In the perfect world, everything works flawlessly. Your website remains hosted on a hosting server that handles peak hour traffic with ease, does not crash, is well secure and plenty of other benefits. In short, your life as an admin is leisure.
Sadly, such perfect conditions do not exist always. Sometimes the hosting server becomes insufficient to host your website or maybe you need to move to another one for better performance and utilities.
Irrespective of the reason that is making you take the transfer, you ought to know how to transfer your website to a new hosting server. And, it is not going to be easy.
Well, don’t worry. Here is a step-by-step guide to what you need to do to move your website to a new hosting server:
Buy a New Web Host
The new web host will be the home of your website. If you are planning to buy a web host from a third party provider, do register your domain in your name. This will ease out things if you want to switch to a new host yet again.
The choice of a new web host can be taken considering several factors like cost, technical support provided, hosting space provided, server configuration, security measures and so on.
Take a Backup of Your Present Data
A backup of your website data will be needed for two purposes.
- To feed it to the new host.
- To fix something in case things go wrong during the switching.
Switching a static website and a dynamic website are entirely different ball games. Copying a static site since you can copy the old file structure and simply paste it over in the new web host. The copy-paste task is all that you need to do.
However, if it is a dynamic website that has MySQL databases, it is more complicated than a simple copy-paste.
If you are using popular CMS platforms like WordPress, you can zip the files and move them to the “public_html” folder. And, add these two codes to the wp-config to complete the file transfer:
define(‘WP_SITEURL’, ‘http://’ . $_SERVER[‘HTTP_HOST’]); define(‘WP_HOME’, WP_SITEURL);
Change the DNS Information
DNS or Domain Name System is the physical IP address of your website. When you move to a new web host, the DNS information also needs to be changed, so that all further website requests reach the new address.
It is like intimating your local post office a change in residential address when you move to a new locality. If you don’t update the DNS information, new visitors will not be pinpointed to the new address.
If you are using a hosting service like GoDaddy, head to domain section and click on domain management. Then choose your new website domain name from the list of domains. This is not applicable if you have only one domain/website.
Click on Nameservers and check the option for ‘I have specific nameservers for my domains’ and save the changes to update the DNS information.
Install SSL Certificate for New Web Host
An SSL certificate is safety measure that you must have to keep your website safe from getting hacked. You will need an SSL certificate for the new host if the old one has expired or the domain name has changed. Luckily, buying a cheap SSL certificate is easy, thanks to the many online websites that sell it at the lowest price.
If you are looking to buy a new SSL Certificate? GeoTrust SSL will be the best option for your website. It is a well know brand in SSL industry, provides low cost and highly secured SSL Certificate to improve customer trust and confidence. Small and medium scale businesses can take QuickSSL Premium certificate, perfect for single domain security. QuickSSL Premium offers quick issuance, 256 bit SSL encryption, 2048-bit key length, unlimited server license, unlimited certificate reissuance, 99.9% browser support & 30 Day money back guarantee.
The process of installing the SSL certificate is relatively simple. I have detailed it as below:
Ensure that your SSL certificate is authenticated by the Certificate Authority (CA). The installation process is futile without the CA authentication. You need to generate the CSR key first.
Step #1: Generate the CSR
CSR is the Certificate Signing Request. You can generate a CSR by heading to IP Functions ->
- Assigning a Dedicate IP Address
- Show IP address usage and clicking on Generate an SSL certificate and Signing request.
Step #2: Installing SSL Certificate on Cpanel
Once you authenticate your CSR key from your CA (Certificate Authority). You will receive a CA bundle from your Certificate Authority. Now follow the below process.
- Login to your cPanel. You may also log into your Web Host Manager (WHM) account if you are using that. Please note that the installation process is different for both the hosting panels.
- Locate the SSL/TLS manager in the Security section
- Select ‘Install and Manage SSL for your website (HTTPS)
- On the next window, paste the website certificate as provided by your Certificate authority.
- In the next box, paste the RAS (Registration Authority) key that was generated at the CSR stage.
- In the last box, paste the CA bundle of the certificate.
- Finnish the process
Your SSL certificate must be configured and should reflect on your website.
Note: Once you install the SSL Certificate on your web server, you need to redirect your website from http://www.example.com to https://www.example.com (301 Redirection). You can use the .htaccess file for proper redirection.
Cancel your Old Domain Account
Now that you have moved to your web host, the old one should better be discarded. But, before you cancel the old one, ensure that all the data has been transferred to the new domain. After confirmation, close your old domain by intimating web hosting provider.
Also, inform your site visitors beforehand so that they do not get a nasty surprise when visiting your site when the web hosting has changed. Not that your website address will change, but, in some cases, a temporary downtime may be experienced. That is if you miss out any crucial best practices.
Finally, When Everything is Done
So, that is how you move your website to a new web host. It begins with buying a new hosting server. Ensure that is compatible with domain changes if you are planning for any in the future. Transfer all the data from the old host to the new one. If it is WordPress, it is a task easily done. Otherwise, you will have to work some time finishing up the data transfer.
Change your domain records to match the requirements of the new web host. Ensure that you get a new SSL certificate installed on the new web host. Your website simply cannot survive for long without any protection. Once that it is installed, cancel the old domain so that it does not remain active for no reason.