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How do I change my website hosting?

How do I change my website hosting? For whatever reason, it’s a question that comes up over and over. The answer can often be complicated and we often end up writing big emails to explain or having phone conversations that go way over people’s heads. So we’ve decided to make a post to briefly explain the process using language that’s understandable – we hope.

Matt walking your website from your old tired host to a new fancy hosting environment

In brief, you need to copy your site to a new location and tell the internet my site no longer lives at this old location, it’s now living over here.

For most, the process of switching hosts isn’t really a difficult process, but it can be tedious and time consuming, and includes a handful of steps and options. We typically ask a lot of questions and need you to provide a few things you probably haven’t thought about in years. We’re going to break it down into two big steps to keep track of the immediate to-dos versus the long-term to-dos.

Short Term Steps: What are the first things we need to figure out and do.

1. First and foremost we need to know why you’re switching hosting so we can help you identify the type of hosting you really need. We need to have an understanding of the technologies your site uses (e.g. is it WordPress?, does it have a shopping cart?) and the volume of files that need to move.

2. We need you to find your Admin username and password for your current Hosting (where the website lives) and Domain Registrar (where you bought the domain). These may or may not be through the same company. These are the things you may not have used in a while.

3. We need to figure out where your email is being hosted. If your email is hosted through your domain the process becomes a bit more difficult (see email options below), and we’ll need to make a plan for transitioning your email over to a new host and all of your devices re-setup.

4. Now you’ll need to purchase new hosting. If you’re not super tech savvy we’re happy to work together with you to acquire the new hosting. We can do this over the phone or even in person if you’re local. All you’ll need is access to your admin email and a credit card for purchasing the new hosting.

Long Term Steps: The actual task of moving

Now that you’ve purchased your new hosting, the process of moving your website over to the new host begins. This is the part where the client steps away and we do most of the work, but if you’re curious to the process (and what you’re paying for), this is how it goes.

1. Make a copy of all your files and export any databases your site uses.

2. Upload your site to the new host. In most cases we don’t shut off your old hosting until the new site is up, so the transition is seamless. Sometimes, this is as easy as copying things over. For others, we have to rebuild and configure a number of components before the site will function as it did.

3. Configure your DNS servers to point at the new site and you’re done. Unless we’ve determined we’re moving your email.

Email Options: 3 basic options for how to handle your email.

1. We move over your email to the new host and provide you with the information you need to reconfigure your phones, tablets and computers.

2. We move your email to a 3rd party such as Google Apps. Again we’d need to set this up and then send instructions for reconfiguring your hardware.

3. You email isn’t hosted by your old host and we just leave your email as is.

Yeah yeah yeah, so what does it cost?

Once we know what type of hosting you have, what you’d like to move too, and your email situation we’ll have a better idea of the time it will take us. At that time we will put together an estimate and ask for a deposit for the work. Our cost is based off of our hourly studio rate and you’ll be responsible for a deposit for half the cost before we start.

So there’s no real good answer to how much it will cost until we figure out what you need, but in most cases the process takes us 2 – 6 hours.

We hope this helps. if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us for a free estimate.

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