5 Steps to Migrating a Website without (or Minimal) Downtime
Transfer a website
- Order online. Within minutes your website hosting account will be setup and you will receive a “New Account” email with your login information to your new cPanel control panel and FTP.
- Download your files from your previous web host. Login to cPanel and obtain compressed backups of website files and database information. For pure ease of use, customers moving to a new web host should ensure that both the new and old hosting companies utilize the same web-based administration technology. Typically, this will be a choice between cPanel and the slightly less-popular PleskPanel website control panel.
- For the cPanel control panel option, which is virtually the standard in web hosting, customers can login to their cPanel with this address: https://yourdomain.com:2082
- Download your backup files from cPanel – On this page, cPanel will break down the available backups by type. A full-site backup is available; they should download that file so that it can be uploaded to a different host later. There will also be backup files specific to every subdomain within the website. These are generally optional, since the full website backup will contain all of that information, but to be safe, you can download these as well. In a separate area on the same backup downloads page, customers can secure a compressed backup of every MySQL database individually. Each database should be downloaded in its compressed format. These will be uploaded to the new server to create matching database names at a later time. Do Not Decompress! During this process, be sure not to decompress any of the downloaded backup files. This is because this process will be completed by the new server when the file is uploaded.
- Upload your files from your previous web host. Transfer all files before canceling the existing hosting plan held by the old company. Your login information to your new cPanel will be in an email from us with the subject line “New Account Information” and you will need to login using your IP address.
- Upon logging into the new server’s cPanel iteration, locate the backup tools mentioned in Step 2 then navigate to the Backup Downloads page. At the page, locate the file-upload box associated with the full-site backup. This will often be labeled as a “Backup Restore” feature. Select the full-site backup file that was downloaded from the old web hosting company to begin the upload process.
- Verify and test your work.After the file is completely uploaded, the webpage will refresh and file-specific details will be displayed on a line-by-line basis as each file is moved into place. When this second page stops loading, the process is complete. Locate the browser’s “back” button to return to the previous page and begin the database restoration process in pretty much the same fashion. When all of the information is transferred, it’s time to adjust some settings and begin the actual seamless transition process behind the scenes.
- One thing to note is that the database backup files do not contain information about the usernames, passwords, and permissions associated with each MySQL database. This information will need to be entered within the MySQL Databases interface within cPanel.
- Prefix Matters—Also, note the prefix assigned to each database within cPanel. In case of discrepancies, (e.g. “pcooper_wordpress” vs “pcm_wordpress”), the prefixes will need to be changed in the configuration file of each software application which connects to that database.
- All Relevant Info—Add all of the relevant users, passwords, and permissions, and then make any necessary edits to system files by logging into the FTP account via the website’s IP address. This will ensure smooth operation of the software once the domain name has been transferred to show the new host’s files instead of those located at the old company. Once that is done, everything is in place and ready to function perfectly.
- All that needs to be changed now is the information which tells the domain which of the two hosting accounts’ files to display to the end user.
- Tell the domain registrar to use new domain name servers. The final step of the process is simply to tell the domain name to show files and data on a different server than the one in current use. This is done by logging into the domain registration control panel provided by the domain registrar (services like GoDaddy or Hover, for example). Within this control panel, a heading or sidebar item named “Domain Name Servers” should show up, and the current information placed into that area should look like this:
These need to be replaced with the new name servers (also found in the email) for the new host. (If this information is not found, navigate to the host’s support section, browse their documentation or get in touch with a representative who can provide the server details.)
Changes to the DNS records will take effect in 12 to 24 hours in most cases, though some have experienced as little as six hours. During this time, both the new and old websites will function properly, and customers will see identical content no matter which hosted files are presented.
- Be sure to test the website and ensure that all features are working properly; when everything is working just like it used to, then you can cancel the old hosting plan. That’s all there is to it!
Optional Free website migration services offered
Most web masters are do-it-yourselfers and prefer to migrate their data themselves, but we are always available to do the move for you, in needed. GreenHostIt.com execs have been in the web hosting industry for over 16 years. We get it. We know how to maintain your website, help you move your files to our network (heck, we’ll even do the entire move for you).