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How to Change Your WordPress Domain

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Are you looking to change your WordPress domain? Whether you’re rebranding your website, upgrading to a better domain name, or simply moving your site to a different URL, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process step by step. Changing your domain can seem like a daunting task, but with the right guidance, it can be a smooth transition.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about changing your WordPress domain, from planning and preparation to execution and post-migration steps. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to change your WordPress domain without compromising your website’s SEO, functionality, or user experience.


Your website’s domain name is more than just an address; it’s your digital identity. Changing it is a significant decision that can have a lasting impact on your online presence. However, with the right guidance, the process can be manageable and even beneficial. In this detailed guide, we will walk you through the steps to successfully change your WordPress domain while maintaining SEO and user experience. By the end, you’ll be equipped to navigate this transformation with confidence.

Why Change Your WordPress Domain?

Before diving into the technicalities, let’s explore why you might contemplate changing your WordPress domain:


If your website is undergoing a rebranding process, changing your domain to reflect your new identity is crucial. Your domain is the first thing visitors see, so it should align with your brand’s message.

Better Domain Name

Sometimes, an opportunity arises to acquire a more fitting domain name for your website. A name that’s shorter, more memorable, or better resonates with your content or objectives.

Moving to HTTPS

In the age of online security, transitioning to HTTPS has become a necessity. If you’re moving from HTTP to HTTPS, changing your domain might be part of the process.


Are you merging multiple websites into one, creating a unified online presence? Changing your domain can help consolidate your brand and simplify your web management.

Legal issues, such as trademark disputes, can necessitate a domain change. In such cases, compliance with the law takes precedence.

Understanding these motivations will guide you in making an informed decision about changing your WordPress domain. Let’s proceed with planning for this transition.

Planning Your Domain Change

Changing your WordPress domain is not a task to be taken lightly. Proper planning is crucial to ensure a smooth transition that minimizes disruptions to your website and its users. In this section, we’ll explore the essential steps for planning your domain change.

Selecting a New Domain Name

Choosing the right domain name for your revamped website is a critical decision that can impact your brand’s success. Here are some key considerations when selecting a new domain:


  • Ensure that the new domain is closely related to your website’s content, niche, or business. It should convey the purpose of your site effectively.

Short and Memorable:

  • Shorter domain names are easier for users to remember and type. Aim for brevity without sacrificing clarity.

Avoid Special Characters:

  • Stick to letters, numbers, and hyphens in your domain name. Special characters can cause confusion and are best avoided.

Check Availability:

  • Use domain registration services or registrars to check if your desired domain name is available. Be prepared with alternatives in case your first choice is already taken.

Consider SEO:

  • If possible, incorporate relevant keywords into your domain name. This can improve your site’s search engine optimization (SEO). However, avoid excessive keyword stuffing, as it can have the opposite effect.

Preparing Your Website

Before you initiate the domain change process, take these preparatory steps to ensure a successful transition:

Update Content:

  • Review and update the content on your website. Remove outdated information, correct errors, and make sure everything is current and accurate.

Backup Your Website:

  • Create a comprehensive backup of your WordPress site, including both files and the database. This backup will serve as a safety net in case anything goes wrong during the domain change.

Take Inventory:

  • Make a list of all the external services and integrations that use your domain. This may include email services, social media accounts, third-party APIs, and more. Ensure you have a plan for updating these services with your new domain.

Notify Stakeholders:

  • If your website has registered users, subscribers, or customers, inform them about the upcoming domain change. Provide clear instructions on any actions they may need to take, such as updating bookmarks or login credentials.

Plan for Downtime:

  • While you aim for a seamless transition, it’s wise to prepare for some potential downtime during the domain change. Inform your users about the expected timeframe for the switch.

Proper planning and preparation are the foundation for a successful domain change. With these steps completed, you’ll be ready to move on to the technical aspects of the process, including backing up your website and updating your domain settings.

Back Up Your WordPress Website

Before embarking on the journey of changing your WordPress domain, it’s absolutely critical to create a comprehensive backup of your website. This backup serves as a safety net, allowing you to restore your site to its previous state in case anything goes awry during the domain change process. Here’s how you can back up your WordPress website:

Using a WordPress Backup Plugin

One of the easiest and most reliable ways to back up your WordPress website is by using a backup plugin. There are several popular plugins available, such as UpdraftPlus, Duplicator, and BackupBuddy, which simplify the backup process. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use one of these plugins:

Step 1: Install and Activate the Backup Plugin

  1. Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Navigate to the “Plugins” section and click on “Add New.”
  3. Search for your chosen backup plugin (e.g., UpdraftPlus) and click “Install Now.” Then, activate the plugin.

Step 2: Configure Backup Settings

After activation, you’ll typically find the backup plugin’s settings in your WordPress dashboard. Configure the backup settings according to your preferences. This includes specifying where you want to store the backup files (e.g., cloud storage, your server, or both), the frequency of backups, and retention policies.

Step 3: Create a Backup

Once you’ve configured the settings, initiate a full backup of your website. This process may take some time, depending on the size of your site and the chosen backup destination.

