Windows Server Migration

How can I migrate web hosting without facing downtime?

Changing from one web hosting provider to ZNET can cause downtime if you do not have the necessary skills and experience. Here is a step by step guide to help you make a transfer without any downtime.

Step 1Back up all your files.

a) This must always be your first step. Before you do anything else, Purchase a web hosting package with ZNET, but do not cancel your account with your current provider just yet.

b) After a web hosting package is purchased, a Welcome mail is sent to you with all login details like FTP, NameServer, Server IP address, Temp URL, Database Details and Web Hosting Control Panel [For Windows User –Website Panel] details.

c) Backup all your files from the old server. Back up your text files, image files, and database. This may take several hours, depending on the size of your website.

d) Using a basic FTP program such as CuteFTP, SmartFTP or Filezilla, to download all current files used in your web site including graphics, html files, and anything else that may be used in your site.

e) Transfer all files to your local hard drive. For databases, you may need to use third party software, or you can use PhpMyAdmin. PhpMyAdmin is available within your Hosting Control Panel.

Step 2: Upload all files to the new server

a) Now upload your website files and data from local desktop to ZNET Server. [ZNET hosting server information is given to you in welcome mail.]

b) Make sure that the directory structure is correct. For example, \"wwwroot\" is the root folder of windows web hosting user, all files that belong to the root folder must be uploaded correctly to that folder. Otherwise, you may encounter lots of errors when you migrate your website.

c) Use your database software such as PhpMyAdmin to upload the database as well.

Step 3: Add email accounts to your new server.

Log in to your control panel, and add your existing email accounts. When your new site is ready, your POP email accounts should be working as well.

Before making the domain name change, go ahead and load all of your site files to your new host using temporary login information that most hosts provide prior to your domain name resolving to the new account. Although they won't really work yet, go ahead and set up all of the email accounts that are used on your domain as well. Be sure to create a "catchall" address just in case you forgot to add someone - at least their email will not bounce.
 
To safeguard against losing messages, try creating 2 accounts for your email address, and use each mail server's IP address instead of the domain name in your POP settings. For example, if you are using mail.example.com as your pop settings, try replacing that with the IP address of your web site or email server. Creating an account that checks both mail servers ensures you don't miss any messages during this 24 - 48 hour period.

Step 4: Test your mirror site.

a) You have just created a mirror site for your existing site.

b) Use a temporary URL [Temporary URL is given to the welcome mail] to test the site to ensure that everything is working correctly.

c) Ensure that all the links and images are displaying correctly.

d) If everything has been tested to work fine, it's now time to make changes to the DNS.

Step 5: Changing the DNS.

a) Before changing DNS Server, please change your database string in existing or old web hosting as per Welcome Mail provided by ZNET.

b) The moment you change your DNS, you are instructing the registrars that you are changing web hosting providers.

c) Your top level domain name will then point to the domain nameservers. Go to your registrar, and update your DNS servers.

d) There must be at least 2 domain name servers. Once the DNS has been updated, it takes a few hours for the changes to take place.

Note:  Some webmasters make the mistake of changing the DNS first. This is a mistake. When you change the DNS, the site starts to migrate. Some of your visitors may be unable to access your site because the new site is not ready yet. In other words, making changes to the DNS before the new site is ready can cause unwanted downtime.

Step 6: Wait 48 hours for the changes to take place.

a) Usually, the migration happens within hours. Allow up to 48 hours for the DNS updates to be completed.

b) You can see that the transfer has been completed by using a WHOIS domain tool.

c)  The new nameservers will be reflected when you make a search for your top level domain. Finally, check to see that your email accounts are working correctly.

A note about the Propagation period

As mentioned before, it takes about 24 - 48 hours for the domain name change to propagate through everyone's DNS server. This means that during this time some people will get the new site, and some will still get the old site. As far as web surfing, that's really no big deal but can be tricky in regards to email. Depending on where an email is from, it may go to your new email server or your old server.

To safeguard against losing messages, try creating 2 accounts for your email address, and use each mail server's IP address instead of the domain name in your POP settings. For example, if you are using mail.example.com as your pop settings, try replacing that with the IP address of your website or email server. Creating an account that checks both mail servers ensures you don't miss any messages during this 24 - 48 hour period.

It is the best way to switch with no downtime on your website.


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