Points to Remember When Switching Web Hosts - Taking Care of Business
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If I wanted to stretch the changing residences analogy, I might describe this part of the task as being somewhat akin to getting a local doctor, finding out where all the roads go, and learning the location of all the businesses essential to keeping your household running. But analogies can only go so far. In fact, depending on your website, what I'm about to mention could be a lot more important than those details.
Because the truth is, it's not like you're moving a home so much as moving a business. At least, that's true if your website is being used for business. If you sell anything from your website, for example, you probably have a shopping cart set up for your customers to use. Is that shopping cart provided by your current hosting plan? If so, will you be able to move it to your new web host? If not, will your new web host support your current shopping cart? And if the new web host won't support your current shopping cart, will it provide you with a suitable replacement shopping cart? After all, the last thing you want to do is upset your customers; if they're used to one particular shopping cart, it seems a little unfair for them to have to learn how to use a new and significantly different cart just because you moved--unless, perhaps, the new cart is genuinely easier to use than the old one.
Finally, it's time to do some heavy lifting. Your website files will need to be uploaded to the new server. Do you know how to do that? If you don't, will your new web host do it for you? That's a real question with several possible answers. The new host might refuse to do it, for liability reasons. Or it might move your files for free. Or it might charge you a fee for moving your files.
After your files are moved, you want to make sure that the site looks right and works the way it's supposed to on the new server. Once you've checked that out, you need to go to your registrar to change your nameserver information, which you can get from your new web host. It could take up to two days after you make this change before your site goes live to the web on the new server. At this point, you want to use a whois utility to check your domain name and make sure the new nameservers are listed. If they are, you can finally cancel your old web hosting account. Welcome to your new home!
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