Step 4: Verify Backup Completion

After the backup is complete, verify that all your website files and the database have been successfully backed up. Most backup plugins provide a summary or confirmation of the backup process.

Step 5: Store Backup Securely

It’s crucial to store your backup files in a secure location. If your website gets compromised during the domain change, having a secure backup ensures you can restore your site to its previous state.

Manual Backup (Advanced Users)

If you prefer a more hands-on approach or have experience working with FTP and databases, you can manually back up your WordPress website. Here’s a simplified outline of the manual backup process:

Backup Website Files

  1. Use FTP or a file manager to access your website’s root directory.
  2. Download all website files to your local computer.

Backup Database

  1. Access your web hosting control panel (usually cPanel).
  2. Find the phpMyAdmin tool and open it.
  3. Select your WordPress database from the list on the left.
  4. Click on the “Export” tab and choose the option to export the entire database.
  5. Save the exported SQL file to your local computer.

Verify Backup

Ensure that all files and the database have been successfully downloaded and backed up. Store these files in a secure location.

Remember to perform regular backups throughout the domain change process to capture any changes made during the transition. With a reliable backup in place, you can proceed to change your domain settings and implement necessary redirects with confidence, knowing that your website’s data is safe and recoverable.

Changing Your Domain Settings

With proper planning and a backup of your WordPress website in place, it’s time to move forward with changing your domain settings. This is a pivotal step in the process of transitioning to a new domain. In this section, we’ll explore the key aspects of updating your domain settings.

Updating Site Address (URL)

One of the primary tasks in changing your domain is updating the Site Address (URL) within your WordPress settings. This ensures that your website knows to use the new domain when serving pages and content. Here’s how you can update the Site Address:

  1. Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Navigate to Settings by clicking on the “Settings” option in the left-hand menu.
  3. Select General Settings: Within the Settings menu, click on “General.”
  4. Update WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL): You’ll see two fields: “WordPress Address (URL)” and “Site Address (URL).” Update both of these fields to reflect your new domain. Ensure that you include “https://” if you’re switching to a secure HTTPS connection.
  5. Save Changes: Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the “Save Changes” button to apply the new settings.

Updating the Site Address (URL) within WordPress is a critical step because it ensures that all internal links and references to your website use the new domain. Without this change, your website’s internal links might still point to the old domain, causing confusion for both users and search engines.

Updating WordPress and Plugins

Before proceeding further, it’s essential to ensure that your WordPress installation and all installed plugins are up to date. Outdated software can lead to compatibility issues and security vulnerabilities. Here’s how to update WordPress and plugins:

  1. Update WordPress:
    • In your WordPress dashboard, look for the “Dashboard” option in the left-hand menu.
    • Under “Dashboard,” click on “Updates.”
    • If a new version of WordPress is available, you’ll see an option to update. Click “Update Now” to proceed.
  2. Update Plugins:
    • Under the “Updates” section, you’ll also see a list of available plugin updates.
    • Check the boxes next to the plugins you want to update, or select “Select All.”
    • Click the “Update Plugins” button to update the selected plugins.

Keep in mind that some plugins may require additional configuration or adjustments after updating to ensure compatibility with your new domain. Review each plugin’s documentation or support resources for specific guidance.

By updating both WordPress and your plugins, you help ensure that your website remains secure, functional, and free of compatibility issues as you transition to the new domain. This proactive approach can save you potential headaches down the road.

Setting Up Redirects

Redirects play a crucial role in ensuring a seamless transition from your old domain to the new one. They ensure that visitors and search engines are automatically directed to the correct pages on your new domain, preventing 404 errors and preserving your website’s SEO value. In this section, we’ll explore how to set up redirects effectively.

Using .htaccess for Redirects

If your website is hosted on an Apache server, you can use the .htaccess file to set up redirects. This method is particularly useful for creating 301 redirects, which indicate a permanent move to the new domain. Follow these steps:

  1. Access Your Server: Connect to your web server using FTP or a file manager provided by your hosting provider.
  2. Locate .htaccess File: In the root directory of your website, look for the .htaccess file. If it doesn’t exist, you can create one using a text editor.
  3. Edit .htaccess File: Open the .htaccess file using a text editor, and add the following code to set up a redirect from the old domain to the new one:
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
  RewriteEngine On
  RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^old-domain\.com$ [OR]
  RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.old-domain\.com$
  RewriteRule (.*)$$1 [R=301,L]

Replace with your old domain and with your new domain. This code redirects all requests from the old domain to the new one while preserving the rest of the URL.

  1. Save and Upload: Save the changes to the .htaccess file and upload it back to your server, overwriting the existing file if necessary.
  2. Test the Redirect: Open a web browser and enter your old domain URL. You should be automatically redirected to the new domain. Test various pages to ensure that the redirects work as expected.

