7 Things You Need To Know When Changing Web Hosts

by John Lenaghan

As the popularity of your website grows, you might get to a point where you need to change web hosts. If your current host can't offer a higher level of service and scalability, it's probably time to change.

Changing hosts should not be done hastily - make sure you plan the switch fully. The first step of course is to choose your new hosting company. Beyond that, there are some technical issues to consider.

First, make sure you do a complete backup of all your website's data. This backup should be a complete image of the website - directories and all - to make uploading it to your new host as simple as possible.

On the other hand, if your website has grown in bits and pieces and is not well structured and laid out, this is a good time to tidy it up. Depending on the complexity, this might mean having a professional redesign the site for you.

Managing the Change

After setting up your site on the new host, it can take up to 48 hours for the change to migrate throughout the internet.

For the first 48 hours, you should use a redirect page on your old host that will forward people to the new one. After 48 hours (and sometimes sooner) the new IP address for your site will have spread to all the DNS servers on the internet so your visitors will be sent to the new site automatically.

These 7 tips will help make the change go smoothly:

  • Determine what operating system you'll be using on the new host ahead of time. Make sure that the new server's operating system will be compatible with the way your website is set up.

  • Ensure that your new server has sufficient storage for your site and that it can be increased as your site grows.

  • Check to see if your new host offers extra services like autoresonders and email forwarding. This isn't critical, but they may be services that you will want to add down the road.

  • If you use Microsoft Frontpage to manage your website, make sure your new host supports it.

  • Ensure that your new web host can release additional bandwidth to you if you get traffic spikes on your site.

  • If you are hosting your site on a shared server, be sure the server doesn't have any adult sites on it. These sites can take up a lot of system resources, slowing your site's response, and they can sometimes cause servers to become "blacklisted".

  • Check reviews and customer feedback for your new host before signing up. Make sure their customers are happy and their services garner positive reviews.

After you upload your website to your new server, test it fully before going live. Make sure everything works the way it should before redirecting your old site to the new one.

About the Author
John Lenaghan writes about the best web hosting plans for various types of websites, and other website hosting topics on the Hosting Report website. Find out more at http://www.hostingreport.org


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