Site Build It! Advisor

Moving Your SBI Site To A New Host

There's lots of reasons to leave SBI. It may not even be because you don't like Site Build It. Maybe you just outgrew the system and don't need the training wheels any more.

Maybe you decided to move your site because of the expense. After all $5 per month on Bluehost, or most hosting companies, is better than $30 per month for something you aren't really using. Especially when you realize you can host an unlimited number of websites for that $5.

Actually on BlueHost the monthly amount can change depending on when you buy, the current promotion, and how long you signup for. The longer you commit to the lower your monthly price. Go here to see their current pricing.

Now I won't get into the whole "is SBI worth it" debate. Let's just assume you've made the decision to leave, and want to know how to make the move. That's what this page is about.

Time To Move

Whatever your reasons, unfortunately SiteSell doesn't make it real easy once you decide to move to a new host. You have to contact SiteSell Support and then get a couple of different emails from them with the correct instructions.

OK the 3 Steps For Leaving SiteSell Are...

1. Point Your Domain To Your New Host

2. Upload Your Site to Your New Host

3. Transfer Your Domain Name Registration to a new registrar

Actually there's a little more to it that we'll get into in a second...

And it's not that SiteSell wants to make it difficult. I honestly don't think they do. It's just that some parts of their system are stuck in the the early 2000's and haven't changed much since then. Most modern hosts give you everything you need right on their sites and you never really need to call support... but that's another story for another time.

Now realize this process may seem confusing. It's really not. It's just that there's a few steps and there are several parties involved in the process. That's why it's helpful to understand the whole domain name and hosting process before you begin. And if you need help... well that's what I'm here for.

How Hosting and Domain Names Work

Now it's not "rocket surgery," but it does take a little technical background to manage your own website. And understanding how websites work will give you the power to control your own destiny. After all, knowledge is power.

SiteSell believes you should be sheltered from this information and not have to deal with it. I think their intentions are honorable, and in the beginning they are right, but dang if those training wheels don't get in the way sometimes. And remember, you are paying for those training wheels.

But if you are serious about having an online business, then this should be part of the education you need to succeed and control your own destiny.

Domain Names

Your domain name is owned by you... not SiteSell. Once you pick one and pay for it, it's yours for life... unless you don't renew it. SiteSell just acts as the middle man in the transaction. They become your registrar and they get to manage your domain name for you. As part of that $30 per month or $300 per year, they renew your domain name for you every year automatically.

Actually the domain name process is managed by the The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. Here's their website and here's the wikipedia story about them. They are a non-profit, private organization and are the ones who keep track of everything. They keep track of who owns what, and approve accredited registrars.

This domain ownership process is pretty standard stuff, no matter who your registrar is. The point is you own your domain name and can move it, point it to a new host, or sell it, any time you want. And SiteSell must let you do that, even though they make it a bit complicated. On Bluehost, the process is more transparent when you buy, transfer or renew a domain name, but it's still basically the same.

Now your domain registrar and your hosting company do not have to be the same. Some people like to keep them separate.

It doesn't matter to me. Having the hosting company be the domain registrar as well, just makes setting up the hosting a little easier. But it's really not a big deal either way. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable.

Website Hosting

Now hosting is a bit of a mystery to SBIers as well. SiteSell shields you from the process but it basically goes like this...

The hosting company is the place where your website files are located. It's on their servers, or computers.

Now these computers are running special "server" software that enables that computer to connect to the internet and "serve up" your website to browsers. The server software also has special internet functionality that let's it run things like PHP scripts, cgi scripts, server side includes, and other very common internet software programs. More about this here.

But all you really need to know is that your website is a collection of files in various internet formats (like hypertext markup language) that reside on the host's computers just like your computer files reside on your computer.

So when it comes time to move your SBI site you need to get all of your site files and be able to move them (upload them) to your new host's computers.

How do you get them?

Blockbuilder Users

Well that depends. If you are using Blockbuilder to build your site, then you have a different process than someone who is uploading their site from their own computer.

