hosting account. Refer back to the welcome letter you received from your new host. They've likely given you a temporary way to upload your website during the propagation process. Follow those instructions and upload your site manually by FTP or use the automated tool in your control panel.

Cancel your old hosting account

Once your website has propagated to the new hosting company, go back to your old web host and delete your files and if need be, cancel your account.

You're done!