Website Transfer to a New Server – Step-by-Step Guide
Often, when transferring your old website to a new hosting provider, many of us find it a highly complex process. When the website is finally moved to a new hosting provider, we find ourselves dealing with error issues due to improper configuration or file upload. So that the transfer process goes smoothly and without incidents, it is necessary to evaluate and discuss many options. With the supervision of the Tech Support of the old hosting server, the Website Admin is responsible for a successful website transfer.
Things to consider before the transfer:
- You will not be able to carry out the website transfer plan without access to the admin panel, FTP, hosting panels, databases, and domain control panel. Of course, you can get all of these data (except for the domain control panel) with the only access-control panel as described in the “Access” section of this document.
- Site information important point is the information about what kind of CMS is used on the old website. It is also essential to know the attendance, the trend of traffic growth, and the parameters of the current host (server).
- Information on the causes of migration of the website you need to find out what exactly is a good reason for transfer to a new server, whether it is that you as a customer are not satisfied with the current hosting provider. Some of the good reasons could be: there were problems with the accessibility of the site, the site’s loading speed, and the current hosting provider is too expensive/cheap.
- Information about the old/new hosting To select the hosting service, you will need at least to know what parameters are in a given host. Hosting types should be considered: Unix-hosting, windows-hosting, VDS / VPS, dedicated server, and the server’s settings. Technical data: how many domains and websites, disk space, and more. Follow instructions in the “Hosting” section of the document when selecting a hosting provider.
- Mail client, It is necessary to ask what kind of e-mail boxes are used beforehand. During the move, you can accomplish migration in several ways:
- Agree with everyone on the transfer time to avoid unpleasant incidents and ambiguities during and after the transfer; please check with appropriate people within your organization and plan the date of the transfer.
The transfer procedure:
- Merge files Site To merge files can take some time estimated in advance by going to the File Manager and looking at the usage space. Usually, it takes between half an hour to overnight. It is much better and time effective to move an archive, which can be generated using backup tools in the hosting panel.
- Order Now while merging files, you can purchase hosting. It is assumed that we have chosen a hosting provider and discussed the adequacy of resources and package options with tech support hosting price for the selected rate we have agreed. Maybe you would prefer to use hosting for a particular test period to see its functionality and if it meets your needs. If this is the case, you may consider paying for hosting only for a few months. If you are definite about a hosting provider, hosting can be prepaid for a couple of years.
- Move the site files to new hosting and create FTP access to your hosting. Using FTP client upload archived file (or files) to the hosting.
- Connect hosting domain panel To change DNS records on the new hosting, DNS has to point to that hosting. To access the DNS manager, follow instructions in the “Access” section of this document.
- Export / Import Database Usually, hosting providers provide a convenient interface to import / export / backup databases. If importing a database fails because of an unsupported format dump (typically it is .sql or .gzip or .zip file) on the new host, you can try backup your database on the old host in a supported format. But, if import/export cannot be performed via Control Panel, then PMA (PHPMyAdmin) tool can be used to perform this task.
- Setting the config site after all the files have been downloaded, and the database has been imported successfully, you can make changes in the config site on a new server. It may require unique configuration options, such as specifying a custom host to connect to the database server or a custom pathway to store temp files and cache. This information can be found in the panel itself or sent a request directly to the Website Admin.
- Checking the site’s operation before changing DNS records We have a chance to see how the site works on the new hosting without changing the DNS (and the A-record) domain. You can use the so-called test (service) link generated at the time of ordering hosting. If that is not the case, you can request technical support an IP address of the server that hosts the site and locally customizes it to display the transferred site on your computer. You will need to open the windows/system32/drivers/etc/hosts file with the notepad, and we type in a string «ip_server_address newdomain.com,” eg, 22.214.171.124 www.vitalyonline.com. When entering www.vitalyonline.com in your browser, we will see the website stored under the new server’s IP, such as 126.96.36.199. It would be impossible to test all the site’s functionality correctly. Still, it would be possible to check the styles and how the website is rendered in the browser to ensure that everything is configured correctly.
- Update the DNS records After the basic functionality of a new website on the new server has been verified, DNS A-records should be updated at this time. While DNS records are propagated, users could be notified that the website is down for maintenance. It takes up to 24 hours for DNS records to propagate through the Internet properly.
- Setting and adjustment of the new hosting site At this point, we do finishing work on the website by inspecting its full functionality. Order form, send requests, work for admin panel, add images and new sections, and editing content should be tested. In general, we test everything to ensure that our transfer has been successful. It should be noted that at each step, one can inquire about some problems, which takes time (sometimes significantly a lot of time) to find solutions. Therefore, the whole process should be accompanied by communication with tech support and Website Admin.