In most cases, Abivia can move your website from another host for you at no charge. This article will describe the steps involved in making the move. If you really don't want to deal with technology, just jump down to How to Start.

First it is important to get some simple terminology down. Most people think a website is just one thing, but there are several components that go into getting online:

  • Your domain registration is independent of your web hosting plan. This is often confusing because most people register their domain through their hosting provider, however there is no requirement to do so. Because ownership of your domain is so important, there are several steps that need to be carried out if you want to transfer the domain to us.
  • Your web hosting plan covers serving your web pages, and providing related functions such as file transfer (FTP) and email. These facilities are typically accessed via a hosting control panel. Popular control panels are cPanel, Plesk, ISPConfig, WebsiteOS, but there are many others. Abivia uses cPanel.
  • email can be handled in several ways. You can choose to use mail addresses in your domain or to use an external mail service such as Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo.

Moving Your Domain Registration

If you choose to register your domain with us, you will need to go through a transfer procedure. This procedure is somewhat cumbersome, but for good reason: it is designed to make it difficult for someone to steal your domain! We'll describe the process for domain suffixes like .com, .net, .org, .info and many others These are ICANN domains (if you are curious, ICANN stands for "The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers"). The process for .ca domains is somewhat simpler, but it relies on getting the ownership details exactly correct

The steps for transferring an ICANN domain are:

  • Log in to your existing domain registrar and make sure the domain status is "Unlocked".
  • Make sure that the administrative contact information is up to date, in particular verify that the email address is still valid and working.
  • Get the code that will authorize the domain transfer — the official name for this code is the AuthInfo Code, but since that doesn't mean much to non-technical folks your existing registrar may call it Auth Code, a Transfer Key, a Transfer Secret, an EPP code, an EPP Authentication Code, or EPP Authorization Code. It's probably obvious to note that registrars aren't happy when they lose your business, and many of them will go to some lengths to complicate the procedure.
  • Supply us with the AuthInfo Code. We'll start the transfer process.
  • You'll get an email from us to confirm that you want to transfer the domain to Abivia. This comes from our automated systems and is sent to the current administrative email address. The mail will contain a link. Click it to confirm that you want to transfer the domian. You may have to check your junk mail folder for this message.
  • Once we receive confirmation, our servers send the transfer request to your current registrar.
  • Your registrar will send an email that contains information on completing the transfer. Often these messages contain a variety of offers designed to entice you to not transfer the domain. However, under ICANN rules, they are required to provide you with a method to confirm that you want to transfer the domain immediately. This usually requires that you log in to the existing registrar and accept the transfer. If you don't go through this process, the domain will still transfer, but it can take as much as seven days.

Moving Your Web Hosting

Security is a top priority for us. Whenever we move a site onto one of our severs, we subject it to a full security scan. Many websites are infected by "Trojans", hidden vulnerabilities lying in wait to be exploited by a hacker. If our scans detect any "malware" such as trojans, viruses, and hidden shells, there may be an additional charge for cleaning them out of the site. We will always seek your approval before proceeding with a site clean-up.

cPanel Transfers

If your site is currently hosted on a cPanel server, we can transfer everything associated with the domain in one step. Simply provide us with your existing cPanel login and we'll move your entire account, including mail accounts, mail settings, FTP settings, subdomains, add-on domains, the works.

Joomla and Wordpress Sites on non-cPanel Servers

We will take a full backup of your site with a reliable backup tool such as Akeeba Backup, then restore the site on our servers. Other features such as email accounts will have to be re-created manually. You will lose any mail archived on your existing server, so if this information is important we recommend that you download all mail before closing the account.

Other PHP Applications

In most cases we can transfer these applications without additional charge, but it depends entirely on the capability of the current hosting control panel and how well designed the application is. If we can

  • archive or download the site,
  • get a MySQL database dump, and
  • find a single configuration file and update datbase connections to match the new server,

then we can move the site at no additional charge.

Website Generators

If you are using a web site generator, such as "Website Tonite" or WIX, then you are locked in to a proprietary tool and you cannot move your site to Abivia or any other independent host. If you want to move you'll need to develop a new site. This is one reason why we recommend that you use an open CMS like Joomla or Wordpress to build your site; you are never locked in to a single host.

After the Move

Updating Name Servers

One we've moved and tested your site, the final step is to tell the rest of the Internet that you have moved. If your domain is registered with us, we'll take care of this. if you registered the domain somewhere else, we'll provide you with a set of domain name servers. You simply log into your domain account and update the DNS, and this maps your domain to the IP address of the new server. This is like a "change of address" notification for the Internet.

Email Configuration

If you are using us for your mail, and are retrieving mail via a mail application like Outlook, Apple Mail or Thunderbird, we highly recommend that you connect to the mail server using SSL. In order to avoid SSL certificate errors, you will have to update the name of your mail server in your mail application's configuration.

How to Start

So far we've covered what happens when moving a domain. This section will cover how to get it done. If you skipped down here from the top, all the technical terms are defined above.

The Easy Plan: Leave it to Us

If you just want the job done, start by getting in touch via our contact form. We'll get back to you and ask you for this information:

  • Name, business name, business address, email, phone number.
  • Name of the domain or domains you want to move.
  • Login credentials for your domain registration (user name, domain name, password).
  • Login credentials for your hosting control panel (user name and password).
  • Login credentials for your CMS (Joomla, Wordpress, etc.), if you're using one and your current control panel isn't cPanel.

We'll set up an account for you, pick the hosting plan that fits best, move your site, test it, update your DNS and help you change your mail settings. If there are any complications along the way, we'll let you know and offer solutions.

Start it Yourself

If you want to get the process underway yourself, visit our customer portal at https://my.abivia.net, select a hosting plan, and enter your domain (and if you want to transfer it to us, the AuthInfo Code). Once you've completed the checkout process, open a ticket. In the ticket provide us with:

  • Login credentials for your hosting control panel (user name and password).
  • Login credentials for your CMS (Joomla, Wordpress, etc.), if you're using one and your current control panel isn't cPanel.

Just as with the Easy Plan, we'll move your site, test it, update your DNS and help you change your mail settings. If there are any complications along the way, we'll let you know and offer solutions.