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.
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.
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.
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.
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