A Guide to Switching Website Hosting

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.

union of website hosting like marriage

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.

Combing through theme options

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.

Pinnable Hosting Image

 

33 thoughts on “A Guide to Switching Website Hosting”

  1. It sounds like a lot of work but once you’re in the process, you’ll realize that it’s not that complicated to switch domains, it’s really about just waiting for it all to be over and that’s it. I love this guide, it’s so helpful!

    1. Thank-you and yep, that’s it. I stressed about this for months. But once I started the process, I realized that it was not worth all that anxiety. I’m so much happier now that the switch has been made.

  2. I truly needed to find this post, it was meant for me to read right now in time. I have had my blog awhile but I am not technically savvy at. all. I just switched my domain name and very seriously thinking of switching my hosting. Thanks for the info!

    1. I’m glad you found it helpful! Keep it on one of those Pinterest boards, so you can have it available when you’re ready.

  3. Ug! I’m having problems with my hosting. I do it locally! I just got a huge bill and am still having issues. Not fun! 🙁

    1. Sorry about all the trouble and high rates! Maybe it’s time to switch? I’d be happy to answer any other questions you have about the process.

    1. It was way easier than I thought it was going to be! If you’re thinking about it at all, do your research to find the one that will best fit your needs and then go for it! I’m living proof that it’s dummy-proof.

  4. Been planning to move my blog to WordPress for the longest time! I learned a lot about web hosting from this article, and will take all these into consideration when I finally decide to move platforms for my blog. 🙂

  5. This article is really great for anyone looking to switch their web hosting, you provided some really solid advice here.

    1. Thank-you! I like being able to share all of the things that I’ve learned along the way, to make it easier for others.

    1. I’m afraid that means your current hosting company isn’t working out any longer, Sorry! Switching hosting providers is not as scary as it might seem. Good luck. You’ve got this.

  6. This is so informative and helpful post. I have been through all this and I know if you do not have the knowledge of how it works, it is not something you would ever want to do again. It is always better to find the right host at the first step to avoid the hassle and stress.

    1. That’s for sure! Even though I was able to navigate through the process, I don’t look forward to doing it again any time soon. It’s always best if you can start with the right hosting provider to start with.

  7. This is so useful! I was actually considering doing a hosting switch, so this is perfect for when I’m ready. Thanks!

    1. You’re very welcome! I’m glad it can be of some use to you. Good luck with your switching. Let me know how it goes and if you have any questions. I’d be happy to help!

  8. This is definitely a really helpful post. Right now I’m just using wordpress.com, but eventually I’d like to take my blog into the realm of self-hosting. I’ll keep this post in my arsenal of things to make the transfer easier!

    1. It’s nice when you have an easy-to-follow guide for a process like changing website hosting. I’m glad I can help!

  9. Love the marriage analogy. I’ve needed to rely on the support of my host now and then, so it’s been great working with a company that’s the right fit for me. But if I need to switch, I’ll monkey how.

    1. I’m glad your hosting spouse has been supportive 😄 It really is nice to have a company that you trust to have your back! Good luck with your future hosting!

    1. I’m glad you found it helpful! For simplicity sake, I hope you can just keep your same hosting forever. But if you do find that you’re no longer satisfied, don’t put it off. Don’t be intimidated, like me, or else you’ll find yourself down to the deadline, just adding extra stress to an already inconvenient situation.

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