How to change from one hosting company to another with minimal downtime
So you would like to transfer your current domain from one hosting company to another without downtime? This can be done in a few easy steps. The information below has been compiled to make the move from one hosting company to another as painless as possible. Before performing this task please follow the instructions carefully.
Your FTP username and password for your web site.
Your Administrative Control panel username and password (not always applicable).
Note: If you do not have this information, you can contact your current hosting company and request it.
Step 1. Transferring files from your host to your local machine.
Using a basic FTP program or a web browser, download all your current files including graphics, html files, etc. making sure to keep the exact directory structure as it was on your current web server.
Step 2. Transferring a database from your hosting company.
On successful login to the administrative control panel, export all databases to your local machine, make a note of what type of database your information was stored in. This can be different depending on the type of database setup that is running on the hosting company; some companies provide multiple database solutions and others just one.
Note: Database examples - SQL | MySql | Access (amongst others)
Step 3. Your new hosting company.
Upload up all of your site files to your new host using temporary login information, most hosting companies can provide you this information prior to your domain name resolving to the new account. I would setup all your email accounts as well, keep in mind that they won’t have resolved yet but it’s one less step you'll have to worry about later.
Step 4. The Domain Transfer Begins (domain name record change)
Through whatever registrar you used to have your domain registered, request a name change. The only thing that really needs to be changed in your record is the name server information. If you do not have this information, just email your new hosting company support and ask what their Name Server information is.
Step 5. The waiting process begins!
You should get confirmation emails confirming the change to the domain. This begins the waiting process! It will usually take between 24 - 48 hours for all the Domain Name Servers around the world to get the updated information that your domain has a new location. Once this waiting period is complete, you can then contact your previous hosting company and cancel your hosting contract or service.