Transferring a website sounds like a daunting task. The fact is that it happens many times a day. And although it should not be taken lightly, it is definitely something you can do. All the steps involved in transferring your website are important. The items outlined below are ones you want to make special note of and pay particular attention to, when you transfer your website.
1. Not Copying And Backing Up Everything Before The Transfer
Backing up your data is simply a smart move. It cannot be reiterated enough. Back up your data! You want to back everything up onto a hard drive in addition to backing it up onto a USB. There is more than one route to take in backing up your data. You can use an ftp program, and simply download your data. This is straightforward and you should be able to do it fairly easily.
If you want another option, consider purchasing software that allows you to import the data you would like backed up, onto your computer. Your budget, time constraints and skill level will help you determine which method is best for you. Whichever method you use, just ensure that you do not overlook this critical step.
Don’t ever assume that a backup exists elsewhere. In a case like this, such an assumption could be disastrous.
Aside from backing up your data, you want to make sure that you have also copied your files. Copy everything. If worse comes to worse, you can always revert to your copied files and use them.
2. Not Completing The Move Before You Cancel Your Current Hosting Service
Finding a new host is a step that, obviously, cannot be skipped. Once you have decided to move your site, one of the very next things you need to do, is find a new host that meets your needs. After you are satisfied with the choice you’ve made, move on to completing the move to your new host.
You want to be sure you have your new host completely in place before you cancel your current hosting service. The last thing you want to have happen is to find out that you have cancelled your current hosting service prematurely. You can confirm your new hosting set up by contacting the provider and requesting verbal confirmation. Another option is to confirm it in writing via email or some similar, trackable method.
3. Not Updating Your DNS Records
DNS transfers can take up to two days. It depends on the frequency at which each individual server updates. Those update rates vary. In order to get your new site up and running seamlessly, you want to do what you can on your end to prevent any additional time delays.
The DNS of your website is what links your domain to your IP address. Transferring your website will mean that you change where you point visitors. Even if you do everything else with precision, your new site will not appear if you do not transfer your DNS properly. Your old site will continue to propagate, which is not what you want.
4. Forgetting To Move And Configure Your Email
If your email account is set up through your current hosting company, you will likely also have your email setup to work on their servers. When you transfer a website, you need to also move your email to run on the server of your new host company.
The first step in moving your email account is to back up all your emails. Once you have done that, you want to go to the new host’s site and configure your email settings to comply with those of the new host. This can be different and specific to whichever hosting service you decide to use. Each hosting company will have instructions on how to configure your email settings so that they run on their servers.
Moving your emails and configuring them to run on your new host’s servers cannot be done until after you have updated your DNS records. This is because your email address is linked to the server where your domain name sits.
If you email is hosted elsewhere, simply reconfigure your DNS settings so that your email will function with your new site’s servers and where it is hosted. Before you delete your old email account, confirm that your new email is up and running on the new host’s servers. You will want to send and receive several emails successfully, before you delete the old account or accounts.
5. Not Monitoring The New Site And Checking Your Links After The Transfer
Test the functionality of the new website several times. This should include double checking all the links on your site. It is tedious, but necessary. The tests you choose to perform should be administered frequently over the weeks immediately following the transfer. There are so many things which may not appear out of place at first blush. This step is as important as all the others that have been covered.
To sum everything up, you want to break the transfer down into steps. To transfer your website, some things need to be done sequentially in order to avoid added difficulty later. Avoid skipping around and try to follow the order of the steps above.
Backing everything up is critical and needs to be done first. Even backups within a particular step, should be done and confirmed prior to moving on to the next task. Next to backing up everything, is copying everything. Better safe than sorry so take the time to do both.
Confirm your new host is in place. Then transfer the site and attend to your DNS and email configurations; remembering to back up and copy your emails first. After those tasks are completed and working properly, go ahead and cancel your prior hosting service and begin to check and monitor your new site closely. Finally, be meticulous and the transfer will be a smooth one.