There are many reasons why you may move your web site to a new hosting arrangement. It could be an upgrade in hosting, better hosting pricing, to take advantage of software or expertise available with that hosting, etc. But a move of your web site to new hosting means at least some coordination with the domain you use for the web site, and that level of coordination may require some precision. BEFORE you make a decision to move in the first place, make sure you have the following information within your control.
- Domain registration account information – username and password
- The current domain name servers you are using.
- The future domain name servers you will be using.
- Information on any continuing subdomains, MX records, SPF records and the like that will need to be replicated elsewhere (sometimes known as Custom DNS).
- Make sure you understand how to change any Custom DNS if your domain name servers are changing.
- A reasonable advance timeline to get everything together so to make this to happen.
IF you have mailboxes on the server you are moving away from, and they are not going to continue at that server, start that transition early to the new server hosting.
If a vendor or an ex-employee built your current web site, you should get started early in getting this information and confirming that what you have is correct. Many domain registrars offer domain name server capabilities – this is where you can specify for the domain where your web site is, where your email servers are, where other subdomains are, for purposes of the web. If you are using a registrar’s custom DNS already and YOU ARE NOT CHANGING REGISTRARS, then you may not need to make many changes to custom DNS when the time comes to switch over to the new web site.
However, if you are changing domain name servers, you’ll have to set up everything to work as it should again within Custom DNS in the new domain name server management location.
I can’t emphasize enough that you need to pull this information together early and confirm that it is all valid and that you understand what is being used. We have had clients that took months to find the username and password for their domain registrar because it was set up several years ago, the person who set it up is long gone, and the contact information attributed to the domain and in their records is no longer valid.
Obviously, for our clients, we try to be the coordinating point for this, and make sure that this information is pulled together well prior to release of the site. But if a client says they intend to handle this process, they really have to make sure they are prepared to handle it, or it can delay release of the new site.
If you have questions about how DNS or custom DNS works, take a look at this: