Moving your web hosting company can be an intimidating process. You may have decided to move from an existing hosted solution (eg. blogger, wordpress.com, etc…) to the freedom that self-hosting brings, or you may have outgrown your current hosting provider in terms of capacity, or if the levels of support and service are not what you expect. Whatever your reason, the thought of moving might seem quite overwhelming. Thankfully, at LetsHost, transferring your website is not as hard as it may seem. We thought it might be helpful to provide a guide. Although this can’t possibly cover all options, we will at least give you a general idea of what is involved in migrating to LetsHost.
Step 1: Plan
Give yourself at least a week, preferably two, for everything to happen. If you are switching hosting providers and nearing the end of your current contract, the sooner you get started the better. You do not want to start two or three days before your contract expires and face billing issues or a suspended account. Take your time and give the whole process at least two weeks. Do not inform your current host you are moving at this stage.
Review this overview and base your plan on how long it will realistically take you, factoring in worst-case scenarios.
Step 2: Backup
You should always have a full backup copy of your site on a local computer. If you don’t, please get a copy of your site now. You probably used an FTP client to upload the original website files to your current providers webserver. If not Filezilla or SmartFTP are excellent free FTP clients. Using the FTP client software, download a copy of your entire site so you have it available.
If you use databases like MySQL, you will also need to backup your database. This can usually be done through your old webhost’s control panel. There are usually a variety of ways to do this, depending on what control panel your current provider uses or on the website scripts you have installed. WordPress, for example, has a plug-in that will look after the database backup for youIf you use phpMyAdmin, you should log in to that on the web server. Once logged in:
- Select “Databases”
- Click the name of your database
- Click the “Export” tab
- Choose “Select All” from the left column
- Make sure the “SQL” button is selected; also check: Structure, ‘Add DROP TABLE’, ‘Add AUTO_INCREMENT’ and ‘Enclose table and field names with backquotes’
- Make sure the “Data” box is checked, but leave the checkboxes inside unchecked.
- Check “Save file as” and leave the default choice
- Check “None” for compression
- Click “Go” and save the file to your computer. Then check “zipped” (or gzipped/bzipped if you prefer) and click “Go”again.
- You should now have two backups.
Step 3: Upload to LetsHost
Once you have received your Welcome email from LetsHost, you will find a link to allow you to access your control panel using the IP address. Connect to this IP address using your favourite FTP software, and upload your backup copy of your files to the LetsHost web servers. If you are using a new domain name, make sure all of the internal links in your scripts are changed to point to the new domain. If you are keeping your domain, your internal links should be fine.
Next, if you have a database, you can recreate the database using the mySQL option in your control panel. Restore your database by logging on to your control panel using the IP address link provided in your welcome email. Make sure your links to the database are changed to match the ones in any configuration files. You may need to check the documentation for the CMS you use, or you can ask us to assist you.To restore using phpMyAdmin:
- Logon to your new server (link provided in your welcome email)
- Click the “Import” tab
- In the following “Location of Text File” screen, choose “Browse” and choose your backup
- Double-check that the “SQL” box is checked
- Click “Go”. Go get some fresh air, or have a cigarette
- After a bit of time, you will see a success screen. You are done.
Be sure to double check your .htaccess file to make sure it is up to date and correct. Again LetsHost staff will be more than happy to help you here. Once you feel confident that everything is working as it should, move on to the next step.
Step 4: Recreate your Email Accounts at your new host
Set up all existing email accounts at the new host. This is done through your control panel. Any forwarders, aliases or auto-responders you had set up on the old host need to be set up on the LetsHost control panel. Set up your “catch-all” account if needed to capture all non routed emails. Once your DNS change has gone through your account will immediately receive mail to the correct email addresses.
Step 5: Update your DNS Records
If your domain name is new or you are keeping the same name, this step is the same. Go to your current registrars site, log into the control panel. Look for “Nameserver” or “DNS” and plug in the Primary and Secondary nameserver information you received in your welcome email. In theory it should take about 48 hours for your DNS records to propagate, in reality it takes much less time than this.
Check the email at both the old server and new server while this change is happening. It is possible some mail is going to both, separately.
Step 6: Cancel your Old Account
Once you feel confident the change has taken place, you can go ahead and cancel your old account. Your site has been available to the non-updated DNS servers, now that they are updated you no longer need two versions of your site out there.
Step 7: Enjoy your new hosting service at LetsHost
You are done. Hopefully everything went smoothly. If you have any problems, concerns or issues, please contact any of our support staff by email, live chat or by phone – we are always here to help and assist in any way we can.