Moving Hosts

Let us face it – many times as a webmaster, you find that you have to move your hosting account from one to another for various reasons. Some hosts offer additional advantage, better servers, physical location of the DC (data center) to the targeted audience, consolidation of online assets and better value for the money – to name a few common reasons for moving hosts.

It can be quite disruptive for the uninitiated and in the process of moving your host you might end up losing the rankings from some of the search engines. We have done this many a times and we try to cover the basic steps involved in moving your hosting provider.

Step 1 ; Creation of Full Backup:

Before you proceed any further, first take a full backup of your site. Many webmasters rely on the hosts to get a full backup on a periodical basis. It would be prudent if you have an independent backup created offline at a set period on a regular basis.

If you have a database, take a full dump of the database ( if it changes every minute as they do in most production environment) and you can sync your data to that of the new host eventually.

Moving Hosts

Step 2 : Setting up the New Host:

We will assume that you have found a new and better host and you have created an account. Some hosts will charge some nominal amount to set up your account. Most will give you a control panel to set up customization. If you are on a shared hosting, insist on a unique IP address. It does not cost a lot. A dedicated IP address helps establishing your unique presence. It comes in handy for many things too.

Set up your FTP details from your control panel and start uploading your files. Take care to preserve the same directory structure. If you have taken a full backup and you have a shell access to your hosting account, you can use the tar function from the shell to place all the files along with the original file permissions. In Unix/Linux Hosting, some pages may require specific file permissions to work. If you have a database, set up the database and make sure that you create the username and password to access the database as per your old hosting account.

Now use your dedicated IP address to test your pages. As you have not started the transition of the DNS, you will have to depend on the IP address to display your pages.

If you are sure that everything is working normally as usual, proceed to the next step.

Step 3 : Setting up DNS :

Your new host will have provided you with information about their Domain Name Servers. It would be something like this:

Nameserver 1: ns1.targetwoman.com 70.84.70.105

Nameserver 2: ns2.targetwoman.com 70.84.70.99

Login to your domain name registrar and find your way to the domain name server part. It should show you the old host’s name server details.

Make the required changes to the entries – pointing to the new host’s domain name servers.

Don’t expect to see your browser immediately displaying pages from your new host. It won’t. You need to wait for the DNS propagation which can take typically about 72 hours.

If you are using a Windows machine to browse, learn how to purge the old DNS cache as here: Go to Start – Run – cmd ->

You will be presented with a black window reminding you of the old days of DOS. You type:

ipconfig/flushdns

Whereupon you will be told that the operation of flushing the DNS was successful. Now type

ping yourdomain.com

You should see the IP address of your new host now.

If not wait for a few hours and try again.

Step 4: Post Moving … :

Don’t shut down the old server – yet. If you have a constantly changing database, you will need to sync the old database to the new one. You will have to keep the old server up and running for a week. Purge the contents after the 3 day from your old server.

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