Your website’s URL is also known as its domain name. So, if users want to visit your website, then they can type www.yourdomainname.com (or extensions like .in, .org, etc.). While computers up IP addresses to identify and communicate with each other, humans can find it difficult to remember a string of numbers. Hence, a domain name is associated with the IP address of the web server. A domain name has to be unique and registered before it can be used. Although changing the domain name is not a common practice, sometimes site owners might want to change the name of their website for a variety of reasons. Today, we will be talking about some tips and tools to help you migrate your WordPress website’s domain name.
Impact of changing the domain name on SEO
If you are wondering if changing the domain name would impact the SEO of your WP website, then the answer is a resounding yes. When you change the domain name, the search engines can take some time to respond resulting in a drop in search engine traffic. While you can take steps to ensure that the site traffic goes back to normal, you must be ready for the initial slump.
Steps to migrate your WordPress website’s domain name
1. Create a backup
Before you make any major changes to your website, it is always advisable to create a backup of the entire website. With WordPress websites, you can use a backup plugin (like Vault Press, Duplicator, etc.) to do the job. You can store the backup either on your local computer or on the cloud. Some WP Hosting providers also offer automatic backups as a part of the plan. However, it is advisable that you take a manual backup before you migrate the domain name.
2. Connect using FTP
Once your backup is in place you can connect it to your new website using a tool like FileZilla. After connecting, copy the backup file to the root directory of the new site. You will also need to change the file name and URL to for the new domain name to work.
3. Set up the new site
You can use a tool like Duplicator to set up your new website. On the Duplicator – Installer screen, select the ‘Table removal’ option and ensure that the database on your new site is empty.
Now select the ‘I have read all the warning and notices’ option and click ‘Run Deployment’. After the first step, the next screen will appear. Here you can you are required to input the old and new domain names.
Once this process is complete, log in to the admin panel using your original username and password and conduct some basic checks. You can also create a backup for the first instance of your new website. Finally, delete the installer and any unnecessary files and re-initiate the permalinks.
4. Implement 301 redirects and notify Google
Once you have followed all the steps mentioned above, tell Google that the new website is ready to welcome visitors. Set up 301 redirects by deploying a .htaccess hack which can be found as a hidden file in the wp-admin or wp-includes folder. You can use the code shown below:
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.newdomainname.com/$1 [R=301,L]
Replace ‘newdomainname.com’ with your site’s new address. This completes the redirect process. In order to inform Google about the same, you can get it done by using the Google Search Console.
Migrating your domain name is a complex process. We hope that the tips mentioned above can help you change the domain name of your website with ease. If you find the process overwhelming, then you can always hire an expert to take over the migration process. Please feel free to drop in your comments below and let us know how did you go about the process of domain migration. Good Luck!