The Dos and Don’ts of Switching Web Hosts

switching web hosts

Switching web hosts is a virtual likeness to moving to a new residence. There are specific actions you must take in order to experience a successful move.

One of the best things you can do if you are moving your current site to another web host is to create a site migration plan. An effective site migration plan will enable you to switch hosts without experiencing long periods of down time and losing valuable data. Here are a few dos and don’ts of switching to a new web host.

Things to Do When You Change Your Web Hosts

1. Back up the files on your current site. It is not uncommon for files to get lost when companies and individuals change web hosts. One of the most important actions to take is to create a backup files to store information from your current site. After you have backed up the files, locate them to determine that they have been downloaded completely.

2. Become familiar with the process and anticipate challenges. On the surface, changing web hosts does not seem to be a complicated process. However, it is a detailed and intricate process. One of the biggest challenges you could face is lost traffic. A well-developed plan can mitigate the amount of traffic that is lost as a result from the move. Understanding this prior to beginning the process can save you a lot of frustration and dashed expectations. If you rush the process or fail to take the proper steps, the results can be disastrous and costly.

3. Implement 301 redirects. When you get a new website host, your goal should be to make it as easy as possible for visitors to access your new URL. This can be done by implementing 301 redirects from your old URL to your new URL. Another advantage is your site will not experience broken links that can result from website migration.

4. Select your new web host carefully. As you research prospective web hosts, you should keep the following things in mind.

  • Your new web host needs stable connections for its sites and a reliable server.
  • Determine whether your new host has the ability to provide upgrades if necessary.
  • Assess whether the web host is able to host several domain names for you site.
  • Compare hosting prices and services.
  • Ask your new host about the terms of the refund policy.
  • Research the host’s applications and features. Select a site that not only meets your current needs, but your future needs as well.

5. Test your site several times before you make the site live. Before you make the switch, determine whether the features of your website are working properly. This is especially true for the features that are responsible for lead generation. Some things to check are the conversion codes, thank you pages, pictures, links and contact forms.

6. Cancel your current web host only after your site is working properly. When you contact your current web host about your move, it could result in an immediate cancellation. Before you cancel your current subscription, your site should be live with your new host. This step will prevent downtime and lost files. After your site has been tested by your web administrator, it will be a good time for you to cancel your former subscription.

7. Switch your domain name to your new server. Log in to your domain control panel to replace your existing servers with your new servers. Be sure to plan this activity because it can take up to 24 hours for this action to be implemented.

Things You Should Not Do When You Switch Web Hosts

1. Move through the process too quickly. In your haste to get your site up and running, you may prematurely make your site live. Before your site is ready for public viewing, it needs to be thoroughly tested by your web administrator and members of your team. Each page of your website should be tested and reviewed to be certain that it is accurate.

2. Remove your tracking codes. Tracking codes provide you with important information about your marketing campaigns. Without this information, you will not be able to monitor the effectiveness of your marketing strategies.

3. Complete the process on your own. Since changing your web hosts involves many steps, it is important to get help from people who have experience with this process. Whether your budget is large or modest, your administrators should have proven success with back-end development and search engine optimization.

It takes time and planning when you are switching web hosts. However, you can use these strategies to avoid the challenges that are often associated with a website move.