Why Should You Switch Web Host?
If you’re fed up with your web host’s slow speeds, poor performance, or expensive renewal fees, it’s time to think about switching web hosts.
There’s a lot to consider when signing up for a new web host, and many reasons why you might want to move away from your existing host. The most common causes for switching web host includes:
- Too many options
- Addons and extras getting too pricey
- Too much downtime
- Poor customer support
- Slow speeds and server response times
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Choosing A Web Host That Migrates For Free
Among other factors, it’s wise to choose a web host that will migrate your existing website over to them for free. If you know how to transfer your existing website safely, then this may not be a deciding factor. However, for many people, it’s important to get this right and it’s worth allowing someone with the expertise to do it for you.
When a web host migrates your website, they will take your existing website, its files, and databases and safelt move them across to the new server. There shouldn’t be any downtime for your website, meaning you won’t lose website traffic.
If your new web host uses the same control panel as your existing web host (such as cPanel), it makes the process much simpler. However, if they have to transfer the files manually, it could take longer and there may be a charge. It’s worth checking out what your new provider offers before signing up.
Here are our choice of the best web hosts that will transfer your website for free:
1. BlueHost ($2.95/mo)
2. A2 Hosting ($2.99/mo)
3. HostGator ($2.64/mo)
4. InMotion ($2.49/mo)
5. SiteGround ($6.99/mo)
Transfer Your Website Yourself
You can transfer your website from your existing web host to your new web host yourself. You can do this if your web host doesn’t offer a migration service, charges for it, or you simply would rather handle the details yourself.
You’ll need to make sure you backup all of your website files and databases before transferring them. Most web hosts have step-by-step guides to help you transfer your website. If you do want to do this yourself, follow the guidance below to ensure you’re in the best position to do this (it won’t take long).
1. Choose A New Web Host
Before cancelling your old account, you’ll want to choose a new web host. You need to assess what features are important to you and what features or aspects you can part with so that you can choose the best web host.
Many people migrate their website to a new host because of issues with their existing web host. As we’ve already discovered, this can include pricing, features, customer support, and so on.
Choosing your new web host is really down to what details are essential for you. It’s worth writing these down so that you can find the best web host for your requirements. Some web hosts offer unlimited storage and bandwidth, whereas others throw in a free domain and SSL certificate. Other hosts may include everything you need but at a cost you’re not willing to part with.
It’s also worth considering the type of hosting you want for your website. There are multiple types of web hosting services including:
Shared Hosting – This is the most common entry-level hosting for small to medium sized websites. I wouldn’t recommend shared hosting for eCommerce websites due to the fact you share a server with lots of other people. This means if they are using too many resources, your website speeds and performance will suffer. Shared hosting is often the cheapest option and prices start from just $0.99 per month.
VPS Hosting – VPS hosting is more expensive than shared hosting but offers more control over your server and resources. VPS still shares server space with other customers but far fewer than shared hosting. VPS hosting offers better speeds and performance, ideal for business websites or eCommerce sites. You can purchase as much space and resources as you need whilst being reassured that your server is safe and secure.
Dedicated Server – If you want complete control over your server and have all the resources to yourself, dedicated servers are the best option, but are also expensive. Dedicated servers are ideal for high-traffic websites. Dedicated servers are the VIP of servers in comparison to shared and VPS hosting, but if you need a lot of storage space, bandwidth, and control, a dedicated server may be the best option.
Cloud Hosting – Cloud hosting offers scalable, flexible, and reliable web hosting. It is usually more expensive than shared hosting as your resources are distributed among many physical servers. This means if one server experiences issues, another will be able to pick up the pace and allow your website to remain online. If you’re not sure how your website will perform, cloud hosting lets you scale your resources when you need them.
2. Back Up Your Files And Databases
Once you’ve purchased your new hosting plan and before you cancel your old one, you must backup your website’s files and databases. This is so you can move it to your new server, and you have a backup of your files in case something goes wrong.
Here’s what you’ll need to do to complete this step:
- Download all of your files and databases from your existing web host
- Use an FTP client like FileZilla
- Migrate your files to the new host using FTP
- Download your database files
- Upload them and restore the database using a control panel or SSH
3. Update Your Domain's DNS Record
Even if you’re not transferring your domain name to your new web host from your existing web host or domain registrar, you’ll need to update your domain’s DNS records. DNS tells the ISP (Internet Service Provider) where your website files are located. It directs the connection to your website so your website can load properly.
Once your website files and databases have been successfully migrated, you’ll need to speak to the company where you registered your domain name. For example, if you purchased your domain name from NameCheap, you’ll need to contact them.
You’ll need to contact your new host to obtain the DNS information that you can provide to your old host or domain registrat. This usually takes 48 hours to take effect.
4. Check Everything Over
Once you’ve completed the above steps you’ll want to make sure that everything is working as it should and all of your files are in the right place before cancelling your old server.
Make sure none of your website’s files are missing by going through each page of your site to ensure the files and databases match your expectations.
5. Cancel Your Old Web Host Account
Once you’re absolutely sure that everything is in the right place, you can contact your old web host and cancel your account. Make sure you’ve transferred all of your files, databases, and updated your DNS records before doing so.
If you registered your domain name with your old host, you’ll want to keep that in place unless you decide to transfer your domain name (which is easy to do). Make sure you cancel the correct hosting account and once you’re done, move on and enjoy your new host!