Seven Tips to Help You Switch Web Hosts


By: Drew Germyn

Categories: Guides

Reliable web hosting is a must if you want your website to operate smoothly. If you’re having problems with your existing web hosting company, then you may be eager to switch to an affordable web hosting provider with superior hardware and a superior network.

As ready as you might be to make a change, switching to a new web host isn’t a process you should rush. There are a lot of things that can go wrong if you’re not careful. Here are seven tips to help you switch to your new hosting provider with a minimum of stress.

#1: Take a Screenshot of Your Admin Panel

You might think that you’re familiar with the settings on your existing site, but you’d be surprised by how easy it is to make mistakes when migrating a site to a new small business hosting provider. Instead of taking it for granted that you’ll be able to replicate your settings, we suggest taking one or more screenshots of your admin panel.

When you begin to set up your site with your new reliable hosting provider with superior software, you’ll be able to reference those screenshots to ensure your site looks the way you want it to look.

#2: Back Up Your Files

One of the most common mistakes people make when switching web hosts is not creating a complete backup of their existing site before they switch. You should be backing up your site regularly anyway, but it’s essential to have a reliable backup before you migrate your site.

We suggest a cloud-based backup for the easiest transition. Files stored in the cloud can be easily transferred to your new provider to ensure a smooth migration. After your site is migrated, make sure to set up a regular backup system for your new site, as well.

#3: Take Advantage of Migration Services from Your New Hosting Provider

You may be tempted to handle your website migration on your own, but we recommend against doing that
 t unless you have adequate training and experience.

Instead, check to see if your new small business hosting provider offers a discounted or free migration service. If they do, take advantage of it! They’ll handle the technical aspects of your migration, so you don’t need to worry about it.

#4: Let Your Site’s Regular Visitors Know About the Change

The people who will be most affected by your change to a new hosting provider are your site visitors. For that reason, it’s a good idea to let them know ahead of time that you’ll be switching to a new provider.

The benefit of giving your clients advance warning of the migration is that they’ll know what to expect. They won’t be surprised if your site is unavailable for a short time or if there are glitches. That means they’re less likely to get frustrated and go looking for another website to replace yours.

#5: Test Your Site with the New Hosting Provider

Even if you’re confident that you’ve backed up your files and replicated your settings perfectly, it’s still a good idea to test your site before it goes live. Any reliable web hosting provider will allow you to run a test to ensure everything looks and performs the way you want it to.

During the test, make sure to check everything, including:

  • Content
  • Menus
  • Links and navigation
  • Forms

It may be helpful to make a checklist before you test your site. That way, you won’t miss anything.

#6: Set Up Redirects from Your Old Site

If you’re moving to a new domain, it’s crucial to set up 301 redirects from your old website to your new website. Anybody who visits your old site will be automatically redirected to your new site.

Do not skip this step – and make sure to test out the redirects before you move on to the final step. You don’t want your site’s visitors to try to find your new site and get an error message. That is a good way to lose customers.

#7: Migrate Your Site Before You Cancel Your Existing Service

The final step is to make sure not to cancel your hosting service with your existing hosting provider until your site is ready to go with your new provider. There are several reasons for this.

  1. You’ll be certain that your new site is ready to go.
  2. You’re less likely to encounter problems that might cause you to lose customers.
  3. Your old provider won’t be able to interrupt your service by cancelling your account before you’re ready.

Just make sure to check the terms with your old provider to ensure you give them proper notice. While it’s rare, some providers do have early cancellation fees.


Switching your site to a new, reliable web hosting provider doesn’t need to be stressful or difficult. Following the seven steps we’ve outlined here will help you make a smooth transition.

Ready to sign up with the last web hosting provider you’ll ever need? Click here to learn how Localnode can help!