How To Move WordPress To A New Domain

How to Move WordPress to a New Domain | Easy Steps

Moving your WordPress site to a new domain is a significant decision that can impact your SEO rankings. However, with careful planning and execution, you can minimize the impact and ensure a smooth transition. In this guide on How to Move WordPress to a New Domain, we’ll walk you through the process step-by-step, highlighting key details to help you maintain your SEO rankings. Migrating your WordPress site to a new domain name can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. We are here to walk you through every step of the process.

How to Move WordPress to a New Domain

Before you begin the migration process, it’s essential to prepare your website and gather all the necessary information. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Back-Up Your Website: Before making any changes, back up your entire website, including files and the database. This ensures that you can restore your site if anything goes wrong during the migration process.
  2. Inform Stakeholders: Notify your team members, clients, and any other relevant stakeholders about the upcoming domain change. This helps avoid confusion and ensures everyone is prepared for the transition.
  3. Gather Required Information: Collect all the necessary information, including login credentials for your current hosting account, domain registrar, and any other relevant services.

Setting Up the New Domain

Once you’ve prepared your website and gathered all the necessary information, it’s time to set up your new domain. Follow these steps:

  1. Register Your New Domain: Choose a domain registrar and register your new domain. Ensure that the new domain is relevant to your website’s content and brand.
  2. Choose a Hosting Provider: Select a hosting provider that meets your needs in terms of performance, reliability, and customer support. Consider factors such as server location, scalability, and security features.
  3. Point Your Domain to Your Hosting Account: Update the nameservers of your new domain to point to your hosting account. This step may vary depending on your domain registrar and hosting provider, so refer to their documentation for specific instructions.
  4. Install an SSL Certificate: Secure your new domain with an SSL certificate to encrypt data transmitted between your website and its visitors. Many hosting providers offer free SSL certificates or allow you to purchase one through their platform.

What to Know Before You Change Domains

Before you start, there are a few things you should know:

  • The process of transferring to a new domain will temporarily affect your search engine rankings since Google and other search engines will need to adjust to the changes.
  • Yes, this will also temporarily affect your search traffic as well. Please keep in mind that this is normal, and it happens to all websites that switch to a new domain.
  • However, you can dramatically decrease the SEO impact by following this guide. We will show you the right way of moving your WordPress site to a new domain name, setting up proper 301 redirects, and notifying search engines.
  • Please note that this guide is not for moving a WordPress site to a new host. This is for switching a domain name only. While the process is similar, there are a few extra steps. These extra steps will help you to protect your SEO rankings and traffic.

Create a Duplicator Package for Your WordPress Site

The first thing you need to do is create a full backup of your WordPress site. You’ll then use this backup to create a duplicate of your website so that you can set up the redirects properly from your old domain to the new one. While there are many WordPress backup plugins available, we will be using Duplicator, which is the best WordPress backup and migration plugin.

  • Once activated, the plugin will add a Duplicator menu item in your WordPress admin. You need to click on the Duplicator menu and then click on the ‘Create New’ button to create a new package or copy of your WordPress site. How To Move WordPress To A New Domain
  • Duplicator will now initialize the back wizard it will automatically assign a name to this package.
  • Click on the ‘Next’ button to continue.
  • Duplicator will now run some tests to see if everything is in order. If the plugin finds an issue, then you will see a warning with instructions.
  • If all items are marked ‘Good,’ then click on the ‘Build’ button. How To Move WordPress To A New Domain
  • The plugin will now start creating a duplicator package of your website files. This process may take a few minutes, depending on the size of your site.
  • Once finished, you’ll see a ‘Download’ option. Clicking it will show you options to download Both Files or download Installer and Archive (zip) separately. How To Move WordPress To A New Domain
  • Choose ‘Both Files’ to download them to your computer.

The Archive file is a complete copy of your WordPress files. It includes your WordPress themes, permalink settings, plugins, uploads, and any other files created by WordPress plugins. The installer script is a PHP file that will automate and run the WordPress migration by unpacking the archive file.

Creating a Database for Your New Domain Name

Before moving your WordPress site to the new domain, you’ll need a new SQL database to unpack WordPress on your new domain name. To create a database, you need to visit your hosting account’s cPanel dashboard, scroll down to the ‘Databases’ section, and then click on the ‘MySQL Databases’ icon.

  • Log in to your account dashboard and click on the ‘Settings’ button under your website. How To Move WordPress To A New Domain
  • Under your site settings, you need to switch to the ‘Advanced’ tab.
  • Scroll down a little to the cPanel section and click ‘Manage’.
  • How To Move WordPress To A New DomainThis will open the cPanel dashboard.
  • Scroll down to the Databases section and click on the ‘MySQL Databases’ option.
  • Simply provide a name for your database and then click on the ‘Create Database’ button. How To Move WordPress To A New Domain
  • The new user you just created still does not have permission to work on the database. Let’s change that.
  • Scroll down to the ‘Add User to Database’ section. First, select the database user you created from the dropdown menu next to the ‘User’ field. Then select the new database you just created and click on the ‘Add’ button.
  • Next, you will be asked to choose privileges for the user. Select ‘All Privileges’ and click on the ‘Make Changes’ button to continue.

