Choosing a web host is a decision best undertaken with care. In a perfect world, you would make this choice once, launch your site and that would be that. But for many entrepreneurs and business owners, there comes a time when the current web hosting provider simply isn’t cutting it for your needs. So then you start the process again, researching options, taking potential hosts for a test drive and then finally selecting your new host.
In this post, learn about five of the most common challenges you may face when switching your website to a new hosting provider.
1. You Can’t Take It All With You
Despite the ongoing push to centralize, standardize and harmonize the use of different web tools simultaneously, many web vendors still take a highly proprietary approach to the products services they provide. For you, this may mean that you can’t take everything you have created with you upon switching web host providers.
Common elements a web vendor may place under proprietary lock and key include these:
- Your web template. The appearance of your website is one of the main items proprietary-minded web vendors will hold back if you decide to switch.
- Your domain name. If you registered your domain name through the web vendor and the vendor used their private account to complete the registration, it will be more difficult to transfer your domain to a new host.
- Your content management system (CMS). Many web vendors develop their own proprietary in-house content management system, which means your contact groups, e-newsletter templates, online store and underlying website architecture won’t translate well or at all when you move to a different CMS.
- Your domain-specific email. You must be sure to have new email set up or risk losing important emails.
2. You Switch Before You Have All The Necessary Web Access Data In Hand
Even if both your existing and new web host provider are “switch friendly” (i.e. not proprietarily-minded), you still need administrative access to every aspect of your site before you can make a smooth transition.
Here is a list of the most common elements site owners forget to acquire before beginning a transition to a new hosting provider:
- FTP (file transfer protocol) access codes.
- Web host login and password.
- Email client login and password.
- Social media and social media manager login(s) and password(s).
- Domain registration credentials (verifying you as site owner).
- Google login and password (especially if you are using Google-based tools or plugins).
- Content management system credentials.
3. You Select A New Web Provider That Is Not Reliable
If there is one thing you want to avoid at all costs, it is jumping from the frying pan into the fire….which is exactly what frequently happens when you make a jump out of frustration or desperation without fully vetting the new vendor first.
You will need to trust your new web provider to assist you fully with making the transition, which can sometimes include replicating a template you no longer have access to, recreating tools that remain with the old vendor, securing any sensitive data that transfers with your site and providing you with full owner-level administrative access to your new site.
You don’t want to discover mid-transfer that a) your new vendor doesn’t have the skill set you need, b) your new vendor has gone incommunicado (typically after taking your payment) or c) your new vendor botches the transfer (a typical result of this is a site with text but error messages where image files should display or vice versa; another typical issue is non-working email) and leaves you hanging without resolution.
4. You Find Out Too Late That Each Service The New Provider Offers Is Priced A-La-Carte
This is a big challenge for many entrepreneurs and business owners who are too busy to carefully scan to find that oh-so-tiny fine print that details what is and isn’t provided in the “great promotional offer” they just opted into.
A common issue when switching web host providers is to discover that the amount of storage provided is not sufficient to host all of your image, graphics and video files.
So you get hit with an upgrade charge right away just for that.
Common areas where web vendors upcharge include these:
- Storage space.
- CMS access.
- Fancy templates.
- Individual training and technical support.
- Ability to sync with additional software or services.
- Contact or fill-in forms.
- E-commerce tools.
- Newsletter tools.
- Site migration support.
- Server/transfer redirect services.
5. You Cancel Your Old Web Hosting Service Too Rapidly
Of course you are eager to get away from a provider that is no longer making the cut and avoid paying twice for the same services. But canceling your old service too speedily can mean losing the ability to access your old data, image files and account before your transfer is complete.
Failing to check, double-check and triple-check that your new site is fully functional and operational with your new web host before canceling your old service can set you back days, weeks or months as you and your new host scramble to regroup from scratch (often costing you extra in the process). From explaining to customers why your domain name is non-functional to coping with an online store that can’t take orders, this small oops can translate to big lost bucks if not caught in time.
By becoming aware of and familiar with the most common challenges entrepreneurs and business owners face when switching from one web host provider to another, you can pace yourself in your own transfer, learn from others’ mistakes, safeguard your site functionality and brand reputation and also save funds when you finally do make your switch.