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Transfer a Website in 5 Steps

"How to Switch Web Hosts" — Transfer a Website in 5 Steps
(No Downtime)

If you’ve finally had it with your current hosting provider, it might be time to pick up and learn how to switch web hosts. Whether you’re not getting what you need or are sick of the always-escalating pricing schemes, tons of other options abound that are ready to give you complete hosting happiness.
Even better, moving a site to a new hosting service doesn’t have to be as arduous as moving to a new house or apartment; it can actually be fairly easy if you take the right steps. Don’t fret about downtime or losing files. Site transfers are easy enough for beginners to accomplish, and many hosts will even take care of the move for you for free.

Instead of continuing to pull out your hair over your current hosting situation, go for the painless process of switching hosts. With some advice from a trusty web hosting expert (yours truly) and a helpful host, the move will just take a day or two, without breaking a sweat.

Option A: Choose a Host That Will Migrate Your Website For Free

Web hosting is a competitive industry, and as such, many hosts offer free assistance with switching to one of their plans from a different hosting service. This means you can transfer all of your files and databases to the new host, without doing the heavy lifting, free of cost. In most cases, all you need to do is request a migration after signing up for an account with the new provider, and they’ll take care of the rest.
Migration experts at your new web host may be able to transfer your data by creating a new account on your web server control panel – if your new host uses the same control panel system. If not, they’ll likely have to do it manually, which is more work for them but can be completed within a few days, depending on the size of your site. Regardless of the method, you’ll want to go with a provider that can guarantee a seamless transition with zero downtime.
Here are our top picks for hosts that offer hassle-free migration assistance: 

🇺🇲 Bluehost offers fast server, Free SSL certificate, unlimited storage, Unlimited domains, cheap hosting plans, Easy 1-click WordPress installation, easy FTP file transfer and MySQL database. One of the great things about BlueHost has a good track record for maintaining their 99.9% uptime.

A fantastic bargain , Bluehost has cut the price of its Shared Plan (regularly $7.99 p/m) down to a mere $3.75 per month. You get 24/7 support plus free domain and site builder and 30-day money-back guarantee. Not bad, considering Bluehost is #1!
30-day money-back guarantee, 63% off discount👇
If you’re looking for an affordable host, Bluehost is a solid, reputable choice; The company's low costs, coupled with its supremacy in the shared hosting arena, is what makes this provider such a valuable deal.

Option B: Move Your Website to a New Host Yourself

If your new web host doesn’t offer migration assistance, or you would rather handle it yourself, you can move your website files independently. This is a good time to employ the skills of your in-house IT staff, who likely have experience with backing up and transferring files. Many web hosts also have documentation with step-by-step guides on how to migrate your website. Read on to discover the best practices for moving your website to a new host safely and quickly.

1. Choose a New Web Host (Before Cancelling Your Old Account!)

There are as many reasons to switch web hosts as there are features in a hosting package. It’s a matter of what aspects of web hosting are most important for the individual or company, and whether those are being achieved with their current host. For some people, the level of customer service is a high priority. For others, the price point is a top consideration. It’s wise to consider the range of your web hosting needs when thinking about switching hosts.
If you find yourself weighing your options, pinpoint those things that make you want to move your business elsewhere. Some aspects organizations usually consider include security system performance, server storage space, mailbox and email features, uptime, and the availability of controls panels, website builders, and shopping carts. Many web hosts have comparable offerings, but some hosts invest more into certain features than others. Ask yourself which features you can’t live without and which ones must perform the absolute best – then make your decision based on those answers.
If you know you want to switch hosts, but you’re unsure of which provider you want next, consider our recommendations for the best shared hostVPS plan, and/or dedicated servers below.

Recommended Shared Hosting

If you’re looking to shop around for inexpensive providers, shared hosting is a good place to start. With shared hosting, you’ll share your server with other websites and storage space will be divided among the sites. Shared hosting can be a good option for small businesses with low-traffic websites, and is economical to boot, with most plans costing less than $10 per month. Check out our recommended shared hosting providers below, which carry many of the benefits of shared hosting such as effectiveness and responsive support.

Here are the best shared hosting reviews of 2020

Webhost              Price                Rating

1. Bluehost     -      $3.95        -     5.0
2. iPage          -      $1.99         -     4.5

3. InMotion    -      $3.99         -     4.8

4. GreenGeeks-    $2.95           -    4.8

5. HostGator   -    $2.75          -    4.6

After you’ve purchased your new hosting plan and before you cancel your old one, you’ll need to back up your website in its entirety and move it over to your new server. Download all of your files from the old host – they should have specific instructions for doing this in their platform – and then migrate them to the new host via FTP. Databases must also be backed up by downloading the files, uploading them, and then restoring the database using a control panel or SSH. Emails can sometimes be transferred but at the very least should be archived so they can be preserved. This step is crucial to maintaining the integrity of your site just as it was on the old host.

3. Switch Your Domain’s DNS Record to Your New Host or Registrar

When you switch to a new web host, your DNS (domain name system) server also changes. The DNS tells a user’s internet service provider (ISP) where the site files are located and directs the connection to your site so it can load in their browser. After your website files and databases are migrated to the new host, you will need to ask the provider from which you purchased your domain name to make the change. Be sure to contact your new host to get the new DNS information to give to the old host. This change typically takes 48 hours (two days) to take effect, at which point your site will load from the new web host.

4. Once the DNS Change Request Goes Through, Conduct a Final QA

So, you’ve fully migrated your site and changed your DNS name – now what? Don’t take it for granted that everything came over in one piece. Do a thorough quality control check to ensure no files are missing from your site. Once you cancel your account with the old host, there’s no guarantee you’ll get those files back, so be certain everything is as it should be before pulling the plug on the old host. Go through each page of the site and review all the files and databases you transferred over in fine detail.

5. Cancel Your Old Account!

Like closing on an old house when moving to a new place, the last step of switching hosts is to close out your account with the old web host. Once you’ve made sure you have all of your files and databases and have switched your DNS record, you should have no worries about checking off this final task. If you originally purchased your domain name with the old host, remember to keep the domain name registration, but your hosting account can go. Don’t look back – you’ve done everything you need to do to move on to the next chapter in the life of your website.

Switching to a New Web Hosting Provider Doesn’t Have to Be Daunting

Switching web hosts should feel like an upgrade, and what that looks like for your website might be different than for another. Keep in mind those key web host features that will make your site perform better and make your life easier. When Stephanie, the lawyer who switched to a cloud-based host with unlimited email storage and mailboxes, decided to make the move to a new host, she did so with full knowledge of her options and priorities. Use these host-versus-host comparisons to determine which web hosting providers carry the features you care about most.

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  1. didn't know about this service is good to know

    1. This article really helps to choose a best webhosting service for your website.

  2. Great to know about this web hosting options! :) - Chelsea Sauve - Wandure

  3. I never understood these things which is why I have stayed in the same platform for 14 years now.

  4. What great tips for those who want to switch hosts. I hope those who are trying to will find this advice helpful!