Do you want to redirect your WordPress site to a different domain? Changing your website’s domain name can have a significant impact on your SEO rankings, so it’s a process that should be approached with caution.
While it is impossible to avoid temporary SEO fluctuations when moving your website to a new domain, you can certainly minimize the impact and quickly regain search traffic and rankings.
This guide will show you how to migrate WordPress to a new domain without losing SEO.
Here is the five-step process we will walk you through to help you migrate your WordPress site to a new domain name:
- Make a Duplicator package of your WordPress website.
- Make a database for the new domain name.
- Install WordPress on a new domain.
- Configuration 301 permanent redirects
- Inform Google of the change.
Before You Begin
Before you begin, we’d like to emphasize a few points.
As Google and other search engines adjust to the changes, the process of switching to a new domain will temporarily affect your search engine rankings.
Yes, this will have a temporary impact on your search traffic. Please keep in mind that this is normal and occurs with every website that switches to a new domain.
However, by following this guide, you can significantly reduce the SEO impact. We’ll show you how to properly migrate your WordPress site to a new domain name, set up proper 301 redirects, and notify search engines.
Please keep in mind that this guide is not for migrating your WordPress site to a new web host. This is used to change a domain name. Yes, while the process is similar, there are some additional steps in this process.
Steps Before You Begin
This guide assumes you have your WordPress site set up on oldsite.com and are attempting to migrate it to newsite.com.
We also assume you have a web hosting account and are familiar with your web hosting control panel.
You will also need to be familiar with FTP.
If you don’t already have a web hosting account, we recommend Bluehost (great for small sites and includes a free domain) or WP Engine (great for large sites).
You’re ready to begin the process once you’ve obtained your new web hosting account and domain name.
Step 1: Create a WordPress Site Duplicator package.
The first step is to create a full backup of your WordPress site. While there are numerous WordPress backup plugins available, the one we’ll show you in this step performs both backups and migrations.
It’s called Duplicator, and it’s a totally free plugin.
To begin, install and activate the Duplicator plugin on your old domain name. See our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin for more information.
When you activate the plugin, a Duplicator menu item will be added to your WordPress admin. To make a new package, go to the Duplicator menu and then click the Create button.
Following that, you will be asked to click the Next button to proceed.
The website duplicator wizard will now be launched by Duplicator. First, it will run some tests to ensure that everything is in working order. If all of the items are marked as ‘Good,’ then click the ‘Build’ button.
The plugin will now begin the process of creating a duplicate package of your WordPress site. Depending on the size of your website, this process may take a few minutes.
When you’re finished, you’ll see download options for the Installer and Archive packages. To download both files to your computer, click on the ‘One click download’ link.
The archive file is a complete copy of your website, and this will allow you to move WordPress to another domain name. The installer script will automate and run the migration by unpacking the archive file.
Step 2: Make a Database for Your New Domain Name
You’ll need a database to unpack WordPress on your new domain name before you can move.
If you already have a database, you can skip this step.
To create a database, go to the cPanel dashboard for your hosting account, scroll down to the ‘Databases’ section, and then click on the ‘MySQL Databases’ icon.
On the following screen, you’ll see a field for creating a new database. Simply enter a name for your database and press the ‘Create Database’ button.
You will now be prompted to create a new database by cPanel. Following that, you must scroll down to the MySQL Users section.
After that, enter a username and password for your new user and press the ‘Create a user’ button.
The new user you just created does not yet have access to the database. Let’s make a change.
Scroll down to the section titled ‘Add User to Database.’ Simply select the database user you created from the dropdown menu next to the ‘User’ field, then the database, and finally click the add button.
Your database is now ready to be used in the process of transferring WordPress to the new domain name. Keep a record of the file name, username, and passcode. This information will be required in the following step.
Step 3: Install WordPress on a New Domain Name
You must now upload the Duplicator files that you previously downloaded to your new domain name.
To begin, use an FTP client to connect to your domain name. Once connected, ensure that your website’s root directory is completely empty.
The archive and installer files can then be uploaded to the root directory.
You are now ready to unpack WordPress once both files have finished uploading.
Open a new browser tab and navigate to the following address:
Installer.php can be found at http://example.com/installer.php.
Don’t forget to substitute your new domain name for example.com. The Duplicator migration wizard will be launched as a result of this.
The archive file will be searched for by the installer. To proceed, check the terms and conditions checkbox and click the next button.
The installer will now prompt you to enter the details for your WordPress database.
Your host is most likely going to be localhost. Following that, you will enter the information from the database you created for your new domain name in the previous step.
When you’re finished, click the next button to continue.
Duplicator will now unpack your backup WordPress database from the archive and import it into your new database.
It will then prompt you to update the site URL or Path. You shouldn’t have to change anything because it detects the URL and path of your new domain name automatically.
If it doesn’t, change the URL to your new domain name. Then, to proceed, click the next button.
The migration will now be completed by Duplicator.
You can enter the WordPress admin area of your new domain name by clicking the ‘Admin Login’ button.
Step 4: Create Permanent 301 Redirects
Setting up a permanent 301 redirect is critical for SEO as well as user experience.
This step will allow you to redirect users and search engines to your new domain name automatically.
In other words, if someone visits one of your old posts or pages, they will be automatically redirected to your new domain’s version of your site.
To create a permanent 301 redirect, use FTP to connect to your old site and edit the.htaccess file.
This will be in the same folder as your wp-includes or wp-admin files. Open the.htaccess file and add the following code at the top:
- #Options +FollowSymLinks
- RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.newsite.com/$1 [R=301,L]
Note: In the above code, replace newsite.com with your new domain.
After you’ve made these changes, go back to your old domain name. It should redirect you to the new domain automatically.
If it doesn’t, it means the redirection was not properly configured, and your server most likely does not support redirect rules. To enable RewriteEngine, contact your web hosting provider’s support.
Step 5: Inform Google of the Change
Now that you’ve moved WordPress to a new domain name and configured redirects, it’s time to notify Google of the address change. This will assist Google in quickly locating your new domain name and displaying it in search results.
First, you must register your new domain name with Google Search Console. Instructions can be found in step 1 of our Google Search Console guide.
After you’ve added your new site, you must return to the previous version of Google Search Console.
Then, switch back to your old domain name and click the gear icon at the top to access the change of address tool.
Google Search Console will then walk you through a step-by-step wizard to submit your change of address request.
It will first ask you to choose your new site from a drop down menu. Then, click the check button to test the 301 redirects and then confirm the verification.
Finally, click the submit button to send your request for an address change.
Notify Users of the Domain Name Change
While the 301 redirects do their job, making a public announcement about the migration is always a good idea.
Simply write a blog post on your new site and share it on your social media accounts to accomplish this.
If you have an email marketing list, you should send a newsletter to all of your subscribers to let them know.
This can be beneficial in a variety of ways.
First and foremost, once your users learn about the new domain, they are more likely to remember it.
Second, you can request that your users notify you if they discover any bugs. You cannot test your site in all browsers and system environments on your own. It is always beneficial to have a fresh set of eyes look at it.
We hope that this tutorial assisted you in transferring your WordPress site to a new domain name. You might also be interested in our guide on how to track your search keyword rankings after transferring to a new domain name.
If you liked this post, please find and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.