• Four Things to Consider When Moving Your Website

    This article is intended for businesses that have their website managed by a web developer and want to move the website (without rebuilding it) to another website host and/or developer.

    Moving your website to another company may look deceptively simple but is typically more involved than it appears on the surface. A smooth transition to another website and host requires your complete understanding of the inner workings of your own website, all associated services, and a decent amount of planning. Otherwise you should expect lots of headaches, service interruptions, and most likely lost business.

    Note the potential entities involved here:

    • The old web hosting provider
    • The old email hosting provider
    • The old domain name registrar
    • The old website developer
    • Third-party providers for apps and website services
    • The new hosting provider
    • The new email hosting provider
    • The new domain name registrar
    • The new website developer

    Make an Inventory of Your Website's Content, Features, and Associated Services

    1. Understand Your Own Website

    Make a complete list of all of the features of your website that you want to transition to the new hosting environment. Verify that your new web developer is competent to take over management of your website and its features.

    Compare Apples to Apples When Looking For a New Home For Your Website

    2. Move to a Better Place

    Verify that your website and its features will function just as well or better in the new environment. Features that you should understand and evaluate:

    Server Resources

    • Server space (dedicated, or shared with other websites?)
    • Space limitations
    • Drive types
    • Pre-tuning for software specific to your website (WordPress, Drupal, PrestaShop, etc.)
    • Cost of hosting one or more databases
    • Data transfer costs
    • Server's physical and virtual memory

    Speed and Reliability

    • Speed-related features of the hosting platform
    • Server location options
    • Network's redundancy
    • Server's load balancing
    • Guaranteed uptime

    Web Hosting Features

    • Security
    • Support
    • Backups
    • Redundant power
    • Network monitoring (uptime, speed)
    • Domains & IP Addresses
    • Limits on domains
    • Limits on subdomains
    • Costs of dedicated IP addresses

    Email

    • Limits on number of email accounts
    • Webmail access
    • Account types: POP3, POP3-SSL, IMAP, IMAP-SSL
    • Spam protection

    Carefully Coordinate the Move

    3. Plan and Coordinate

    Ask your current web developer to create a checklist for the smooth transition of your website and associated services to a new home. Get the old and the new developer to communicate with each other and coordinate the move. Before you sever ties with your current website host, your new web developer should create an online development environment where you can preview and verify your website's content and functionality at the new location. Careful planning and facilitation of the website's move will prevent downtime and errors at the website's new location.

    Customer Data is Your Liability

    4. Don't Abandon Your Data

    Ask your current web developer for a digest of the data that has been collected by your website, and a list of places where that data is being stored. Data that could have been collected by your website:

    • Personal information of your website's visitors who completed web-based contact forms
    • Login and password information of users with various levels of access to your website (admins, people who posted blog or article comments)
    • Personal information of your website's shoppers
    • Financial information of your shoppers
    • Mailing lists, such as newsletter subscriptions
    • Chat logs and customer data
    • Prior emails submitted to all IMAP accounts/mailboxes, since they are stored on the mail server
    • Website access statistics that were collected by the server where your website resided and by third-party services, such as Google Analytics
    • Data collected by third-party services

    You will want full comprehension of how your data will be affected by the move and the potential impact on your business and the website. If you abandon your customers' data, you will be relinquishing control of their information to your former website and data host. If your former host has no obligations to properly dispose of your abandoned data after you have moved to a new one, the data may be left on servers and online for someone to grab and use for their own purposes.

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    WebCreate.com, LLC

    WebCreate.com, LLC, is a Web- and online-presence development company helping businesses and organizations connect with their customers through sophisticated websites and social media. We partner with companies to transform the way they do business, and we value building relationships that are based on mutual success.