Critical Elements To Watch For When Moving Webhosts

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I am currently working on moving a number of websites from one host to another. All the sites I’m moving are wordpress so I’m checking the following before moving the sites:

  • Does the site load with www or without?
  • What version of wordpress is the site on?
  • Does the site use a custom theme?
  • What plugins does the site have?
  • How many photos have been added to the site?
  • What is the search penetration of the site?
  • Does it have an xml sitemap?
  • Are there any special customizations or scripts that have been added?

Those are the primary questions – once I have the answers I’ll recreate the site on a new host without updating the dns entries. This allows me to edit my hosts file so only my computer will look to the new webhost for the site. That way I can trouble shoot and ensure the site operates correctly. If not, I can edit it and no harm has been done to the site.

This also allows us to iron out any challenges or problems with the site before Google tries to reindex the site and potentially damage its search penetration.

Once I’ve ironed out the bugs, it also allows me to get final client approval before “flipping the switch”. Once given the green light we can set the site live and monitor Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools for any errors or issues that might arise.

Moving webhosts can be a dangerous time for your site and its search engine penetration so it is important to take these extra steps to ensure all goes well :)

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