How to change your web hosting company without losing your SEO rankings

Due to many reasons and with different intentions, web masters tend to change their existing web host. This change could result costing dearly the website owner, as hard earned rankings for the site candrop drastically overnight. It is evident that the web hosting server and its physical location has an impact on the SEO rankings of a certain website. Thus, even thoughshifting to a new web host may seem less hazardous compared to changing the domain name; it too should be done with total consideration.

Before we precede any further let us give you the assurance that changing from one web host to another is NOT insecure, provided you stick exactly to the guide linesmentioned below. You can obtain the success you had with your previous host or more importantly, improve your success leading to higher rankings.

This article talks about points you should pay attention to when changing from one host to another and about ways to securely change your website’s host without impairing the SEO rankings.

 Search for a hosting company that best suit your needs.

First and fore most you must find a web hosting company who will provide you with all essential features for you to display your website accordingly. This might sound impossible as it is difficult to find one who addresses your needs precisely. But finding such a company is vital.

Be sure to know about the operating system of the server (Windows or Linux) and about the web technologies used (PHP, JSP, ASP or ASP.Net). Also, what database systems you need. See whether solutions of your new host are compatible with the technical specification of your website.

Check the version and the configuration settings of the server, time limits and installed libraries.

Find out how file uploading on the new host happens. Make the method available for you to upload your site easily.

Have the DNS information ready for your new host ready. Also, make sure you have your domain account information at hand so you can quickly modify the settings when needed.

Mind the available bandwidth of the hosting package, physical characteristics of the server, other service limitations.

Be sure to select a company who provides you with excellent technical support.

Choose a company that has a good reputation for offering quality services to their customers. Bypass any shabby hosting packages as they draw the attention of spammers. Excess spamming can negatively affect your SEO statuses.

Location of the server

Most search engines use the physical location of the server, i.e. the country as a Geo location signal. Hence, if the location of the new host is different to the old, it could be a problem to your rankings. It is best if you could host your website on a server that is located in the same country as the crowd you are aiming for.  As an example, if your site audience is from Europe or UK then it’s better to host it in a server located in UK on the other hand if your  site visitors are from US and word wide then you are better off hosting your site in a US based server.

 Test after uploading your website on the new host.

Compatibility issues could be easily identified if you test your website with the new host. Make sure that your website works fine before you test it on the new host. Be sure to back up your entire site prior to transferring to the new host. It is better if you manually backup all you files in case of any compatibility issues between the two hosts and if something goes wrong, you can always come back and restore.

 Inform your users beforehand

Whatever the website category maybe, informing your users prior to the transition are good etiquette. By doing so they will not be confused in case your website undergoes some problem. Your users are your best asset; their constant feedback will help you identify overlooked problematic areas. Inform when the transition will take place and when it will end.

 Amend the Time-To-Live (TTL) of your DNS records (Optional).

Domain Name System or more commonly referred to as “DNS” is a service which maps the domain names to their relevant IP addresses. These IP addresses are the network addresses of the hosting servers. The DNS helps to find the server where a website is hosted. When we change from one hosting company to another, both the DNS and the IP address change. Therefore a compulsory update in the DNS records is needed for the transfer to be complete and successful.

There can be instances where there is a delay of more than 24hours for the DNS records to become visible globally. To avoid generating excess load on the system the DNS records are cached for a certain time period (also known as TTL). This is reason for the delay. Let’s say you changed your DNS records today, 23hours later you will notice that many of your users are still accessing your site through the old server. If your website is static this delay would not be a problem. But what if it’s dynamic; changes done in the databases will not be reflected.