Every webmaster cringes at the thought of moving hosts – but this a common scenario as providers change or you need features enhancements or improved host reliability. Like moving your home it can be messy and sometimes problems arise. But if you follow these simple steps, moving your site to an E Street hosting plan will be less painful.
Backup Backup Backup
If you’ve been diligent with your backups, you’ve got a lot of insurance to fall back on yet always make the latest backup. If you haven’t, before you do anything else, do a backup now. Backup anything and everything you can and don’t forget your database if your site relies on it. Save at least 2 copies and store them separately. One for you to work with, and the other as an archive. Do not underestimate how easy it is to copy over these files as you make changes or simply mess it up.
If a design firm or an outside webmaster has copies of your files GET THEM. Often businesses do not physically have the website files in their own archives and can be surprised when they need to move and…. THEY HAVE NO WEBSITE TO MOVE! The website source files should be retained on your local machine or local backup strategy for future reference.
— With FTP publishing Remember to make the correct transfer type with FTP (ASCII or Binary) as you download. If your download is not right chances are you’ll have a tough time getting your site to work correctly on the new server.
— With FrontPage (FP) publishing you can publish the entire FrontPage “web” to a location on your local machine by opening the FP site and choose “File- Publish Site” and choose a location your local C: drive to publish to. Make copies of this web folder as well.
Gather Odds & Ends
1. Make sure you have a good FTP program for transferring files: http://kb.estreet.com/article.lasso?article=460
2. Take note of your CURRENT server features / platform and be sure your new E Street server features / platform are generally compatible.
3. Make sure you have access to your domain name at its registrar (where you bought the domain initially). If you need help with tracking this down, contact your E Street representative.
4. For the least amount of downtime ask E Street for a “temporary URL” on your new account for publishing your site before the actual transfer takes place. This ensures the site is up and running on the new server before the final move.
5. If an outside entity controls the domain and the DNS settings, inform them not to change your DNS until you tell them to. For help with domain name edits or DNS management (DNS management is included with hosting plans at E Street) contact your E Street representative.
6. If you utilize Email with your Domain name (e.g.: “firstname.lastname@example.org”) and you will using your included E Street Private Mail Server http://kb.estreet.com/article.lasso?article=452 …be sure you have your Mailboxes setup before the DNS change to ensure mail does not bounce during the transition.
Inform Your Visitors
It is common and good practice to inform your visitors and customers of the server move if there is potential for downtime. If you run an E-Commerce store, this helps assure your customers you have not fled with their money if there is any downtime. Also give an alternate email so you won’t lose emails in the transfer. You might also want to give periodic updates prior, during (if there is downtime)
and after. If your site is large, doing this is helpful because your visitors can alert you whenever there is a part of the site not working.
Moving Day & Changing DNS
Once you’re satisfied you are ready, change your DNS over to the E Street name servers. Often this is optimally done during low traffic times or over a weekend for instance. This change typically takes about 24-48 hours worldwide so you have time to make some minor changes if need be.
After you’ve moved and the DNS resolved, do not release the old account yet. Keep it running concurrently …possibly as long as two weeks. Go back and check the old servers for activity. Check your old email account(s) and if you have a web-based contact method on the old server check to see if any communication is left there. Once you’re comfortable all email and traffic is correctly directed to the new host server, you can cancel the old host account.