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How to Move to a New Host without Experiencing Downtime?

By June SpringJune Spring
Stressful businessman wearing dark blue suit with red necktie looking at laptop

When migrating to a new server, there should be a good plan to hinder traffic loss and downtime. If you do not take care of your website when moving it to a new host, downtime and even data loss may occur. Poor execution may cause these things to happen. If planned carefully with the right execution, it can result in a successful migration. Also by following these 5 easy steps, you can reduce the negative impact of a server migration.

STEP 1: Setup DNS at your new host before the cutover

The new host’s name servers must have the correct DNS records affiliated with what is being moved to the existing servers at the current host and TTL must be set to low about 10-60 minutes. If this is properly setup, real traffic cutover will emanate to the new servers. This is because most networks on the internet recognize DNS changes based on Time-to-live.

STEP 2: Point the name servers to the new host at the registrar

Once it has been setup on the new host, point the name servers to the new host at the registrar. This should be done correctly so that your traffic will still move towards the servers at the old host. Most companies utilize their hosting company for DNS and it’s not uncommon to have your DNS managed by your registrar or a third party DNS management service. Now if you’re also doing this, just make sure your TTLs are set low.

STEP 3: Upload data and check your application on your new servers

It’s always necessary to check and see your site on the new servers. Upload the most recent copy of the data earlier than the cutover. Make sure that everything works perfectly well as this is the site that your visitors will use, attention to details is very important.

STEP 4: Point appropriate DNS records at the new servers

After testing the application on the new host’s server, update the appropriate DNS records to point to the new servers. If steps were followed correctly, traffic should be moving towards the new servers quickly and smoothly.

STEP 5: Old servers must be checked for data written during transfer

Once all traffic is going to the new servers, check back your old servers and move all files or records that might have been added throughout the transfer that isn’t on the new servers. If a recent copy of data was transferred before the cutover, there should only be a few, and once everything is secured your basically in the clear.

Try to prevent having to do sorting or clean-up. You should be able to allow having visitors to reach a maintenance page when routed to the old servers in the middle of your DNS switch. But if having the maintenance message is better for you than cleaning up data after the transfer, make sure to let them know the site will be up and running on the new server soon by having the “sorry page”.

Following these 5 easy steps successfully means little to no impact on your client base and other important areas like your rankings in the search engine.

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