Website Migration – Transfer to New Hosting

Website Migration

The process to move your website to a new host is often referred to as a website migration.  Website migration service includes moving your website code, images, content and database – everything that combined that make a functional website. It can also include other things like: email, secure certificates, logs/reporting.

People hire me all the time to transfer their site to a new host. Most of the time people want to change a web host because:

  • Poor Performance: Slow loading times, frequent downtime, and unreliable service can greatly impact the user experience  on a website, and hurt your search engine rankings. If a web hosting company consistently fails to deliver satisfactory service, it’s time to find a new web host.
  •  Customer Service:  What is more frustrating that waiting forever for a response, having to try to explain a problem that you don’t understand in the first place,  or dealing with language barriers?  Certain web hosting company’s support seem to never listen and always put the problem back on you with a standard response of “Clear your browser cache”, “Clear your cookies”, “Try another web browser” or “Log out and back in again”.
  • Cost: Price hikes happen. Sometimes it’s enough to open your eyes and look to see if there are better web hosting options out there. The “big” web hosting companies are also notorious for offering “deals too good to be true” for the first month, invoice or year. Make sure you know what the renewal price is going to be, or you may be shocked when you see the price on your next web hosting bill.
  • Security Issues: Not all web hosts make security their priority. Things like network security, regular backups, proper configuration, weak password policies, vulnerable software are all points of weakness.

Why hire someone to migrate your website?

Experience.  I hear the same questions over and over when it comes to migrating to a new host.

Can I change my web host?

You can always change your web host. How hard it is to accomplish this is where expertise comes into play. Finding someone who migrates websites can review your setup to then give yo a rough idea of how much it will cost to migrate your site.

Who Migrates Websites?

There aren’t too many companies out there are promote themselves as a “website migration company”. Different types of companies offer website migration services within the list of services they provide.

For example:

  • Web Development Agencies
  • Web Hosting Companies
  • SaSS companies that will migrate to their software and hosting
  • Freelance website migration services

How much does it cost to migrate a website?

Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer. I will quote a migration after reviewing your website, but won’t say ” on average it costs $xxx to migrate a site”.  There are to many unique factors to be able to address this.  For example, I recently moved a website from GoDaddy to another host. The web hosting quality was so poor that I could not generate a backup successfully. It continued to error and time out. It took many more hours than anticipated to move away from GoDaddy because I had to take a different approach.  The following factors will effect how much effort it takes to migrate a site.

  • Size of website – a large website makes a migration more complex
  • Quality/performance of old web host
  • Differences between old host and new host. i.e server configurations, dashboard used (cPanel, DirectAdmin, Plesk, proprietary)
  • If old host has backups in place

Can I change web hosting and keep my domain name?

Yes. Your domain name is a separate entity from your web hosting service.  While they can be bought from the same company, they are completely separate products and do not have to stay with the same company. Your domain registrar does NOT have to change if you change web hosting companies.  Your DNS records that are connected to your domain name do need to change though.  The relationship between a domain name, website and web host is very difficult for a lot of people to grasp.  They all have to work together to create a functional website that is live on the Internet, but they are separate entities.  Often, when a website transfer to a new host fails and the site does not load, its related to issues with the domain name.

Can I move my website from GoDaddy to another host?

Absolutely you always have the option to transfer your site away from GoDaddy. They offer many different types of hosting products. Depending on what service you have will be a factor in how complicated it will be move your site.  For example, if you are using GoDaddy’s proprietary website builder, the only way to move to a new host is to also rebuild your website.  With website builder software,  you do not “own” the website code, and you can not take it with you. (This is a huge downfall to any hosted website solution.)  If you have a Linux web hosting plan with cPanel, it can make moving to another host using cPanel very easy.

Does changing web hosting affect SEO?

This is a great question that a lot of people do not consider until the site migration has been completed.  Obviously, you want to migrate a website without losing SEO. There is the potential for both a positive or negative SEO impact when moving your site to a new host.  Any changes to your website, no matter how small, can have an impact on your search engine rankings.

Assuming that the new host you are migrating to is better quality than you old host, an increase in page speed load time will have a positive impact on SEO. Google loves fast websites. If your pages load faster, it will have an effect on your search engine rankings.  Website speed optimization doesn’t include just hosting. Optimizing the code and content on your pages will have a significant impact too.

What are the risks of website migration?

Downtime, data loss, SEO issues, loss of customers, loss of revenue.  Lots of things can go wrong. Read more details about the risks of website migration here. By hiring a website migration expert, a migration plan is in place to prevent any of this from happening.  There should be no down time you migrate a website properly.

How to troubleshoot website migration issues?

Experience.  Either contact your host for help, or a company that specializes in moving websites to new hosts.

Where can I migrate my website?

Once you decide you are ready to move away from your current host, were you transfer your website to needs to be carefully considered.  Be wary of the promotions you see like free domain and first month for $.01.  Web hosting fees are a monthly recurring cost. Read the fine print to find out what you will actually be paying after the first payment.  Web hosting service is the first bottleneck with your website security, and performance.  A quality host with phenomenal customer support is a must.

How much does it cost to migrate a website?

Every website is a unique situation with many factors to consider.  Website migration costs range from free site migrations through your new web host, to hundreds dollars for complex situations. If you are looking for website migration services, your best bet is to get a quote from an experienced company that knows what all factors in to a successful transfer.

How long does a website migration take?

I can complete a website migration on a simple website in  couple of hours.  Complex migrations can span over a couple of days.  During a transfer to a new host, I never have any downtime though. The time involved is “behind the scenes”.

Moving your website to a new host can easily result in your website being offline for long periods of time if you do not understand the process. Working with someone who specializes in moving sites to new hosts can save you a lot of time, frustration and money.


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