WebSite Moving Day! New Home for the Home Page

    October 23, 2000

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 home.

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

Mike Banks Valentine operates SEOptimism, Offering SEO training of
in-house content managers
as well as the Small Business Ecommerce Tutorial at and blogs about SEO at
where this article appears with live links to SMO stories, buttons, blog posts and examples.