How to migrate your website and avoid downtime
Over the years it has become exceedingly easy to move a website from one host to another.
However, no matter how fast and easy the transfer goes, the average customer may experience some downtime during the process.
The transfer of DNS servers between old and new web hosts can cause a website to go dark between 12 and 24 hours after the request for such a change is submitted to the new registrar.
With the need to transfer website files and databases and configuring your new hosting, it can take up to a day of inactivity before you site is fully functional again.
There are however some top tips to avoid disaster when transferring a website to a new host.
These tricks are relatively east to do as long as the
If the average visitor is completely unaware of any changes being made behind the scenes, then the mission is a success.
If you want to make sure that your website is transferred without interruption, check out our Free Website Migration service.
1. Move first, cancel later
Do not cancel any existing web hosting plan before the move is complete.
The most common mistake is that they almost immediately contact their old host to inform them of their decision to move their services to a new company’s servers.
While it’s certainly a good idea to inform the old web host in a timely manner about future changes, doing so before the transition has been executed can result in not just downtime, but a complete loss of files and database information from the moment a cancellation is requested.
Hold off just a little longer
Web hosting companies usually cancel a plan almost immediately without waiting for the expiry of the current month’s service. This is seen as serving the consumer’s best interest, as they get an immediate and prorated refund of any remaining fees.
However, it also means that the company will remove every shred of data that has been uploaded during the time with the company. In many cases, there is no opportunity to retrieve files and move them to the new web host.
It is extremely hard to recover from this kind of downtime and potentially means a loss of all content and data.
Complete the transfer before cancelling
Once a new hosting plan has been secured, transfer all files before cancelling the existing hosting plan held by the old company. It might be a good idea to allow the website to run on the new company’s servers for a few days to ensure that nothing was overlooked during the move.
When everything has been verified as properly transitioned, only then should the old hosting plan be cancelled.
2. Download a copy of your website
Login to your current hosting provider and obtain a copy of your website files and databases.
Moving to a new web host should ensure that both the new and old hosting companies operate the same admin panel. Typically, this will be a choice between cPanel and Plesk. Here at Weave Hosting, we favour cPanel.
Aligning hosts is the easiest way to ensure that data can be quickly backed up and restored.
Locate the Backup Page
After logging into your cPanel interface, locate “Backup.” This contains tools to
Find the “Download Backups” option within this grouping, and click through to the relevant cPanel administration page.
cPanel will breaks down the available backup by types. A full-site backup and backup files specific to every subdomain within the website. The subdomain backups are generally optional since the full website backup will contain all of that information.
Customers can also secure a compressed backup of every MySQL database individually. Each database should be downloaded in its compressed format. These will be uploaded to the new server to create matching database names at a later time.
Do not Decompress!
During the download process, be sure not to decompress any of the downloaded backup files. This will be completed by the new server when the file is uploaded to the new host.
For Mac OS X users, ensure that Safari is not set to automatically open so-called “safe” file extensions after download. Doing so will ensure that the file remains uncompressed and ready for quick restoration. When all of the compressed backup files are secured, log out of the old host cPanel installation and head over to the new host’s version of the popular website administration software.
3. Making the switch
Now you can begin uploading the compressed backup files to the new hosting server.
Once you have purchased your new hosting services you will receive an email containing information such as the domain name servers, IP address and FTP account and cPanel details.
Find the details in your email and look for the relevant IP address. If a cPanel link has not been specifically included, assume that either “/
Upon logging in, locate the backup tools mentioned in Step 2 then navigate to the Backup Downloads page. Locate the file-upload box associated with the full-site backup. This will often be
Once the file has been uploaded, return to the previous page and begin the database restoration process which is an almost identical process. When all of the data is uploaded, it’s time to begin the transition process behind the scenes.
4. Ensure database is working
The database backup files do not contain information about the usernames, passwords, and permissions associated with each MySQL database. This information is entered within the MySQL Databases interface within cPanel.
You’ll need to make a note of the prefix assigned to each database within cPanel. You will need to update the database name, username and password in the configuration files of each software application which connects to that database.
All that remains is to update the settings which tell the domain where to look to fetch your website from.
5. Switching nameservers
Switching your domains nameservers may seem to be some far fetched science-fiction to many people. Essentially, the nameserers tell your domain registrar where to look for your website.
The nameservers are changed by logging into the domain registrars control panel (services like GoDaddy or 123Reg, for example). You may need to contact your registrar directly to find out how to update the nameservers for your domain.
Changes to the DNS records can sometimes take 12 to 24 hours, though
Wait for propagation
While downtime shouldn’t be an issue, you should refrain from making changes to a website’s design, or content, until you’re completely sure that the process is complete and you’re accessing the new host server.
Once the website being displayed is coming from your new
Make sure you test your website and ensure that all features are working properly; when everything is working just like it used to, then you can cancel the old hosting plan. That’s all there is to it!
We will even make sure your website is running at it’s optimum speed and make changes if it isn’t or provide you with suggestions on what you can do to improve your websites performance.
Get in touch today to talk to us about migrating your website to Weave.