10 helpful tips to follow when switching web hosts
By Russ Mate
You've made your decision to move from your website from your current web host to a new web host. The following tips will help you make transition easier and make you aware of some potential pitfalls to avoid.
1) Make sure new web hosting plan you've chosen offers you storage capabilities to handle all of your current website storage requirements. If your website is 50MB, you need to make sure your new hosting plan offers that much space, or more. If you're not sure how much space your website is using, ask your current host. You can also usually find this information on your web hosting control panel.
2) How does your current web host determine what your storage amount is used for? Find out what your current and new host includes in your plan's storage amount. Are your emails and log files counted towards your total storage, or just your web files?
3) What operating system does your current hosting plan use? Windows or Unix? Sometimes this can make no difference, in other cases it can make difference between a working website and a broken website. If your site is currently on a Windows server and your website uses ASP scripting, you'll find it difficult to make things work well on a Unix server, as ASP is a Windows based programming language. Find out ahead of time whether your current hosting plan is on a Unix or Windows server.
4) Does your site currently use FrontPage? Find out if your new host supports FrontPage. And make sure your new host supports same version of FrontPage you currently use.
5) Find out if your new hosting plan offers you same amount of bandwidth that your current host offers. You don't want to be surprised by unexpected overage charges at end of month.
6) Does your new web hosting plan give you same amount of email accounts, autoresponders and mail forwards that you currently use?
7) Does your site use a shopping cart that your current hosting plan provides? Can you move cart to your new host? If not, does your new host have a suitable shopping cart replacement?
8) If you are using any scripts on your website, make sure that your new hosting plan supports all of your scripts. Find out in advance if you'll need to make any modifications to your scripts to get them working on new server.
9) Make sure to set up your existing email accounts on your new server before transferring your domain name to new server. At MateMedia (www.matemediainc.com) we see this overlooked quite often.
10) Do you know how to upload your website files to new server? If you don't, you'll need to find out if your new web host will upload your files for you. Some hosts will do this at no charge, some will do it for a fee, yet other hosts won't do it all because of liability issues.
Once all your files are uploaded to new server, you'll want to double check that site looks and functions properly on new server. Most hosts can provide a preview link for you to see how your site looks before domain name is transferred over. If your host does not provide a method for you to preview your site, you can modify your hosts file to preview your site. The host file tells your computer where to go to look for sites that are listed in that file. This works with any version of Windows. The file name is same, location can change. Here's how to modify your hosts file: