There might be a different scenario when you may need to change your domain name for your business or blog. The reason could be re-branding, acquisition of a professional domain name or could be anything. Often we get confused about whether to change the domain name or just keep it as it is. Let me know you, changing the domain name of your site is just a five minutes job. Let’s learn in this article about How To Move WordPress Site To New Domain ( Without Loosing SEO)
The possible consequence of changing the domain name of a site
Before we go ahead and change our domain name, it is wise to check if there are any severe consequences or issues if we change the domain name of a site. It is always better to get informed than getting a surprise.
Loosing of search ranking for some period of time
Yes, it’s normal. When you move your site to a new domain, you can expect to lose your search ranking for a brief period of time. Just assume that your new domain is like your new house address. Don’t you take time to get things settled in your new home?
Just like how we take time to organize everything in our new house, Google also takes time to understand the new domain name and its contents. In this period of time you may see a drop in your ranking. But, Relux, you will be back where you were before.
If you follow proper redirect practice then your new site will regain its search ranking position within a very short period of time.
Duplicate Content Issue If Redirect Is Not Done Correctly
There is always a chance of getting duplicate content issues if you have not set up each and everything correctly. Google and other search engines should be informed about this change in the domain name. There should be proper redirect set in the old domain to redirect to the new domain name.
If you don’t do that, you are at the risk of getting penalty from Google for duplicate contents.
Thinks To Do Before You Start Transferring Your Site To Another Domain
The one and only prerequisites of moving a WordPress site to another domain is to take backup. Yes, You heard it right. Backup-Backup- Backup. Try every possible way to take backup of your complete website. This is to ensure that if something goes wrong, you have something to rebuild your website.
For taking backup of your existing site, You can use FTP to download website contents to your local storage. You can use FileZilla, which is one of the best Windows software to download files from your web server through FTP.
You can use free plugins like Duplicator ( WordPress Migrator Plugin )which is the best WordPress migrator plugin to take the whole backup of your site. In fact, nowadays most of the web hosts offer free backup features. So you can ask your web host to take a backup. If you use Siteground, then they have an auto backup feature that you can use to rebuild your site if any issue arises.
Steps To Move WordPress Site To New Domain
- Step-1: Use Duplicator Plugin To Create A Complete Package Of Your Site
- Step-2 : Change Name Server Of Your New Domain Name
- Step-3: Add The New Domain Name To Your Hosting Account
- Step-4: Create A Database For The New Domain
- Step-5: Upload The Duplicator Package Contents To Your New Domain Name Folder
- Step-6: Start The Transfer Process Of Site To New Domain
- Step-7: Setting Up 301 Permanent Redirects
- Step-8: Inform Google about the domain name change
Step-1: Use Duplicator Plugin To Create A Complete Package Of Your Site
Duplicator is a free plugin that creates a ZIP package of your complete website. That package can be used somewhere else to create a copy of your current site with a different domain name.
Why do I recommend using the Duplicator plugin? Duplicator is a free plugin and has all the essential features to take a complete backup of your website. The package creation and duplication process are very easy and it hardly takes a couple of minutes to transfer a website.
To start with, first of all, please install the Duplicator plugin if it is not already installed. Then go to Duplicator-> Package to see a page like below.
Click on “Create New” to see what is shown below. ” Create New” option basically create a package for your site.
Give a name to the package or leave it as it is. Click on ” Next ” to see what I have shown below.
Once you click “Next “, the server scans all your website files to make sure the duplicator can create a package. Ideally, all items should show a GREEN COLOR status. But Even if you see a grey color notice, that is acceptable.
Once all set, check the option ” Yes, Continue with the build process” and then click “Next” to run the build process. The process can take couple of minutes to complete. Once the process is completed, you will see the package under Packages-All
The package creation process may take couple of minutes to create package. So have patience
Now click on each item and download both files. There will be two files. One is the installer.php file and the other one will be the ZIP file of your website backup.
Step-2 : Change Name Server Of Your New Domain Name
If it is a brand new domain name and you have different vendors for domain name and hosting, you need to update the name server of your domain name. Ask your web hosting company to give you the name server address. Below I shared two article links of how to change name servers with Godaddy and NameCheap.
If you bought domain from other registers, then reach out to their support team to explain you the process of changing name servers
Step-3: Add The New Domain Name To Your Hosting Account
The process of adding a domain name to your hosting account is different in different hosting companies. So check with the hosting company about how to add a domain name.
Generally, the domain name server should be pointed to the hosting account name server before you can actually add the domain name in the hosting account.
To add a new domain name in C panel., You can simply search for ” Domain” and a add the domain name.
Step-4: Create A Database For The New Domain
You need to create a database for your new domain name before you start the process of transferring your website. The process is fairly simple. Just search for ” MySQL Database” in the C panel dashboard and you will get the option for creating the ” MySQL database.”. Click on that option and you will be presented with an option to create a new database.
Create a database and assign a user with full access. Please make a note of this database name, user name, and password in any document file. We will need this information later in this process.
Step-5: Upload The Duplicator Package Contents To Your New Domain Name Folder
Once you add the new domain name in your web hosting account, the server creates a dedicated folder with the same name. This is the place where you will be storing all your website files.
