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While websites have needed to undergo transfers since the dawn of the Internet, the process and complexity of transferring a website changes every year. In 2018 we learned a lot about how to transfer a website efficiently and even saw some new methods and aspects of website transfers come into play. Read on to see what changed about transferring websites in 2018 and how the process has become easier than in years past.

The SSL Dilemma and How it Now Affects Website Transfers 

There’s a potential issue you need to be aware of when transferring a website that you didn’t need to worry about before 2018. This potential issue could be called the ‘SSL Dilemma’ and if you’re planning on securing a SSL certificate for you website this year there’s a few things you should know about it.

Browsers like FirefoxChrome, and Safari are now warning users who log into to websites that don’t use SSL. The wording of the warnings vary between browsers but they can seem pretty ominous to those not familiar with Internet security.

This SSL issue complicates the transfer of a website because website owners often purchase their SSL certificate from their web host or domain name registrar. If you’re transferring a site away from you host you should align yourself another SSL certificate or double check that it will remain intact when you cancel your current hosting package.

To avoid this issue altogether you can simply choose a new host that uses a third-party SSL provider like Let’s Encrypt. Many modern hosts are even offering free SSL installation through these third-party SSL providers.

Proving Your Website is Secure During a Transfer 

Another new factor in website transfers that emerged in 2018 also has to do with SSL certification. Secure Sockets Layer certificates have grown in importance to search engines throughout the past year and they haven’t made any secret of that fact.

It’s important to acquire SSL with your new host, especially if you had SSL in the past with the same domain name because many search engines like Google are now attaching “This website may be hacked” warnings with search engine results for sites that recently lost SSL certification.

This potential issue can also be avoided by choosing a host with free SSL, especially if the certificate provider is a third party like Let’s Encrypt. Having that gap-free SSL protection will prove to users and search engine bots alike that your website is secure and has not been hacked.

New Data Regarding Timely Website Transfers 

It has always been important to time the transfer of your website so that there’s no downtime for users when switching between hosts. In 2018 this process became even more important, however, and a little bit more complex as websites are now commonly supported by several backend layers of PHPdatabases, HTML, and other coding.

The reason timely transfers have become increasingly important is that there is a plethora of websites on virtually every topic now, whereas years prior to 2018 saw plenty of room in various marketing niches and less competitive search engine rankings tactics.

In 2018 we learned that if you allow downtime for your websites, even if only for a day, you could fall victim to delisting or 404 errors being indexed by Google or other search giants. Having your website crawled during downtime could result in a long pause in your organic traffic and a hard struggle to regain your current ranking status.

Internet crawling-bots aren’t the only thing you need to worry about when it comes to downtime. With the current landscape of the Internet, users are growing increasingly impatient and are even now accustomed to websites frequently closing shop due to the rapidly changing nature of the modern web. If your website goes offline for a day, or even three days, while you’re transferring your files to a new host users may begin to assume you’re out of business.

You can avoid this sort of downtime by following the practice most website owners have discovered over the past 12 months. Simply purchase your new hosting and upload a copy of your site to the new server before deleting your existing hosting account. After the transfer of your site’s files is complete you should update your DNS settings with your registrar and wait three more days to delete your prior hosting account.

This will ensure that your files will load from one server or the other during the three days it takes for DNS changes to fully propagate, meaning zero down-time for users or bots who visit your site.

Hosts now Offering Free Transfers 

2018 saw a trend of web hosts offering tons of new features to compete with each other. Some of the new features and benefits you’ll notice being advertised include free website transfers, unlimited storage options, CMS-optimized hosting packages, and other compelling bonuses. This trend is expected to continue and be adapted by more hosts throughout the coming year.

All of these new features and offerings are helpful for those looking for new hosting deals but the free website transfer now offered by many hosts is perhaps the most beneficial when transferring your website. Each host approaches this process differently but most will either complete the transfer for you or give you simple steps to transfer your site based on which host you’re coming from. This is incredibly useful and a well-crafted offering that you can definitely expect to grow in popularity through 2019.

While transferring websites to new hosts to save money on hosting or gain the benefit of a super-fast server or hosting environment is not a new concept, there have been several changes to site transfers in the past year. Make the most of Google and other browser and search engine developer’s newfound focus on SSL to give your website the boost it deserves in search engine rankings. Ensure your transfer is timely to avoid any repercussions from downtime and look for hosts that offer free SSL and website transfers to make the process easier for yourself.