How does one go about transferring a website without experiencing all kinds of problems? In reality, it can be exceptionally easy to transfer your website as long you go into the process with eyes open. One of the most important things to consider is that patience will be a necessity.
Moving a website isn’t necessarily difficult. In the grand scheme of things, it’s more time consuming than anything. As long as the website owner keeps in mind the following keys, the transition can be flawless.
Choosing the Right Hosting Account
Before transferring a site, make sure that the right hosting account is selected. Not all account types are created equal, and many hosting providers do not offer the same tools. For instance, some additions to the website may require a certain version of PHP running on the server. Does the new host deliver that version of PHP?
Moving to a new host is more than just finding more web space or higher bandwidth. What if the new host only offers five email addresses and there are more than 20 connected to the website? It’s features like these which will play a part in choosing the best hosting account before the move.
Select a host that will accommodate all of the requirements of the website and not just because they are cheaper every month. Otherwise, the site could become lacking and functioning improperly due to incompatibilities such as space constraints, low-bandwidth or outdated software.
Copying the Sites Files
The first stage of moving the website to a new host is copying the files. Using FTP programs such as FileZilla is a free way of getting those files from the old host and onto the new one. However, more can be done than just simple download and uploads.
Downloading the files to a local computer provides a backup copy of the website. Instead of simply moving data from one host to another, the copy of the files is beneficial in the event something goes wrong. Although everyone hopes for a smooth transition, never underestimate the random element.
One method that can help create redundant copies of the site is by using services such as Dropbox. These Cloud-based applications can be installed on a local computer complete with its own folder. Anything placed into this folder on the local computer will be instantly saved online. If FileZilla is set to save the website to this particular folder, a copy is created on the computer as well as simultaneously stored on the Internet.
Using Backup Plugins
File transfer protocol isn’t the only way to create a backup of a website before moving it. Content management systems such as WordPress and Joomla can be equipped with plugins and modules that create backup files as well. In most cases, these backups are saved into a ZIP archive keeping them safe. In some instances, they can also be password protected.
Some backup additions to CMS platforms can also save directly to Cloud storage systems such as Dropbox or Google Drive. These plugins and modules are installed in the CMS quickly, and many of them offer free services.
Files are not the only things that need to be copied. There may be databases tied to the functionality of the website. As a result, these need to be copied as well. Luckily, downloading the database is as easy as exporting it to the computer system through phpMyAdmin. This program accesses MySQL giving the website owner the ability to export the database to the computer system.
If WordPress or Joomla are used, most backup plugins or modules come with the ability to save databases. This is a time saver as it is done automatically from the CMS admin panel.
Keeping the Old Site Live, Temporarily
When it’s time to transfer your website, it’s wise to keep the old hosting account live until the new site has been fully verified as being copied. Because there is a risk to losing data permanently once a hosting account is deactivated, this could pose a problem if the new site doesn’t have all of its files.
A lot of data is connected to any given domain. This is especially true if the website has been live for a considerable amount of time. Here are a few things that need to be checked before deactivating the old hosting account:
- Verifying all files and databases are copied over.
- Verifying any and all subdomains that may exist are on the new server.
- Transferring email accounts as well as any important messages that are stored.
One aspect that gets overlooked is that of email accounts. Depending on the activity of the users, these databases can be exceptionally large. However, there may be vital information stored that needs to be copied. Keeping the old hosting account active gives owners the opportunity and time needed to make sure these messages are saved.
Keeping the old host account activate also provides a redundant copy of the site should something be wrong on the new server. Perhaps images are missing or something is configured incorrectly. Aiming visitors back to the old host allows the owner to troubleshoot the new server without losing traffic or rank in search engines.
Wait Until the End to Switch Name Servers
The name servers are how guests access the website. Essentially, it’s a digital address of where the site is stored in the cyber world. Switching to the new name servers too soon can result in losing traffic, especially if the site hasn’t been completely copied over.
While it can take up to 48 hours for the servers to make the change, it can happen in mere minutes. Don’t assume that changing the servers gives two days to copy files. In reality, switching name servers should be one of the very last things done when moving a website. This will prevent visitors and search engines from stumbling across a site that isn’t ready for access.
Don’t assume that it’s too difficult to transfer your website. As long as all the files and proper configurations have been made, visitors may not even realize the site has a new home. It can be a seamless process, and it doesn’t require a great deal of technical expertise.
Republished by Imagincreation