Ever wonder why so many people stress the importance of choosing a good web hosting company the first time? Well, there are actually several reasons, but one relates to the fact that switching to a new host is such a headache. Let’s face it, changing servers without suffering considerable downtime is almost impossible. If your website is down for too long, you stand the chance of losing visitors, customers and eventually sales. While you can make arrangements to inform your customers about the move, the same can’t be said for your search engine rankings.
A domain transfer is the process of transferring the storage and demonstration of a domain from one web hosting provider to another. In essence, you’re actually transferring the domain from one web server to another, which may require several additional actions such as transferring files and assigning the appropriate name servers. This process is not to be confused with domain forwarding, which simply redirects traffic form one domain to another. When you purchase a new web hosting plan you will need to transfer all of the files from your old web server to the new one. Doing this can cause problems such as data loss and site down time if done improperly, so it is important that you consider the following information before beginning the domain transferring process.
The success and sustenance of every website begins with the server on which it is hosted, and the performance of that web server relies entirely upon the competence, reliability and capabilities of the web hosting provider. Perhaps even more essential to the success of a website is it’s ranking in the search engines. Without traffic a site may as well not exist, and it is a well known fact that having a high page ranking search engines is the bet way to get constant traffic automatically. Many people do not see the correlation between their web hosting plan and their search engine optimization efforts, but I assure there is a valid connection. Every web hosting plan comes with certain features and options, some of which can directly impact your site’s ranking in the search engines.
Making transition to a new web hosting provider can be somewhat complicated if you’ve never done it before. It is actually a very straightforward process that will only take a few minutes of your time. When done correctly, your position in the search engine will not be impacted. The following information will help you understand domain transfers and how they’re performed.
1. Find a Suitable Web Host
The first step in changing web hosting providers is finding a hosting company that offers a selection of services that can accommodate your needs and requirements as a webmaster. It is especially important to review the terms and conditions governing the hosting plan in relation to transferring domain names from one web host to another, as some hosts charge domain transferring fees. If you are unhappy with your current web host for a particular reason, it is best to inquire with any prospective host to avoid similar problems in the future.
Finding a company to host your website is not a difficult task. On the other hand, landing one you can trust is a different story. This article will introduce you to one of the most effective resources for locating an ideal service – customer reviews.
Narrow Your Choices
It is rather easy to become lost in the array of web hosting providers and types of hosting on the market. You many consider companies that offer budget hosting as well as those that allow you to lease your own server with a dedicated hosting package. The search gets even more confusing when factoring in features and technical jargon such as disk storage, data transfer and domains.
All of this can be very overwhelming for someone who does not possess the first clue of which type of service is best for their particular needs, and due to the sea of options, these feelings can even be perceived by seasoned webmasters. A good way to arm yourself with knowledge about the web hosting market is to read many reviews. Some of the review sites categorize these hosting providers based on their niche, price and the type of service they offer. When reading over the details, you can gain valuable insight on which service you can afford and what company you can trust.
Avoid the Disasters
The web hosting industry has become immensely popular in recent years and with this popularity came many sharks and shady practices. Today, it can be rather difficult to pick out the reliable hosting providers from those simply out to make a buck or a run a scam. By turning to web hosting reviews, you can avoid these shady companies and find yourself one that can actually be relied upon. Best of all, the chances of you landing a great deal are tremendous. The review game has become a business in its own right so the individuals running these sites make it a habit to list providers offering the lowest price on the best service.
Analyze the Market
Web hosting reviews can help you become more familiar with the market and give you a better idea of what to expect. They tend to highlight key areas that the novice may not be aware of but should know before purchasing a hosting plan. When reading reviews you generally learn about the features offered, server capacity, the level of security and more. In the end, this could help you save precious time you would have otherwise spent researching web hosting companies that may or may not live up to your expectations. What you can take from these review sites is a list of potential hosting providers and a piece of mind by knowing that you don’t have to overload yourself with the rigorous investigating process.
