Switching Web Hosting Companies

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Migrating to a new hosting company used to be a complicated affair forcing your website to go offline for an indeterminable time. Today though most web hosting companies offer a simple domain transfer between providers ensuring  that your website has little to no downtime and many times they’ll include a free transfer with the purchase of a hosting account. 

Steps for an Easy Transition

1) Backing up your files: It’s important to make sure that you have a backup copy of all of your files related to your website before you purchase a new account somewhere else.  Your current control panel should have a feature allowing you to backup your files, but it’s also a good idea to have an additional copy outside of your current hosting account. There are a few free services such as Filezilla FTP which will do this for you.

2) Finding a new host: Browse hosting companies and purchase a new hosting account. Since you’ll need a transfer, you may want to consider a hosting company that offers a free transfer service. Some companies will transfer your files, domain, scripts, and databases for free, while others will charge you a small amount for this service or they may require you to do this on your own.

Make sure you back up your files before closing transferring the HTML files to a new hosting account

3) Transferring Files: After you’ve purchased a new hosting account, you’ll be able to transfer your files. Most hosting companies make this easy by having a utility function available in their control panel for transferring your domain and files. If you’re using cPanel, one of the most common control panels, you can use their File Manager to upload or move files to your new account. You can also do this by uploading your files directly from your old account to your new one using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) or you can upload the files that you backed up directly to your new hosting using either File Manager or a free FTP client. For more information on how to use these services directly, refer to our Webhosting Guide for Beginners.

4) Updating domain/DNS info- In order to connect your domain to your new hosting, you have to point your DNS to your new host. You can do this by going to your original domain registrar and within the settings add your new DNS. You should have received this information from your new hosting company. If they didn’t already give you this information in a welcome email, you can easily find this out from customer support. It can take a couple hours or up to a 48 hours for the domain to be connected to your new hosting.

5) Cancelling old plan: Your old web hosting provider should offer specific details about how to cancel your account. For example, they may require that you email them with your information or you may have to fill out a form with your email, domain, username & password for your control panel. Follow the appropriate steps asked of from your hosting provider to effectively cancel your plan.

What you should understand is that switching companies is easy, you just need to purchase a new account and then cancel your old service.

What you should understand is that switching companies is easy, you just need to purchase a new account and then cancel your old service. The only slightly complication is having to transfer your files from your old account to your new one, and even now that has become much simpler since your hosting company will often assist you with transferring your domain and files. The hosting company itself should have a detailed description of their transfer policies including the most efficient option for transferring files. If they don’t, you should contact customer service for more information.  

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