Migrate Your Site to a New Host Efficiently

Webmasters should always be ready for the day when they have to migrate their site to a new host. Even if the current host is perfect, there’s no guarantee that they will stay the same forever. Or maybe a better host will come along, or maybe the current one suddenly goes out of business.

Regardless of the reason, you should be ready to move your site without undergoing too much of a hassle. If you want your migration to a new host be efficient and with minimal downtime, you should take the following into consideration:

Make Regular (and Full) Backups Of Your Site

You don’t want to be that guy who only makes a backup of his entire site at the moment he has to migrate to a new host. The really big migrations can occur as a result of a host suddenly disappearing or a host being so unreliable that their servers frequently corrupt your databases.

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If you don’t have any backups yet by the time you’re forced by circumstances to change hosts, you’ll find yourself with just bits and pieces of your old site available, which can be so difficult to restore that you’d find it easier to just start a new site from scratch. Additionally, really big, established sites take a lot of time to back up, so you don’t want to be rushing everything at the last minute.

Research Your New Web Host

No two web hosts are the same. They may have the same features and similar rates, but they are being run by different management teams and staffed by different tech people. You have to ensure that when you’re migrating to a new host, you’re not getting away from a set of problems only to run headfirst into new ones. Take a long hard look at their policies, do a little bit of googling to see user testimonials, and try to chat with their customer support for a bit, just to get a feel if it’s a company that will serve you well.

Notify Your Visitors of the Move In Advance

A website migration will almost always have downtime, it is extremely impossible to avoid. While you can take steps to ensure that the downtime is as short as possible, you wouldn’t want the unlucky few who visit your site when it’s unavailable to think that there’s a major problem. Before the move, take the time to announce that the site will be moving soon and that they should expect downtimes. If possible, give them a timeframe for when they can expect the site to be back.

If Possible, Create a Placeholder During the Move

There are cases where you are already able to migrate to the new host while still having a use for the old one. In those cases, you can leave a notice at the old site stating that you have moved to a new host, just in case there are stragglers that still get redirected by their ISP’s DNS to the old host.

Last But Not the Least, Test

It should be common sense at this point, but it bears reminding – just because the migration worked out smoothly on your end doesn’t mean it’s the same for your users. Test everything that you are able to test, browse your own site, test if the search engines have indexed it properly, hunt down broken links and missing images, etc. Don’t rest easy until you have ensured that your users are not going to encounter any problems arising from the move.


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