Step 4: Switching Web Site Hosting Companies

So its time to switch web hosts… Step 4

If you have not reviewed the prior steps 1, 2, and 3, you should do so now. If you are having problems with your new site these may be uncovered by items in the preceding steps.

4) Testing your site at the new host

This step may seem obvious and for most site switches there won’t be any problems. Going through the process methodically, however, can help assure that nothing is missed.

Typically this step is done at the same time as the upload step but we break it out separately here.

  1. Using the temporary URL or IP address provided by your new hosting company go through every link on your site if possible. Be sure that the URL shown in your browser still shows the temporary URL or IP address. If the URL displays your actual domain name then your are accessing your old site rather than the new site. This is typically the case if web page links in your html include the fully qualified domain name. To test these pages, either modify your HTML to use a relative path (remove the “”) or after clicking the link and going to the old site, change the URL in your browser to use the alternate URL/IP address to assure the page comes up correctly at the new host.
  2. Confirm that any programs you are using in your site work properly. If you are using fully qualified domain names in your html forms you may want to modify them to use only the relative path (take out the “”) in order to assure that you are accessing the program at the new hosting company and not your old account.
  3. Update your email client (outlook, netscape mail, eudora, etc) so that the mail servers are the new account mail servers and test sending and receiving mail to yourself. Because your actual domain is still at the old host, testing email can be difficult and confusing. Some hosts offer some sort of web based email that can also be used to test your email.
  4. If you spot a problem that you can not easily handle, contact the new hosting company’s support team (preferably a contact person established when you opened the account).

Once you are satisfied that everything is working properly you can move on to the next step.

Quick Tip:
Sites with links that use relative paths rather than fully qualified domains in their links are usually easier to test because they do not keep linking you back to the old host.

Quick Tip:
You may also want to consider updating your name servers in your TCP/IP properties to temporarily use the name servers that your new account uses. Since the new hosts name servers will direct your domain to the new account this can allow you to use the domain name without being referred back to the live host.


Update your name servers at your domain registrar   >