How Much Website Downtime When Moving a Site?

Website Down

There should be NO downtime when moving a website to a new host or redesigning a website.

I was recently hired by a small business for website redesign services. While we were discussing the scope of the project, the client asked me “How long will the site be down?”  I was a little caught off guard with this question.


Because unplanned website downtime does not happen when I work on your project.  If it is technically unavoidable, my planned downtime is always scheduled during off hours, usually on the weekend or before 5 am E.S. T. (I am located on the coast of Virginia.)

First, let me explain what I mean by website downtime.

What causes website downtime?

A website is defined as “down” if it is currently not accessible through a web browser on the Internet.  There could be lots of unintentional reasons for this to happen.  These can be lumped into a few high level categories:

  • web hosting issues
  • DNS (domain name) issues
  • website code problems

Unplanned downtime is bad for a lot of reasons. If you are a business owner downtime can cause you to:

  • lose sales
  • lose customers
  • lose search engine rankings
  • effect your company’s professional reputation

People hire me all the time to fix website problems when they are dealing with unplanned downtime.

Unplanned downtime when you are rebuilding a website or migrating a site is almost always due to inexperience of the web developer or designer that you hired.

A professional web developer will never unintentionally cause your site to be down.

There is no reason for your website to ever be offline if you are moving to a new host.

There is no reason for your website to ever be offline if you are redesigning a website.

The only reason for this to happen is inexperience. If someone tells you the site will be down while they are working on it, hire another web developer.

Why Do I Say This?

Website Down Under ConstructionIf you understand the relationship of what’s going on between a web host and DNS there is no reason for website downtime when moving to a new web host.

When  you redesign a website, it should never be done on the live domain. There is no need for an “under maintenance” or “under construction” landing page.  A website redesign is never  applied to a live site. The site should be worked on in a staging environment. When it is complete, it is then moved onto the live domain name, replacing the code that is there.

I quoted a job to convert a site to WordPress for a web hosting client of mine. My proposal was not in line with his budget, so he hired someone much cheaper (and less experienced) than what I offered. He got what he paid for.

The value and quality of work was comparing apples to oranges.   The web designer took the  existing website was taken down immediately and put a default installation of WordPress in its place. After 2 weeks, the same default installation of WordPress was showing with no work done.  For 2 weeks, every customer and potential customer saw this when trying to access the website.  Not too professional.  During this time, the client actually referred the person that was hired, to contact me to ask me how to do things. Needless to say, the old website was finally put back and no changes were made.

No one wants to deal with headaches and frustration like this.  When you hire any professional service provider, you expect they have the knowledge and experience to do things the right way. That’s what you are paying them for.

I have a process in place that I follow for when I rebuild a website or move them.  Following this process, there is no downtime.  There is no need to have a discussion about how long your website will be down when I am providing a website quote, since its not part of the equation for me. If you are in need of professional web design services to redesign your website, or move it to a new host, get in touch with a professional web developer to see what it will cost.


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