In Blockbuilder your site is made up of many pieces which are managed by the Blockbuilder software. There is no one file that makes up any web page. Only when the browser "collects" the files does it combine into your web page.

If you are an HTML uploader, then you build your site in Dreamweaver, Coffee Cup, or Kompozer, or some sort of HTML text editor, and your process is much easier (see below).


Before you can upload your site to a new host, you will need to "collect" all the files that make up your site. You can pull the HTML pages from your web browser and put them on your computer. You will also need to collect all of the pieces of each page, including images from your image library, and any other files that might be linked on any given page (PDFs, CSS files, includes, etc.).

There are 2 ways to do that...

1. Manual Process

View each page of your site in a browser and copy and paste the source code into text file. Download all support files from Site Central, and put them on your computer in the correct folder structure for your website.

2. Automated Process

There is "site downloading" software that will do that for you by pulling your site from the browser pages. Here's some choices for doing that...

But even the automated process will require some file management to check that all the "ducks are in a row" before you are ready to upload your site to a new host.

For HTML Uploaders

If you have been uploading your site to SiteSell from your own computer than you've got it easy. You can just upload the site from your computer to your new host via an FTP program. All good hosts will be able to recommend FTP software and may even have them available in their Control Panel (BlueHost has several good recommendations). Here's a couple to choose from... for Mac

Next Steps

OK... you've got all your files and your ducks are in a row. You are ready to move your site to your new host.

Again you still have the three steps we talked about in the beginning. Actually I'll break those steps down even further. The steps explained here are generic to the process. The specifics may be different depending on your particular host.

Ok Let's Go Over All Those Steps Again

1. Get Your New Hosting

Sign up for you new hosting with your hosting provider of choice. I use BlueHost. You can use any host you choose. I recommend using one of the name brands like GoDaddy or HostGator or Dreamhost. Those are the top hosting providers.

2. Add Your Domain To Their System

When you first signup for BlueHost they will give you a domain name free for a year as part of the signup. You can use your existing domain name if you wish. Or you can choose a new domain name that you might want to use for another website in the future.

3. Point Your NameServers To The New Host

What you are doing here is telling the internet where you site files are located. It links your domain name to your hosting. This is done by going to this page within the SiteSell system.

You'll need your User Name and Password to login which you will need to get from SiteSell Support. This is not the same user and PW you use to get into Site Central. It's specific to your domain management account.

4. Upload All Your Files

You'll use FTP software on your computer to do that (see above for options). You'll use your new BlueHost login info to setup your FTP connection login.

It will take 24-48 hours from the time you point your domain name servers (step 3) for the internet to actually know where the new site files are located. This is called "site propagation" and is just standard for how this process works. There's nothing you can do to speed it up and your site is still live on your old host (SiteSell) until the final propagation takes place. So there is no down time for your site. It is always live somewhere.

5. Move Your Domain Registration To A New Registrar

Once the dust has settled and your site is live on your new host, you can move your domain registration. This involves getting instructions from your new registrar on how to move the domain. Normally you just need an authorization code from SiteSell that you get from this location.

You'll have to pay your new registrar again for the domain registration. If you have paid SiteSell to renew your domain name registration recently there is no rush to move it. It only needs to be renewed once per year. Just be sure you move it before the expiration date.

Do It Now

But... I recommend you move it right away so you don't forget. If you let the domain name registration run out it may be hard to get that domain name back.

The good news is a quality host will help you through the process, and might even do it for you for a small price. BlueHost Support will actually answer the phone within a minute. This is a big improvement over SiteSell Support which only can be reached via email and often takes hours to respond.

I Can Help You

I can help you move your site, or I can hold your hand through the process. It's your choice. Contact me if you'd like to learn more.

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Site Build It! is a simple process but it's certainly not easy to do. It takes Brains and Motivation to succeed. It also takes time and persistence.

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And it's hard to be good at everything required to build a great online business.

That's what Site Build It! Advisor is all about. We want to help you succeed by offering advice and help. If you don't have the time or just don't have a particular skill-set maybe we can be of service.

Here's how we can help you...

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