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How to Change Website Hosts

I have a few websites and I used different website hosts for some of them.

A few of my hosting companies allow to host unlimited domains and sub-domains and I realized that I could save some hosting costs by moving all my domains and sub-domains to this single host.

I had been happy with the service and support provided by all companies. It is difficult to identify a best website host, but finally I chose Hostgator. I think that their hosting costs are very competitive and they provide excellent services and support.

The activities to be considered and planned are the following:

I had to transfer a Domain with many Sub-domains and therefore I made a list of all of them to be sure that none could be forgotten.

Both hosting services use a cpanel interface. It was easy to create on the target host an add-on domain for the main Domain to be transferred and then I created all its sub-domains.

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I had all of them on my home computers, but I wasn’t absolutely sure that they were the same version as those on the old host.

I decided therefore to download all files from the old host and then upload all of them to the new host. This could have been done by using the cpanel file options, but it would have taken a long time, because I had to transfer a large number of files. I decided therefore to use gftp which is an open source visual client which simplifies the bulk transfer of files.

Before updating the Domain Registration, it is important to be sure that everything has been set up correctly on the new host. The Hostgator support gave me clear directions on how to do that.

You have to update the host file on your computer with the addition of the new Domain Name Servers. The file under Windows is called hosts and can be found in different directories according to the Windows version, I normally use Linux and I had therefore to update the file /etc/hosts.

The changed allowed me to browse the Website pages before doing any change to the old host.

It is possible to request a transfer of the Domain but I decided to change only the name servers.

After testing that everything worked correctly I could change the domain name servers. To update the DNS for your domain you would go to your registrar and go into the domain management panel and there should be an Update Name Servers/DNS.

Once the change has been made at your domain name registrar it will generally take 24-48 hours (though in most cases it’s a lot quicker) for the change to spread and propagate. So during the propagation time expect to still see some people access the site from the old server while over time more and more people will be reaching the new server until eventually everyone has the domain resolving to the new server. So you won’t actually see any downtime due to the act of changing your domain’s name servers.

The email address of the transferred file, must be recreated on the new server. This can easily be done by using the mail options in the cpanel of the target host.

After checking that everything worked correctly, I just sent an email to the old hosting company asking them to cancel my hosting service with them.