Moving your website to a different host
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Moving your website to a different host


MATT CUTTS: Hi everybody. This is Matt Cutts. Today I wanted to talk a little
bit about how to move your stuff from one web host to
another web host. So maybe you didn’t like the deal that
you were getting with your current guy, and you’re
switching to a new web host. Your domain name remains
the same. So maybe it’s mattcutts.com
or example.com. Your domain name is the same. But you’re moving to a new IP
address because you’re moving to a new web host. So let’s talk
through the process of how exactly you do that. First thing you need to know is
that there’s this wonderful thing called DNS. And DNS basically stands
for domain name server. It maps a name, like
example.com– so let’s write example.com– to an IP address. So when you look up in DNS
something like example.com, it says, go to this particular IP
address and ask for it, and you will get something back. That’s the way everything
works. Life is good. Everybody’s happy. So what happens when you
want to shift to a different web host? Well, it’s at a different
IP address. The content can be the same. In fact, it should
be the same. But now you want to switch
example.com to point to the new location. So here’s what you
need to know. There’s a thing in
DNS called TTL. TTL stands for time to live. And it’s basically, once
you’ve looked up the IP address for a particular domain
name, how long you cache that. So you can typically
save it for a day. So if you’ve looked up
example.com, you know the IP address, you don’t need
to check until the same time tomorrow. However, you can in some cases
set the TTL to be much lower. So for example, you might want
to set it to be something like five minutes. Now if you don’t easily find a
way to set your TTL to be low, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just a nice little
optimization to say, go ahead and anybody who’s checking in
the next five minutes, after five minutes, check again, so
that you can see how quickly things happen. So here’s what you do. First, if you can set your TTL,
set to be low, something like five minutes. Now you’ve got your content. So let’s make your content
be a happy face. Maybe he’s got a freckle. So now you’ve got another happy
face because you want to upload the same content from
your old web host to your new web host. And the idea is no
matter which IP address people go to, they’ll end up finding
your content. So in an ideal world, you
can have your site running on both locations. If it’s static content,
it’s easy. Just make a backup. Just make a mirror. If it’s dynamic content, then
it’s a little bit more tricky. But what you can do is– this stuff can happen
in a relatively quick period of time. So you can have this stuff
handled via a back end over here, and it could send
stuff to the same back end, for example. But let’s just take
the simple case. Let’s take the case where you’ve
got nothing but some static content. So you’ve set your time
to live to be low. You now have your content
on both sites. Now’s the time to switch over
your DNS setting to point to the new IP address. So we’re going to make this
dashed, and we’re going to make this solid. And what that corresponds to is,
now when someone looks up example.com, they’re
getting the IP address of the new content. So every so often, Googlebot
comes along. A good rule of thumb is that
we’ll try maybe every day to refresh what the IP address is
for a particular domain name– you can imagine maybe every
500 fetches of content, or maybe every 1,000 fetches
of content. So at least the heuristics used
to be, in the old days, at least once a day, we’d
recheck to make sure that the IP address has changed. So you’ve set your
time to live low. You’ve uploaded your content
to both sites. You changed your DNS to point
to the new IP address. Now you just want to check that
Googlebot, and users, and all those people,
are finding your content at the new address. If you set your time to live to
be pretty low, within five or 10 minutes, you should see
people streaming in on your new website. If your time to live was not
set, then probably after a day or so, you’ll notice people
going over to the new address. Various weird browsers can cache
in very strange ways, but that’s a pretty good
rule of thumb. Once you see Googlebot start
to come to the new address, you should be in pretty
good shape. It doesn’t hurt to keep the
content live in both locations just for a little while. But what you’ll notice
is the traffic– bot traffic and people visiting
the site– will sort of taper off, while on the new
site, they sort of ramp up. And once you see that ramp up
pretty nicely happen, and you don’t see as many people over
here, then it’s pretty safe to go ahead and remove
this content off of this IP address. So if you’re not happy
with your current web host, you can change. And it’s not the end
of the world. It’s not that risky. Just changing your DNS to point
to a new IP address is something that– It’s a good exercise for
everybody to do, just so you know how things work. And if you think about it, it
makes sense, as far as every so often, they’re just
checking what the setting should be. And when they find a new
setting, they just go to the new location. I hope that helps. And good luck migrating
to new IP addresses.

4 Comments

  • Christine Makah

    interesting info but he didn't exactly tell how to move the website – he's just telling the concept, not the action points

  • User Hat SEO

    We had a an ecommerce client a few years ago move hosting from us to another hosting company… the technician who managed the DNS migration failed so badly that they lost dozens of orders. Here is my complete writeup with a bit more detail into what can go wrong: https://userhat.com/how-to-migrate-an-e-commerce-website/

  • Shubham Davey

    If the domain name remains same, how will I know that traffic is going to the new IP address or the old one?

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