Moving a website

From time to time we all get a client that wants to move their website, or one that’s got a new website set up and wants to move onto that one. They all think that it’s a simple one-button job where we can just flick a switch and everything magically works just the way that it used to.

The truth is… that’s just not going to happen.

I’ve had numerous times where I’ve run into issues and compatibility problems, even when I’m moving one of my own sites that I know inside-out. There’s a lot of things to consider and a lot of things that you need to know before you start any sort of transfer process.

So, I’ve put together this quick list to give you an idea of what you’ll need to do or provide to get your website moved from one host to another.

  1. Your new hosting account details. This would normally be the FTP account details (server name, username, password) along with a control panel login. The control panel is mainly used to set up databases and emails, so it’s essential that you have these ready to go.
  2. Your old hosting account details. You need these to get your files, databases, email addresses and settings from your old hosting account. If you don’t have these then ask your current hosting company and they will be able to get them for you.
  3. Domain name details. You must have your domain name administration user name and password available so that you can update the DNS servers to point your domain name to your new hosting account. This is the step that most people forget and is one of the most important parts.
  4. Know your new hosting account details. You must know your domain name, and also your new hosting servers URL and nameservers.
There are some systems that do simplfy this somewhat. For example, CPanel is bundled with a very easy to use account/site import function that your new hosting company can use to easily import your account to the new server. Then all you have to do is set the DNS in your domain name.

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