Getting Started

ID #72

How do I transfer my site to Modwest with no downtime?

Applies to: Grid System

For a smooth transition between hosts with no downtime, you'll need to do these things in order. If you don't have your own domain name, then some of this will not apply to you.

  1. Signup with us to host your domain name. Signing up and creating a hosting account at Modwest for this domain name does not make any change to your domain name registration. Your website and domain name at your old host are not affected by merely signing up with us.

  2. Upload your website into the account you just signed up for. For information about what directories to put your files in, see this FAQ. If you have a MySQL database to move from your old host, please see this FAQ on transferring databases.

  3. For testing purposes while your domain name still leads to the site on your old host, view the files you just uploaded on our system through the temporary URL
    If you use absolute URLs for links and images like

    <img src="" alt="" />
    then you will see some broken images and links when looking at it through the temp url above. This is not a problem and will be fine when your site goes live. If you want to fix it, make the URLs relative instead of absolute, like this

    <img src="images/image.jpg" alt="" />
    At this point, you will know that your files are uploaded and your site on our system is working.

  4. Use your Control Panel to create all the mailboxes and forwarding rules that you will need. The object is to setup your mail here to handle all the addresses that are currently handled by your old host so that when your domain becomes live here, your mail can be delivered appropriately. After you complete the step below, there will be a transition period of up to a week where you may be recieving mail both on our system and at your old host. You will need to check mailboxes at both hosts during this transition period. This other FAQ discusses how to setup additional mailbox profiles in your mail reading program on your computer.

  5. After everything is working correctly on our system, you will do a "DNS modify" or "change nameservers" at the place where you registered your domain name (the registrar). If you don't know who that is, you can find out by using our WHOIS utility here or on your Control Panel. Once you know your registrar, you need to contact them to make the change. Most registrars assign you a username and password that you can use to login on their website and do this type of thing.

    So, on your registrar's DNS modification form, add our primary and secondary nameservers:
    If your registrar requires you to also fill in IP addresses, they are


    Before submitting the form, make sure to delete all other nameservers, so that they do not give conflicting information about your domain that could cause people not to be able to get to your website.

    At Network Solutions, when you submit the form, a copy of the request is mailed to the email address you requested, which should be the Admin or Technical Contact, and nothing will be done until that email is replied to in plain text (not HTML mail) by the Contact.

  6. After the nameserver modification is approved and accepted by your domain name registrar, it will take about 24 hours for this change to take effect.

    Even after the change is approved and updated, there may still be some lag time of a few more days for many people to find your site at the new location because their computers or their ISPs have cached the old information given by your old webhost's nameservers from when they were authoritative for your domain. It may take a few days for caches to clear and requests for fresh information to be made of the new authoritative nameservers (ours).

    So, ideally, you will watch the access logs on your old host and when you notice that no one is hitting that site anymore, it is safe to take it down or cancel that account. Usually, after about a week, everyone should have the correct nameserver information and be finding your site at its new location.

What is a nameserver?
A DNS server or nameserver is a machine that is responsible for keeping track of the IP addresses of certain domain names. When someone tries to go to a domain name, their computer first locates a nameserver that is responsible or authoritative for that domain. The authoritative nameserver then gives the person the domain's IP address, which is like directions on how to get to the domain.

The purpose of the DNS modify on your domain registration is to notify the world of your authoritative nameservers, so that everyone will know which nameserver to ask when they are trying to find your domain.

Last update: 2011-04-20 13:15
Author: FAQ Admin
Revision: 1.7

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Comment of Anonymous:
If you want to lessen the transitional period, just shorten your TTL well in advance of your change (1.5 x your current TTL in advance, for eg). Personally, I'd lower it to something like 15 seconds. Then when everything looks good, raise the TTL back up...
Added at: 2003-04-14 22:54

Comment of Anonymous:
That assumes that people not only have control of their own DNS but also over individual elements in their zonefile. Most people have neither. You should always let the webhost do DNS for your domain because they will maintain the zonefile properly during any network or IP changes at the host. If you are doing your own DNS and any network changes occur at the host, then your site will be down when your DNS ends up pointing the world to the wrong IPs. That is why you should list only the web host's primary and secondary nameservers on your domain registration, and no others, and let the host take care of DNS.
Added at: 2003-04-15 11:11