Moving Your Site
At some point you may have to move your site to another location - perhaps the service you're getting with your present web host is not as good as it might be, or maybe you've just expanded your site and can no longer fit it in the space provided by your web host. Whatever the reason, there are a few problems to be faced when moving your pages elsewhere.
Telling your visitors about the moveHopefully you've built up at least a small following and if you simply move your site you'll lose them. It is essential to start planning the move early if possible. Put a notice on your front page telling visitors about the move and giving them the new URL. If you can, have both sites running in parallel for as long as possible and give visitors the option of trying out the new URL.
Search EnginesYour pages are probably listed with a number of search engines (Yahoo, AltaVista and the like). Visit as many as possible of these search engines and give them your new URL. At this stage it is probably no use telling them that your old URL is defunct. Most of them will only remove the URL when the site physically disappears - and some of them won't remove it even then.
Some web databases are made up by robots which scour the web automatically. These robots may not find your new site for quite a while, hence the reason for having the two sites running in parallel for as long as possible.
Uploading your pagesBefore you upload your pages to your new site, check all the hypertext links and make sure that none of them refer back to your old URL. Most likely you will have used 'relative' links to your own pages, but check them nonetheless.
Make sure that you also upload all the necessary image, sound, video and other files which your pages use. If your e-mail address will change when you move your site, make sure that your new pages include the new e-mail address.
Closing down the old siteSome while before you actually give up your original web space it is a good idea to delete everything except the initial page. Alter this home page so that users can jump to your new site. With the newer browsers you can use a <META> tag to do this automatically, but there are still some browsers in use that do not recognise these tags. Therefore you should also include a normal hypertext link to your new site.
The meta-tag will be placed in the <HEAD> section of your page and will look something like this:
<META http-equiv="refresh" content="5; url=http://www.newsite.com/mypage/index.html">
The part that says "content=" is the important part of the tag. The figure (5 in this case) is the number of seconds after which the browser will switch to the new URL. The new URL is the bit following the number (url=http://...).
It may be a good idea to make the <TITLE> of your site something like <TITLE>New URL: http://...</TITLE>. Some search engines list only the title of each page, and in this way you will ensure that the new URL shows in the listing.
If you follow my advise your move should go fairly smoothly and visitors should not find it too difficult to locate you again. But I would emphasise once more that the earlier you can start planning the move the more smoothly the move will go.
Good luck (and feel free to link to these pages if you wish).
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