Transferring to a new owner / hosting service
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First we need to realise what can't be transferred. Sub domains on their own - and specific folders within a site - can't be transferred to a new owner. So for example, mysite.blogger.com may be in your apparent control but it's only at the pleasure of the owner of "blogger.com" and can be terminated at any time. Similarly, complete ownership in squidoo.com/mypage.htm, a Facebook profile or a blog in the form of somebodyelse'ssite.com/blog/ can't be passed from one person to another.
That said, most sites that come up for sale aren't of this variety. They are sites that sell complete with the two main parts of the operation:
a) the domain name and
b) the files, databases and applications that constitute the operation end of the website.
Transfer of the website involves transfer of both domain and the files and intellectual properties that constitute the website.
The full process
To take over an existing site is a multi-part process described below. This is assuming that the purchased site is being moved to a different server/hosting company. (Is that the best way of doing it?). Some steps would obviously be unnecessary if the new owner were just taking control of and responsibility for the existing hosting account.
Step 1: Transfer of the domain name to the control of the new owner. Detailed instructions: transfer the domain name.
Step 2: Getting/downloading all the site's files and folders with the correct structure.
Getting a copy of the applications (if any), database/s (if any), and non-publicly
configuration files such as the ".htaccess". Getting manuals, lists,
instructions and passwords from the previous owner.
Downloading the site
Step 4: Configuring files, setting permissions etc., following advice from the seller; changing passwords, configuring email addresses, testing that the site's functions work on this new server; changing affiliate codes and IDs so earnings now feed into your account/s. A guide to taking making ownership changes
Step 5: Changing the DNS settings at the domain registrar to point to the new hosting company thus allowing visitors to reach the new location of the site. How to change the name servers
Transfer of blogs
There are several good articles on the transfer of blogs. With Wordpress blogs, for example, you could use the Wordpress import function described here instead of following the detailed procedures described in later pages here. There is also a guide to moving WP blogs on the WP site here and on this site.
Caveats with WP import: You may run into file size problems at the destination server and may have to edit a custom php.ini to change upload_max_filesize to a bit larger than the XML file Wordpress created when it exported your blog. You may also run into timeout or other errors.