11 Things to Avoid When Transferring Your Website

Although you cross your fingers and hope nothing goes wrong when you transfer a website, sometimes problems occur. Usually it’s because you forget to make the slightest change or adjustment. These kinds of problems can delay the move or even prevent the site from working altogether.

If you want a smooth transition, you need to avoid certain issues. Otherwise, moving the website from one host to another may become more complicated than it needs to be.

1. Locked Domains

Before you can move a domain name, you have to “unlock” it. This is a security feature from most web hosting providers as it prevents people from stealing domains should an account get hacked.

The process involves getting an authorization for the move from the original domain registrar to give to the new hosting company. In some instances, this may take between three and seven business days to complete.

Plan moving your site according to the transfer timetable. This gives you up to a week to verify files and data are copied over in full.

2. Failing Web Host Requirements

Before you can transfer a website, you need to make sure you’re adhering to web host requirements. For example, it’s a rule of thumb that you cannot move a domain if it’s less than 60 days old or if it’s within 14 days of expiring.

This is just one example of the requirements web hosts have listed. You may want to create a checklist of these requirements.

3. Incorrect Admin Email Address

When moving a domain, the authorization email is sent to the admin account on file. Sometimes, those who want to move sites do not receive this digital verification because the address is no longer in use.

This is often a problem for sites that have been online for several years. Not everyone thinks to change the registrar information when changing email addresses or other contact information.

Access your current registrar and ensure the information is correct prior to the move.

4. Deleting Your Old Site Too Soon

Copying files from one site to another is often a long process depending on the number of files you have. The last thing you want is to delete the old site before verifying you got all of the files needed for your site.

In many instances, web host companies remove or delete files once an account is deactivated. This also means the chance of recovering lost or forgotten files is slim.

Verify you have all of your files and data before deleting the old site account.

5. A Lack of Backups

Having a backup on hand should be one of the most important tasks on your list. It prevents losing files, makes recovering from disasters easier and offers a layer of protection from malware.

Too many website developers go months or longer without generating a backup of some kind. Because most systems today do this automatically, it doesn’t make sense why anyone should go without one.

6. Not Using Compatible Server Software

How often have you bought software for a computer only to realize it’s incompatible? The same situation happens when moving from one web host to another. Not all hosts use the same Pearl, PHP and Apache versions.

If you have apps or other software which require a certain version of server tools, make sure the new host supports them. Otherwise, you could break your site or prevent certain apps from functioning correctly.

7. Forgetting to Switch the Nameservers

Make sure the nameserver on your domain is pointing to the correct web host. Think of this as the actual address of your website. Without it, people are sent to the wrong server or hosting account.

Nameservers are provided by the web hosting company and are easy to change. In some instances, the changes become live within10 minutes. However, most registrars give the process up to 24 hours.

8. A Loss of Traffic Because of No Redirects

When moving your site, redirects are how visitors and search engines find your new online home. It’s like getting everyone, including search bots, used to the idea of visiting a different location for the content.

When you move to a new house, apartment or office space, you’ll file a change of address form with the post office. A redirect on the Internet behaves much the same way, except it does it for specific webpages and content.

9. Losing Backlinks

When you move to a new web host, there is a chance you’ll also lose backlinks from external sources. Because these play a role in search engine optimization, you want to keep as many of these as you can.

Using free tools like Monitor Backlinks can help you get in touch with website owners and inform them of the move. Most will happily change the links for you as it helps them tighten their own content for search engines as well.

10. Broken Links on Your Website

Broken backlinks are bad, but what about internal links? Not only do broken internal links cause a problem for visitors, but they make it more difficult for search engines to verify your content.

If you use content management systems like WordPress, you can install a broken link checker plugin that will scour your site. Otherwise, you can use free online tools like Broken Link Checker.

These online tools usually take a few minutes to process, but they’re helpful when keeping your site in tip-top condition.

11. Not Resubmitting the Sitemap

The sitemap is an important part of keeping your content visible in search engines. If you move to a new domain or change the directory structure in some way, you need to submit a new map to those sites.

You don’t want Google trying to crawl an old website for new content, especially if you changed the domain name of your site. Otherwise, you’ll see a sharp dip in organic traffic.

Keep an Eye on the Move

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not all that difficult to transfer a website. It’s the small things people often forget about that pose a problem. Pay attention to what goes into moving your site and reduce the downtime it experiences. It will prevent losing traffic and revenue.