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How To Move To A New Cyber Address - page 2

Why Switch?

  • August 25, 2003
  • By Rob Reilly

As I plan and execute a project, I like to stuff all my papers and notes in a manila folder. You could do the same with a binder or a computer directory. By saving all of my planning lists, contact information and notes, in one place, it makes it easy to see where the train might have jumped the tracks, on a project. Also, having a collection of project folders, gives me a ready supply of material, for new LinuxPlanet stories.

  • Make a list of reasons why you want to switch ISP's. This will keep your thinking straight and let you step back for a moment and focus on the real reasons for dumping your old provider and going with a new one. The decision to change should not be taken lightly, because, as you will see, switching to a new provider affects much of your Internet/Web related life.
  • If you have a registered domain name, much of your moving problem can be written off. You'll have to reconfigure some server addresses to point to new places. But, if you are changing jobs or starting up a new business unit under a new domain, you'll have to go through the logistics spelled out in this article. For personal broadband account users, a new domain name might even be in order, if you don't already have one. Being "ISP independent" is one valid reason for having a domain name in the first place and could save you a lot of work in the future.
  • Make a list of tasks and items of concern. Plan to spend some time trying to write down all the things that have to be done in order to move from one provider to another. Here are some examples: How do I set up my email using my new provider? How do I terminate my old service arrangement? I know I need to move my web pages... how will I do that?

  • Make a list of who needs to know the new addresses. This is pretty much a no-brainer. But is it. When you do get a new email address, do you really want everyone in the world to know about your new home? Believe it or not spam does take some time to find you. One way to eliminate a bunch of spam is to get a new email address. I was getting about 25 spam messages a day. Now, after about a month, I get one or two. Of course, as soon as my new email shows up in this article and Google updates its database with my new information, I'll be right back up there.

    This is a great opportunity to categorize your contact list as well. My contact list is what you would call "distributed." I have contacts on a PDA, in JPilot, in Mozilla mail and in seemingly random text files. Take a little time and bring all your email and contact lists together, maybe sorting as you go into groups to keep and groups to dump. Some manual consolidation will probably be needed. You might even set up LDAP or a contact manager to help keep your contacts straight after your move. If you are crunched for time, at least make a list of the important people that will need to know your new email and web address. You can later bundle all those addresses up into a single email and notify everyone at once.

  • Pick the date to switch. The date will be influenced by factors like the ISP billing cycles, your personal/company workload, holidays and how bad you need a "better deal." There really is no way to completely eliminate a small amount of down time when you switch. The trick is to minimize the disruption to yourself or your small business.
  • Gather organizational info from both providers. Most Linux users will really not need much technical help when moving from one service to another. What you might need is help with passwords, server names or billing information. Make sure you write down or print off both providers' contact web pages before you make the switch. If you run into troubles you'll need to know who to call.
  • Gather server, password, etc information needed to set up the new service. At the very least, you'll need to point your mail client at a new mail server and move your web site to a new server. You should record the email installation instructions, web creation pages and any other related technical information needed to get up and going on the new provider.
  • How will you let everyone know. The process of telling all your contacts about your new address may be as simple as a form letter with a big list of recipients. Or, it could involve updating all your marketing/sales literature to reflect your new web address and email. If your small company is moving onto a new domain name, don't forget that everyone in your organization will have to let their respective friends and contacts know how to get in touch with them. Productivity and downtime can escalate without due diligence, planning and coordination.

    If you have a strong presence in the various search engines, you should be aware that your new email and web addresses will not propagate through their databases for some period of time. Perhaps, your old ISP may have an email and web page forwarding service that you can use when the transition happens. Or, if you've decided on your new provider, why not put your new email and URL on your old web pages before it goes bye bye.

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