Every website has to have hosting. It’s like- your website is full of information and files and your hosting company is the warehouse that stores them all and keeps them safe. But what if you made a wrong choice in hosting companies? Or maybe you’ve just outgrown your current one.
Below are the steps to make the switch easy and painless, with no down time for your website.
Switching Website Hosting
I put off switching hosting platforms for months because I was intimidated by the technical side. I couldn’t bear the thought of possibly losing everything I had built, if I did something wrong. What I found when I got started, was that I had nothing to fear. Turns out, it was straightforward and the hosting company helped me through whatever I couldn’t figure out on my own.
What Happens When You Chose the Wrong Hosting Company
I’ve heard your choice in hosting companies is like your choice in a spouse. If it’s right, you can live happily ever after. If it’s wrong, it can lead to a messy and sometimes expensive divorce.
When I started my blog, I did not do my research and just went with the first hosting company that seemed cheap and easy. I signed a one-year contract, figuring it was a trial period. Then, if it wasn’t working, I would switch hosting at the end of the year. It was my starter hosting spouse.
Over the course of the year, the hosting was decent. But I started running into problems: inability to access my c-panel, no option to add widgets, sub-par customer service, and no direct ways of monetizing. I was looking to grow and diversify and my hosting provider was no longer satisfying my needs. When I tried to leave, it was clingy and made it difficult for me to pack my bags and go.
This time, I did my homework and found that the company I had my domain through also provided hosting. It was still affordable, but offered more flexibility and opportunities for growth. Plus, I could actually talk to a real person by phone, who was happy to answer all my questions.
The Process of Switching Hosting
The process of switching took about a week, from start to finish, mostly because I am terribly choosy and indecisive (not a good combination). But every time I ran into a problem, I called the customer service team and was able to work through it. The representatives were patient and helpful, and made everything easy to understand, without being patronizing.
Don’t Cancel Your Old Hosting
Don’t cancel your old hosting until you’re up and running with your new hosting company. I was coming to the end of my year agreement with the previous host and didn’t want to be auto-renewed. But the idea of my site going down was worse than an additional charge. So, plan ahead, if your previous plan is nearing it’s end, make sure to have your new hosting ready well before your old one is up.
Transfer Your Files From Old to New
Now, you’ll have two hosting plans. Export all files from your old hosting dashboard. I had to temporarily save the files on my hard drive. Then, import them onto the new hosting dashboard. Free file importing may be included in your new hosting package. Check with your hosting provider.
Check the Layout and Look of Your New Site
Part of the baggage that I couldn’t bring with me when I switched hosting was my theme (the layout, color scheme, etc…). I spent three days combing through the hundreds of available themes (that’s where my indecision and choosiness slowed me down). I was excited about the idea of restructuring my website, but I wanted to be sure to find a theme that made me feel happy each time I looked at it.
Change Your Domain Name’s DNS
This is where my technical knowledge came up against a brick wall. I had to call my new hosting provider for further instructions. But even this was a breeze. The representative I talked to made the changes for me and just like that, I was ready to go.
Note: I now have my hosting through the same company I bought my domain through. If your domain is with a different provider, you will need to contact your domain provider to change the DNS, not your new hosting provider.
Wait 48 Hours
I had read that it could take as long as 24-48 hours for the hosting to complete the switching process. I waited three hours. When I checked, I saw my newly designed website. I was so excited and pleased with the way it looked, I dismissed the 24-48 hour warning. When I checked a couple hours later, it was back to the old look. I started stressing out over it. I could hardly sleep that night, worrying that I had done something wrong and my precious website would be messed up forever. The next morning, I checked it again and everything had worked itself out. The new site was up and it has worked flawlessly ever since.
Please, don’t be impatient like me! Don’t stress and worry. Over the course of that day, the new DNS was propagating all over the world and it takes time to finalize. If you’re still seeing problems after 48 hours, contact your new hosting company to make sure everything is running correctly on their end.
Cancel Your Old Hosting
Once you’re sure the new hosting is finalized and running smoothly, cancel the hosting with your old provider. Then, sit back and enjoy your new and improved website.
Note: If you have your domain through your previous hosting provider, be sure you don’t cancel the domain along with the hosting.
My advice to beginners? Do your research from the beginning. Find a hosting company that you can afford, but which will also allow you to grow and meet your full business potential. For help finding the right hosting provider, refer to How to Choose Website Hosting.
My advice to established bloggers? Check out your hosting company. Make sure that it provides the opportunities and tools that will keep you satisfied long-term. If it doesn’t, consider making the switch soon. Don’t put it off because you’re intimidated, or satisfied for now. Be proactive and create the website that you will be proud to claim as your own.
Bookmark or pin this for later and when you’re ready to make the switch, you’ll be able to move through the process painlessly and without any down time on your site.