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A Guide To Changing Webhosts

by Lynette Chandler

Here's a handy checklist for you to keep by your computer when moving web hosts so the move will go without a hitch

In the world of web hosting, practically nothing lasts forever. Of course, we all have web hosts that we've used forever not but sometimes we just go beyond our original plans and our web host doesn't have the ability to handle our new plans, or the price is just not what you're will to pay. Sometimes bad things just happen to good hosts and the support suffers for it and ends up not being the same as it used to be. No matter why you need to move webhosts, it's a bit of an upheaval so here are some things to keep in mind that you may easily forget otherwise.


You can never have too many backups. First thing you do before anything else is to create a full backup of your website. This can be easily done using your web host's control panel.


Make sure your email accounts are created over at the new host before you change the name servers. Don't forget email forwards. In the busyness of moving files and getting the website working, things like email accounts and forwarding tend to be forgotten especially if they are accounts you don't use often.

Service Overlap

Don't wait till the last minute to move. Make sure there is some overlap in service between the old and new hosting account, preferably a week or more. Sometimes an ISP hasn't updated or refreshed yet and will continue sending traffic and email to your old site. You want to be able to log in to the old host to check for those straggler emails.


This is rather unlikely especially when your website is powered by a database. The more likely scenario would be you didn't upgrade the script to reflect the changes. It isn't difficult to move databases but if you don't feel comfortable with it then you're better off to get someone else to do it for you.

Page Redirects

Make sure your htaccess and cPanel redirects are re-setup properly. Often, people overlook the htaccess altogether because it may have been hidden from them or the new web host already has an htaccess file created. But just by having an htaccess file doesn't mean your redirects will work automatically because chances are, the one at the new web host is just an empty file. If you have any 301 redirects, you need to open up the htaccess file from your old web host, copy and paste it to the new web host.


Different web hosts have different server setups. If you're moving a cPanel web host to another cPanel web host, this isn't usually an issue. If you are moving from one hosting system to another or control panel to another then you will have much more work to do in this case. If you're running scripts, check to make sure your scripts are referencing the correct paths. If you're changing the domain of your website as well, check your images and links too.

Files Outside Your Public_html Folder

These files are not public and so they are easy to forget. You may have stored some backups, drafts or anything else you wanted to keep for later in here so be sure to check it and not leave it there.


Seems obvious and easy to spot but not all scripts are in the forefront and forms are one of those. Maybe you haven't installed the form script on the new server or they have a different form mailer. Check that all your forms are working especially the contact forms.

As your site grows bigger, the more chance you'll miss things. Take a screenshot of your control panel file manager to see if your missing anything. It's a good idea to take an inventory of the scripts running on your website and to maintain this list as your build your website so that you won't have to rush around next time getting everything together. All the best of luck on your move.

Monday, Jan 29th, 2007