Though researching a web host for yourself is never a bad idea, taking the time to read reviews can let you know just what’s out there and give you an idea of what company may be able to pave the road to your success online. Whether you need a simple personal site or plan to start up a web-based business, some good reviews will put you in the right direction.
Target our Audience
Many people seem to overlook the importance of targeted traffic. Getting traffic to your web page can be easy, especially if you accept any kind of traffic. However, getting traffic that is actually going to convert into sales is another story. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative to go after traffic that will be beneficial to your business. One of the ways you can do this is by targeting your traffic geographically. If you are trying to sell a product or service that is going to be popular in the UK, then you wouldn’t want a lot of your traffic coming from China. For this reason it is important to choose a web a hosting provider that is located in the area you would like to target. I.E. – If you are in the US, then try to pick a hosting provider in the United States.
2. Check the IP Address of the New Web Host
Though it rarely occurs, there are a few IP addresses that have either been banned or experience major issues. The worst thing you can do is move from a host that can no longer meet your needs to another one sitting on an unfavorable IP range. If your web pages are associated with a troubled IP address, your search engine rankings will suffer.
Moreover, search engines often look at the IP address of a website to determine it’s relation to other websites, which may directly impact it’s rankings in the search engines. In other words, choosing a web hosting plan that offers only shared IP addresses may not be the best decision. You may find it too expensive to purchase a dedicated hosting plan, however you can still get a dedicated IP address with your shared hosting account. If you share your IP address with other websites then you are risking the search engine ranking of your site, since the actions of those websites could be directly connected with your site’s behavior by the search engines. When you have a dedicated IP address you will not have to worry about such occurrences, as your IP address will only be used by your website.
3. Perform a Full Backup of Your Website
The next step in domain transfer process is backing up all of the data for your web site. Having a full backup of your website files makes it much easier to move to a new provider. Besides, if anything goes wrong with the new service, you can run back to your old host and set up almost instantly. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. There is usually a backup utility within the control panel of your hosting account. Make sure you have a fully functional backup on external media that is separate from your hard drive and your web hosting server before proceeding with the domain transfer process.
4. Transfer Data
After you’ve found a suitable web host and the backup archives are secured, it is time to transfer the server data to your new hosting account. You can do it in one of two ways – you can upload the backup directly to the server or you can transfer the files from server to server via FTP using the “transfer Domains” option within your hosting control panel. Most people find both techniques to be just as simple, however, the first one is usually a bit faster.
The entire transfer process can be completed within your hosting control panel within a single day, however it can take longer if your site contains a lot of files. The larger your site is, the longer it will take to create the backup and upload the files via FTP afterward. Small to medium size web sites can usually be transferred in their entirety within about 1-3 hours in most cases, If you encounter difficulty when transferring domains your web hosting provider should be able to provide adequate assistance.
It is important to note that, although you cannot transfer a domain that is less than 60 days old to another domain registrar, it is possible to transfer the domain to a new hosting company. Many people get confused when discovering this restriction and decide not to change hosting providers because of it. After you’ve purchase a domain you are free to host it with whatever hosting provider you’d like.
5. Test Your Website
When changing web hosts, you will probably hurry to set everything up quickly and get back to business. Even if the site looks fine on the surface, it is still wise to test all of your forms, applications and databases to ensure that everything is working properly.
6. Adjust DNS Settings
After all of your files have been transferred to the new server and everything appears to be working correctly, it’s time to flip the switch and make it official. All you have to do here is change your DNS settings from the old service to the new host. This can be done easily through the control panel provided by your domain name registrar. Simply switch out the old nameservers for the new ones and you are ready to go.
Make sure the DNS configuration is valid. Just remember that you must wait for the domain to propagate which lets the Internet know that your site has been moved. This process generally takes anywhere from 24 to 48 hours.
The above tips in this article should actually help you kill more than two birds with one stone. Now you know what it takes to move your website to a new server and endure the smallest amount of downtime possible. Most importantly, you know how to keep your visitors and customers around and your search engine rankings intact. Good luck!