You want to switch a web hosting provider may be caused by the unhappy experience, unreasonable expensive renewal price, poor technical support. But you may hesitate to do that because the worry about losing files, data and any traffics of the websites. How do you achieve this without any negative impact? Here are the steps you should follow.
Backup all of the websites
As most of web hosts provide file management and database management web UI in the control panel. The first step for you is to back up the databases and copy the whole website to a backup folder in the control panel via file manager. And compress the folder into a ZIP file and copy it to the FTP service mapping folder. Then use your any favorite FTP tools to download it to your local disk.
Get the authorization key of domain name
In the case that you’re using the free domain name with the hosting plan, you should contact the customer support to get the authorization key of the domain so that you can transfer the domain name to the new provider. Don’t tell them that you will change the provider because some web hosts may reject the request to keep you with them. You can cheat them that you will still use the hosting plan for other new websites but you intend to host the transferring website from your another VPS or dedicated server because it has grown a lot.
Choose new web host
You can find many good hosting providers on forums. After reviewed hundreds of web hosting in the Internet, we had come out lists of best web hosting in different categories. When you signed up a new contract, you shall choose transfer domain name instead of asking for a new free domain. But if you already have had an independent domain name provider, why not getting a new free domain with the hosting plan?
Upload all files to the new web host
As most of web hosts providing an internal URL based on their domain name for testing, you should not change the domain name server until you have fully tested your website on the new host. The appropriate approach is to upload the backup ZIP file to the new host via FTP. Decompress it in the control panel and copy the database files to separate folder and restore the database in the control panel. You can test the database connection via phpAdmin with the control panel for MySQL or via MS SQL Server Management Studio remotely for MSSQL. Then create the website based on the backup files and fully test it through the testing URL.
If you have used the absolute URL to internally link web pages in the website, there may have some problems on the linking testing. But it’s not the key problem. They will be resolved automatically after you resolve the domain name later. The key of the testing is to ensure the database connection correctly.
Change Domain Name Server
Change the domain name server mapping to the new web host DNS information. It needs up 24 to 72 hours to take into effect for all Internet users worldwide. So it’s better to keep the websites on the both two hosts within 3 days. When you add new content to your website via administration UI, you should ensure you’re updating against the new host by yourself.
Edit Local HOSTS File
Edit local HOSTS file or smoking testing your website after changed the domain name server immediately. You should change the hosts file in your PC by adding line as following. In Windows OS, it’s located at C:\Windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts.
[DNS IP Address of New Host] yourDomain.com
If you found some problems, please do quickly fix it. Other users cannot encounter that broken within 4 hours at least due to the cache of domain name server mapping.