Transfer Your Web Hosting the Right Way
You've heard the horror stories, and lived through your own: web hosting
providers that didn't live up to your expectations. Reasons often stated
for switching hosting companies include - additional features not available,
technical support not able to quickly solve problems, billing irregularities
or over billing, and most importantly for the majority of web hosting
customers: poor email performance.
If you have had it with your current hosting provider, and you're ready
to transfer hosting companies - Cheap Hosting Directory (http://www.cheaphostingdirectory.com)
recommends a few things to think about to make the transition a smooth
one. They also asked the opinion of a major player in web hosting about
1. Backup EVERYTHING you want to take with you - I know that you already
perform regular backups of all your site data, right? Right? (Sigh) -
well at the very least, you absolutely MUST back up everything that you
expect to have access to after you drop your hosting service.
Do not make the mistake of forgetting to copy some files, designs, graphics,
databases, or emails prior to discontinuing your current hosting service.
Otherwise you will find that once you are no longer a customer, all of
your data is wiped clean to make room for paying accounts.
2. Make certain that your new host supports all your current software
and services - Many customers switch web hosting providers in order to
gain access to enhanced features or software. Even so, you need to put
together a checklist of core software and services that you must have
to keep your site running smoothly. If you are running any scripts or
calls that are written in a certain version of software, make sure your
new provider carries that version. At the very least, make absolutely
certain that critical systems such as shopping carts, merchant accounts,
payment gateways, ecommerce software, and databases are fully compatible
with you new provider's systems.
3. Research your DNS settings ahead of the transfer - One fundamental
step in transferring your site to a new web hosting provider is going
to be to change name servers for your domain. Don't wait until the last
minute to investigate and understand this process. It is a change that
must be made with your registrar of record. It is common to change hosting
providers, but much less common to change registrars. Therefore, it is
possible that your DNS changes will be made with a registrar account that
you rarely access or have reason to administrate.
Therefore, be sure you know where your domain name is registered before
moving the account. If you're not sure, find out where your domain is
registered by doing a 'whois' lookup prior to switching. A great site
for looking up your domain's information is http://www.whois.sc. This
lookup will tell you where your domain is registered, and where your name
servers are currently pointed.
Access your domain registration account prior to moving and read up on
the process to change your DNS. Also investigate on your new host's site
- and find out where you will need to point your DNS to resolve to your
new hosting provider. Both of these pieces are absolutely critical for
transferring your web site.
4. Perform an online background check on your top candidates - You would
never hire a new employee without checking their references and background.
It should be the same for a new web hosting company. Use online resources
like http://www.google.com to research potential new web hosting services.
Type in search terms like 'problems with newwebhostname' or 'technical
support problems with newwebhostname'. You can also refer to online review
and ratings sites like http://www.webhostingratings.com which contains
a searchable database of customer comments on web hosting companies, or
http://www.websitehostdirectory.com which sorts top hosting companies
into categories for easy analysis.
5. Mystery shop your new hosts' technical support - It's a fact that
every web hosting provider lists as one of their core competencies "top
level technical support". So if every company claims to have great,
fast, available, expert support - how do you know if they can really deliver?
Why not try calling their support line? You can see how long it takes
for someone to actually get on the line with you. You can also have a
tricky pre-sales question or two ready to ask. Possibly you can ask if
they support the latest versions of the software you're using. I would
even suggest calling the support numbers at different times of the day
- once during peak hours, and once during a slow time like the middle
of the night. Make certain that you're comfortable with both the courtesy
and the technical competency of the support staff - because they're the
ones that you'll be talking to if you ever really need help with your
6. Look for a money-back guarantee - Many hosts are currently offering
a free trial period or a money-back guarantee. This is your assurance
that you can get out of the deal if your hosting company doesn't perform.
Be certain to actually read the terms of the guarantee before you sign
up. Some hosts require that you request your refund after you drop the
service - your money is not automatically sent back to you.
I typed in the search phrase 'web hosting money back guarantee' into
Google. You can easily use this technique to locate web hosts which offer
money-back guarantees. Clicking the first link took me to the following
page: www.ipowerweb.com/moneyback.html. It describes the unconditional
30 day money back guarantee for iPowerWeb. Mr. Tracy Conrad, COO and Vice
President at iPowerWeb gives this advice: "The trick is to make sure
that you select a provider who will help you through the transfer process.
At iPowerWeb we have a team dedicated to personally handling the transfer
process for our customers".
7. Ask for a special offer - In the highly competitive business of web
hosting services, each customer sign up is precious. You will often see
special offers listed on the company's web site or in advertisements.
Unknown to each buyer is the fact that sales people are often given "extra
special offers" to close sales of customers that are right on the
edge of buying, but are resisting. The special offers are designed to
close the sale.
Make sure that you ask for each and every special offer they can give
you. You have nothing to lose, and you may find that the offer that's
being given today is fairly generous. But you won't know unless you ask.
Don't be shy about getting the best possible deal - it could save you
real money over the long haul.
The decision to transfer your web hosting can be a difficult one - but
once you've decided that a change is in order, take the steps to ensure
a successful transfer. You're transition to your new web host will be
easier, you'll experience less site down time, and hopefully you won't
have to make another web hosting change for a long, long time!
Cheap Hosting Directory (http://www.cheaphostingdirectory.com) is a web
hosting directory and webmaster resource site providing articles on web
hosting, interviews with hosting professionals, and showcases featuring
hosting companies and special discounted web hosting offers.