Hosting providers are the foundation of a business’ website, so it’s a given that they should be stable, solid, and secure. But what if your hosting provider isn’t all of these things? This could lead to unnecessary stress, on top of money, time, and customers loss. You may find yourself wondering how to move your website to a new hosting provider in order to alleviate these headaches and better your business overall.
In business, there are plenty of factors you can’t control, but your hosting provider should not be one of them. If you’re starting to notice website downtime, slow load times, or that you can’t even get a response from their support team, it’s time to make a change. In this article, we’ll cover how to know when it’s time to change providers, how to move your website to a new hosting provider, and what to remember once you’ve made the switch.
So, what’s first?
How to Know When It’s Time To Switch
There are several signs that indicate it’s time to switch hosting providers. Such a huge change is probably for the better if:
- Your site is constantly experiencing issues
If your site goes down a number of times per month, or even per year, or if your site’s slow to load, this is a clear sign that it’s time to switch hosting providers.
- You need more from your hosting provider
Your hosting provider may have made you some fancy promises to get you to sign up with them. Maybe they promised you 99.9% uptime, or an easy-to-use backend control panel, or even that their hosting would be able to handle all the visitors coming to your site, only for you to find out too little, too late, that those promises were empty. As your business grows, your site not only needs to stay live, but it needs to be able to load for every potential customer who wants to visit it. If this sounds all too familiar, it’s time to move your website to a new hosting provider.
- You’re paying too much
You may find another web host that provides the same quality and services as your current host but at a lower price. Or, you might come across a host that offers better payment options compared to your current provider.
Whatever the reason, if you’re not 100% confident in your current hosting provider, it’s worth considering other options.
How to Move Your Website to a New Hosting Provider
Once you’ve made the decision to switch your hosting provider, you’ll need to move all your data. This may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be (some hosting providers will actually do the transfer for you!). We’ve broken the process down into 5 steps:
- Sign Up with a New Host
First, choose your new hosting provider. Take the time to research the benefits of each host, take a look at reviews from customers, and compare pricing and server configurations.
- Download Website Files
The next step is to move your website’s files. These files house all your website styling and structure. Such a task may seem massive, especially for bigger sites, but it’s made really simple with FTP (File Transfer Protocol). Download an FTP program (FileZilla is a good one), connect your hosting account, and download the files.
- Export Your Database
This step won’t be necessary for everyone. If you have a static website, you most likely do not have a database, in which case, you’ll only need to download your website files (as outlined in step 2).
If you have a dynamic website on a CMS like WordPress, you’ll need to export your database from your existing host and import it into your new one. This process may vary depending on the database. If your current host uses cPanel, you can easily export your database using the PHPMyAdmin tool.
Simply open PHPMyAdmin, select the database for the site you want to export (if you host multiple sites, you’ll see them listed on the left), and click on the “Export” tab. Leave the export settings as “Quick” and the format as “SQL,” then press “Go.”
- Import Your Database
Now, you’ll need to import your database into your new hosting provider. You’ll have to figure out the details of importing with your new host, but in most cases, you’ll be using the same tool: PHPMyAdmin.
First, log in to your new hosting account and create a blank database. Open up the pHpMyAdmin app again, and this time, navigate to the Import tab. Click on “Choose File” and select the SQL file from step 3. There will be some additional steps if you’re hosting on a CMS, and the CMS will provide the next steps.
If you have a static website with no database, you won’t need to complete this step. Just upload the files you downloaded in step 2 to your new host.
- Test & Troubleshoot
Once you’ve transferred your files over and imported your database, test your website to make sure it functions correctly. Some hosts will have a “development” or “staging” workspace, while others will use a temporary URL to allow you to preview your site risk-free.
Things to Remember
Look Out for Missing Links or 404s
There’s always a possibility that something may get lost while transferring between two hosting providers. Be on the lookout for missing assets or error 404 pages so that you can repair them right away.
Moving your website from one host to another is not as difficult as it seems. Just follow our five steps, and you won’t have to scratch your head over how to move your website to a new hosting provider. If you’re not satisfied with your current provider, the time that you put into switching hosts will always be worth it.