Email Account and Website Hosting Problems
You may come to a point where you decide that your current service provider is not giving you the right level of service that you expect. The email accounts may go down often or time out, the telephonic support may not be helpful or your website hosting is erratic. You best option may be to move your email account and website hosting to a new service provider. It does sound like it could be painful and that it would involve a lot of red tape, but if you know what the overall process is before starting then it makes the move a bit easier.
Moving to a new email account and website service provider
It is a good idea to decide on a new service provider that has a good track record, has the hosting package that you need and is affordable. A bigger company is not necessarily better at efficient support and a small company is not always the best for professional service. Ask friends and colleagues if they know of any good hosting companies and give that service provider a call if you have any questions. Once you have decided to move your hosting then the following process would generally apply:
Inform your current service provider of the cancellation
Write an official email to your current service provider to tell them that you are planning to move your hosting elsewhere. Double check if you have any long term contract with that provider and work towards finalising the contract. You may need to wait for a while for the contract to expire or there might be a penalty fee to pay. If the provider is giving bad service then paying the penalty might be worth it. Make sure that they acknowledge the cancellation. Also ask them to export the website files (standard set of files in a folder structure) and database records (normally comes in the form of a .sql or .txt text document with a whole lot of SQL text in it) and make it available to you for download. The new service provider will likely need it to set your current website live on their hosting. It is also a good idea to get these files for backup since you likely paid to have the website designed.
Sign up with new email and web hosting service provider
Sign up with the new hosting company and make sure that the package that you have chosen will support the amount of email accounts that you need as well as providing the hosting technology that your website will require. Once signed up, confirm with the new hosting company that you want to move your domain from your current provider to them. You should get an email that contains the connection details to a control panel where you can add email accounts and change basic domain settings. You should also ask your new hosting company if they will set the website live for you or if you need an external website developer to do that for you.
Send Domain Transfer Ticket to current service provider
A Domain Transfer Ticket is generated either through the control panel by you or by the new service providers themselves. This is an email that will be sent directly to the current hosting company or whoever the authorised administrator of the domain is. Once the email is receive by either the current domain hosts or someone at your company then the instructions should be carefully read inside the email. There will be instructions on how to accept or deny a transfer request. Ignoring a transfer ticket can also cause it to expire and will be seen as being denied. Call or email the current service provider to tell them to expect the transfer ticket email shortly and that they should accept it otherwise it may get lost on their side and may cause delays. Once the the transfer ticket has been accepted then it should take about 1 to 4 days for the transfer to complete. Typing your domain name into a browser would then bring up the website files of the new location on the new service provider. If the website has been set live already then you should not see a difference, but generally you will see a coming soon page. Just refresh your browser to clear any possible cached files.
Setting up your email accounts and website with new hosting company
Your hosting has now been successfully moved from your old hosting company to the new hosting company. Double check that your email accounts that you use have been set up with the new service provider and follow their setup instructions to change your current email applications settings. The setting changes may involve the POP (incoming mail) and SMTP (outgoing mail) server addresses, port numbers and very likely your password. Once you follow their setup instructions properly then your email accounts should be working again and you can send and receive email like before. If your website has not been set live, please ask the hosting company if they can help, if they offer that type of service, or pay another web designer to set it live for you. Remember that the web designer would need the control panel user ID and password to get the FTP details for uploading the website files and the database connection details for uploading the exported database records. Once your email accounts and website have been restored properly, just test everything to make sure all email accounts work and all links on the website works.
And that is basically the process of moving from one hosting company to another. Sometimes it can be a pain to move, especially if your current hosting company or new one has problems during the move of the email accounts or website. If you do find that your current hosting company is painful to work with then perhaps an additional transfer process is required to enjoy long term quality service.