Moving your website to a new host? Here’s what you need to know


A Website Host is the service responsible for looking after your website. They provide the high powered server that your website runs on, statistics about usage and your email service.

For more information on what hosting is and what the various options are, why not take a look at A Beginners Guide to Web Hosting.

From time to time, websites need to move from one host to another. This can be for various reasons such as upgrading for better performance, but more typically it’s to find a new host that best supports the website’s needs. The most common need to move host is due to a new website with a new web developer and with a need for a different type of hosting.

In most cases there are the steps involved:

1) Arrange the new hosting package with the new supplier
This is normally either done by you or your web developer.

2) Set up any email addresses needed with the new host
Hosting also provides your email system, therefore mail accounts need to be set up with the new host. More often than not new passwords will be used, and some settings vary from host to host meaning that local settings within your email software may need to be updated.

3) The Domain Name is pointed to the new host
Each host uses different name servers. A name server is a place on the internet where all traffic is directed to. Once it reaches the nameserver, it is then forwarded to the machine and service that actually handles your hosting.

4) The New Hosting takes over
Once your domain name is pointing to the new host, your old host is no longer being used. Make sure that (where applicable) your old host are informed, else you may continue to be charged for a service you’re no longer using.

It all sounds simple enough, however in reality, there is a delay while one host takes control from the other. This delay can be up to 48 hours, which means it can sometimes be tricky for a business to plan for the transfer process.

Here are a few questions we often get asked:

How long does it take for the transfer to take place?
Once the switch has been started, it normally starts to take place within a couple of hours. In some cases it can take up to 48 hours.

Will I lose any email?
In some cases yes, however if you have your email software set up with both the new and old connection settings, you’ll receive email from whoever the host is. We always recommend you plan the transfer during a quiet time and make plans to cover yourself just in case mail doesn’t arrive during this period.

Why does my new website show up on my friend’s computer but not mine?

Different ISPs use different routers, therefore using two different ISPs you can get two different sets of results during the host migration.

From one ISP you can be accessing your old web pages from your old host, whilst a different ISP can be accessing pages from the new website on a different host.

The process normally takes anything up to 48 hours to fully complete, however it will work itself through in time.

Why does it take so long? Is there any way to speed it up?
Sadly not, due to different Internet Service Providers updating their records at different times.

Will I need to change my email software settings?
This is highly likely. Most commonly your password may change, however user names, incoming mail servers and outgoing mail servers can change too.

How much should I expect to pay to have my website moved to a new host?
It normally takes a number of hours to prepare for and set up the transfer. In some cases your website host or developer will charge you for this, however with new websites this is often included free of charge.

My emails are looked after by someone else, how will this effect things?
This can be taken care of with some preparation. The new host will need special records called DNS entries changed. This can normally be provided by the email service in use, and should be provided before the new hosting arrangement is set up.

If you need any help or assistance, or want to learn more about Web Hosting, call us on 01727 739812