Your database is now ready and can be used to move WordPress to the new domain name. Make sure to note down the database name, username, and password. You’ll need this information in the next step.

Uploading Duplicate files on the New Domain Name

The Duplicator package includes your WordPress installation as well. This means you don’t need to install WordPress on your new domain.

First, connect to your domain name using an FTP client. Once connected, make sure that the root directory of your website is empty. After that, you can upload the archive and installer files to the root directory. This is usually called public_html. Once both files have finished uploading, you are now ready to unpack WordPress. How To Move WordPress To A New Domain

Open a new browser tab and go to the following URL: http://example.com/installer.php

Don’t forget to replace example.com with your new domain name. This will launch the Duplicator migration wizard. The installer will look for the archive file and then automatically select options for you on the screen.

Scroll down a little to enter the information for the database you created in the previous step. Below that, Duplicator will automatically show you the URL of your old domain and your new domain. If everything looks good, click on the ‘Validate’ button to continue. Duplicator will now attempt to connect to the database using the information you provided. How To Move WordPress To A New Domain

Upon success, it will show you a Validation Pass. Otherwise, it will show you a warning with details on how to fix it. Click on the ‘Next’ button to continue.

Duplicator will now start importing your WordPress website. Once finished, you will see a success message with an Admin Login button. Duplicator will automatically update URLs to your new domain name. You can now click on the ‘Admin Login’ button to complete the next steps. How To Move WordPress To A New Domain

Set Up Permanent 301 Redirects

301 redirects are very important for SEO and user experience. Adding them will allow you to automatically redirect users and search engines to your new domain name. In other words, whenever someone lands on a post or page on your old domain, they will be automatically redirected to the same post or page on your new domain instead of seeing a 404 error.

There are two ways to set up the redirects. The first method is easy and just takes a few clicks. The second method requires you to edit files manually.

Set Up 301 Redirects With All One SEO: For this method, you’ll need All in One SEO (AIOSEO). It is the best WordPress SEO plugin on the market and allows you to easily optimize your WordPress website for SEO.

Manually Set Up Redirects to New Domain: This method requires you to edit the WordPress .htaccess file on your old domain name.

Notify Your Users About the New Domain Name

While the 301 redirects do their job, it is always good to make a public announcement about the migration.

  • You can do this by simply writing a blog post on your new site and sharing it on your social media accounts.
  • If you have an email newsletter or push notification subscribers, then you should send out an announcement to them, too.
  • First and foremost, your users are more likely to remember the new domain once they read about it.
  • Second, you can ask your users to let you know if they see any bugs. You alone cannot test your site in every different type of browser or system environment. It’s always helpful to have a fresh pair of eyes looking at it.

Updating Search Engines and Links

  1. Update Google Search Console: Log in to your Google Search Console account and add your new domain as a property. This will help Google find your new website domain quickly and start showing it in search results.
    • First, you need to make sure that both your new and old domains are added to the Google Search Console as two different properties.
    • Next, you need to select the old domain name as the active property in your Google Search Console account dashboard.
    • After that, click on the Settings menu from the left column.
    • Now, you can click on the ‘Change of address’ tool. How To Move WordPress To A New Domain
    • Now, you need to select your new domain from the Update Google section.
    • Click on the ‘Validate & Update’ button.
  2. Update Bing Webmaster Tools: Similarly, log in to your Bing Webmaster Tools account and add your new domain as a site. Verify ownership and submit a sitemap to Bing to ensure that your new site is indexed correctly.
  3. Update Internal Links: Update any internal links within your website to point to the new domain. This includes links in your content, navigation menus, and footer.
  4. Update External Links: Reach out to any websites that have linked to your old domain and request that they update their links to your new domain. You can use tools like Moz or Ahrefs to identify these websites.
  5. Monitor Traffic and Rankings: Keep an eye on your website’s traffic and search engine rankings after the migration to ensure that everything is functioning as expected. Make any necessary adjustments to your SEO strategy based on the data you gather.

By following these detailed steps, you can successfully move your WordPress website to a new domain while minimizing downtime and preserving your SEO rankings.

FAQs-How to Move WordPress to a New Domain

Is WordPress free if I already have a domain?

Yes, It is possible to host your website for free, with your domain name, running WordPress.

Can I have two WordPress sites on one domain?

With the built-in Multisite feature, you can set up and control multiple websites with individual domain names from the same WP dashboard. Some automatic installers let you activate it from the very start. If that’s not an option, you can enable it by editing wp-config.

Does WordPress charge for a domain?

WordPress is an open-source software, so it costs nothing to use. But you’ll have to pay for a domain, hosting, and premium themes and plugins.

Can I change my WordPress domain without losing content?

All of your content will stay right where it is. The only thing that will change is the domain name associated with your current site and all of its content.