Today’s post isn’t one about marketing, but it is a problem many people come into contact with- Switching your website host. This is often a very long and drawn out process, and in my opinion; creates a lot of unnecessary stress. Therefore, I am posting my experience with a walk through of how to transfer your website host in the hopes that it will help save you some of the headache I incurred. Hope you’re having a great week!I decided to switch web hosts. I found a new service and purchased a plan with them. I paid my existing host for an additional month. I placed the hosting service cancellation order with their assurance that my website would be hosted by them through the balance of the paid period. NOT! At the beginning of the business day on Thursday, my website was down – “Under Construction” was what visitors got – and I was told it could not be retrieved. My email did not work (same host), and messages were being bounced back stating my email box was unknown. The short version – my website host cancelled my service, so my website and any email coming through it was not available – ANYWHERE. Though the new host was contracted, the site had not yet been transferred to them.
Now here’s the part that will make you laugh. Though I know a great deal about marketing and sales, I know very little about the technical aspects of computer maintenance and management. And, my computer guy was on a four-day skiing trip in the mountains! So where’s the growth? After many telephone conversations with incredibly patient tech support people at both the previous host and the new one, yours truly learned how to transfer domains, set up the new email boxes, initiate domain privacy, schedule the auto responder, etc. For you tech savvy folks, this is all easy-peasy. For those of you more like me, here are some of the things I know now that I wish I had known previously:
1. If you cancel your web hosting service on a specific day, make the transfer to the new host as soon as possible. Do not wait. Even the best of transfers can take up to 72 hours. I was told most .com sites are quicker, but there’s no guarantee.
2. Make sure you save these three VERY important codes:
- The new authorization code for your domain, acquired from your current host
- The transaction ID
- The security code
The new host gives you these last two codes.
3. Change the name servers before you put the transfer in progress. “Name servers” are not pieces in a board game. They have to do with pointing your domain to the right place out there in cyberspace. And it’s tougher to do if you already have your domain transfer in progress. Name server updates can take up to 72 hours to become active.
4. Transferring your domain does NOT automatically transfer your email. You have to configure that through your email program. Beware, they’ll ask for things like IP addresses. Many hosts offer a tutorial. Thank Heaven mine did, and it was written for those of us with low bar tech knowledge.
5. To get help for Tech Support by phone, you will need your customer or account number, your domain name, and your call-in pin code. You’ll also need your account password for on-line assistance. Or just ask your teenager – mine was gone.
6. Create a file to save ALL these important numbers, including telephone numbers for your web host’s tech support, your computer person’s cell phone (if they dare give it out), and for emotional support, your mother’s.
I am sure there are many more lessons in this experience, but for one day, this is plenty. May these tips help those of you who are climbing the technology learning curve like me, and for those of you already on top of it, may they make you smile.