How to Migrate Website With Minimal or No Downtime
You're on the move again and you've decided to migrate your website. That's great news! Today, we're going to be talking about the things you need to put in place before you go about making that move. Learn more about TTL numbers, backups, MX records, and server records so that you can assess your options and make informed decisions.
Change TTL Numbers
Number one, you're going to have to change what's called the TTL numbers. That's called the Time To Live, and the way that it works is when your website is live and someone goes to it, your website in a way tells that end device, "Hey, I'm not going to be changing any information here for a little while so keep these values for up to 48 hours." The numbers can change depending on the host and provider and how you set this up, but it says to keep these numbers for the next 48 hours. When you send an e-mail, the same thing. It tells that look, keep these numbers for the next 48 hours so everyone knows when you type this address in and you type in your e-mail address, it's not going to change for 48 hours.
If you don't change these TTL values and you just move hosting provider, it means your e-mails or your website or any other services connected to your hosting can be done for up to that number, up to 48 hours, and it might work for you, but it might not work for other people for up to 48 hours. Then you'll be bouncing and some people will be going to the old website and some people will be going to the new one. The best bet is to change these TTL values down to 300 seconds, which is five minutes, which means the cut overtimes are only five minutes. That's nice and easy.
Back Up Host Files
Now once you've done that, you want to then back up your host files and everything that you've got with your current provider. Normally there's a backup process if they're using something that's the industry standard, such as cPanel. With cPanel you can just download your backup and then upload it to your new hosting provider.
That should only take like a few minutes, maybe 10, maybe 15 tops, depending on how big your site is. That then means that your website is ready to be migrated and you're actually putting all your files on your new server now, which is awesome.
Change MX Record
The next step is to go in and change what's called your MX records. Your MX record says where all your different mail points to, so at the moment the mail was still going to your current provider, so you want to change the MX records to the new provider. When you do that, it will point everything across to the new provider. You can then put them in a priority list so that the new provider and the old provider can both receive e-mails if one was to go down, or you can skip the whole MX records step and jump across to changing what's called your name server records.
Now what your name server records are is where your domain name points to, so your domain name (in this example business.com.au) points across to these name servers. The name servers are what actually tell any of the websites what to do and where DNS is and where everything else is. If you change the name server records to point to the new server, that'll then mean that everything has been cut across from a technical perspective.
Think About This
Now you might be thinking okay, awesome, so I'm cut across, everything's all sweet, but don't stop at that. It might not be sweet just yet. One of the things you need to be really well aware of is a web hosting provider isn't like every other web hosting provider, it's kind of like fuel, you can put fuel in your car but you put diesel in your car and it's not going to go anywhere unless you've got a diesel, obviously. Then if you've got petrol in your car, you're going to have problems as well. You need to make sure that all the different PHP libraries and every single other element to do with your website on the current provider are the same as the new provider.
Why Are You Moving?
You need to make sure whatever the reason is for you moving, how are they actually making that affordable? Are they overselling the hosting making a slow environment for you? Or what exactly is the reason for them to have a reduced price? Maybe call up the current hosting provider and they might be able to give you a better price or at least give you some eyes as to why there is a difference in price. Some people love filling their car up with premium and they believe that it's getting them further and faster, other people will go for the cheap as E85 or ethanol 10 and they feel that that's perfectly fine as well. It's up to you as to which way you go with it, but you want to at least know the differences and how it's going to be running with your engine, and that's what I'm talking about here, your web engine.
Assess Your Options
If it's going to make it run clunky and all over the place, you're not going to be happy with the experience. Before you look to save a couple of dollars a month, make sure that you are actually making a sound decision and you've taken everything into account and don't compare apples with oranges. A big one that happens with cheaper providers is they oversell and when they oversell that means that you're sharing the resources and details with lots of other companies. That can be perfectly fine, but it can also be a recipe for disaster because if this company has an adult themed content being served off of it, that can degrade your search engine ranking because it sees that you're using the same IP address and other resources as something that they would not particularly want to be associated with. Always ask the question before you move.
The Final Word
In closing, the things to make sure you do is change those TTL values down so you don't get two days of downtime. Make sure you understand the reason for the move and that your current provider can't give you whatever that is. Number three, be aware of who is on the server with you and you can use websites like you get your signal and you get a jump on there and be able to see who else is on your server. Be aware of it so that you're not jumping in and then your web ranking is going down and you're paying for ad words and they're going up. You just want to make sure you're on top of it. Good luck and stay good!
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