3 Mistakes to Avoid when Transferring your Website
Transferring a website isn't really all that difficult of a process. As long as special care is taken and a bit of patience is used, everything can move smoothly from one host to another. To make this transition as flawless as possible, there are some things that need to be avoided at all costs.
Here are a few ways deactivating the site too soon can cause issues:
•Losing files, databases and configurations in the new website.
It could be days before a website owner realizes that a vital piece of information needs to be placed into the new website. Deactivating the old account may lead to losing that information permanently depending on the host.
•The website isn't ready to go live.
Deactivating the old account before the new one has been built can lead to losing visitors as well as scoring poorly in search engines. It could take months to recover from the loss, especially if the site is relatively popular.
•Email addresses and messages could be lost forever.
Transferring email accounts and messages can be a long process. If this transfer is for a large company or one that uses a long list of email addresses, it's quite possible to lose this information permanently by deactivating the old site’s hosting.
It's often a practice of many website owners to keep the old account live until it expires on its own. Depending on how long the hosting has on its contract, this may give plenty of time to make sure everything is moved over. This also gives a backup website just in case something is wrong in the new hosting account.
2. Don't Forget to Create a Backup Copy Before the Transfer of Your Website
Anytime there is a major change to any website, it's always a good idea to create a backup copy. In most situations, users can easily create an exact duplicate of the site all the way down to the database. It also helps in recovering from issues such as hacks and malware attacks.
There are many ways that a website owner can create a backup of the website. For example, backups can be made by:
•Using applications such as FileZilla to download all of the files.
•Using phpMyAdmin to access the database and export information to a computer.
•Use backup plugins if the site is on a content management system such as WordPress or Joomla.
•Sign up for Cloud backup plans from the web host.
One method that some website owners implement is using FileZilla to download the site and save it to a local folder on the computer for Dropbox. Not only does this give the owner a copy of the site on their computer, but files are also automatically stored on the Cloud. This provides a redundant copy while giving the owner access to files regardless of what computer system he or she is using.
A backup copy provides a clean version of the site in the event something goes wrong in the transfer. While it's not common for file corruption to happen when transferring a site, it is possible depending on many factors. Internet connections, problems within third-party networks and other latency issues can cause files and images to essentially break.
3. Don't Change the Name Server Until All Files and Data are Copied
The name server is set by the registrar and tells visiting Internet devices where the site is actually stored. In reality, it's like a digital address for the website. Without this address, visitors wouldn't be able to find the digital property.
In a haste to move the site to a new host, some owners will change the name server prematurely. Because the changes can take up to 48 hours, a lot of traffic can be lost while showing visitors the 404-error screen. This can also be problematic if the new website isn't ready to go live.
From a visitor's perspective, waiting until the new site is absolutely ready creates a seamless transition. Because the average Internet user will never actually see the name server, he or she will never know the difference. Unless the developer made significant changes while moving the site, return visitors will see the same files and images they saw last time they had visited.
Waiting to change the name servers will also give the owner time to verify that all files, databases and images are ready to go. If the old host account is kept live, it also wouldn't take much to change the name servers back in the event something is wrong with the new host. Just make sure there is a "maintenance" screen handy in the event something does go wrong so visitors and search engines know not to explore the site's content.
Take Your Time in the Move...
Everyone who moves to a new hosting account wishes to do so without problems. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way. By keeping the above tips in mind, it's possible to transfer your website without complications. Show a bit of patience and make sure everything is done in an orderly fashion. There could be a great deal of money at stake, especially if the site centers aroundeCommerce.
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