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Moving servers – How to do it right

June 2nd, 2009

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A few of you may have noticed I have not posted for quite some time. There are a few reasons for this. First up I have been uber busy working on my niche site and secondly I was told my old hosting provider was going to shut down, in 2 weeks!! So I had to quickly find alternative hosting.

I proceeded to frantically search the web for a cost efficient and quality server to house all my sites and I finally found one that looked good.  I will probably write a full review of them later, but essentially what I was faced with now was the massive task of moving a massive array of sites and the possibility of losing money and rankings if any of them went down.

As this was the first time I had done this I made a few mistakes, but in hind sight they would be pretty easy to correct in the future.

So here is a quick checklist of things you should do before switching hosts, preferably in this order

  1. Copy all the data to the new server
    I did this via a cPanel / WHM transfer and my new host kindly took care of it for me
  2. Verify your data
    I didn’t do this properly and it lead to problems.  Check that not only has each account transfered, but the files are all there, and your databases are all there.  Sometimes one but not the other will transfer.  Sometimes you may have to manually copy data across.
  3. Change the nameservers of your domains
    I was lucky in that I had setup custom nameservers at my old host so all I had to do was register those nameservers at my new hosting and ALL my sites moved over seamlessly – cool huh?! I’d suggest anyone do this NOW before you feel the burn of moving 20+ sites one by one.

Because I didn’t do these steps thoroughly (I said they were easy didn’t I?) I ended up in a world of pain and some of my sites went down for a number of days.

Thankfully though, all my sites are now working and faster than ever!

So it’s good to be back, its a MASSIVE weight off my shoulders, and I hope to make up for lost time very soon!

Chris About me, Tutorial, Web Hosting

Choosing your domain

April 26th, 2009

Now you have your niche picked and a good set of keywords and keyphrases to target you need to figure out what domain you want to get.  The domain you pick can play a big part in getting links and traffic.

There are a few things to look at when getting a domain, and for our purposes we only need to look at one – keywords! You need to try and get a domain that closely matches your main keyword phrase.  This is the one that will bring in the most traffic.  For example, if your niche is Holidays in Rome then the best domain for you to get would be www.holidaysinrome.com, the reason behind this is that Google tends to believe that your URL is your company brand, and makes it easier for that domain to rank for those keywords.  If this domain is taken you could opt for hyphens, which work almost as well, but are less readable and less brandable i.e. holidays-in-rome.com.  Choosing a domain rich in keywords has other benefits too.  When people link back to your site, they will naturally use your domain name, which will be your keywords!

Quite often these will be taken so you will have to look at other domain names, the easiest is to look at different top level domains, i.e. .net, .org, .info etc.  I always tend to shy away from .org as, to me personally, it reads as “non profit organisation” although there are no rules governing this.  .info domains are also a last resort as they appear to have less weight when ranking.  I think this may be due to their use as spam domains as they are cheap to acquire.

Another top tip is to use words preceeding or following your main keywords, for example myholidaysinrome.com, or yourholidaysinrome.com.  If your still struggling you will have to rely on a bit of research and some lateral thinking.  If you require any more help feel free to leave a comment and I’ll help you as best I can.

Chris Adsense Challenge, Web Hosting

Good news and bad news

April 17th, 2009

The good news is I have chosen my niche and bought a domain for the adsense challenge but the bad news is that my hosting company have not renewed the cPanel licence on my hosting account.  What this means is that I cannot do any modifications to my account, such as setting up new domains or SQL databases.  This sucks because not only do I pay them quite well, but it has been down for a week and I have heard no response from them.  If I do not hear from them soon I guess I will have to think about alternative hosting solutions which I don’t want to do because moving hosting is always a pain, especially when you have a lot of sites.  My current hosting provider has also been pretty good to me so far so it’s a shame this has happened.

As soon as I get my cPanel back I can get my site up then release the new post in the adsense challenge series about how to pick your niche, keywords and the domain name! Until then wish me luck!

Chris Adsense, Adsense Challenge, Web Hosting