Choose A New Domain Name And Assign It To Your Website
Choosing a new domain name is a highly personal decision, but there are a few aspects to keep in mind to ensure you make a smart one. Weve previously devoted an entire article to walk you through that process, so check it out before settling on a new domain.
When youre ready, you can register your new domain through our platform. If youre an A2 Hosting customer, you can simply assign that name to your existing website. However, for other hosts youll need to dig into their knowledge bases to find the correct process.
Best WordPress Host With A Free Transfer
By and large, moving a WordPress website follows the same basic steps as migrating a site that doesnt use the popular content management system: download backups of your website, transfer your files, update the URLs everywhere, and voila. However, the platforms file structure and reliance on databases can make the move a bit more complicated.
According to the WordPress Codex, a comprehensive search and replace operation to update the domain name in your database can potentially cause issues with data serialization, links, and theme display. WordPress provides a variety of methods to avoid the problem, but some involve complex technical requirements such as database administration or command line interface familiarity. Our favorite WordPress host will take care of all that for you without any headaches:
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How To Move Your Website To A Different Domain Name
Change is hard, but sometimes its the right thing to do. Pointing your site to a new domain name is a change that doesnt have to be painful if you do it right. Perhaps your website has expanded beyond its initial purpose and the domain name you started with no longer fits. Maybe your customers have trouble spelling or remembering your name. Or you might have started with a name that was cheap and available but its time to upgrade now that your site is taking off. There are plenty of valid reasons to want to move your domain.
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Change Your Url Within WordPress
Your first task is to physically change your sites URL within WordPress. However, this step comes with a word of warning. Once you save your changes, your sites back end wont be accessible until youve completed the rest of this procedure.
To begin, log into WordPress, and navigate to the General > Settings screen:
This screen contains global settings for your WordPress site. The fields were interested in are WordPress Address and Site Address :
To change your URL, simply type the new address into both of these fields, and click on Save Changes. As we mentioned, this will make your site temporarily inaccessible.
Redirect From Old Domain To New Domain
At this point, your site should work just fine. But, from an SEO perspective, you need to do a few more steps to ensure your ranking wont be affected too much.
The first step in this process is to create a 301 permanent redirect. Its a permanent way to inform search engines that you have changed your sites domain name and you dont plan on reverting back to your old domain. That way, search engines can update their records automatically to preserve your ranking as much as possible.
Below are the steps of how to create 301 redirects.
For further details, you can also check out step six in the guide: How to Move HTTP to HTTPS on WordPress.
No matter where your domain is registered, be sure to create a 301 redirect for both the www.your-new-domain.com and your-new-domain.com versions of your site address.
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Can You Transfer Your Domain Name To Another Host
As we alluded to earlier, your domain name can reside somewhere different than your web hosting and site files. Say you took our advice in Step 1, opted to sign up for a new hosting plan, and have the companys support experts handle the move. Youve registered your new domain with the host but youd like to consolidate all your online properties into one account. What happens to your old domain name?
Just like your website, you can move domains from one host to another. Experts tend to prefer to keep domains separate from hosting accounts, but we favor the simplicity and convenience of having everything under one roof.
That being said, the highly regulated domain name industry means youre less likely to have a reason to move your domain name from one registrar to another. Web hosting providers can upset customers with new policies, pricing, and shoddy support, making it a much more volatile experience. Keeping your domains separate from your web hosting can protect your ownership in the event of a data breach or unexpected expiration.
Also just like your website, moving a domain to a new provider can be annoying, confusing, and complicated. The process can be further exacerbated if you also use the domain for hosting your email, but its still quite doable. This guide will show you the basic steps, or you can consider following the suggestions in Step 1, sign up with one of the best domain hosts, listed below, and have them transfer your domains for you:
Change Website Url Using The WordPress Admin Dashboard
The next step to change WordPress domain is to add your new domain to the WordPress General Settings.
Head to Dashboard -> Settings -> General. Replace your current WordPress Address and Site Address with your new domain. Hit Save Changes once youre done.
Were not done just yet. Before re-accessing your site using the new address, complete the following remaining steps.
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What Do I Need To Transfer To Domaincom
There are four things that need to happen to facilitate a successful transfer to Domain.com.
- Domains must be valid and already registered with another registrar
- The registered domain names must be registered for at least 60 days and in unlocked status
- Transfers will succeed only if the Admin Contact is up-to-date
- You must obtain an authorization code to transfer to Domain.com
Buy Your New Domain Early
This one is fairly obvious because how would you change your domain name without having a new one to change it to? Besides this necessary reason, there is another reason why you will want to get your new domain well in advance: SEO.
The longer you have your new domain up and running, the more of a chance you will be giving search engines to crawl your new site. Once youve acquired your new domain, give it a coming soon page telling search engines that a new site will be there shortly. This will give search engines something more substantial to crawl, and will also tell them that it is not a parked domain so they should pay closer attention to it.
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Update Url In Google Search Console
The final step you need to take is to update Google Console with your new domain name. Doing this will help Google quickly understand you updated your domain name. That way, your ranking wont drop.
Go to the Change of Address Tool and select Add property from the drop-down list toward the top, left-hand corner.
Directions will appear in the main content area of the page.
Before you update Google Console, you need to add your new domain to it.
Then, in the inline pop-up that appears, choose whether your new domain should have a www. prefix.
Enter your new domain name and click Continue.
Choose whether or not you want a URL prefix.
