There is quite simply a wealth of information out there regarding what to look for when choosing a new web hosting provider. You can find lots of material on the best companies, how to get the best deal and what packages/solutions would be the best fit for your business.
To me, that’s all well and good, but the fact is most people who have websites already have web hosting. So even if you found a fantastic deal out there that suits your setup to a tee, the thought of changing hosts and moving your site can become such a chore that even if there is money to be saved, you don’t bother doing it.
In this article, we will discuss how to change web hosting companies instead of getting set up on day one. That’s right, and we’re going to discuss migration in all its glory. Essentially you have two options, find a host who will do it for you or do it yourself.
If you’ve never switched web hosts before and don’t know what is needed to do so – you should attempt to do it yourself. This might sound a little odd but better to learn sooner rather than later; it’ll open many doors should you want to switch hosts in this future.
Finding A Firm That Offers Free Migration
The good thing about web hosting in terms of getting what you need is the level of competition. Given all hosts can pretty much cater to your every desire, that means competition, and competition means the hosts will be clambering over themselves to have you as a customer.
All that means is if you went to most of the hosts out there and told them you’d be willing to become a customer so long as they migrate your site for you, nine times out of 10, they’d be willing to do it.
Unless it’s such a large company that they didn’t care about anyone single customer, which unfortunately is sometimes the case, the truth is, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. So even if the company you intend to use is not offering a free migration service, then you may as well try your luck, and they’ll probably say yes!
Hostpresto is a popular UK firm. For example, it will make most of the time offer free migrations for new customers – even if it isn’t advertised in such a manner.
cPanel to cPanel (and other control panels)
Generally speaking, if you’re moving from one control panel to another, such as cPanel to cPanel, things are quite easy. cPanel itself offers a great online backup application where you can simply one click to backup your entire account – your website files, databases, even FTP and e-mail users into one simple, downloadable zip file.
On the other end, at your new host, you upload this file to your new control panel, hit restore, and everything is back like for like, except it’s now on your new-fangled web host!
There are also options to do the above via Web Host Manager, where you can bring full accounts across in bulk without needing to login to individual cPanel accounts and back up the files.
All you need is your cPanel username and password along with your existing server’s IP address/domain, and WHM will do all the leg work for you.
The Manual Leg Work
Of course, we’re not all blessed with control panels that offer backup utilities, and you’re not always going to be going from the same control panel at one host to the same control panel at the other.
Sure, some control panels work with other control panels files and structures, but now and again, you have to do things manually.
Fortunately, this is as simple as making a folder on your desktop, FTPing to your current webspace, and just download all files and folders from it. Of course, depending on how much you have up there, this can take a while, but it’s worth it in the end.
Then all that’s left to do is export your databases with phpMyAdmin and set them up on your new host. It’s a bit cumbersome, but the results are the same.
Some people feel more comfortable doing it this way as backups are often not perfect, and going through the automated process and realizing something is not working, or missing files can be stressful. People also use this as an opportunity to clean up any old files you’re not using either. The choice is yours.
So that’s that. Hopefully, from the above, you can get an idea of what’s needed and choose the best option for you. It perhaps sounds a lot more difficult than it is, and everything is relative.
If you’re moving a 5-page site, you’re going to have less work via the manual route than you would be moving a 500-page site – but the process is still the same.
So, the choice is yours. Either dive in and try the control panel to control panel options or give it a go manually! You shouldn’t need to rely on the web hosting firms’ migration practices.