Steps on Transferring Domain Names to a New Web Host
There will be a time when you will have no choice but to transfer a domain name. The needs and goals of a website can change, and our current hosting may not be appropriate anymore, especially if we want to achieve our new website goals.
Determine If the Domain Name Is Yours
The first step you need to take is finding out whether your domain is yours or not. Ideally, you should have bought your own domain so situations like transferring hosts will be easier to do.
However, if you hired a company to create and setup your website, it will most likely not be yours. In this case, you will have to discuss how you can acquire the domain from them. Some companies will just give it to you without cost, others will ask for a fee, while there are some who will not give it to you entirely. If your situation happens to be the latter, you have two options: wait for that domain to expire (which might take a little longer) or change your domain name.
Once you have control over the domain, proceed with doing these steps on transferring your domain name to a new host.
Research Web Hosts
When you look for a new web host, always keep in mind that you intend to stay there for a long time. Transferring multiple times might cause problems with your website. So consider these factors while you are shopping around for a new web host.
- Has reliable server and excellent uptime score
- Features that can help achieve the website’s purpose (e.g. driving more traffic, eCommerce features, etc.)
- Allows you to own multiple domains (as needed)
- Reasonable cost
Export Files from Your Old Web Host for Transferring
If you are using WordPress, there is an import-export capability that allows you to download everything (posts, comments, likes, and even design) in one file. You can just upload it to the new host, and it would be as if no change has happened. However, if you are not on WordPress, you might need a little help from a specialist. You have to install web applications to the new host that will allow it to read your database file and proceed with transferring it. This involves configuring your MySQL and PHP files, so a specialist will make sure nothing wrong happens during the configuration.
Do a Final Website Audit Before Finalising the Transfer
Conduct final checks to see if the website is working properly before making the move permanent. Once you have uploaded all the necessary files, do a quick preview of the website through a temporary URL. There are web hosts that has the staging platform feature – this allows you to view and edit the website before launching it.
Point Your Domain to the New Host
The DNS record is responsible for redirecting the user to your website when it moves hosts. Instead of getting an error page, they will automatically be sent to where your website is now hosted. This is especially important to note if you changed your domain name during the process. All you need to do is switch the DNS record of your website the servers of your new host. The switch happens within the day, so there is a couple of hours of waiting time. You might need to check with a specialist for this one to make sure the DNS pointing happens without a hitch.
Transferring a domain to a new web host is normal. Because as your website gradually gets more and more traffic, leads, and sales; its goals will change as well. If you are thinking of initiatives to take to improve your online visibility, a transfer would definitely be something to think about.