Changing your WordPress domain may appear daunting initially but with a comprehensive guide coupled with detailed steps, it can be an easier task. Let’s explore the process together.
Before proceeding with the domain change process, ensure that you have already purchased and registered a new domain name. You should also set up a backup of your WordPress site to mitigate unwanted changes. Most hosting services, such as Bluehost, offer this service.
Step 1: Adding the New Domain
If your new domain is purchased from the same registrar as your old one, you may not need to add it. However, if it’s from a different registrar, you will need to add it. This process varies, so check with your respective registrar’s support page for guidance.
Step 2: Update WordPress Address Settings
To update WordPress settings:
Access your WordPress dashboard via YourOldDomain.com/wp-admin.
Navigate to the left sidebar, select Settings, then General.
Update WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) with your new domain name. Be careful to enter the correct URL; any mismatches will impose difficulties accessing your site.
Note: You will be logged out automatically.
Step 3: Update Website Database
Now let’s ensure that all internal links also point to the new domain. To do so, you can use the Velvet Blues Update URLs plugin:
Install and activate the plugin.
Go to Tools, select Update URLs.
Put in your Old URL and New URL, and select all update options except the last one, ‘Update ALL GUIDs‘.
Click ‘Update URLs NOW‘ and wait for the operation to complete.
Step 4: Update DNS Records
Head over to your DNS provider (this could be your domain registrar or hosting company) and update your DNS records to point to the new domain.
For an A record, point it to your hosting provider’s IP address.
For CNAME records, direct www to your new domain.
Remember, DNS propagation may take up to 48 hours.
Step 5: Configuring Redirects
Redirects help in maintaining your SEO rankings by directing visitors and search engines to your new domain.
To configure redirects, you can use the Redirection plugin:
Install and activate it.
Navigate to Tools, then select Redirection.
Add a new redirection, input your old URL in the ‘Source URL’ field, and your new one in the ‘Target URL’ field.
Select ‘URL only‘ and ‘Ignore slash‘ under ‘URL options‘ and ‘Ignore & pass parameters to the target‘ under ‘Query Parameters‘.
Step 6: Update Search Console
Lastly, update your Google Search Console. Add a new property representing your new domain and update the sitemap link in your SEO plugin.
Although changing your WordPress domain involves several steps, it need not be an overwhelming process. By following this guide meticulously, you can avoid common pitfalls and ensure a smooth transition.
Remember to back up your site before you begin, update your domain details accurately, and use recommended plugins for effecting changes safely. With patience and caution, you’ll have your WordPress domain changed successfully.