Lessons learned in switching webhosts

As you all know, I recently switched webhosts due to bandwidth problems. The whole process took nearly two weeks and this is what happenened.

Why two weeks?

Most of the time, I was just waiting for the money to pay for my new webhost. If I would count the days where it was about the switch, I’d probably say just 5 days.

  • Day 1 – I browsed around the web looking for webhosts where I can transfer. I picked hostgator based on price, monthly plans and a 20% discount coupon for new year.
  • Day 2 – I had a chat with HostGator support because I wanted to know the process of transferring my domain and blog to them. My curiosity was satisfied and I learned something new.
  • Day 3 – I paid for one year plan and talked again to HostGator support about the transfer. They made me file a transfer request for the file transfers.
  • Day 4 – My files were transferred and then I asked PhilHosting to change my domain name servers. After that, I experienced downtimes in my blog. -_-
  • Day 5 – My blog is now hosted at HostGator.

What I’ve learned?

Ask help from your webhost (through live chat or support tickets)

I admit that I did not have a clue on the technicalities of transferring your domain and blog. So what I did was to contact their support team and ask questions.

Don’t forget to create your backups

I want to point that this is a very crucial step. If something goes wrong with the transfer, then you would have something to return back too. You may want to read my guides on how to backup your blog through cpanel and also how to backup your blog using a wordpress plugin.

Listen to the advices given by your visitors

I’ve also learned a lot from those who gave comments in this post. Although you may simply just click on that link to see the comments, this is for those who read my blog through their feeds.

From Lisa,

I got a crash course in DNS nameservers when I first starting blogging. Typically, you change them with your domain name registrar, not your host (unless they are one in the same). And just wanted to let you know that in my past experiences, it hasn’t taken longer than a few hours for it to propagate despite the fact that they claim 24-48 hours.

From Ling,

The control panel for your new web host will definitely tell you your new DNS servers. The way it works, far as I know, is that once you have your domain all ready, files uploaded and all, you have to go to your domain registration account, like Direct NIC or whatever yours may be, and make the DNS change yourself. You should, ideally, have an email which tells you the URL of your domain registration login, which you recieved when you first purchased the domain. At this URL, you can make changes to your domain, such as contact details and DNS servers. It atkes anywhere between a few hours to 3 days to fully implement the change in DNS servers.

From Amy,

I agree with ling…

basically, the new DNS server(s) will be provided to you upon purchase of a new hosting package..
It’s just a simple task and you can do it yourself… go to your domain (not host) control panel there should be an option there to change your DNS servers

From Yuga, (A very comprehensive guide that if I were to highlight the important parts, I’d have to highlight everything! )

When moving web hosts, you will need to get the nameservers of your new host. For a PH domain, you will also need to get the IP addresses of these nameservers. Standard nameservers are usually just 2 but other web host uses 3 or 4, sometimes up to 6 nameservers (for redundancy).

If you have control of your domain (via a Domain Manager, if you registered your domain via a Registrar), you can change the nameservers yourself. If you got your domain from your webhost and they do not have a Domain Manager, it means you need to file a support ticket to request the changes on your domain. This usually takes longer due to support turn around times.

When you move to a new host, make sure that the old site is still intact in your old host. It’s like having two duplicates of your site on two servers. This will ensure that during the re-propagation of the domain, your site will be viewable and there won’t be any downtime at all.

However, some visitors may site the version of your site form the old host while others may already see the site from your new host. This happens because domain propagation heavily depends on your ISP (some ISPs have delayed DNS cache).

Once your domain has fully re-propagated, you may want to check your old site (via the control panel) and see if there are comments injected into the old DB during the migration. You can manually cut and paste these comments into the new DB on your new web host.

From my own experience,

I did not have any access to my own domain. I had to ask my old webhost (Philhosting) to change my DNS. However, what disappointed me here is that they terminated my account first before everything was back ok. If something went wrong, then I would have been at a loss but I’m glad that nothing wrong happened.

I was not able to measure on how many hours my blog was down but from my estimate, it was more than 12 hours for my ISP. I was already receiving blog comment notifications but I wasn’t been able to access my blog. hehe

In Conclusion

I’m glad that my transfer was successful and it only led to a little drop in traffic due to the blog downtimes. I would also like to thank everyone who gave their support to this blog transfer.

If you would ask me, was the transfer worth it? I would say yes! It was worth it. If I did not transfer my blog, you would be seeing, Account Suspended in place of this blog because I would have exhausted my bandwidth from my previous webhost.

I hope that you have learned something from this experience of mine in transferring you blog to a new webhost. To learn more about my blogging experiences, do subscribe to my feeds.

21 thoughts on “Lessons learned in switching webhosts

  1. Good to see your blog back online. I’m also about to move to a new webhost and HostGator was one of my choices. I’ll probably make my decision in the next couple of weeks. 🙂

    Jaypee’s last blog post..WP Theme Review: Amazing Grace

  2. Btw, just checked your domain on DomainTools and your private information is open to the public. If you’re not worried about it, then it’s ok. If not, then you better check with HostGator about Domain Name Privacy.

    Jaypee’s last blog post..WP Theme Review: Amazing Grace

  3. Good to hear you’re sorted.

    Blogoloco – Win $250’s last blog post..PinoyUnited Online Raffle Promo – Win as much as $250

  4. Hi Jaypee, thanks for the heads up. I’ll try to contact their support.

  5. You’re welcome! 🙂

    Jaypee’s last blog post..WP Theme Review: Amazing Grace

  6. Hi Jaypee. I’ve already contacted HostGator and they said I have to ask the Registrar about it. Atleast I got some answers…

    Btw, Jaypee if you receive this in an email, then my installation of the plugin you told me is a success. Thanks! 🙂

  7. Glad to you hear that you’re all settled in with the new host. Most of the time these things work out fine. Wish you luck with this new phase of your blog.

    Ling’s last blog post..Spotted – Giant Cheeseburger, Virgin, Galactic Spaceship

  8. @Ling – Hi Ling! Thanks so much for the constant tips and advices you have given me. I wish you luck too. 🙂

  9. Good thing your site is back to normal again…

    Amy’s last blog post..Save Money, Save Time With SaveBuckets

  10. That’s good. As far as I know, HostGator charges extra for domain name privacy. Unless they’ve changed that already.

    I got your reply on my email so that means it works! 🙂

    Jaypee’s last blog post..WPDesigner’s $5 Themes Club

  11. @Jaypee – actually when I asked HostGator, they say that I have to talk with my domain registrar. Although they do charge $15 a year if you want to renew your domain through them.

    This is something I failed to look at because other hosts offers the domain for free.

  12. @amy – Hi Amy, thanks. I’m very glad too. 🙂

  13. […] Allen of Silken Hut shares his experiences with Switching hosts and some info on DNS. He’s on Hostgator now, one of the better known names in terms of hosting.  Congratulations […]

  14. there were times that I asked my self if I can transfer my account with servers outside our country. my answer is always no. I just can’t for many reasons…

    congrats for the successful transfer.

    SELaplana’s last blog post..Christine “Happy Slip” Gambito, Visits Philippines

  15. Hello SeL,

    May I know what are your reasons for not doing so? Would’nt it be cheaper if you decide to host it with webhosts outside of the country? 🙂

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    […] shares the lessons that he learned in swiching webhosts. A must read if you are planning to change […]

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    […] Learn lessons when switching webhost by Allen. […]

  18. Changing your host can be quite a headache. It took me nearly 3 weeks until all was done 🙁

  19. Wow! and I thought 4 days was already long. What happened that it took three weeks if you would like to share? 🙂

  20. Thanks for this information, it helped me a lot.

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