Web Hosting Website Migration course of action – Moving From One Web Hosting Company to Another

Web Hosting Website Migration course of action – Moving From One Web Hosting Company to Another

This article provides a detailed step by step course of action for migrating a website from one web hosting provider to the next without disrupting the delivery of either the website or email sets associated with the domain.

A summary of the steps involved in the time of action are:

  1. Make sure you have all necessary information
  2. Request set up of the hosting account with the new provider
  3. Replicate DNS with the new provider
  4. Re-delegate the domain name
  5. Copy the site content
  6. Test the site on the permanent domain
  7. Configure email sets
  8. Change DNS records.
  9. Migration completed

Before you begin make sure you have everything you will need to complete the migration. This includes, among other things:

  1. Domain password or registry keys
  2. Access to the web hosting account on the existing web hosting provider
  3. Ability to perform database dumps on the existing web hosting provider
  4. All SSL certificate files (if there is one)
  5. Checked that the hosting platform is compatible (i.e. versions of applications, Linux vs windows).
  6. List of all existing email addresses
  7. Setup the web hosting account with the new web great number

Make sure that the website hosting account is setup with the new web hosting provider. Setting up the account will not interfere with the operation of the existing live site. When the web hosting account is configured with the new great number, you should receive all the access details for adding content to the account.

DNS Configuration

We highly recommend redelegating the domain name to the name servers of the new hosting company in improvement of moving any other sets, this is commonly referred to as the DNS.

DNS is usually handled by the same company that handles either website or email hosting or both. It is however technical independent and is a service that can be handled by different companies.

DNS is where the change is made made when a website is switched from one hosting provider to another.

We suggest changing the DNS to be hosted by the new provider but set the DNS records to continue to point all sets at the existing hosting service provider. Once the DNS records are hosted by the new provider, change the TTL (Time To Live) attribute to reduce it from the standard 24 hours to 10 minutes. This allows us to make changes between providers in as little as 10 minutes once the sets are ready to be migrated. This is a big improvement on the standard 24 hours since the level of disruption is greatly minimised and the risk of users being spread between old and new sites is so much lower.

We first need to make sure we have an accurate copy of the records from the existing great number. The best way to do this is to request a copy of the records from the current great number or DNS provider. If this is not possible, with a reasonable knowledge of the sets in use on the domain name, it is usually possible to collect most of the necessary information that you need using tools such as dig or nslookup.

Site Copying

Once DNS migration has been initiated we have approximately 24-48 hours before the domain can be redelegated to the new hosting providers name servers. This will give us abundant time to move the content across to the new servers. There are essentially two ways this can be completed depending on what information we have. If you have FTP/SSH details then you will be able to log in and copy the files across. Important things to observe:

  • Databases? Make sure a dump is taken and saved in the home directory
  • Provided you have SSH access, the easiest way to copy the content across is to tar up the complete home directory and then SCP it across.

A simple way of copying an complete website if you have FTP access is using LFTP. Login to the server the account is on as root and:

<br /> $ su &#8211; <username><br /> $ cd public_html<br /> $ lftp <ftp host></p> <p>lftp:~&gt; user <ftp username><br /> Password: <hmm what goes here></p> <p>lftp:/&gt; ls (just to make sure you&#8217;re in the correct folder, otherwise cd to the folder containing the website)<br /> lftp:/&gt; mirror<br /> </hmm></ftp></ftp></username>

This will mirror the complete contents of the website into your current folder. You nevertheless need to manually copy any databases across.

Without SSH/FTP access you can copy the site using Wget if you keep in mind a few caveats: Wget will only work when there is static content on the webpage, no dynamic pages (eg php, asp, shtml), no databases. If the site contains Javascript or Flash you might find you miss parts of the content.

Site Testing

Once the website has been copied test it on the permanent URL (as provided in the introductory email) for the hosting account setup and compare against original website to ensure everything is working correctly. If anything is not working, make sure it is fixed at this stage.

It is important that you confirm with the new hosting provider that you have completed your testing of the website.

Email Configuration

Assuming that all email sets are to be migrated, a complete list of email addresses that are required must be provided to your hosting company. If mail sets are remaining with the existing great number, or they are already handled externally it is important that you let your hosting company know.

Once they have been provided your web great number should supply you with new username and passwords.

observe that if email sets are to be migrated in most situations you will be changing the username and password details for email sets. This change is the one that will have the greatest effect on the end user of the hosting sets and it’s important that it is communicated properly. If peoples email breaks these days, it’s often more disturbing to their work than cutting of their telephone.

We’ve found that the best way to ensure no email is lost in the migration course of action is to leave the existing configuration in place, so that the mail client continues to check the old mail server, then add a new profile that checks the new mail server concurrently. This should usually be left in place for up to 7 days after the change over. It will ensure that any mail that nevertheless does make its way to the old location will be collected.

Finalise Migration

Once everything has been checked and rechecked we can switch the site across our servers for web and email hosting (by switching the DNS).

You should contact your hosting provider to confirm a time to make the change.

If the website uses a database it may be necessary to complete a final synchronisation of database closest prior to changing the DNS.


That’s it, you’re all done. You site migration should be complete and all traffic flowing to the new great number with a minimum of disruption.

leave your comment