Migrating your site to a new host can be a little daunting. You have to be careful not to break anything, cause any downtime or have an issue arise that affects your Google rankings. Fortunately, we have prepared a step-by-step tutorial to guide you through the process of transferring your site to a new host. If you follow our instructions, you should be able to move almost any website to a new host with no downtime, no breakages, and no other issues.
Table of Contents
6 Steps to Take Before Transferring Your Site to a New Host
1. Backup Your Site
Before you even think about migrating your site, you must create a complete backup of your site. Although the process we’re about to outline for you shouldn’t break anything, it’s always a good idea to have a recent backup of your site ready whenever you make any major to your site.
2. Add Your Domain to Your New Host
Ahead of moving your site, you need to create an account with your new host and add your domain.
If you only have one site, you likely gave your domain name when you created your new host account. However, if you have multiple sites, you may have to make an Addon Domain.
Addon domains are what cPanel calls multiple domain names. However, the hosting company that transfers your website may call it something else if they don’t use cPanel.
3. Use FTP to Move your Site’s Files
The next step is to transfer all your site files to your new host. If you have a large site, this may take some time. However, it will only take a few seconds of effort. The rest of the time will be spent waiting.
The best way to migrate your site’s files is through FTP. To do this, you’ll need an FTP program. A good free option is FileZilla. Additionally, you’ll need FTP credentials. These are a host, username, password, and port from both your old host and your new host. You should be able to get these from your hosting dashboard, but you can always ask your host’s support staff to get these credentials for you.
Once you have the necessary information, you’ll need to open two windows for your FTP program:
- Window 1: connect to your old host using your FTP credentials.
- Window 2: connect to your new host using your FTP credentials.
In both windows, go to your site’s main folder:
- Window 1: you should be able to see all of your site’s files.
- Window 2: should be mostly empty. However, there may be a few files from your new host.
Now, you’re going to want to select all the files in Window 1 and download them to your local computer. After the download finishes, you will need to upload the files to Window 2.
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4. Export your Site’s Database from your Previous Host
If you have a static HTML website, you don’t have to move your database because your site doesn’t have one. However, most content management systems (CMS) like Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Magento, etc., use a database to store your content.
To move your database, you first need to export it. If your old host uses cPanel, you should be able to export your database using phpMyAdmin. This tool is found in the Databases section of your cPanel account.
After you open phpMyAdmin, you have to select the database for the site you want to move to. If you have multiple sites, you’ll see various databases.
Next, you need to go to the Export tab and select Quick for the Export method. Then select SQL for the format and click Go.
5. Import your Site’s Database to the New Host
After exporting your site’s database from your old host, you need to import it to your new host. However, you need to create a new, empty database at your new host before you can do that. If your new host uses cPanel, you can do this by opening the MySQL Database Wizard tool under the Databases section.
6. Test Your Site
At this point, your site should work on your new host. However, you’ll need to test it thoroughly to be sure.
Most web hosts will provide you with a temporary URL that you can use before switching domain names. However, you can also test your site by editing your computer’s host file to point to your new server. This lets you manually override your computer, telling it to use your new server when you enter yoursite.com.
Completing the Transfer to the New Host
Once you’ve completed the above steps, it’s time to finalize the move to your new host by updating your domain name, so it points to the new host. This is done by changing your domain’s nameservers, which you can control from the service where you purchased your domain name.
After this is done, the transfer will be complete, and you’ll be ready to go with your new host.