Remember, when we downloaded the duplicator package, there were two files. Upload those two files to your new domain name folder. You can use Filezilla to upload those files or you can use direct upload.
Step-6: Start The Transfer Process Of Site To New Domain
Before you start the transfer process, make sure the domain propagation of your new domain name is done and it is pointing to the name server of your web hosting account.
To verify if the DNS propagation is done, you can check the below link and search with your domain name. If it shows the correct name server (NS), then you are good to start the transfer process
Go to any browser ( Chrome is preferable) and type in the following link. Make your you replace the “Example.com” with your own domain name. You can also use “https” if you already set up the SSL certificate.
Once you run this link, the ZIP file extraction process will start and you will be presented with the following screen.
Sometimes you may get a time out error. In that case ask your host to increase the value of below PHP variable to 6000 seconds
Remember, we have noted down the database name, user name and password before. Right? Now its time to add those information here. Once type in the correct information, Just click on ” Test Database“
If everything is ok, you will see a “Green pass” under validation. What that means is that the database information is correct.
Once validation shows Green signal, click “Next” to see the next window.
In this windows, you need to change the URL to your new domain name. This step is very important.
Under options, you can change the admin account information and a few of the parameters of your wp-config file. But I will prefer not to touch anything apart from the URL and admin details.
After you set up the URL and admin details, click “Next” to see the below window which shows that the transfer process is complete and you are ready to test the new website or blog.
Click on the ” Admin Login ” button to see if everything is working in the admin panel.
During first login, the duplicator plugin should delete all your old package files to save your web space. If it does not delete automatically, you can manually delete later.
You are now done with the transferring process. Now we will see how to redirect your old website link juice/ backlinks to your new domain. Please go to the next step to learn about the redirect process.
Great ! You have successfully transferred your blog / website to a new domain
Step-7: Setting Up 301 Permanent Redirects
If you don’t want to redirect backlinks from your old domain to new domain, then you should stop after step-6. But that is ideally not the case as most of the people want to keep the same backlinks and authority in their new domain name also.
The only way to transfer or redirect the link juice or backlinks from your old domain name to the new domain name is by setting up 301 permanent redirects.
301 redirect is a permanent redirect and 302 is a temporary redirect. So make sure you use 301 redirect to redirect your old domain backlinks to the new domain.
There are a couple of methods two add 301 permanent redirects. One is editing the .htaccess file and the other is using a redirect rule in your web hosting account
Setting Up 301 Redirect Using .htaccess file
Add the following piece of code in your old domain .htaccess file and you are good to go with a 301 permanent redirect to your new domain.
#Options +FollowSymLinks RewriteEngine on RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.example.com/$1 [R=301,L]
These lines of codes should be pasted at the very beginning of your .htaccess file. Make sure to change the “example.com” to your own domain name.
This is a wildcard redirect and it will redirect all suffixes of your domain.
Setting Up redirect using Redirect rule in C panel.
To set up a redirect rule, simple head over to the C panel dashboard and search for ” Redirects”
Select the option as per the below screenshot. Make sure you select the permanent (301) option and don’t forget to check the option for ” Wildcard redirect“
If you select “wildcard redirect ” then all your domain name suffix containing example.com ( Your own domain name) will be redirected.
Please keep your old domain name and content active for atleast a year so that Google can finish indexing links of your new domain . If you remove the old domain content, then all contents of your old domain may show 404 error which is not good for SEO
Step-8: Inform Google about the domain name change
Domain name changes should be informed to Google and Bing and other search engines so that they know that you have moved to a new domain.
Although it is not a must-to-do item, it is always better to inform so that you are safe from any duplicate content issue. Also if you notice the change in the domain name, your new domain posts will be indexed quickly.
To inform Google about the domain name change, you first need to add the new domain name in the Google search console.
Then Go To Setting-> Change Of Address
Now select the new domain name that you have added just now. Click Validate and Update.
That’s It !
Now the ball is in your court!
I believe I have enough in this article to let you know how to move WordPress site to new domain on same server. This process is exclusively for WordPress sites and not for any other CMS
The same process can also be used to move a site from one hosting to another. The only difference is that you don’t need to set a redirect.
If you have any questions on this transfer process, just pen down your query in the comment section and I will be happy to assist.
You may Like To Read:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)- Migrate WordPress Site
Can I use any other plugin apart from Duplicator?
Yes, you can use it. But in that case, the steps will be different. This article is written considering the Duplicator plugin only.
How long should I keep my old domain active after the transfer?
Minimum 6 months . But on the safe side better to keep it active for at least an year.
Will it affect search ranking if I change the domain name?
Yes, temporarily it will affect the search engine ranking.
What is the best way to add 301 permanent redirect?
Editing the .htaccess file to add redirect rule is the best option.
What is wildcard redirect?
Wildcard redirect means all URL suffix starting with the specified URL will be redirected. If you add a wildcard redirect for example.com, then all links starting with example.com/ will be redirected. For example example.com/contact, example.com/about, etc.
Can I use this method to transfer a blog from blogger to WordPress?
No, the method mentioned in this article is only applicable for WordPress.