Before reading on, I’ve been receiving many e-mails asking me if I could perform the website transfer for them. While I could, I could probably never get them all done timely enough. If you’re looking for someone to do the transfer for you, you should really consider GreenGeeks. They will transfer your website free of charge. Click on the button below to learn more:
On any given day, thousands of website owners transfer websites from one provider to another for many reasons. It’s one of the most daunting tasks that a website owner can undergo. I’ve been a webmaster for many years and naturally I have moved a lot of web hosting accounts from provider to provider. I thought I would help by creating a step-by-step guide on how to transfer a website from your current hosting provider to a new one.
I’ll summarize what I will cover. First I will walk you through selecting a new hosting provider. This is important as you do not want to continue switching hosting providers. Then we’ll make sure you have your domain ownership in your control. This is very important. Then finally I will take you through signing up for hosting, preparing for the transfer and then verifying everything is completed.
1) Finding a Web Hosting Provider
To transfer a website the first step would be to find a suitable hosting provider for your website. There are a lot of web hosting providers to choose from, but you’ll need to be careful in who you select next as you do not want to make a habit of moving from web host to web host.
In this guide, I recommend GreenGeeks for those looking to transfer from other providers not only because of their commitment to the environment, feature rich hosting, affordable pricing, scalability, 24/7 support but how easy they make it to transfer a website from another provider.
Here’s what you need to look for in a web host:
- Correct Operating System – It’s important that you stick to the operating system of your current host. If you have a simple HTML website, then it doesn’t matter what operating system the web hosting provider runs.
- Good Technical Support – Look for a web hosting provider that offers live chat, telephone and e-mail technical support. Most reputable hosting providers have these support options available.
- Hosting Disk Space – Make sure the hosting provider has ample amount of disk space for the website you’re moving over.
- Data Transfer – Make sure you have enough data transfer to accommodate your existing website. Check your existing hosting providers statistics to figure this out.
- Databases – You’re going to want to pay attention to the type of database software you’re using. Generally, MS SQL databases are unique to Windows-based web hosting providers and My SQL databases are unique to Linux-based web hosting providers.
- Scripting – If you’re using special scripting languages such as PHP, CGI, Perl or ASP, make sure the hosting provider supports them otherwise you may find that your website will not work after all the work that has been done to move.
- Performance & Reliability – Pick a host that pays attention to performance and reliability. There is no sense in making the effort to move if you’re only going to move again.
- Scalability – Go with a host that has the option to scale up or down with their services. It’s much easier to move up within a company versus switching providers. Chances are that when you upgrade with the provider you’re with, they’ll provide the migration for free.
- Free Site Migration – Find a web host that offers free site migration.
- cPanel/WHM – You should figure out if you’re using a cPanel/WHM web host as this will dramatically ease transferring a website to another cPanel-based web hosting provider. In this guide we will routinely reference cPanel “shortcuts”. So if you are with a hosting provider that is currently using cPanel, you should follow those steps to help you quickly transfer a website.
2) Confirming Domain Ownership
You should be in full control of your domain name and the registrant details that are associated with it. Not having this up to date and in your control can be painful later on. Before moving your website, figure this out and make sure the registrant details are in your name and e-mail.
Once you’ve got the domain name in your control. You need to decide whether or not you want to transfer domain registrars or simply switch the domain name servers (DNS) on the domain name. Here are the differences:
- Transfer Domain Registrars – This is where you’re switching domain registration providers. All the settings of the domain name itself will remain intact. Your billing and support will change to the new domain registrar.
- Switching Domain Name Servers – This is where you will be keeping the existing domain registration provider, but you’ll be switching the DNS on the domain name to point to the new hosting provider.
If you don’t have any issues with your existing domain registrar, I suggest leaving your domain name and simply switching the domain name servers to the new hosting provider.
3) Sign up for a Hosting Account
As I mentioned earlier, I recommend GreenGeeks as they make it the easiest to transfer to. It’s actually a pretty hands off approach — So we’ll use them in this guide.
Their web hosting starts from $4.95 per month and offers unlimited disk space, bandwidth, databases, e-mails and more. What’s cooler is they offer a free domain name transfer and renewal for the life of your account with them in addition to the free site migration service that they offer. I’ve also managed to score a special offer from them which will reduce $30 from their already discounted pricing.
Once you’ve signed up GreenGeeks and your hosting account has been activated, you will receive a welcome e-mail. This will include crucial information regarding your new account. You’ll also see the instructions on how to take advantage of their free site migration service (see below image). This is a god send, time saver, whatever you want to call it.
After clicking on the link you’ll be taken to a page that includes instructions on how to take advantage of their free site migration service. You can see that they have thought of everything for when it comes to transferring your website over.
4) Let GreenGeeks Handle it
The process is now simple. One of GreenGeeks site migration technicians will be holding your hand through the entire process from start to finish, FREE of charge. They will be in constant communication with you to ensure that the transfer of your website is going as smoothly as possible.
Here is their process:
- Confirm that your control panel login’s are correct and working with your existing hosting provider. The hosting provider that you’re transferring away from.
- Log into the GreenGeeks Account Manager at http://www.greengeeks.com/login/ with the login information that you received when you signed up with GreenGeeks. Click on Support and then select Migration Request Form.
- Select the type of hosting service that you would like to request the migration for. In most cases this will be a shared hosting account.
- You’ll need to provide them information about your existing hosting provider such as the name of the host, the control panel URL, FTP Hostname, Account Username/Password and any additional instructions that you may have.
- Once you’ve submitted the request, one of their site migration specialists will get back to you within 24-48 hours to complete the migration for you.
They also ask that you do not change your DNS settings on the domain name until the website files and emails have been uploaded one of their site migration specialists otherwise your site could face downtime.
5) Test and Confirm
GreenGeeks will let you know that your website has been successfully transferred by them from your existing hosting provider. Unless otherwise specified, this usually means that the hosting portion has only been migrated.
You will still have to:
- Transfer your Domain – You will need to switch the DNS on your domain name to their name servers, which are ns1.greengeeks.com and ns2.greengeeks.com. This is also located in the welcome e-mail they have sent you. After you have done this, you can request GreenGeeks to transfer the domain name registration to them as they offer a free transfer and renewal for the life of the hosting account with them. This part is totally optional. Instructions on how to do this are also found in the welcome e-mail (shown below):
- Test Your Website – This one is self explanatory. Test the functions of your website and ensure that it is working. Also make sure that your e-mail accounts and other features are also working.
- Wait a week – Keep your old account active for a week or longer. Once you’re certain that everything you need is completely over you can go ahead and cancel your old hosting account.
That’s all there is to transfer a website to another hosting provider. Now that you’ve learned the process of moving a website from one provider to another along with the free site migration that GreenGeeks offers, you’ll sleep easier at night when you actually do go through the process of transferring your website!