Move Website to New Hosting Provider
In this tutorial, I will show how to move website to new hosting provider and discuss the SEO implications.
Why would you want the problem of moving your website from one web-hosting provider to another web-hosting provider?
Well, maybe you can get a better deal elsewhere, or maybe your current hosting provider can no longer provide the services you require, or maybe you just do not get along with your current web host anymore.
So, just to clarify, we are talking about moving your website from one provider to another. In doing this, your domain name will remain the same. For example, if I moved kingsolutions.com from JustHost to GoDaddy or BlueHost, the domain name, kingsolutions.com, and the website content would not change. Only the IP address would change.
Step 1: Purchase a New Web Host
There are a variety of hosting solutions and providers out there, each with its good and bad points. Read this article for some pointers and my recommendations.
When purchasing, consider registering your domain with a third party provider rather than with your website hosting provider. This will enable you to switch hosts easily should you ever have to do so again. This simple tip can save many complications when you move website to new hosting provider.
Step 2: Create a Full Backup
Begin by creating a full backup of your site. If using WordPress, there are many WordPress backup plugins that enable you to easily create a backup of your site. Solutions such as VaultPress, BackupBuddy, BackWPup, and many others. Do not forget to store the backup off-site in a safe and secure location.
Step 3: Copy Your Site to the New Web Host
Use the backup file you just created to restore your site on the new host.
If you have a static website, you could simply copy the old file structures over to the new web host using an FTP application such as FileZilla.
For a dynamic site (i.e. WordPress and MySQL), install the required web apps on the new web host and configure them as per the current site.
Step 4. Final Check
Once you have loaded your files onto the new hosting configuration, double check everything is working correctly.
You can preview your newly hosted website using the new IP address.
Step 5: Switch Website DNS Records
Switch your website’s DNS record to the new web host’s servers at your registrar. This is a critical step; make sure you get the right DNS info from your new web host.
Why Will the IP Address Change?
In moving from one web-hosting provider to another, the IP address changes because the DNS maps your content to a new address.
It is rather like you moving house. You, your family, and all your possessions move to the new house. The only thing that is changed is your address. So, you tell the mail carrier your new address, and all mail will be delivered as normal.
- An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. [Wikipedia]
- The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical decentralized naming system for resources connected to the Internet. It provides a way to match names (i.e. KingSolutions.com) to the numeric IP address of the website. Everything connected to the Internet: computers, mobile phones, websites, has an Internet Protocol (IP) address.
When you change hosts, the DNS maps your domain name from your old hosts IP address, to your new hosts IP address.
Step 6: Wait for the DNS Change to Propagate
After you have transferred your site to the new host, and set the IP address accordingly, how long will it take the changes to take effect?
Well, that depends.
As part of the Domain Name System (DNS) a TTL (Time to live) mechanism sets the lifetime of data in a computer or network. Think of TTL as a count down.
- TTL is the value that determines how long your current DNS settings are cached with Internet Service Providers. If your ISP has the current IP address for your website cached for 24 hours, it will not check for a DNS update for your domain until 24 hours have passed.
- TTL periods vary. Many providers will use 24 or 48 hours.
This means that for a period of time, which could be from minutes to days, both your IP addresses will be valid. The old IP address will still point to your old websites location and your new IP address will point to your new websites location.
For a static site, this should not be too much of a problem, just wait for the TTL period to time out.
For a dynamic site, this could be more of a problem, as visitors will be interacting with both sites and the databases may therefore have a disparity.
In such cases, you may want to first lower your TTL value (5 minutes maybe) before making any other DNS changes. This can help you avoid a lengthy period where web traffic and email are going to two servers at once.
To lower the TTL value, you will need to contact your hosting provider and follow their instructions.
- Typically, you would select the domain you wish to modify from your domains account menu, and lower the DNS zones TTL value.
For dynamic sites with high traffic, you could have both sites point to the same backend, but that is a little beyond the scope of this quick tutorial.
Google Bots and SEO
Google bots usually refresh data on a daily basis as minimum rule of thumb. So your new site should be checked within a day. You might be lucky and have the site checked within minutes, that’s down to pot-luck.
Once the bots have the new IP address, traffic should start flowing to your site as normal, though this will depend upon the TTL period. Just keep an eye on your traffic profile over the period of change.
- If the TTL period is set low (5 minutes) then you should see visitors arriving at your new site shortly after that period.
You should definitely see people streaming to your new website within a day or so even if you did not change the TTL period. Once the bots start to come to the new address you should be in pretty good shape. Just keep your content live in both locations for a little while.
Once you see traffic tapering off at the old IP address and traffic ramping up on the new site, then it is pretty safe to go ahead and remove the content from the old IP address.
Tip 1: Downtime
Before switching hosts, inform your visitors and clients that you are performing maintenance on your site. Give them the hours you are making the switch. This should reduce the number of site visitors during the switch.
Tip 2: Monitor
Once the switch is done, monitor your site uptime closely for a period to ensure everything at the new host is working correctly.
Tip 3: Emails
Do not forget to transfer your email accounts to your new hosting account as well.
Moving Website to New Hosting Provider and SEO
From an SEO perspective, you should have no problems what so ever switching to a new IP address. As far as Google and the other search engines are concerned, nothing has changed, other than the IP address.
How to Move Website to New Hosting Provider Final Thoughts
If you are not happy with your current web host, you can always change. It is not the end of the world and it is not that risky. Just get a new hosting provider and change your DNS to point to the new IP address.
Changing your web host is no different really to your website crashing and you having to restore everything from your backups. You do make backups? So it’s really just the usual backup/download/upload stuffs that you are already doing daily.
- Purchase new web hosting.
- Copy website/database/content to new location.
- Double check everything is working at new location.
- If unknown, assume TTL set to 86400 (24 hours).
- Switch DNS record (change IP to new host).
- Wait 48 hours for DNS change to propagate and bots to crawl new location.
Well, I hope that made sense and helps you. Good luck migrating to your new hosting provider.
If you have any comment, corrections or items you think should be added to, ‘How to Move Website to New Hosting Provider‘, please do not hesitate to let me have them in the comment box below.