Many website owners feel locked into the one web host, when in reality it's not that hard to transfer web hosting companies.
Website owners transfer hosting for a variety of reasons including:
- Poor service and after sales support
- Technical issues / website downtime
- Price / feature changes
Here's a quick guide to transferring your hosting.
Methods of Transfer
Depending on your current web hosting configuration, there are couple of options available to transfer hosting.
1. Control Panel to Control Panel Transfer
Many modern hosting control panels provide the user (or web host) with tools to automatically transfer in a complete snapshot of the current hosting account.
Control panels such as cPanel support transferring a variety of 3rd party panels including Plesk, Ensim & more.
This is usually the preferred method as it will also normally include the transfer of email accounts, databases, web files & general configs. This option usually results in little to no downtime.
2. Manual Transfer
Manually transferring your web hosting is a little more complex; the easiest way is to first make a list of everything you need to transfer and check it off as your transfer each component.
You will need to transfer and configure things such as:
- Databases (users + DB's)
- Email accounts
- Website files
- DNS entries
Reduce Transfer Downtime
You can reduce downtime during the transfer with a few simple preparations beforehand.
Reduce your DNS TTL
DNS usually has a fairly long time to live, which means after the change it may take some time for users / ISPs cache to expire and for them to see the correct server.
You can speed this up by lowering the TTL on your current DNS entries before transferring. This keeps any DNS caching to a minimum. Try to lower the DNS TTL at least 24 - 48 hours prior to transfer.
Pre upload / configure
Before changing DNS it's a good idea to upload your website files, databases and adjust any script configs on the new host. Then when you make the DNS change everything will already be up and running.
Pre-create your email accounts to ensure there are no missed emails during the transfer. Then all that's left is to reconfigure your email clients once the DNS change has updated.
Plan your transfer
Plan to transfer your website & hosting outside of busy website hours. You will reduce any data sync issues and limit the overall impact to your website & email.
You can also use this time to notify your visitors / clients to minimise any business impact. Often an onsite message a few days before hand will suffice.
Find the right web host
Once you find the right web host transferring your web hosting will be a thing of the past. Its entirely possible to have the one web host for many many years.
Don't let pricing be the deciding factor when selecting a new web host; you will usually find a more reliable, stable service for a few dollars more.