Website 101: Choosing the Right Web Hosting Provider and Transferring Domain Names

The inevitable part of improving online efforts can involve trying out services from other providers. For instance, one of the most popular SEO plugin is Yoast SEO, used by over a million websites on the Internet. While Yoast SEO has helped boost your website’s ranking and has advised you well on how to craft your articles online, you may choose to use other plugins besides them, just test them and see if it works as an equal alternative. The same thing applies for Internet hosting, there are time when a transfer of domain name cannot be avoided, and you must choose a different hosting provider.

However, just like switching from one plugin to another, moving hosts is not an easy task. Other than factoring in how it will affect your traffic, there are steps that needs to be accomplished either by you or a website specialist. In this article, we will talk about all there is to know about transferring domain names and choosing the proper web hosting provider.

Determine whether the domain name is yours

The first thing you need to do is to determine whether the domain name is yours. This might be a head scratcher for some, but there are websites that were developed by digital marketing agencies – which would mean that the domain name may have been purchased by them. In this case, if the domain name they bought is not part of the package they gave you, it is not yours. Ask if you can purchase it from them, if not, you can ask when their ownership expires so you can do a domain backorder and have first dibs when it is available. Otherwise, if you bought the domain name yourself, then proceed with the next step.

Download your database files

For WordPress users, this is easy to do since the platform has an import/export capability that allows you to download your database files easily. However, if you are not using WordPress, you will have to look for a web application that can download the files before proceeding to transfer them to the new web host. Consider doing this step with a specialist since you might have to configure your MySQL and PHP files, and also to ensure that nothing happens to the database files while the transfer is happening.

Do a final audit before publishing the website

Before you launch the website, do final checks first to see if it is working properly. You can do this by looking at a preview of the website through a temporary URL. There are also web hosting providers that allows you to create a staging platform – which basically means that you can view and edit the website before you make it live. Check everything, from functionality to readability so that if there are problems, they can be remedied immediately.

Manage the DNS pointing

When moving web hosts, the DNS record is what redirects your website. Which means that instead of getting an error page when users try to access your website, they will be redirected to where your website is currently hosted. If you were not able to retrieve your old domain name as the transfer was happening, proper DNS pointing is very important. All you need to do is switch the DNS record to the servers of your new web host. Once the request has been made, you will just have to wait for a couple of hours or a full day for the switch to happen.

What to look for when choosing a new web host

Consider the following when you are choosing a web host:

  • Server reliability
  • Uptime score
  • Features that will fit your website (e.g. Social media sharing for blog sites, eCommerce features for business sites)
  • Platform support (e.g. WordPress, Tumblr, etc.)

You will also have to consider if the packages being offered and the cost are reasonable. What you do not want is to spend more on a measly package when your purpose for moving is to upgrade your online efforts.

Think of moving web hosting as moving out of an old house and into a new neighbourhood. You are looking for a place where you intend to stay at for a very long time, with features that are far better than what the old neighbourhood provided you before. So always take the time to shop for web hosting to see if it fits your website’s objectives so that you will not have any problems making your move permanent.