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A Step-By-Step Guide to Changing Web Hosts

Changing hosting services? Unhappy with your current host? Looking for that perfect host? As a developer, you should know the essentials. Read this step-by-step guide to learn more before moving your website to a new server.

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By: HostVoice.net
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November 04, 2003
  1. · A Step-By-Step Guide to Changing Web Hosts
  2. · Backup, Backup, Backup
  3. · Gathering the Odds
  4. · Finalizing

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A Step-By-Step Guide to Changing Web Hosts - Finalizing
(Page 4 of 4 )

Inform Your Visitors

It is common and good practice to inform your visitors and customers of the server move. If you run an e-store, this helps assure your customers you have not fled with their money if there is any downtime. Also give an alternate email so you donít lose emails in the transfer. You might also want to give periodic updates prior, during (if there is downtime), and after. If your site is large, doing this is helpful because your visitors can alert you whenever there is a section of the site that is not working.

Moving Day

Try to schedule the move at a time where thereís the least amount of traffic. Perform a backup again just before you do the move, so youíll have the latest data. Start by first copying or creating your custom error pages onto the new host server. Put a small note in there about the move. You can always remove it later. Then, upload the most visible parts of the site first i.e the main pages then move on to the less critical parts of the site. If you have a large site with many divisions you might want to split them across different days and instead move the least critical first. Just ensure you always do a backup before you do any moving. Use the temporary URL to check your site, visiting as many pages as you can.

Changing DNS

Once youíre satisfied, change your DNS over. This typically takes about 24-48 hours so you have time to make some minor changes if need be. You might want to also take this time to modify your old siteís error pages to inform your visitors of the move and give a new URL if there are URL changes. To help you determine if the DNS has resolved, make a small change on the new pages to differentiate between the old and the new.


After youíve moved and the DNS have resolved, do not release your old hosting account yet. Keep it as long as two weeks running concurrently. Go back and check the old servers for activity. Check your old email account and if you have a web based contact method on the old server check to see if any communication is left there. Once youíre comfortable all email and traffic is correctly directed to the new host server, you can cancel that account.

DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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