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The Art of SEO, 2nd Edition by Rand Fishkin, Jessie Stricchiola, Stephan Spencer, Eric Enge

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Changing Servers

Sometimes you may decide you want to move servers without changing your domain name or any of your URLs. A common cause of this is that the growth of your traffic requires you to upgrade your hosting environment to a faster server. If you are using third-party hosting, perhaps you are changing your hosting company, or if you have your own data center, you may need to move or expand your facilities, resulting in a change in the IP addresses of your servers.

This is normally a straightforward process, as you can simply go to the registrar where you registered the domain name and update the DNS records to point to the new server location. You can also temporarily decrease the site’s DNS Time to Live (TTL) to five minutes (or something similar) to make the move take place faster. This is really the bulk of what you need to do, though you should follow the monitoring recommendations we will outline shortly.

Even if you follow this process, certain types of problems can arise. Here are the most common ones:

  • You may have content that can’t function on the new platform. A simple example of this might be if you use Perl in implementing your site, and Perl is not installed on the new server. This can happen for other reasons too, and the result can be pages that return 404 or 500 errors instead of the content you intended.

  • Unfortunately, publishers commonly forget to move key content or files over, such as robots.txt, analytics files, sitemaps.xml, the .htaccess file, and so ...

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