Changing Web Hosts, Web Moving Day
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WebSite Moving Day! New Home for the Home Page
by Mike Banks Valentine

Moving is an inevitable event for most of us. Over the last
25 years I have moved an average of once per year! First
it was that exciting move out on my own to attend college,
then came the reluctant bouncing between relatives, bad
apartments, incompatible room-mates and then, just about
graduation time, the perfect apartment! Oh Well.

Now its off to a new city, a new job and a new apartment.
OK, I admit that a good deal of my moving happened during
college and that first job, but when I'm still not quite
satisfied with my work life, it's back to college again
and another succession of temporary homes until starting
the career anew.

What has all this to do with online small business? Well I
recently moved again, not to a different house, but to a
new web host and it reminded me of the complexities of the
move from one home to another.

I expected moving to a new web hosting company would be as
simple as snapping my fingers. After all, what is there to
do beyond making a phone call and a few follow-up emails to
wrap up the details?

Lots! Don't be lulled into complacency because you see that
change discussed so much around the web. It seems nearly as
likely that you'll change web hosts when getting started
online as it is that you move often from home to home. As a
matter of fact, if you are using a local Internet Service
Provider, you will very likely change to another web host
if you change cities. After all, the house doesn't move
with you, and neither does the dial-up account!

So what does one do when preparing to move from the local
ISP to a new web host? Here's a to-do list for that move.

1). Pack up your belongings. Moving your home page means
making copies of the pages of your site and any cgi scripts
used to run automated parts of your site such as autore-
sponders. Store them on zip disks or CD's and carefully
pack them away for the move. Make the transition as seam-
less as possible by turning off the services you'll no
longer be needing or you'll continue to pay for them! But
unlike moving house, I recommend you have at least a month
overlap of services, including email so you can notify
the new providers and be certain it all works before you
shut down existing power, water and gas. Make certain you
set up mail forwarding with your current host, or rather,
post office.

2). Call the moving company. When you move your web site,
it means moving bits and bytes rather than bits and pieces.
The first mover will be your domain name registrar. That's
the company you registered your website name with. Just as
the movers need to know details of what you are moving and
where you'll be moving it to, such is also the case with
the domain name registrar. Be prepared with the current
primary and secondary Domain Name Server and each of the
current IP addresses so they'll know what they are moving
and where you currently live.

3). You'll need to tell them where you're moving to as well.
You've done your home shopping and have decided on a great
piece of cyber real-estate with all the amenities, database
access, built-in site search script, 24 hour security and
complete privacy with a great view out the window of all
those cool features you'll want to add - down the road. ;-)
So you'll know the *new* Primary and Secondary Domain Name
Servers and thier IP addresses to give to the registrar, er
I mean movers, to arrange arrival at your new home page.

4). Just as you want your belongings to arrive at your
new home before you do, you'll want your web pages to get
there ahead of you as well. Those carefully copied files
that you downloaded and packed away for the move will need
to be uploaded at the new web home. Unzipping those files,
unpacking those scripts and putting them away is always a
challenge when the layout of your new home is different.
You'll need to contact the utilities companies, um, that
would be the new host support folks, for "paths" to the
cgi-bin, directory names and database access.

5). Now finding all the stuff you packed and getting it
put away is still ahead of you. CGI scripts will need a
fresh coat of paint before your new home looks just right.
Minor patches to files and scripts that relied on old bits
and bytes need updating to reflect the new location. You
may also need to contact friends and relatives, or in this
case, affiliate programs and third-party resources to be
certain that they have your new IP address, they may rely
on old information that needs updating after the move.
That means list hosts, site intrasearch utilities, page
translators, co-branded services, etc.

Depending on the size of your household, moving could be
like filling your old clunker with all your belongings
and schlepping it all to another bad apartment or it
could be as complex as moving the corporate office into
a shiny new 20 story building. The challenges of a move
from one free web host to a local ISP or from a host
grown too small to a dedicated server with your own staff
to run IT operations can be compared to moving to a new

Plop into your favorite chair and pop the cork on the
champagne and celebrate!

WebSite101 "Reading List" Weekly Netrepreneur Tip Sheet
Ezine emphasizing small business online
e-tutorial online at:
By week's end you're ready expand your business to the web!

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July 26, 2001