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How to Avoid Downtime While Changing Your Web Hosting Provider?

When one starts with their own website, they usually select web hosting based on a recommendation. With time, they may realize that their present web hosting provider is not able to cater to their business goals. They may want to migrate to a new web hosting or upgrade your hosting plan. But it is easier said than done. Switching to a new web hosting, if not done properly, may keep your website down for days. This could take up to 4 days. In today’s world of competition, you need your website to be running 24/7/365.

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Reasons for making the switch: 

There could be many reasons you would want to change to a new hosting provider. The topmost reasons are:

  • Downtime– Too much downtime, could take a hit on your business. Unplanned downtime, especially during peak hours, would take away your loyal customers. They may end up believing you website has shut down permanently. Switching to a web host that guarantees an uptime of at least 99.9% may be a good idea to avoid losing traffic.
  • Slow loading time– As your business goals increase, you may not be satisfied with your current provider. A website with slow page load speed not only damages your reputation but is also bad for your SEO rankings. Google’s search engine algorithm accounts for page load speed as one of the factors to rank your website for a relevant keyword. Your provider may not be able to cater to the increase in traffic for your website, and this may push you to migrate to a new provider.
  • Found a better option– you may come across the same facilities being provided at a cheaper rate. Or a particular infrastructure you need for your website may not be available with your current provider, or you may not be happy with the current security level. All these are compelling reasons to make the switch to a new web host.

However, you don’t have to panic in case you have already decided on a change. It may sound complicated with all the jargon involved, but little preparation from your side could make the transition a smooth experience. It should be noted that many host companies provide this service free of cost, so do ask your service provider before taking the plunge.

This article would guide you with steps you should take to avoid or minimize downtime while you switch to a new host. 

  1. Select a new web host– You would want to put an effort to find the right service provider who can accommodate all your objectives. Feeling dissatisfied later on may make you frustrated. There are different types of web hosting available in the market, such as Shared, Dedicated, VPS and Cloud Hosting. Shared Hosting is a cost-effective solution for small businesses, as you only have to pay for the shared resources on the physical server. It is important not to cancel the previous subscription as they usually terminate the hosting instantaneously, leaving your website down. The move first and cancel later approach would avoid any downtime for your website.
  2. Handle your backups properly– The next step is to create the backup of the contents of your website from the previous host. If you are on a static website, you could simply download the files using an FTP transfer application. For a dynamic content management website such as WordPress, you would have to download the database in addition to the contents. There are many plugins available to ease your backing up process
  3. Make the transfer– You may then have to transfer all the contents and database to your new web host. Use an FTP client to connect to your new host and double-check to see if it is the carbon copy of the files with your old host.
  4. Update your new DNS– Updating your DNS involves telling the website to point to the new host. You would need to change the domain name of the new host in “Domain nameservers”, with the value you would get from the new host. It may take up to 48 hours for the update to take effect. Test run it many times to check for errors. If all works well, your website would be now loading from the new host.
  5. Cancel your old subscription– After your website is up and running from the new host, you can pull the plug on your old host provider.

Conclusion:

There are many web hosting India providers, offering different hosting subscriptions. It is important to select the one which can address your business goals in the long run. Avoiding a switch between hosting may be the best strategy to follow. However, there could be many reasons which may compel you to change to a host afterwards. Shared Web Hosting is a cost-effective solution for small businesses, where you pay only for what you use.