Your new domain should automatically be verified. If this isnt the case, then its not set up properly and youll need to go back through these steps to fix it.
Or if its indeed set up properly, you may just need to wait a few minutes or up to 72 hours as previously mentioned.
Once you see the Ownership auto verified message, click Done.
If you want other ways to verify the ownership of your new domain, go to Settings > Ownership verification.
Once your new domain has been verified, you can update your old one.
Next, click the Search property drop-down box and select your old domain from the list.
Under Update Google, select your new domain from the drop-down box.
Then, click the Validate & Update button.
Select your old domain and then follow the instructions on the page.
Monitor Your Domain Move
For the first few weeks, you should regularly check out the crawling-statistic evaluation within the Google Search Console for the new domain Google recommends 180 days for bigger websites. This way you can quickly identify any crawling problems which may arise.
You can also compare both domains Visibility within the SISTRIX Toolbox in order to keep an eye on how successful the domain move has been:
The change in Visibility for both domains clearly shows that, after the move, Google ranks the content on the new domain instead of the old.
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How To Make A Backup Of A Website
To ensure a smooth process when you switch domain names, its sensible to make a backup of your website, in case anything should happen.
If you use our Stellar Plus and Stellar Business Shared Hosting Plans, you can take advantage of our exclusive tool AutoBackup, where your website data is automatically backed up. This means that you can download your backups locally, which means that youll be ready when it comes to switching domain names.
Depending on which service you used to make your website, there may be alternative ways to make a backup. Here are some articles that you may find useful:
Consider setting up automatic website backups. This will save you time and effort, should you need to restore your website in the future.
Make Sure To Redirect Pages
If you want traffic heading to your old domain to make its way to your new one, you need to redirect the old site to the new site. Otherwise, people will see a 404 Page Not Found error when they try to reach your site at the old domain. Follow these steps to set up your redirects:
Use FTP or the File Manager to connect to your old domains registrar or hosting account.
Edit the .htaccess file. This will be in your home directory, or in the same directory as your wp-admin folder for WordPress users.
Open the .htaccess file and add the following code:
#Options +FollowSymLinksRewriteEngine onRewriteRule ^$ http://www.newsite.com/$1
Replace newsite.com with your new domain name.
Now, your old domain name should redirect to your new one. If it doesnt, you should contact your old hosting service’s tech support team for assistance.
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Dont Forget The Redirect
Any time an existing site changes something significant like a domain URL, there will be consequences. As we mentioned earlier, there will likely be multiple places where the links point to the old URL.
Depending on how many locations point to your old URL, changing them manually can be a tumultuous task and might even prove nearly an impossible feat.
If the site has been established for a while and has some natural backlinks pointing to it, one cannot switch the URL and expect everything to be working smoothly.
Likewise, changing URLs can cause search engines to think a new site copying the old sites content has arrived. There could be penalties, re-ranking, and more. It could be an absolute disaster for an established site that relies on organic traffic and ad revenue.
Setting up the appropriate redirects is essential to making sure that not only human traffic, but search engine bots are able to successfully navigate the site and dont consider it a new site and re-rank it.
Depending on which platform you are with, the process of creating 301 redirects can be tedious, especially for those who are non-technical.
What Are The Steps To Take When Changing Your Domain
If your company decides to change your domain, it is important to follow the steps to prepare your site for a potential loss in traffic. There are a few ways to go about this change:
Both methods will generally cause your site to drop in traffic. Therefore, if this change is necessary for your companys website, we would recommend the method of changing your domain all in one sweep. Whether you or your digital marketing specialist will be making your domain change, it is important to note the tasks that go along with the process. Below are steps you need to take in order for the change to run as smoothly as possible:
- Redirects need to be put in place to your new domain
- Links within the content need to be changed and re-linked to the new domain
- Backlinks need to be notified and changed
- Update Google search console
- Update Google Analytics
- Keep 301 redirects in place for 90-120 days. This allows old users to find you and get used to your new URL
- Create a custom 404 page on your old domain to tell users to view your site at your new URL
- Change your company email addresses to match the new URL and signatures to link to the new site and send out an email informing your customers and clients of your new domain.
- Before making the domain change, create a banner on your site that tells your users of the upcoming change.
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Why Transfer To Domaincom
Domain.com is one of the leading registrars in the industry for a reason. We offer the ability to easily manage your domains from a single, user-friendly platform. We also offer a comprehensive set of features for all of your needs under a straightforward pricing structure, with fantastic customer service to boot.
When You Should Change Your Domain Name
Your domain name is essentially akin to your home address. Each website is accessible through a unique IP address. When you register a domain, youre actually creating a record on a Domain Name System that tells people, Hey, if you visit this domain, youre connecting to this particular IP address.
It sounds complex, but its a very straightforward system. People dont often change domain names for fear that their users wont be able to find their sites again. However, there are some instances where doing so can be beneficial:
- Rebranding purposes. In some cases, you may want to change your sites entire image and name, and youll need a new domain to complete the package.
- Better communication for your sites focus. Depending on your options, you may have chosen a domain name that youre no longer satisfied with, or picked an unsuitable Top-Level Domain i.e. the .com, .net, or other identifier following the domain name.
The good news is the process of changing to a new domain name is pretty uncomplicated. Not only will you keep your content in the process, but you also wont confuse your regular visitors. Youll simply need to follow a simple step-by-step procedure to ensure you dont run into any problems.
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