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Traffic gone after moving website to another host

I would like to know if somebody has experience with switching successful domains to another host. We are facing some traffic decrease after we were switching the service to a CDN. The number of page visitors decreased dramatically. Is this only a temporary effect? Can anybody give me tips on how to reduce these negative side-effects of switching a domain to another server?

codenovae's picture

Here are some tips on how to do a domain transfer to another host correctly

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When moving to a new web host, there are several tips to help you do it the right way. What happens when you move to a new site is that the content remains the same while the IP changes. You need to set the time-to-live (TTL) in your DNS to a lower value like 5 minutes. Then, you should upload the same content that was in your old web host to the new web host. Then, ensure that your DNS points to your new IP address. You should then wait until Googlebot, and most of your visitors move to the new site. However, as the traffic to the new location increases, consider keeping both sites operational.

 

Junaed's picture

Set low TTL

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A change in DNS is inevitable when you are moving your site from one host/location to another. DNS change comes at the end of the transaction to point visitors to another location. In brief, DNS redirects users to a specific location by providing them the IP address of your site. When you change the host, you change the location of your site to some other IP address. You have to redirect your site to the new host so that users and search bots can access it from the changed IP. If you cannot implement the redirects perfectly then users may see what you don't want them to see, the dead 404 pages. And this may certainly hamper the rankings your site has.
 
But you can use TTL and make sure that this doesn’t happen. DNS has an entry called Time To LIve(TTL).  Generally, the TTL of a site is set to one day. TTL means that minimum time to request for that site is one day. When cached, DNS client will use that very copy of the site for one day before it comes back to request it again. When you are moving your site from one hosting to another, this is the last thing to do. This is what Matt Cutts also explained in the video from the above thread. In his voice-

“There’s a thing in DNS called TTL. TTL stands for time to live. And it’s basically, once you’ve looked up the IP address for a particular domain name, how long you cache that. So you can typically save it for a day. So if you’ve looked up example.com, you know the IP address, you don’t need to check until the same time tomorrow. However, you can in some cases set the TTL to be much lower. So for example, you might want to set it to be something like five minutes. Now if you don’t easily find a way to set your TTL to be low, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just a nice little optimization to say, go ahead and anybody who’s checking in the next five minutes, after five minutes, check again, so that you can see how quickly things happen.”
 

Now, you can use this TTL to move your traffic to your new host. Even you can make search engines bot understand that the new hosting is the place they should look for data from your site. You just have to reduce the TTL  of the new host as low as 1 hour or less like 5 to 10 minutes and keep the TTL of the old one as before, one day. This will gradually increase the traffic to the new host. It will happen as the DNS will ask users to check back again within the time you set as TTL. If you are thinking of site load, don’t bother to implement TTL on this account. Because it is just a way to tell the DNS to check back as quickly as possible. This process may take the time to happen, but it is surely a better way. Because you may face hardware problem. This will give you time find out the flaws and take steps as required. But don’t forget to keep the both host live for a while. This is what Matt Cutts suggested-

“First, if you can set your TTL, set to be low, something like five minutes. Now you’ve got your content. So let’s make your content be a happy face. Maybe he’s got a freckle. So now you’ve got another happy face because you want to upload the same content from your old web host to your new web host. And the idea is no matter which IP address people go to, they’ll end up finding your content. So in an ideal world, you can have your site running on both locations. If it’s static content, it’s easy. Just make a backup. Just make a mirror.”

After a while, when you see the traffic moved to the new host, then you can remove the old host. And Google tries to keep itself updated by refreshing the IP address of every site. So, it wouldn’t take more than a couple of days to make this change happen.  Then another question may arise, why not to keep TTL low all the time? It may too many DNS requests to your site. So, keep it as usual when you are done the moving.