So I think by now you’ve heard enough of me kvetching about my problems with BlueHost and why I wanted to switch, so I won’t go over it again. But there are tons of reasons to switch hosts including slow site speed, price, bad customer service, the list goes on. I’m here to tell you it’s a lot easier than you think, and it’s not that expensive either. Without any further ado, here’s
How to Switch Hosts
Switching to hosts can be a totally seamless process. First you’ll want to save and back-up your current site. Anything can happen including accidents or your current provider shutting off your site too early and you don’t want to lose your site so absolutely postiviely, save your site. It’s best to manually back up all your files through FTP and download a copy to your local computer. If you have issues, you can contact your host and just ask them for a back up to be provided that you can download. They’ll walk you through the steps. However, do not tell your current host that you are planning to switch hosts. They can shut down your site early before you get a chance to back it up. I doubt that most companies would do this, but I’ve heard it can happen. It didn’t happen to me if you were wondering.
Research your new webhost
Take a good long time research webhosts. Ask friends who blog, reach out through twitter, whatever you want to do. When I switched from BlueHost, I first thought HostGator would be the best option, but then I realized they are all under the umbrella of EIG. Here’s a list of all hosting companies under the umbrella of EIG including three big ones, BlueHost, HostGator, and a Small Orange. Yes, technically they are all separate companies and you might get better customer service, or whatever else you are looking for but in the end, you may end up having the same issues. So do your research wisely.
In the end, after reaching out to members of the Blog Passion Project, I went with SiteGround (referral link). I’ve heard really good thing and anticipated it to be pretty pricey but the prices were surprisingly reasonable. Of course, make your own decision based on what’s best for you. I’m just telling you what worked in my situation.
Starting the move
Most companies will have a free transfer process. The ones that I researched, A Small Orange, Siteground, and Host Gator all did. Once you’ve purchased your new hosting, you’ll want to go into your host and submit a ticket to migrate over your old site. They will request the login information for your previous host so that they can login and copy over all your files to your new host. With HostGator they quote up to 72 hours. With Siteground, they didn’t quote me any time but it was done within 24 hours. I submitted the ticket on 11:41 am, they sent me a confirmation update an hour later, then by 8 am the next day they let me know that the transfer was complete.
Switching over your domain
At this point, you’ll need to redirect your domain. Since my domain is provided by google, all I needed to do was change the DNS server for my domain to the new siteground DNS servers. It takes servers up to 48 hours to redirect, so after that period you just have to wait it out. The weird part about this is that in those 24 hours, you won’t know if the server has changed yet. Since your old site and new site are a copy of each other, you will not be able to tell the difference. (Unless you’re in the same boat as me and your site was down, then you’ll know your domain has changed when your site goes back up) If you do this process, you will have no downtime.
After the move
So after you patiently wait your 48 hours, test out your site, and set up all the extra features and plugins, let them run for a few days. If there are any issues you can always go back to your old host and make changes. After a few days if you have discovered no problems, you can cancel your old account and be sure your move was successful. If you are with BlueHost they will prorate and refund the remaining balance that you still have on your account which is really nice.
Hopefully this guide helps in showing that moving hosts really isn’t that hard and if you’re having issues with your current host, don’t waste time with crappy service and just move to something that works for you!
P.S. If you’re considering SiteGround, they’ll offer you a discount if you use my referral link here.