How do I set up a new site with another host?

This will vary for everybody, depending on the nature of your current site, the features that you use, which new host you choose, and the resources that you have available. In general terms, the process will be something like this:

  1. Decide on a new host
    Although we are not providing recommendations for specific hosting services, we do have some advice about what to consider when choosing a new host.
  2. Move your content
    EssexInfo, like most similar systems of its size, does not have the facility to export sites in a format that can be imported into other services. This means that you will need to manually transfer any content to a new host.
  3. Update domain name or set up a redirect
    If you have your own domain for your EssexInfo.net site (such as example.com instead of essexinfo.net/example) then, once your new site is ready, you can alter the settings to link it to your new site.
    If your site uses an EssexInfo address (such as essexinfo.net/example) then, once your new site is ready, you can set up a redirection in the Use External Site options in the EssexInfo site admin pages. Note that redirections will cease to work when EssexInfo closes.

Although EssexInfo.net isn’t closing until 31st March 2020, we recommend that you plan to have moved your site by mid-February 2020. This will allow visitors and search engines to become aware of your new site before the old one closes.

 

What should I consider when choosing a new host?

There are a lot of free and affordable options available for hosting websites. When choosing a host for your site, you may want to ask some of these questions to find the host that is right for you:

  • How does the system work – do they provide online tools to build your site (similar to EssexInfo.net) or do you have to create your content using a program on your computer and then upload it?
  • Do they limit the amount of pages or content that you can have on your site? If so, is it sufficient for your needs now and can you increase the limit in future if necessary?
  • Do they offer the features that you need, or can you integrate them if necessary? Different systems offer different features, so if there is something that is important to your site (for example, photo galleries or discussion forums) check if and how the system provides it. Some systems will allow you to integrate features from other sites (for example, Flickr for photos or Youtube for videos) if they don't support the features themselves.
  • Do they allow you to use your own domain name? Not all hosts allow you to use your own domain name, so if you have bought your own domain make sure to check that your new host allows you to use it.
  • Do you need to commit to the service for a minimum amount of time, or are you free to leave whenever you want to?
  • Do they provide support if you have a problem? Some services will provide a support service, others may have communities of users providing mutual support, some services have both.

Search online to find information and reviews about hosting services:

 

Moving content from EssexInfo.net to a new host

Once you have selected a new host, you will want to move content from your EssexInfo site to your new site.

Unfortunately, there is no automatic way to do this. For most content to be moved to a new site, it will need to be manually copied and pasted.

There are a few elements of the EssexInfo system that do allow for data to be exported:

  • Our files: The contents of folders can be downloaded as .zip files. To do this, scroll to the bottom of the folder listing, and click the ‘download an archive’ link.
  • Events calendar: Individual events can be exported as .ics files which can be imported into a variety of calendar applications
  • Surveys: Survey responses can be downloaded as .csv files
  • Petitions: Signatures can be downloaded as .csv files

 

Updating your domain name to work with another host

If you have purchased a domain name for use with your EssexInfo.net site, you can continue to use that domain name after EssexInfo closes, but you will need to update its DNS settings to make it point to your new site instead.

We’re not able to update these settings for you – you should contact the registrar that you purchased the domain name from. Your new host will be able to tell you the settings that you need to change for you domain name to work with their service.

Note: some free hosting services don’t allow sites to use their own domain name, so if this is important to you check before you commit to a new host.