How to transfer a website to another hosting

Moving a website to a new hosting may seem like a complicated and confusing task, but it is actually quite simple if you follow some basic steps. If you want to move your website without losing data, you need to create a backup copy, upload files to the new hosting, set up the database, and update the DNS (Domain Name System).

29 June 2024
How to transfer a website to another hosting
Serhiy
Serhii Shynhur
Sales Manager
quotes
«Choosing the right hosting is the first step to online success»

Reasons why you need to transfer your website to a new hosting

  1. Improved performance and speed. If your current hosting cannot provide sufficient page loading speed or bandwidth. In this case, you can switch to a hosting service that will meet your needs and improve the speed of your website.
  2. Technical support. Some hosts do not provide adequate support for their users. When choosing a hosting, you should pay attention to this indicator, because at some point it can become a very important element.
  3. Cost reduction. You can find more favorable tariff plans or special offers from other hosting providers.
  4. Improved security. If your current provider does not provide a sufficient level of protection or is often attacked, it is better to change it to a more reliable one. Data protection and user security are very important in the age of information technology, so you need to do your best to protect the privacy of your users.
  5. Business growth. When the brand becomes more popular and many users visit the site at the same time, it is advisable to switch to a specialized hosting that will work efficiently and quickly 24/7.
  6. Dissatisfaction with your current hosting. If you are not satisfied with anything about your current hosting provider, you can always change it to another one that will better meet your needs and fit the functions you need.
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Step-by-step instructions on how to migrate a website to a new hosting

Choose a new hosting provider

First of all, you need to choose a new hosting provider. When choosing, consider the following factors:

  • Reliability and uptime.
  • Customer support.
  • Bandwidth and speed.
  • Cost of services.
  • Additional features (free SSL, backups, etc.).

Create a backup copy

Before transferring a website, it is important to create a backup copy to avoid losing data and to restore the site in case of problems.

How to make a backup copy?

  1. Site files: log in to your hosting via an FTP client and download all the files to your computer.
  2. Database: if your site uses a database, go to the control panel and export the database through phpMyAdmin.

Upload files to a new hosting

After you have created a backup, upload the files to the new hosting.

How to upload files?

  1. FTP client: use the same FTP client to connect to the new hosting and upload all your site files to the root folder.
  2. Control Panel: If your new host supports file uploads through the control panel, you can use this method.

Set up the database on the new hosting

If your website uses a database, you need to create a new database on a new hosting and import all the necessary data there.

How to set up a database?

  1. Create a new database: go to the control panel of the new hosting and create a new database.
  2. Import the data: using phpMyAdmin or another tool, import the backup copy of the database you made earlier.

Update the configuration files

After uploading the files and setting up the database, you need to update the site’s configuration files so that they use the new database access data.

How do I update the configuration files?

  1. Locate the configuration file: it can be “wp-config.php” for WordPress, “configuration.php” for Joomla, or another file depending on your CMS.
  2. Update the access data: change the database parameters to the new ones (database name, username, password, and host).

Update DNS records

For your website to start working from a new hosting, you need to update the domain‘s DNS records. This means changing the pointers to the new server.

How to update DNS records?

  1. Go to your domain control panel: it can be your domain registrar or hosting control panel.
  2. Update DNS servers: change DNS records to those provided by your new hosting provider. These are usually A records (for the main domain) and CNAME records (for subdomains).

Check the website

After updating DNS records, it may take some time before the changes take effect (usually up to 48 hours). After that, check if the site is working correctly on the new hosting.

What exactly should you check?

  • All pages and functions of the site are working correctly.
  • Images and files are uploaded correctly.
  • Forms and interactive elements are functioning.

Moving your website to a new hosting can be a simple task if you follow these steps. The main thing is to create a backup copy, carefully configure the database and configuration files, and update DNS records. With the right approach, you can quickly and safely transfer your website to a new hosting and ensure its continuous operation. 

The most common mistakes when transferring a website to another hosting

The most common mistakes when transferring a website to another hosting

Incorrect DNS configuration

After changing hosting, there may be a delay in updating DNS records, which leads to temporary unavailability of the site.

Solution:

  • Make sure the new DNS records are correct.
  • Use a test domain: to check the operation of the site on the new hosting before changing the DNS.
  • Warn your users about possible temporary access problems.

Incomplete or incorrect backup

If the site backup is not created correctly or does not contain all the necessary files and data, the site may not work on the new hosting.

Solution:

  • Back up all files and the database.
  • Check the backups before transferring to make sure they contain all the necessary data.
  • Use specialized backup tools or plugins.

Incorrect configuration files settings

After the files and database are migrated, the configuration files may remain with the settings of the old hosting, which will lead to connection errors.

Solution:

  • Update the configuration files with the new database access parameters.
  • Make sure that all paths and parameters in the configuration files are correct.

Differences in the server environment

The new host may use different versions of the software or have different settings, which can lead to incompatibility.

Solution:

  • Check the environment of the new host and make sure it meets the requirements of your site.
  • Configure server settings such as PHP version, Apache or Nginx modules to match your site’s needs.

Problems with access rights

After transferring a file to a new server, there may be problems with access rights, which may prevent the site from reading or writing files.

Solution:

  • Check and update the file and folder permissions on the new server.
  • Use the chmod command (for example, “chmod 755” for folders and “chmod 644” for files) to set the correct permissions. Different chmod values give different permissions. 

For example, the value 755: the first digit is user: read, write, and execute = 7; the second is group: read and execute = 5; the third is other: read and execute = 5.

Data loss during database migration

When importing a database to a new server, errors can occur that lead to data loss or database corruption. This is the most unpleasant problem for every website owner.

Solution:

  • Make sure that the database export was successful and contains all the data.
  • Import the database using the appropriate tools.
  • Check the integrity of the database after importing.

SEO and indexing by search engines

During website migration, SEO issues may also arise, such as URL changes (ANCHOR), loss of metadata, or temporary site unavailability, which will negatively affect search engine indexing.

Solution:

  • Make sure the URL structure remains the same.
  • Use 301 redirects to redirect old URLs to new ones in case of changes.
  • Notify search engines about the change of hosting through tools such as Google Search Console.

The most important thing when transferring a website to a new hosting is to check everything and fix it immediately if there are any errors. Otherwise, it will be much more difficult to determine what the problem is and its solution may become impossible. To prevent problems, check every action you take or seek professional help.

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Conclusion

Moving to a new hosting is a fairly simple but responsible process. To avoid unforeseen problems during the transfer, you need to do everything step by step, carefully, and check each step. To be more confident in the result, it is better to turn to professionals. This will allow you to prevent data loss, site interruptions, and guarantee a quick and safe result.

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