If you have a WordPress site and want to assign a new domain to it, what can you do? This is an issue that comes up from time to time. You may want to keep the content of your website but find that your old domain name does not reflect the topic properly. Or perhaps you have acquired a new domain that is either more relevant or more valuable for one reason or another (e.g. page rank, age or simply more catchy or pronounceable) and you would like to move your WordPress site to this new domain.
Fortunately, anyone can perform this task and it doesn’t take any special skills. The precise steps will vary slightly depending on your web host. For the purposes of this article, we will be using Bluehost as an example. This is a popular web hosting company that many WordPress users are using. However, if you have another web host you will find that the steps are quite similar.
These instructions also require you sign up with a service called ManageWP. This is the easiest way to migrate your site, because it allows you to set up multiple WordPress sites under a single dashboard. Using this service, you can place both your current WordPress site and your new one on the same dashboard, create a clone and then assign your new domain name to the clone. The following is an overview of how to do this.
If you are moving your WordPress site to a new host, make sure that WordPress is installed with this host. In Bluehost, you would use Mojo Marketplace to do this (iPage also uses Mojo). Other hosting companies use similar script installers, such as Softaculous or Fantastico. All of these script installers allow for one-click installation of WordPress.
Here are the simple steps:
- In your cPanel, look for Mojo Marketplace and choose One-Click Installs.
- Choose WordPress and click on Start.
- Select your domain. If you have multiple domain names with this host, make sure you choose the correct one. You can also choose a subfolder for the domain.
- Choose or edit information such as username, password and email for this domain.
- Agree to the TOS and click on Install Now.
You will only be setting up a blank version of WordPress for now. You will be assigned a temporary URL for this new site.
Set up an account with ManageWP
If you want to be able to easily manage your WordPress sites, which includes migrating them from one domain to another, the best tool to use is ManageWP. You can sign up for an account with them at their website. While this service does have a cost to use on an ongoing basis, you can try it for free.
- Here you will be asked to enter your site URL, username and password.
- You can add your existing website URL (from your old domain) along with your new blank website with the temporary URL to the ManageWP dashboard. This makes it convenient to migrate your site from one domain to another.
- Go to the Quick Access Tool Box and click on Clone/Migration
- Choose the website that you want to move.
- ManageWP will create a snapshot of your website. Then you simply have to choose the destination. The Clone Wizard will create a clone of your website.
Change the Nameservers and URL
You now have to make sure that your nameservers are pointed to the correct web host. If you are not switching web hosts and are simply changing domains within one web host, this will not be an issue. If, however, you are using a new web host, you will have to change the nameservers. If you are using Bluehost, this will mean pointing the nameservers to:
You now have to log in to your WordPress dashboard to change the temporary URL to the permanent one.
Go to Settings in your dashboard and choose General.
Put in the correct URL under WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL).
In most cases these two will be the same. You can, however, use two different ones. For example, some people prefer to have “www” for the site address.
Use the Velvet Blues plugin to fix internal links
One more thing you should do is to make sure all of your internal links are working properly. After migrating your site, you will probably have links that don’t work. This is because any internal links will be referring to your old, obsolete domain name. The solution to this is to use a plugin called Velvet Blues. You can download this plugin at https://wordpress.org/plugins/velvet-blues-update-urls/
This plugin makes it simple to update your internal links so that they correctly point to your new domain.
Finally, you should go back to your WordPress dashboard and select Permalinks under Settings. After verifying that everything is correct, click on Save Changes. This should update everything from your temporary URL to the new one!
If you use this method with the ManageWP dashboard, it’s not difficult to migrate your WordPress site to a new domain. Once you have done this once, you’ll find that the whole process only takes a few minutes!
After the migration, makes sure that you update any links pointing towards your website. This includes other websites you own, social media sites, email signatures and anything else that contains your URL. This will ensure that visitors are directed to the correct URL and that you will get link juice from links pointed at the site.