There comes in the life of a website when it needs a new host, a better server to provide faster and better services to its readers/users. Such a time is always a trying time for both the website and the owner as some data if not all could be lost when not properly handled. Website migration to a new host is always a technical issue but I am here today to give you a complete website migration guide to avoid downtime or data loss.
Website Migration without Downtime/Data Loss
Some people are still stuck with their webhosts just because of the technicalities of migrating to a new host. Website migration from an old webhost to a new webhost involves DNS changes, File& Database transfers, Server configurations etc. To avoid any downtime or data loss during any website migration to a new host, follow this guide carefully.
Purchase a new hosting package:
Once you have your reasons to migrate your website to a new host, don’t wait till the old hosting plan expires before you begin your website migration processes, this way you can complete your website migration before cancelling your old or existing hosting plan. It will be risky to cancel your existing plan before completing your website migration as your old webhost may not hesitate to cancel your hosting plan immediately and this may lead to loss of files and database information.
Download a Complete Backup of your Site:
Download a complete backup of all the files on your existing server into a secure hard drive. Depending on the size of your site this may time little or more time. You do not need to decompress the files as you will be uploading it to your new host in exact compressed format. The backup must contain all the files in your sever maintaining the same file and folder structure and your complete database.
So simply login to your cPanel and click on the “backups” tool under files, then click on “Download or Generate a Full Website Backup”. A full backup includes all of the files in your home directory, your MySQL databases, and your email forwarders and filters.
Restore Backup on New Webhost:
After downloading your complete backup from your existing webhost, the next thing to do will be to restore the backup on your new webhost. Simply login to your new host with the information sent by email to you after the purchase of a new hosting plan and restore your backup on the new server.
You can do this by simply logging in to your new cPanel account, click on same “Backups” tool under files as you did on the step above, locate the file upload box associated with complete backup, this is labeled “Backup Restore”. Select the complete website backup file that was downloaded from your existing webhost to begin the upload process. On successful uploading of the backup files, you have succeeded in restoring your website on a new host.
Note: There is even an easier way of carrying out the last two steps above depending on the willingness of your new hosting company to help. Instead of manually downloading and uploading your files and database from your existing webhost to your new webhost, you can send your new webhost your cPanel login details of your existing webhost to perform a complete server-to-server transfer of your site without you having to do anything.
Change your DNS (Name Servers):
After you have completed the restore of your complete site on your new webhost, the next thing to do would be to change your DNS address. Changing your DNS address will point to your new host, so visitors to your website will be served with files from your new host. My advice on this stage will be to try your new host for sometime say few days to a week to be sure nothing is wrong before you can decide to terminate your old hosting plan finally.
To change your Name Server address to your new webhost, simply login to your domain registration control panel, locate the Name Server tools and change the DNS to that of your new webhost. DNS usually look like this;
If you registered your domain name with your old webhost, you can now mail them to change your DNS to that of your new host and ensure to tell them not to terminate your old account until you say so since your hosting package has not yet expired.
Some of the great webhosts i know you can migrate to includes;
Once the DNS has been changed, it may take up to 24 – 48 hrs before the new address is propagated. At this point your site will randomly loading from both servers till the propagation is completed. Then you can mail your old host to terminate your old hosting plan.
I hope this guide can help you in seamlessly migrating your website from an old webhost to a new one without any downtime or data loss. Your visitors won’t even notice such transition. Remember once more, be sure everything is working correctly before terminating your old hosting account. If you have any more questions concerning website migration to avoid any downtime or data loss or contribution, you can use the comment form below to ask me. Remember to subscribe to my RSS.