The infuriating but true answer to this question is “Maybe.” It depends on who your new host is and what kind of service they offer. At first glance, switching hosts can seem complicated—so complicated that a lot of people stick with a substandard web host just because they don’t want the hassle. However, there are steps you can take to ensure the process is as smooth as possible. But first, let’s consider the reason why you want to switch in the first place.
The odds are high that you didn’t do much research about your current web host because not many people do. You might not have known the difference between a basic shared plan and virtual private server/VPS hosting. In fact, your current host might not even offer a VPS plan! Now that you’ve done your homework, know VPS is best, or you’ve found out you got stuck with a host with too much downtime, it’s time to switch and fast.
Make sure you follow these best practices so that the transition is as smooth as possible.
An Easy Change
Don’t cancel your previous hosting plan before you’ve secured your new host. Also, don’t tell your current host that you have plans to switch/cancel. They might accidentally (or purposefully) cut off your hosting early if they’re aware of your move. Since you’re not required to give notice, there’s no reason to tempt fate. You’ll have a small window of overlap where you’re paying two hosting providers. Now, it’s time to migrate your site to the new host. Simply connect to your previous host’s FTP, download your files, then connect and upload to your new host’s FTP. In some instances, your new host might even take care of all the transfers for you!
Ensure any and all databases from the old host are backed up—you’ll need to upload them to the new host. You can use cPanel or SSH for this depending on your OS. Most of the time emails won’t transfer, but you can certainly archive them yourself. Simply create a POP3 connection for all emails, then download them locally.
Pulling Double Duty
Do you have all your files on both of your host accounts? If so, now you can make the switch. Officially change the DNS of your domain, and you’re set. The new host will give you the right domain name servers. It’s possible that you’ll have to connect with the host to get those settings, or you may already have them from when you purchased your package. When DNS changes are made, it can take up to two days before your site will load via the newer host. Right now, your site might be loading from your old or new host. Wait it out.
In 48 hours, the latest DNS will be operating at full capacity. Now you can cancel with your old host—but be careful. If you registered your domain name with them, you want to make sure it remains.
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