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7 Steps to Transition to a New Church Web Hosting Provider

Written by Paul Steinbrueck

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We’ve now covered the 9 Factors to Consider when Choosing a Church Web Hosting Company

After reading through the 9 factors, what if you want to switch to a new church web hosting provider?

This is an extremely important question, because if this is not done right your website could go down for long periods of time, you could lose content, and if one important step is neglected you could ruin your church SEO and lose your search rankings!

Here’s an overview of the…

7 Steps to Transition to a New Church Web Hosting Provider

1) Order a web hosting account from your new provider

2) Build/install your new website.

  • If you’ve decided to switch to a DIY website builder, you’ll need to go through the initial website building process and select your theme.
  • If you’ve decided to build a new site from scratch, you’ll need to install the software for your content management system (WordPress?) and install your theme.
  • If you’ve decided to have a web developer build a new custom site for you, they’ll take care of this for you.
  • If you have a website you can move to your new web hosting account, you can skip this step.

3) Transfer content into your new website

  • If you’re building a new website with a DIY website builder or from scratch, this involves copying text from pages on your old site into your new site as well as downloading images and other media from your old site and uploading them into the new site.
  • If a web developer is building your website, you’ll need to send content from your old site to the developer or at least include links to all the content you want copied to your new site.
  • If you have a website you can move to your new web hosting account, you will export the database, zip up the old site into one big zip file, upload that file into your new hosting account, unzip it, and import the database.

4) Create 301 redirects

One of the most often overlooked steps in transitioning to a new church web hosting provider is setting up “redirects” from the URLs of your old website to the URLs of your new website.  Now if you’re moving your entire website, and the URLs of all of the pages will remain exactly the same, this is not necessary. However, if you are building a new website (or a web developer is doing this for you), the URLs of your pages will change.

For example, your old site may have the About page at MyChurch.org/about and the new site may have the About page at MyChurch.org/about-us/

If you don’t setup 301 redirects, search engines that have the old URL, websites that link to the old URL, and people who have bookmarked the old URL will get an error when the new site goes live.  Additionally, your search rankings will drop because all the old URLs that had good search rankings no longer exist.

Setting up a 301 redirect pointing each old URL to the corresponding new URL, will automatically redirect search engines and visitors to the correct page on the new site. The redirects also help search engines to attribute the same search rankings the old URLs had to the new URLs.

5) Update your domain name’s nameserver settings

This step is what points your domain name to your new website and makes your new website live!

6) Setup an SSL certificate

In some cases, if your existing site has an SSL certificate, it can be “re-issued” to the new server, but it depends on the SSL. Sometimes they can’t be transferred, in which case, a new SSL needs to be purchased, configured, and installed.

7) Test everything!

You should test as much as possible before launching the new site, but some things can’t be totally tested until your domain name is pointing to the new site and its live.

If you’re not super technical, this process probably sounds complicated and overwhelming.  To be honest, it can be.

Therefore, one more thing to consider when selecting a church web hosting provider is:

Which of these transition steps will my new church web hosting provider help with?

Every hosting company will help you order an account. Those that provide a DIY website builder will help you with the initial build of your website. But beyond that most don’t provide much help.

We at OurChurch.Com help churches through every step of the process through these services:

Which reminds me of an old African proverb…

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. –African Proverb

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If you’re ready to switch to a church web hosting provider who will walk along side you as you transition to your new host and every step of the way after that, we hope you’ll consider OurChurch.Com


  • What questions do you have about transitioning to a new church web hosting provider?
  • Have you made this transition in the past? If so, how did you do it and how did it go?
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About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.

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