It may happen sometimes that you are not pleased with the service you are receiving from your current web host. In that case, it may be time to move your account to a new host. When you already have a running website with lots of files, this may sometimes get tricky especially if you have never done it before.
In this article, I will outline the simple steps that are needed in order for you to migrate your web site smoothly from one host to another, without losing too much in terms of downtime and clientele.
1. Prepare sufficient time so transfer
The first thing to do is to make sure you download all your files about two to three weeks before you close your account. Do not notify your current host that you will be closing your account before you have copies of all the files. You never know what may happen with some hosts, especially the smaller companies with low reputation. So download all the files first, then a couple of weeks later, you may give them notice that you will be closing your account.
2. Making copies of all your files
The best way to get all your files is to use FTP software (read our other article about how to use FTP). With FTP you can transfer entire folders with just a couple of clicks. Make one all-encompassing folder to put everything in, and call it something like “My website files”, then download all the files and folders into it. Make sure to get all the script files as well, if you had them on your website. These are usually files that end with .js and .php etc. Also download all your database files and website log files. These will be clearly indicated as ‘log’. Make a directory structure that is similar to the one you had. In other words, put all the sub folders in the same parent folders, for example if your wp-admin files were inside your blog directory, and the blog directory was inside the domain name directory, the place the downloaded folders exactly the same way.
That will make it easy to upload the website to the new host.
You can also use commercial software such as Dreamweaver or Frontpage to download the files. These are good for such projects because they have options to download preserving the directory structure.
I will continue in the next part to explain how to make transferring your website to a new host as painless as possible.
John Guinn is the Publisher of Complete Hosting Reviews, an online magazine that tests and reviews Web Hosting Companies. Subscribe to the CHR online magazine, and find great web hosting deals, special offers and discount coupons.
By John A Guinn