To Change Hosting Companies
Moving your site without downtime
How does one get their web site from one host
to another is a common questions. At AceOfSpace.com we're often
helping people get their sites off of an old server to move to our
system. And, even if you're looking to move away from our
service, this tutorial will help you too (though we'd rather
you didn't leave us). Whatever the case, this type of move
should be given a minimum of 5 days to complete and if you're
smart you'll give yourself 2 weeks to iron things out.
Don't change because of price
Unless you've reviewed the products and
services offered by the new hosting company, don't make price
the deciding factor. We have had several clients come back to our
service because they realized after going to cheaper host that we
have a lot of value in the services that we offer. Yes, even if
you're coming from another more expensive service, check out
the services we offer and then compare. We're very proud of
our service, we offer a lot of value for a very affordable price.
Once you compare, we're confident that you will then be much
more comfortable making the switch.
The Basic Steps
Here are the steps that may be required for the
move. Some steps may not apply to your situation.
- Find a new host
- Make a backup of existing web site
- Open account with new host
- Copy web site to new server
- Test web site on new server
- Create E-mail boxes on new server
- Change DNS
- Close old hosting account after being sure everything is working
Evaluating a Web Site Hosting Company
The most important thing about finding a new host
is being able to see beyond the features. When it comes to disk
space, e-mail boxes and the like, it's a numbers game. Let's
be honest, hosting is a commodity these days. You might
be fooled into selecting a hosting company by comparing the numbers.
This common mistake is seldom made more than once. At AceOfSpace.com we've done our best to provide the best value of features
for the price but so what! There are more important things.
Review the terms of service.
They should respect and protect your personal information. They
should offer a generous 30-day money back guarantee. Fortunately
most companies do.
Test their support. Seldom do
people test the support before they buy (we can attest to this).
And yet, with all the possible configurations out there for servers,
directory structures, ins and outs, you can expect to need help
at least once and probably 2 or 3 times in the first month of service
when you're getting things set up. They should answer in a
courteous manner and should be honest when they don't know
and they get back to you when they find out.
Test their e-mail support. This
is a hosting companies most commonly used support line. It's
important that you're not left waiting for over 24 for hours
for answers. We strive to answer all questions within 1 hour during
regular business hours and 3 hours maximum at other times of the
Test their phone service. Do
they have a toll free number (ours is 866-855-5445 for support or
customer service)? How long does it take for them to return you
calls if you leave voice mail. Here's a trick: Leave a voice
mail and an e-mail if it's urgent. Often, tech support specialists
are on the phone answering questions and e-mail at the same time.
One way or another you'll get an answer quickly.
The “It's Not My Job”
test. People often call on us to help them with problems
that have nothing to do with the services that they're paying
for. Our policy is to try to help as much as possible. We've
helped people make business decisions, write letters to registrars,
optimize their graphics, fix their code and much more. So ask the
hosting company something like, “I want to move my site from
Geocities to your company but I no longer have the password to the
Geocities account so I can't get to it. Can you transfer the
pages for me?” Yes, we've done this too.
Is their system user friendly?
They should have some automated method of managing the features
that they offer.
What kind of help section do they offer?
Customer centered companies take the time to enable you to solve
your own problems by putting documentation on line for you to use.
If they hide their help section until you become a ‘member,'
how are you going to know how good it is?
Other benefits. Do they have
your best interests in mind? A good hosting company will a least
give you pointers on how to you promote your web site. Do they teach
you about topics related to being a webmaster rather than just using
their service? They should enable you to get on their server within
1 hour of signing up. They should take credit cards for your convenience
and have all credit card information securely pass between your
computer and theirs using an encrypted connection.
Make a Backup of Existing Web Site
You're going to have to have something to put on the new server.
If you don't already have a copy of your web site on your
local computer you should make one.
Open Account with New Host
Now you're ready to open the new account
on your new hosting company. You can often sign up over the phone
but this is not the recommended method. The reason -- typos. People
make mistakes and a domain name is not something you can afford
to have a typo in. Therefore, if you order it on line you'll
have written documentation of the transaction and proof that it
was entered correctly.
Copy Web Site to New Server
Many software packages enable you to upload your
site to the server. Still, the most effective method is using an
FTP program. This will enable you to become familiar with the directory
structure of your new host and FTP is the most efficient method
of transferring files over the net.
Test Web Site on New Server
Now your web page is on two servers. The old and
the new. Make sure all pages are working on the new server and upload
again if needed.
Create E-mail Boxes on New Server
When the old server is taken off line, where is
your e-mail going to go? Hopefully you will have already set up
e-mail boxes on the new server so that the e-mail will have a home.
While the Internet pointers (also known as DNS or Domain Name Services)
are being updated to point from the old server to the new in the
next step you there may be a time when your e-mail doesn't
know where to go. Homeless e-mail will wonder the internet for about
5 days before it returns to the sender. Hopefully during this time
you will have everything ready and waiting for the e-mail to find
Change Domain Name Services (DNS)
Domain Name Services point browsers to the right
server so that people can find your web page. Think of them as a
an information booth in a mall. You say, I want to know the address
of Sears. They say that is store 5B over on level two. They translate
the store name (the name of your web site) to the exact location
of the store (the address of the server). In the case of the DNS,
there is a large government appointed organization called Internic
(www.internic.net) that manages the world-wide database of internet
Right now the DNS points the world to your existing
web site on the existing server. They need to be changed to point
to the new web page on the new server. This is done by your web
hosting company upon your request to transfer the DNS to the new
Once the DNS information is changed it can still
take a few days for this information to be acknowledged by all of
the web servers and ISP's on the internet as they update their
records to match that of the Internic database.
Close Old Hosting Account
At some point, the transfer of the DNS to point
to the new server will take place. When? Nobody knows the exact
moment because this is handled by Internic. But when it does, you
want it to be as transparent to the people browsing your web site
as possible. One moment the pointers are going to be pointing to
the page on the old server and then to the new one. If you've
followed these instructions there should be no problems. Fortunately,
if there are, you can always ask to have the DNS changed back to
the old server to minimize the interruption.
Finally, when all is working well on the new server
it's time to contact the old hosting company and shut that
account down. Please be courteous and let them know that you've
found another service for your web hosting needs.
We hope that this guide has helped you plan and
that your move will be trouble free. If you have any questions,
please direct your calls to our support team. Here's
our contact info.