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Because search engines are typically indexing your current domain name and pages, it is only normal that changing your hosting provider will have an impact on your site. However, did you know that you can control the magnitude of the impact this move will have on your site’s SEO by taking some simple precautions?

web and social media

If you are changing a single website’s hosting provider, that should not really make any difference on how search engines rank the site, particularly if the transition is smooth. In theory, moving a simple site incorporating just several pages should not be a big deal. In addition, as long as you make sure search engines understand clearly that you have made a permanent change and you want to keep your link equity as intact as possible, you can even move your domain name. However, since accidents do happen, it is best to play it safe and by the rules.

• Find a new and reliable hosting provider

Even if you find the package very tempting, the importance of working with a provider that can fully cover all your hosting needs cannot be stressed enough. Essentially, what you need to look for in order to be certain that the new host has all the required features entails:

- The recommended operating system that matches your apps and database.

- Make sure they can offer you the bandwidth that you need and that the services and limitations will not affect the uptime.

- Consider the configuration settings and make sure they have full time technical support.

- Always choose quality over price.

[ Do read: The Role of A Domain Broker ]

• Choose your new location

Since the location of your hosting provider can have a negative impact on your sites’ rank, the best approach is to choose a service in the same country as your target audience. It is important to note that because many hosting companies allow you to choose the location of the server, don’t forget to check this detail out before you sign the contract.

• Test, test and test!

Regardless of the reputation and trustworthiness of your new hosting provider, it’s in your best interest keep some reservations regarding the authenticity of the ads and test their services to make sure they meet your requirements. More often than not, companies who refuse to let you test their services first are best avoided. Therefore, make sure your site works normally, transfer it on the new server and test its functionality. On a side note, the simplest way to test the new host is via the temporary URL, meaning that you should try using a temporary sub-domain.

• It’s highly recommended to update your DNS and TTL records

Transferring a website from one host to another practically implies that you are also changing your IP. Therefore, for an efficient site transfer you will need to update your DNS as well as notify your audience that your IP has changed to the new address. Even though this procedure sounds easy, the truth is that you can experience several issues, such as the fact that the update takes more than 24 hours before it becoming visible on a global scale.

The good news is that you can avoid this problem if your change the TTL values from 24 hours to 5 minutes. However, take note that not all hosting providers include this feature in the domain registers panel and hence, the value cannot be modified. While this might not be a problem for static websites, it can mean a great deal if your audience constantly posts content on the site. If you’re in the latter situation, then I recommend you discuss your options with your new host.

It is very important to note that by changing your DNS you will also affect your email account, so don’t forget to set up another account with your new host before you change your records for good. An alternative would be to set up a MX record on your old server.

• Keep the old server up for another day or two

Because some applications have a tendency of storing the DNS records for more time than what the TTL value indicates, it is recommended that you keep up the old server for a couple of days after the transfer. This way you can be sure that you won’t lose any data, emails or traffic on your site.

Image credit: Rosaura Ochoa

What factors do you consider before changing your Hosting Provider? Do share your opinion in the comment section, we’ll be glad to hear from you.

This is a guest post by Chad. Chad recently taken an interest in blogging about the role of hosting as well as hosting providers such as Host SEO in today’s online business environment. I also provide tips on how webmasters can take advantage of hosting as best as they could.

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