Monday, August 17, 2009

Changing Your Internet Server

With a little planning, changing your server can be a simple task. Whether you own or rent an entire server or have individual (shared) hosting, changing your service or company means changing your Internet server. To decrease your website downtime, don't cancel your old service just yet. Changing your name servers on your domain names and setting up your email addresses should be your last tasks in that order.

    Choosing Your New Server

  1. For existing websites, it is important to make sure old and new servers are speaking the same server languages such as Perl, PHP, ASP, Cold Fusion, Java, MySQL, PostgreSQL or MS SQL. If your new server doesn't have these features, some items on your website won't work anymore.

    Also make sure there is enough space for your files, especially if you host your own media files. Media files include audio, video or flash files. They can be large, so make sure your new server has at least the same amount of space as your old one, if not more.
  2. Backup Important Server Files

  3. Make sure your server files are also on your computer and use this time to do a little spring cleaning. Over time, you may have stopped using some files. Download what you need and leave what you don't.
  4. Backup Email Address Information

  5. Whether you have one website or multiple websites, if your email is through your server, you must record your email addresses. This will ensure your emails are uninterrupted. If you are using free email such as Gmail, Yahoo! or Hotmail, there is no need for this step.
  6. Backup Databases

  7. If you are using database applications, you will need to download a backup of your database. This process differs with each type of database. Failing to do so will cause these applications not to work. For example, old calendar or discussion forum entries will no longer exist once you cancel your old service. If you are using an outside service that you link to for calendars, discussion forums or guest books, that information will remain on their server.

    Backup the name of your database, user name and password. This information is also required to work.
  8. Making the Move

  9. You should plan to do this late at night when traffic is low. Upload your server files first, as everything else will depend on these. Other tasks can't be completed until you change your name server information on your domain name.

    Now, upload your old database information into your new database, making sure your new database contains the same name as your old database. Some companies require prefixes to the database name. These differences will need to be changed within your old database, as well as files on your server related to the application.
  10. Change Your Name Servers

  11. Your name server information is contained within your domain name information. Log into the website you registered your domain name with. The name server information comes from your server. It directs your domain name to your server so that when anyone types it in, they will get the correct website.
  12. Setup Your Email Addresses

  13. Now you are ready to set up new in-boxes and aliases for your old email addresses. In some instances, they can be set up before you change your name server, but they cannot be tested until after.
  14. Test Your Website

  15. Now you are ready for testing and troubleshooting. You are testing to make sure you have all documents and images uploaded. You are also testing to make sure database applications are functioning correctly. Troubleshoot any errors as you come across them.

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