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Checklist Before You Migrate Your Website To A New Host


Deciding to leave your current hosting provider in favor of one that better corresponds your needs is a difficult decision. Though, modern technologies made it extremely easy to move a website from one host to another host, yet, no matter how fast or more comfortable the transfer is, most of the users may encounter some downtime during the transfer process.

Depending on the website and hosting services, it may take 12 to 72 hours to complete the migration from old hosting to new hosting and set it live. However, the thing is, it is relatively conventional for a small business to move its company website to a different web host.

Because many small businesses start out with the least expensive hosting server that meets their needs. When their company grows, and its website becomes more complicated, owners may find it beneficial to migrate the website to a new server to obtain faster speeds or better customer support to help them out.

There are, however, some pretty essential methods to circumvent the fall when migrating a website to a new host server. These tips are comparatively easy if the administrator has a general perception of cPanel, IP addresses FTP login which will help them to backup existing information, media before the DNS is altered and transferred to the new host.

Below is the checklist to successfully move your website from old host to a new host with little or no trouble:

  • Sketch the migration

Once you have selected a new host, take your time to know the new environment and think through the migration process. Sketching the complete procedure in your mind is the first step to migrate your existing website to a new web host. Most of the hosting process is distributed with MySQL (for the database) and cPanel control panel (for storing the website and media files) on a Linux server. Think through the methods that will need follow to move and reassemble your new hosting account.  Most of the time, the process may look like this:

  1. Log in to your existing site as admin and copy/backup the website files and database.
  2. Log in to your new hosting and upload/restore the website files and database.
  3. Test your site on the new server.
  4. Point the domain to your new host's name servers.
  5. Make sure that the new name server configuration has propagated throughout the DNS system.
  6. Close your old hosting account.


Backup existing website and database:

Your primary goal is to copy everything from your old website data, so that your consumers cannot guess if something happened behind the scene. You should be more careful about the folder structures of the current website.

Make sure you do not mess with the folder and files. Backup the files exactly as they are and upload them to the new account without modifying them. The database is more sensitive than the website files, as it has different providers and commands such as MySQL database, Maria DB, Oracle database, etc.

To backup your website files using FileZilla FTP server:

?      Open FileZilla, and connect to your old hosting account using FTP and locate your website files.

?      Drag all of your website files into a new folder on your computer and wait for them to finish downloading.

?      Open the containing folders and verify that the files downloaded as you intended. If all is well, close the FTP connection.


To backup your website database:

?      If your website has new MySQL database, open phpMyAdmin and navigates the 'export.' tab and click to 'Go' to backup the existing database.


Upload website files and database to the new hosting account:

If you have successfully backed up old website data to your computer, it is time to go for the migration. To set up your site on the new hosting account here are 4 steps you must follow:

  • Upload website files into the new host

To upload website files into the new host, sign in to your new hosting account and click on FTP accounts. The most critical thing is to keep the same directory structure when uploading your website files, or it will not work correctly. For example, if your website were located on the public_htmlfolder, then upload your files from desktop to the same folder on your web host using FileZilla.

  • Modify the files from the new web host to reflect the new database and credential

To modify your website files, you need to understand the fundamental about the database files. Because you need to modify the files for only one reason, and that is to connect to the database. You need to modify the configuration file to add database name, version, account, port, user, etc. For most popular CMS, like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal you need to modify and save the "wp_config.php," "configuration.php," and "settings.php" files.

  • Set up the new database on your new hosting account

To set up a new database, log in to your new host and head back to the new hosting account cPanel. In that window, you will need to enter a name for the new database. Choose the name which you used on your modified configuration files and create user and password for the database. Select the "ALL PRIVILEGES" checkbox, and click Next Step which will display the success message of creating the database.

  • Import existing database

To import existing database which you already exported from your old website, select the database you just created and go to "import" option. Choose the file from your desktop and import the file with default settings. After a while, a message will let you know that the import process was successful.

Test your site and go live:

When you are done with the above steps, go to the Addon Domain option to create a new domain and use the URL where you want the website to be found. For the document root, use the folder where you have uploaded your website files. Then, visit the URL from a different browser. If everything looks great, publish your website. Congratulations! You have successfully migrated your website from old host to a new host.

Now, you can cancel the old hosting account as your website is now live on the new hosting account. Moving from old hosting provider to a new host may be a bit confusing. However, now that you know the tracks necessary to navigate this migration successfully, you are ready to make an informed decision about how to proceed.

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Catherrine Garcia

Catherrine Garcia is an experienced Web Developer and a passionate blogger. She loves to share her knowledge through articles on web development and WordPress related topics.

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