Why won't my host move my account to a new server?

It can be frustrating when your website is down, or is having intermitant problems, and you are stuck waiting for them to fix the problem. Customers often ask if their website can be moved to a new web server, and are often told no. Here are the reasons why they usually say no, and what you can do to resolve your issues.

Reasons Why

If they are not moving your site, it is probably because:

  1. They think they fixed the problem (or will have the problem fixed shortly).
  2. They are so busy trying to fix the problems, they don't have the manpower to both fix the problems and move your site at the moment.
  3. They are moving your server to a new data center, and the move got botched, but they fully expect it to be working soon.
  4. They think it is your website causing the problems and the problem will just follow you wherever you go.
  5. They think it is another website on the server causing the problems and expect the server to work once problems with that particular website are resolved.
  6. The problem is with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or a backbone provider, and the problem is literally out of their hands, and they are waiting for the ISP to fix the problem.
Their staff is working on the assumption that they will be able to fix the server, or if they can't, they will just move everybody on the bad server to a new server at the same time.

You should also remember that front line support typically is not privy to what is really going on in the data center and on the sever, and will likely just tell you the boilerplate response "we are working on the issue" and "sorry, we can't move your website to a new server."

What to Do about It

I would do the following in this situation:

  1. Find our why your website is going down.
  2. Find out what needs to be done to get it working properly again (if it is a server problem, what are they doing about it; if it is a problem with your website, what needs to be done.)
  3. If you cannot get satisfactory answers in a reasonable amount of time, then consider moving to another hosting provider.

Just be aware that the more you are talking to them about your site being down, the less time they are spending on actually fixing it. So you want to report the issue and get the information you need without bugging them too much. Bugging them too much usually just increases the downtime since time and recources are spent on talking with you rather than fixing problem.

Also, it should be noted, that no matter how good a host claims to be, there will be problems eventually, at least with a certain small percentage of their clients. A failing hard drive, a security patch gone bad, a typo in the DNS, a fire in the data center, etc. are all things that are unexpected but could cause major issues. A test of a good host is that things run smoothly most of the time, and when things do go wrong (which will inevitably happen thanks to Murphy's law), how well they handle the situation and get your website back up. That being said, if your web host continually has problems, or handles problems poorly, it may be time to switch.

If you have a good host, they will be just as frustrated as you are, and will be working hard to fix the issue.

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