How to Move Your Website to a New Host (Without Downtime)
Moving doesn’t have to result in downtime.
Here’s a checklist for moving day.
1. New Account Setup
Open your new hosting account and make sure you have all the passwords you need.
Normally you’ll get the details within 24 hours of making your first payment.
2. Transfer Data
If your host offers any kind of free migration service, now’s the time to open the support ticket and get the wheels in motion. It’s much easier than taking the DIY route.
If your host can’t help, the best way to move is to create a backup and restore it on your new hosting account. That’s fairly easy to do in cPanel.
If all else fails, you’ll have to do a manual transfer. Remember to grab files and databases: one won’t work without the other.
This part isn’t generally tricky, but depending on the methods and options open to you, it could be slow.
When your content is moved, you’ll need to test it all out on your new site.
Your DNS won’t have been changed, you’ll have to tell your computer to go to the new site in place of the old one. That means editing your hosts file. Obtain the IP address of your new server, edit the hosts file and your computer will be redirected to the new site in place of the old one.
Your email won’t work yet, but it’s good enough to try out the site and make sure nothing major has gone wrong.
4. Theme Change
Here’s a handy trick for a successful move.
Make a tiny change to your site on its new server. This will help you to figure out which site you’re looking at: the old one, or the brand new copy.
Once you’ve done this, edit your hosts file to remove the changes that you made.
5. DNS Changes
Log in to your domain registrar. Point the DNS servers to your new nameservers.
Copy them from the welcome email you got from your new host.
We normally allow up to a day for this change, although you may see the switchover within the hour.
Refresh your site regularly and check for that subtle change you made in step 4.
6. Close Your Old Hosting Account
Leave your old account running for a few days for safety.
Once you’re satisfied the move is done, close your old account.
As you can see, moving hosts isn’t difficult, but you do need to plan ahead.
Just do everything in order and don’t skip a step.
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