The acronym VPS stands for “virtual private server.” VPS hosting is gaining in popularity for the many benefits it can offer over traditional shared hosting. However, as with any type of new service, making a seamless transfer from any hosting service you use currently to a new type of hosting service comes with its own learning curve, plus a new vocabulary to master.

In this post, learn 7 keys to making a seamless transition to your new virtual private server hosting service.

Key 1: First, remember, you can “go green” with VPS hosting service

Companies that have chosen to operate in an environmentally sustainable way often advertise by saying they are “green” or “sustainable.” When it comes to hosting, what this often translates to is a company that has elected to use renewable energy sources (solar panels, wind generators, et al) and Energy Star-Rated servers.

If your company values leaving a lower carbon footprint – and your shareholders and customers value this similarly – then your virtual private server package can do its own part to help you meet this goal. So before making the switch, shop around to make sure the VPS package you choose is sustainable.

Key 2: Make sure you or someone on your staff is skilled enough to maintain your new hosting service

Virtual private hosting requires a different skill set on the part of IT staff and webmasters. If you have chosen a managed hosting service (called “managed VPS”), this may be less critical.

But if you are planning to manage your hosting service internally (called “unmanaged VPS”), you should first be sure the staff is trained before making the transfer.

Key 3: Switch during a slow traffic time and day

Virtual private server hosting is what is called “scalable,” which means it easily grows as you grow. For your website, this means it will readily accommodate larger volumes of inbound traffic.

But you definitely want to study your calendar carefully and make the actual transfer during a slow traffic date and time to avoid negatively impacting your business.

Key 4: Be sure to notify all staff, vendors and/or customers about a change freeze period prior to the actual transfer

Included with this notification, which should alert everyone in advance in case they anticipate needing to access the website during the transfer time, should be what is called a “change freeze” period.

What this means is that after a certain date and time, no further edits, updates, blog posts or other content or structural changes may be made to the website. Initiating a change freeze period will give you time to make a full backup of your site before initiating the move over to the new server system.

Key 5: Keep both your old and new email service (if applicable) activated for at least 48 to 72 hours

Typically, a website transfer will include a transfer of email services. Where this can get particularly problematic is when migrating to a new type of server system, since there may be some extra lag time during the initial setup period.

For this reason, you want to make sure you can still receive and respond to emails under your old system until you are sure your new email is working properly under the new server system.

Key 6: Verify that any server path changes that are unique to the platform you are moving from have been updated

WordPress and Magento are just two of the many platforms that have special requirements for successfully move all website and database data, check for broken links and errors and update the URLs to point to your new site pages.

Be sure to check with your specific platform to find out if your imminent move to a VPS server may require specific changes or edits to populate correctly.

Key 7: Be sure to disable the firewall (if applicable) on both servers before you begin the actual migration process

Be aware that if the firewall is still active when you start the transfer, you may experience error messages that can cause delays in your migration.

As well, you should lower the TTL (time-to-live) to allow more time for data packets to transfer fully before the server gives you a time out message. This especially holds true if you have multiple websites’ worth of data, files and graphics to transfer from your older server to your new VPS hosting package.

By taking the time to thoroughly map out your transition from your old shared hosting plan to a new virtual private server system, you can think through all possible obstacles that may arise during the actual transfer and make a plan for addressing each one of them in advance. This will lower your stress, reduce any downtime and ensure you have a complete and seamless transition.