A Guide to Smoothly Transferring Websites from One Host to Another

You’ve decided to transfer your websites to a new hosting company.

However, you don’t want to lose any of your data during the transfer process. You’ve heard that transferring websites to a new host can be a tricky process if you don’t know how to do it — and you’re right.

You may have also heard the horror stories from colleagues who lost important files and essential data during this process because they didn’t back up their data.

This is a business owner’s nightmare. But it can be avoided if you know the proper steps to smoothly transferring websites to a new host.

Without further adieu, here are 11 steps to make transferring websites a smooth process.

1. Transferring Websites Starts with Finding the Right Host Provider

The first step you need to consider when transferring your websites is to find a suitable host. Do some research before you change web hosting to find a company you can stick with.

When selecting a web host, look for these attributes:

Compatible Operating System

Choose a host with the same operating system as your current host. However, the operating system won’t matter that much if you just have a simple HTML website.

Disk Space

Find a provider that has enough disk space for the website you’re transferring over.

Data Transfer

Does your new host carry enough data transfer to host your existing website? Find out your stats by asking your current provider.

Database Software

Find out the type of database software you use. Windows-based hosting typically uses MS SQL, and Linux-based hosting uses My SQL.


Make sure the new hosting provider supports special scripting languages like CGI, ASP, PHP, and Perl if you use them.


Select a web host provider that has the ability to scale up or down as your business needs change. Ask if they provide free migration.


If your current host has a cPanel/WHM, select a provider that uses Cpanel/WHM web host for a smoother transfer.

Performance and Reliability

Choose a host that cares about and provides data about performance and reliability.

Good Technical Support

Last, but not least, find a web host provider that offers the convenience of extensive technical support that includes live chat, phone, and email support.

2. Maintain Domain Name Control

Make sure you control your domain name and its registration info. Be sure this is in place before you move your site over; otherwise, it could turn into a major headache. If you’re looking for a new domain name, see if it’s available.

After you have your domain name squared away, think about whether you want to switch domain name servers (DNS) on the domain name or transfer domain registrars.

When you switch domain name servers, you keep your existing domain registration provider, but you’ll switch the domain name to point to the new hosting provider.

With transfer domain registrars, you switch domain registration providers, so all the settings of the domain name remain the same. Just your support and billing moves to the new registrar.

3. Transfer Your Files

After you choose a new web host provider, transfer all your existing files to the new host.

It’s a good idea to let your website run on the new servers for about a week before you cancel with the old company in the event anything was missed.

4. Download Your Backup Files

Login to your cPanel and get backups of your database information and the files on your website. Make sure the backups are compressed to save space.

Aligning technologies with both hosts will make for faster backup and restored files. When using the cPanel, navigate to your domain with the 2082 port number affixed.

5. Access the Backup Page

Log in to the host’s cPanel interface. Then locate the control panel pages and settings labeled “Backup.”

Here, you’ll see the site’s main “public_html” folder and subdomains. The host should have web tools here that can help backup databases on the new server. Download the backups and navigate to the proper cPanel admin page.

6. Download Backups

On the cPanel, you’ll see backups arranged by types as well as a full site backup. Make sure you download it so you can use it with the new host later. You’ll also see all of your subdomains backup files on the site.

Do not decompress the files. The new server will do this.

7. Transfer the Files

Start uploading the compressed files to the new server. Login to the Cpanel and find the backup tools mentioned before and located on the backup downloads page.

Navigate to the full site backup file upload box. Sometimes, this is called “Backup Restore.” Start the upload process by choosing the full site backup file you downloaded from the old host — and begin uploading.

The page will refresh when and the page will display details while each file moves to its proper place. You know you’re finished when the second page stops loading.

To begin the database restoration, find the back button on the browser to locate the last page to begin the transfer.

8. Ensure That Your Databases Work Correctly

When viewing database backup files you will not see usernames, passwords, and permissions related to each database. This must be entered on the cPanel within the MySQL Databases interface.

9. Change the Prefix

Change the prefix for each database in the cPanel so you don’t have discrepancies.

You’ll need to change them in the configuration file for each application your database is connected to.

10. Passwords and Permissions

Next, you’ll add any users, passwords, and permissions, and edit system file info by going into the FTP account through the site’s IP address. This info will be delivered to you in an email from the hosting provider.

11. Use the New Domain Name Servers

Next, you’ll have your domain name show your data and files on a new server. Do this by logging into your domain registration control panel. Change the info to new name servers; the info you need will be in an email.

It typically takes around 24 hours or less for the DNS records to take effect. Then you’re done.

The Takeaway on Transferring Websites

Transferring websites from one web host to another can be done smoothly if you take the right steps.

Remember to test your website to make sure everything is up to par before you cancel your old hosting account.

Have a question about web hosting in Ireland? Contact us today to get started!