How to Switch Hosting Providers in 5 Easy Steps

Sometimes it’s just time to move on and you need to change web hosting providers. It might not be goodbye forever, but sometimes you just need a break! This could be for many reasons such as a drastic pricing change on renewal or maybe your web host is just having some issues causing drama in your life like downtime. We’ve come up with the quick and dirty way to get away from your web host in 5 easy steps.

Step 1: The Backup

This is can be done a couple ways. If you’re using WordPress there is an export tool to backup the entire site (posts/pages/settings). If this is the case – you’ll also want to save your wp-content/uploads folder to save the images you’ve inserted. If you’re just using a standard website with html/php etc then you’ll need to login via FTP and grab the entire public_html folder. If you’re doing this and you have a db you’ll also need to login to phpmyadmin and run an export from there.

Step 2. Setup New Hosting

You won’t want to point your domain here yet, but you’ll need to setup your hosting account and then install wordpress if you’re moving your wordpress site. Use a one click installer to do a fresh version of WordPress. We recommend using a cheap provider like BlueHost or iPage to get the best value and they also have a nice installer for wordpress.

Step 3. Restore/Import

Next you can login to the temp site of the new web host and then do the import in the tools area to restore content on wordpress. Some hosts you can’t do this until you actually change DNS over.  You will also want to install the theme you were using and then upload the wp-content/uploads folder for images. If you’re not using wordpress you’ll want to upload via FTP all the files from public_html. Then you’ll also need to setup your database and assign permissions for the website user. After creating your database you can import through PHPmyAdmin the sql file that you exported earlier. Check your temp site to make sure the db connection is correct (you might need to update your php file that connects to the database).

Step 4. Change/Update DNS

This is quite easy to do. Just find out from your new hosting provider what their nameservers are. They should give you these on signup and there should be two names/hostnames. Then you’ll want to login to your domain name registrar like GoDaddy or Network Solutions and then go to domain manager and click update nameservers. Here you will enter in the two hostnames provided by the new web hosting provider.  This can take up to 24 hours for it to propagate through the internet, but these days it takes much less time. After DNS is pointed and going to new server make sure the website is functioning properly. If it’s not the web hosting provider should help you get things in working order.

Step 5. Cancel the Old Hosting

Finally, you’ve gained freedom like a nice breakup with your old host. You’ll want to delete any files that remain on the account then request to cancel.  I like to recommend to people that they keep the two hosts running concurrently for about a month if possible just in case you have to grab other files. Then if there are issues you have a safety net.

This is the quick and dirty way to change web hosting providers in the simplest way. For more complicated sites or new users most hosts offer a switch service for about $99. You might want to look into this if you’re not as experienced with web servers and such.