There are a ton of articles out there about choosing web hosts, don’t worry, this isn’t more of the same. In this article, we’re going to look into moving web hosts – not just getting a new one, an actual hosting relocation! Of course a lot of the same factors apply but hopefully this article will go into more depth about the specifics of what’s required when migrating a site rather than setting up a fresh hosting account for a fresh build.
Compare the Pricing
This is obviously a given, if you’re moving from one host to another then you’re either going to be wanting to pay the same price or less, right? Nobody wants to save more. But don’t just take the price comparison at face value. Month to month for example. It’s not uncommon for hosts to raise their prices are the first year or offer huge discounts if you pay for your hosting account for a year up front. If you’re comparing your current host to your new host make sure you truly compare like for like. If you pay annually, compare the annual pricing and so on. You should also account for the time and effort in the migration itself. Saving a few dollars a month might sound great but when you add up how much time the move is actually going to take you it perhaps isn’t such a great deal!
Do They Offer Free Migration?
If you’re experienced enough when it comes to web hosting you probably won’t want your new host to migrate your site for you. After all, control panel to control panel transfers are relatively straight forward, especially if you’re talking about cPanel to cPanel. Some people prefer to do it regardless as it gives them chance to do a bit of spring cleaning etc! But if you’re not in the know and don’t know your cPanel from your WordPress then you might want to find a host who offer free migration services for your site. Now, web hosting companies offering free migration and web hosting companies who are WILLING to do free migration are too different things. In truth, even if it’s not advertised, pretty much any web host would be willing to migrate your site for you if it means getting you as a customer! So even if you don’t see free migration advertised, don’t be afraid to ask!
Software compatibility believe it or not often gets overlooked when it comes to web host migration. Of course you’d hope most people follow the basics and don’t try and run ASP scripts on an Apache host or try to run Apache scripts on a Windows server, but there are often configuration issues that may prevent your site from functioning properly once it’s been moved. The easiest and simplest way to check this is to simply try your site on the intended host before you switch those nameservers. You should also try and remember if you’ve made any modifications to Apache or whatever web server you’re using to power your site and 9 times out of 10 you’ll need to perform the same changes on the new host too. Don’t just assume that because your website is loading that everything is all fine either. Check every aspect of your site, all your scripts and everything you need with it such as web stats and e-mail accounts!
Where Is the Support?
People get far too hung up on price when it comes to deciding on a new web host and completely overlook the fact that it REALLY matters where the company you’re using is located! The fact is, things go wrong, even with 99.9% uptime, things go wrong which is unfortunate but it happens and when things do go wrong, you want to know you’ll have someone on hand to hande your affairs. There is no point migrating hosts trying to save a few bucks a year if your website is going to be down for a week because you’ve chose a host who outsource support to the other side of the world with no real care about what happens to your website. You should always consider first and foremost that hosting your site in your home country may be more beneficial overall – even if it is more expensive and always check who is providing the support, is it in house or outsource to people who don’t care? It can make a huge difference.
So there we have it, a few extra things to think about when planning your migration. I guess sometimes it’s worth it, sometimes it’s not, for that you’ll need to decide which is best! Keep in mind especially about the migration support. Time and time again people struggle spending hours on end migrating sites when a simple mail to the host at hand will result in it all being done for you!