Moving a site from one hosting company to another can be easy or fraught with problems and cause you to lose days in downtime and/or lose valuable data. The key to moving a site safely – whether it’s a site you’ve owned for a while or a website / blog you’ve just acquired – is preparation, preparation and preparation.
Plan 10 times, move once.
Here’s a brief guide to the process.
Step 1: If it’s a new acquisition, transfer the domain name to your control.
Step 2: Download all the site’s files and folders with the correct structure. If it’s an acquisition, get a copy of the applications (if any) and database/s (if any) together with a zip of all the files. Even better if you can get copies of the traffic stats for your future reference as they’ll get lost when the old hosting account is closed.
Step 3: Upload all the files, databases etc., to your new hosting account. Make sure you put them all in the right location. Ask your hosting company for help if you are not sure. (Do all this while the site is still fully operational at the “old” server).
Step 4: Configure the files, set permissions etc., and test, test, test to make sure everything is working as it should.
Step 5: Change the DNS settings at the domain registrar to point to the new IP so visitors can now reach the site at the new location.