How to Move a Website to a New Host (Without Downtime or Issues)

How to move a website to a new host

Ideally, you’ll be finished now. However, some CMS tools use database serialization which can cause issues when you export/import your database like this. WordPress is one example where it’s common to encounter database serialization issues.

Unfortunately, we can’t give one blanket recommendation for all platforms here because it depends on the platform (and you might not even experience any problems).

If you experience issues, you can usually use Google to find scripts that can help you fix the problem for your specific platform. For example, here’s a popular script that can fix WordPress database serialization issues.

5. Update any necessary configuration details (depends on CMS)

Again, it’s hard to give specific instructions here because this step will depend on your CMS and how it’s configured.

However, at this point, you might need to update some configuration details in your site’s configuration files or settings to point to the new database that you created (especially if you used a different database name, username, or password).

Here are tutorials for how to update this information for some of the most popular CMS tools:

If you’re using a different website platform, you might need to turn to Google to figure out how your platform handles configuration files.

6. Test your site

At this point, your site should be working on your new host. However, you’ll want to thoroughly test it to make sure it is.

You can’t do this by entering your site’s domain name because your domain name still points to your old host (for now). This is necessary to ensure that you don’t have any downtime during the move.

There are two ways to get around this:

Option 1: Use a temporary URL

Most web hosts give you an option to view your website on a temporary URL before switching domain names.

This temporary URL typically looks something like this: 

https://[cpanel_ip_address]/[cpanel_username]/[domain.com]

For example:

http://171.654.321.000/~colin12/codeinwp.com/

If you’re not sure where to find this temporary URL, we’d recommend asking your new host’s support for help.

Option 2: Edit your computer’s hosts file

Another option to test your site is to edit your computer’s hosts file to point to your new server. This lets you manually override your computer to tell it to use your new server when you enter yoursite.com (all of your other visitors will still be taken to your existing host for now, though).

First, you’ll need your server’s IP address, which you can find in cPanel (or, your host usually includes this in your welcome email):

Then, you’ll need to edit your hosts file:

How to edit the hosts file on WindowsHow to edit the hosts file on Mac

You can find the hosts file in C:WindowsSystem32driversetc.

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This article was written by Colin Newcomer and originally published on CodeinWP.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the product, We may receive an affiliate commission.

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