Planning to transfer your website? Here are a few things to take care

Changing your website hostHave recently transferred BizDharma to a new web host and things have improved with respect to site load time and expansion. I thought a quick post on things to take care during migration will help you, so here we go.

Websites today are not just for online branding of your business, they are funnels of conversions and hence impact your bottom line. One of the key components that decide how swift your websites loads is your web server which serves the website.

By the way if you have a doubt whether a few seconds of delay in website loading matters? Eat this – Amazon’s calculated that a page load slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year. Google has calculated that by slowing its search results by just four tenths of a second they could lose 8 million searches per day–meaning they’d serve up many millions fewer online adverts. (Source)

Now that you know the importance of faster loads. Here is a quick, number of reasons why you would consider switching your web hosts..

  1. Faster load times (as discussed)
  2. Servers to be located in your region to reduce hops between the requester and your server
  3. Legal requirements where you server government or related bodies who want you to host in certain regions
  4. Commercial reasons (You are as thrifty as me)
  5. Better features with new server
  6. Less confidence on the existing provider basis the service

Every time the customer reaches your online store and the store just doesn’t appear; you lose business?

My reason to shift BizDharma to this new host were the last 2 items. My previous host with whom BizDharma has been hosted for almost 3 years had a cap on the number of websites I host, also the new Host has a very good repute and has recently launched in India.

While the migration has been successful following lessons were worth noticing

  1. Its a fair practice to have separate domain name registrar and and website hosts to have as less dependency as possible and have smooth migration. For records the domain name has been registered via GoDaddy and the site is now hosted with HostGator (People outside India can reach HostGator via their US website)
  2. Plan migration – It takes time for the complete process and hence plan when you, Internet connection and your team is available.
  3. Find the right host from cost, feature, functionality and review perspective. Multiple switches in short span does create pain for users, Search engines and your team
  4. See whether the host will be good for your target audience – BizDharma was always hosted on Doreo, now Umbra Hosting. While I had no big issues with the host; They never allowed me to host more than 2 domain on the same plan although I had enough resources I was paying for. Secondly HostGator has a great repute and now they have even provided servers in India. Most of my Traffic is from India and US and switching to HostGator means faster website loads and less hops.
  5. Ensure that the same technical aspects are supported by the new host – From configuration to support level and response times. It makes no sense to save money only to consume a cheaper support.
  6. Update users – In case if you are a web app or a website which is accessed every single moment update your users. While the best case scenario is the migration happens in a few hours without jerks but if that is not the case let your users be aware
  7. Don’t wait to suck each dime from old host. The major mistake I have seen people committing is migrating during the end of the existing billing cycle and once the old host is closed you have no option but to repent. (read further)
  8. Changes take more time than you think they do. Changes done with the registrar to redirect your domain to a new web host might happen in couple of hours but do note that the switch has happened in your area and not all across the globe. It takes several hours (at times more than a day) for all the services to switch to your new host till that time keep both the sites ready.
  9. One nice trick is to create a new page on the old website and keep checking out the website. When the page automagically disappears it means it is getting pulled from your new host
  10. Backup your website oftenTake backup for the worst case scenarios. I believe you should seek expert help in this area. Backups of files, configurations, databases, emails and other services needs to be taken well in advance in case if the migration fails. In case if you use HostGator like me, sufficient number of sites will be transferred by them at no cost. This was a no brainer to me as I need to rely on the experts who have been doing this day in and day out. (Additional sites are also transferred at minimal charges)
  11. Also take complete cpanel/plesk backup for your reference
  12. Once migrated test as much as possible and as different functionality as possible to ensure that the complete migration has worked. Try sending mails from your contact form to know that it works.
  13. Have the old site Live for a few days to roll back. By the way while I am writing this post my previous host is not even aware I will close account with them. As of now I have just changed the billing cycle from quarterly to monthly
  14. Check from various ISPs and locations if possible. You can use proxy sites to check your site from different geographies.
  15. Once the old host is closed they will delete data, please ensure that this doesn’t happen in wrong time. Take an expert advise if need be
  16. I used several commands like ping, tracert, pathping and nslookup to keep an eye on the migration. A simple google search will give you enough stuff on how to use these tools.

These were few notes that I took while migrating BizDharma to my new host HostGator. I hope this list will be handy and helpful to you too. Do note since I use HostGator the links provided here are affiliated to my account.

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{ 1 comment }

How to transfer my Domain December 13, 2012 at 11:27 am

Well explained and very useful article.
This will help me a lot in my daily task.

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