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How to move a website from one webhost to another

How to move a website from one webhost to another

Most of the time, the first webhost you sign up for, you wind up outgrowing after a year or less.  Most people purchasing webhosting don’t know what factors to look for, and even if they do, it’s difficult to tell the seedy companies from the good ones.  On top of this, any good website should bring in ever-increasing traffic, which often requires an upgrade.

When you move webhosts, it’s often challenging to understand exactly what the steps are, and what order they should be completed in.  Here’s a rough guide, that will hopefully show you have to avoid some of the pitfalls, and minimize any downtime you may have.

  1. Purchase new webhosting.  You need to have a new home for your website before you move out of the old one.  You might have to pay double rent for a month, but it’s better than being homeless for any length of time.  We recommend Bluehost, as they’re really good at adapting to your site’s growth, and provide an amazing amount of features for the price.
  2. During signup, you will want to signup as a transfer client.  You already own the domain name (something like a phone number), you just want to move where the files live.  DO NOT transfer the domain name yet, though.  this won’t happen until the end of the signup, so don’t worry.  You won’t do it by accident.
  3. One of the reasons that we recommend Bluehost is that they provide you with FTP access via IP address before you transfer your hosting.  You’ll next want to download your entire site from your old webhost.  Once you’re set up with a new host, you’ll be able to log into your control panel, where you can see your new IP address.   set up your FTP client, using that FTP address as the host.
    Site manager
  4. Once you’ve moved your site over, log into your old host’s control panel, and you can now safely point your nameservers at your new host.  if you’re using bluehost, that will be NS1.BLUEHOST.COM and NS2.BLUEHOST.COM.
    bluehost panel
  5. After those are set, you can begin the process of transferring control of the domain to your new host.  First, make sure that domain privacy and domain locking are turned off.  Disabling Domain Locking allows you to give permission for the domain to be transferred.  Disabling Domain Privacy ensures that your old host will send email to your correct email address, rather than a catch-all address.
    domain new host
  6. You may also request your domain’s authorization code at this time.
    domain's authorization code
  7. In your new control panel, go to the Domain Manager, and follow the steps to transfer a domain.  Provide the authorization code as requested, and the domain should move over gracefully.  With some hosts (your old host) you may have to further confirm that you are, indeed, transferring.  With GoDaddy, for instance, you’ll need to approve the transfer, from the domain manager:
    domains transfer

The reason for doing things in this order is that even if the domain transfer takes a long time to complete, in the interrum, your files are still being served off of your new hosting plan.  No down time, no worries 🙂

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