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Moving a Website part II
(click here to go back to part I)

Step 1: Find a New Host
Step 2: Find Your Registrar Info
Step 3: Back Up All Data
Step 4: Set Up New Host
Step 5: Test, Test, Test
Step 6: Prep Email
Step 7: Switch Hosts
Step 8: Cancel Old Host
Step 9: Check Scripts
Step 10: Check Links

Step 4: Set Up With Your New Web Host

Assuming you found a host that you like, pay close attention to the items mentioned in Step 1, you can now sign up with your new host.  Choose a service contract that you are comfortable with.  Most hosts have a 30 or 60 day money back guarantee, which should be a enough time to determine whether you like their service.

If you are giving the new host credit card information via the web, be sure the form is secure and their security certificate is up-to-date.  Make sure you know that you are dealing with a real company and not a site posing as a host.  We usually ask for examples of sites they are currently hosting and might even contact those companies.

Careful: Keep your login and password information to yourself. Usually technical support isn't even allowed to know it.  If you ever get an unsolicited email asking for your password, never give it out! 

You should be given an IP address, a login & password, name server information (primary and secondary) and links to your control panel.  You will also want to change your password because your initial password will usually be big and ugly - something like:  "Vm7RH35_cP1115w4." Make copies of this information and put it in a safe place.  If you plan on using frontpage, the password must be changed in both your control panel and in frontpage.

You should be able to connect to your new site via your IP address.  Try connecting to your site with your ftp program or web editing software and create and upload a temporary index.html (or appropriate variation) page.  Then type the IP address into your browser like this: http://555.555.555.555 and make sure your new page shows up.

Now you are ready to upload your files.  Upload all your files and be sure to use your current directory structure. Use ASCII if prompted.  Don't overwrite or delete any important files your new host provided you with - this may result in contacting technical support to reinstall those files.

If you use permissions on any of your folders, be sure to make those changes.  Often times CGI scripts must be put in the folder the host has provided, even if it is a slightly different name.  

Tip: Even if you have great attention to detail, it is always a good idea to have someone else test out the new site.  You are so involved in the process, you might miss something important. 

Step 5: Test, Test, and Test

Testing your site before flipping the DNS switch is very important.  Customers can't see the new site yet, so now is your chance to work out all the bugs.

If your site links use relative paths, you should be able to view the newly uploaded site in your browser.  If you use absolute paths, then it will end up clicking over to your new host, so you will either need to switch to relative paths or you can type in the correct page name in order to view it.

Check all your pages to see if they mirror what is on your old host.  Make sure all the pages exist and the links point to the right places.  When you downloaded the site, you should have received a page count and when you uploaded the site you should have received a page count.  If these don't match, find out why.

Carefully test all of your forms and check all of your scripts (many scripts will require editing).  Make sure you don't have extra code from your previous host (especially if they were running the advertising on your site) - you will want to remove this code if it exists.

We recommend using a link checker after you do all the manual testing.  Good link checkers will let you know of possible broken links and should help you fix them.  You will want to run your link checker again after switching hosts.

Continue with: Prep Your New Email Account(s)

 

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