Now I know why I put this off for so long. Perhaps my experience can help someone else who wants to change their hosting arrangements, or possibly just scare them away from doing it.
It's not that I had any particular problem with my previous web hoster. After all my requirements weren't particularly onerous and the 20MB limit that came with the dial-up I signed up for years ago wasn't an issue. I just stored this site and my other site, amateurorchestras.org.uk, neither of which occupied a lot of space. Thanks to the jiggery-pokery of internet naming the orchestra site was in a sub-directory of the main site, but you needn't have known that. It was too good to last!
Firstly I wanted a separate domain for the orchestra site, the kludgy naming was getting in the way (I'd chosen masked redirection which was OK to a point, but the site got messed up in an invisible frame). Also I had long since stopped needing the rather expensive dial-up option, so I was paying my tenner a month for a small amount of web space and the pleasure of not having the domain name I wanted for my emails.
Needless to say, moving the websites was the easy bit. Signing up with a new provider, Streamline.net, was simplicity itself1 and for less than half the price of my dial-up account I had two brand new domains complete with all the email I could eat. Fortunately I'd designed the orchestra website so that I could just copy it.
Did I say just copy it? How could I just do that? Of course it was time to re-design the site too. The Tyranny of Choice takes over at this point and days can be spent looking at websites hoping to spot a layout one likes. Then adapting it to one's own purpose eats up some more time. Actually in the end I spent some time at freecsstemplates.org, found one I liked and here it is.
Was the old front page a bit tired? You betcha, so I changed it a bit, added "Latest Bit Of Kit" (which meant adding an archive page for that) and so on. Oh, and I thought it was time to revisit my choice of photo gallery software since the one I was using didn't fit very well with the new site layout. Another time spent use
lesslyfully looking for software on the web. As you can tell I haven't quite finished that bit - only three photos and no other pictures yet...
Right, that's the website fixed. Now time to sort out the email. Oops. Forgot that I had 150+ different email addresses, most of them tied to subscriptions to shopping/financial/other websites. The original idea was to be able to track where the spam is coming from. Turns out of course that 95% of the spam comes to the one or two addresses I use in "public", so perhaps this wasn't a good idea. Even so, I'm now 75% of the way through converting all of them. EVERY site has a different method of updating the contact email address. EVERY SITE. Some use the email address as a logon id, which means you either delete the entry and create a new one (or more likely just never go there again). Some don't but bury the email address several layers deep in their "account maintenance" or whatever it's called.
Now I thought I was getting there, but I took a closer look at the stats for my main orchestra web site and I find that still around half the visits are being made via the old site. So now I have to work out how to remove the old site from Google et al. A quick robots.txt later and a bit of meta-tagging to get them out of the Google archive, and hopefully in a few weeks time I can finally lay the old site to rest...
"There is nothing permanent except change" (Heraclitus), and so it proves for web site maintenance. In the interim period since the updates above, I've actually moved hosts twice more (once by choice, once by acquisition of my then hoster). I've also redesigned the site three times (once to use a responsive framework, once to WordPress, then back again...2). Of course this site doesn't contain much of any consequence, and it's really a test-bed for other sites that I have been creating and maintaining, so it's quite good that it's almost "sacrificial".