As your online business expands, switching web hosts eventually becomes a necessity. You may need more space than your current web hosting provider offers, or your shared server is overloaded– causing unexpected downtime, server errors, and page timeouts. This can consequently impact your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts, and cause a drop in search engine rankings.
Migrating web hosts can help you maintain a consistent user experience across your site and prevent users from bouncing back, but it requires careful planning and execution.
In this blog post, we’ll briefly go over how you can switch web hosts without affecting SEO:
Find a Web Hosting Provider That Meets Your Needs
When researching new web host providers, here are some technical features that you need to consider:
- Location of the server
Geographical advantage can give you a leg up in SEO. You can improve site speed and reduce latency by hosting your site on a server that’s in close proximity to your target audience. Geographically distributed servers are ideal for a global audience, but if your audience is based in the U.S., a data center here will improve your odds of ranking higher.
- Operating system and server version
- Server configurations like installed libraries and time limits
- Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) support, which can play have a huge impact on page speed
- Limitations and services of the server like the disk space and bandwidth
Create A Backup And Migrate Your Website To The New Host
Before migrating your site or canceling your previous plan, make sure you back up the entire site. Then, after migrating to the new host, ensure that the new host is compatible with your site by testing it first.
Test all its functionalities, perhaps by setting up a temp subdomain or checking it up with the IP. Web hosting providers often let you preview your site before going live.
Update TTL And DNS Records
The Domain Name System (DNS) maps IP addresses to domain names–you’ll need to update your DNS records, signaling that your site’s IP address has changed. It typically takes over 24 hours for the update to take effect.
To ensure that your visitors access the live version of the site located on the new server, change the Time-To-Live (TTL) from 24 hours to 5 minutes.
Note: Ask your web hosting provider beforehand if they support this feature.
Finally, to complete the transfer, update the NameServer records, and then change the TTL value back. You also need to make sure that your email accounts are set up with the new provider so as not to affect your emails.
Play it safe by keeping the old server live for a few days after migration.
SEO friendly web hosting providers ensure that users can effortlessly access websites and work towards improving site discoverability in search queries.
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