Using WordPress Plugins

If you prefer a more user-friendly approach to setting up redirects or if your hosting environment doesn’t allow access to the .htaccess file, you can use WordPress plugins for this purpose. Here are the steps to set up redirects using a plugin:

  1. Install and Activate a Redirect Plugin: In your WordPress dashboard, go to “Plugins” > “Add New” and search for a redirection plugin like “Redirection” or “Simple 301 Redirects.” Install and activate the plugin.
  2. Access the Plugin Settings: After activation, you’ll typically find the plugin’s settings in your WordPress dashboard. Navigate to the plugin’s settings page.
  3. Create Redirects: Use the plugin’s interface to create individual redirects from your old domain URLs to their corresponding pages on the new domain. Most plugins provide a simple form where you can enter the old URL and the destination URL.
  4. Save Redirects: Save each redirect you create, and verify that they appear correctly in the list of active redirects.
  5. Test the Redirects: Test the redirects by entering old domain URLs in your browser. Ensure that they seamlessly redirect to the new domain’s pages.

Redirect plugins often provide additional features such as tracking the number of times a redirect is used and managing complex redirect rules. They are a user-friendly solution for handling redirects, especially if you have numerous URLs to redirect.

Setting up redirects is crucial to maintaining the continuity of your website’s user experience and SEO rankings during and after the domain change. Ensure that all old URLs are properly redirected to their corresponding new URLs to avoid broken links and errors.

Testing Your New Domain

After you’ve set up redirects and made changes to your WordPress domain settings, it’s essential to thoroughly test your new domain to ensure that everything is functioning as expected. This testing phase helps you identify and address any issues before they impact your website’s users and search engine rankings. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to test your new domain:

  1. Internal Links: Start by clicking on all the internal links on your website. Check menus, buttons, and embedded links to ensure they point to the new domain. Make corrections if you discover any links still leading to the old domain.
  2. External Links: Verify that external websites that previously linked to your content on the old domain are correctly redirected to the new domain. Contact the owners of websites that haven’t updated their links, requesting that they do so.
  3. Functionality: Test all website functionality, including forms, e-commerce features, and interactive elements like comment sections or login forms. Ensure that they work smoothly with the new domain.
  4. Images and Media: Check that images and media files, such as videos or audio files, display correctly on your website with the new domain. No broken links or missing content should be present.
  5. Browser Compatibility: Test your website in various web browsers (e.g., Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge) to confirm that it renders correctly and functions consistently across different browsers.
  6. Mobile Responsiveness: Verify that your website is mobile-responsive. Test it on various mobile devices and screen sizes to ensure a seamless user experience for mobile users.
  7. SSL Certificate: If you’ve switched to HTTPS with the new domain, verify that your SSL certificate is properly configured and that the padlock icon appears in the browser’s address bar, indicating a secure connection.
  8. Load Speed: Check the loading speed of your website with tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix. Optimize your website’s performance if necessary to ensure quick loading times.
  9. 404 Errors: Monitor your website for any 404 errors (page not found). If you encounter any, set up appropriate redirects to ensure a smooth user experience.
  10. XML Sitemap: Update your website’s XML sitemap to include all the new domain URLs. Submit this updated sitemap to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to facilitate indexing.
  11. Cross-Browser and Cross-Device Testing: Ensure that your website appears and functions correctly on different browsers (e.g., Chrome, Firefox, Safari) and devices (desktop, tablet, mobile).
  12. SEO Audit: Perform a comprehensive SEO audit using tools like Moz or SEMrush to identify any SEO issues that may have arisen from the domain change. Address any problems promptly.

By conducting thorough testing, you can identify and resolve potential issues, ensuring that your visitors have a smooth experience on your new domain. It’s essential to perform these tests before and after making your domain change to catch any discrepancies.

Updating Search Engines and Indexes

Changing your domain can have a significant impact on your website’s search engine rankings. To minimize this impact and help search engines understand the domain change, follow these steps to update search engines and indexes:

  1. Submit a New Sitemap: Update your website’s XML sitemap to include all the URLs from your new domain. This is crucial for search engines to discover and index your new content. You can generate a new sitemap using WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO or Google XML Sitemaps. After creating the new sitemap, submit it to both Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
  2. Fetch as Google (Google Search Console): In Google Search Console, use the “Fetch as Google” feature to expedite the indexing of your new domain. This tool allows you to submit specific URLs for Google to crawl and index promptly. Submit your most important pages and monitor their indexing status.
  3. Bing Webmaster Tools: Similarly, use Bing Webmaster Tools to submit your updated sitemap and request indexing for your new domain on Bing. Bing Webmaster Tools provides insights into your website’s performance in Bing search results.
  4. Update Backlinks: If you have control over websites that link to your old domain, reach out to the respective webmasters and request that they update their links to point to your new domain. This helps ensure that your website receives proper credit for backlinks, which are valuable for SEO.
  5. Monitor Search Console Data: Keep a close eye on data provided by Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. Check for crawl errors, index coverage, and any issues related to your new domain. Address any issues promptly to maintain your website’s visibility in search results.
  6. Update Social Media and Online Profiles: Update your social media profiles and any online directories or profiles associated with your website to reflect the new domain. Consistent branding across all platforms is essential.
  7. Update Paid Advertising Campaigns: If you’re running paid advertising campaigns, such as Google Ads, update the destination URLs to the new domain to avoid traffic disruptions and maintain campaign performance.
  8. Monitor Organic Search Traffic: Keep an eye on your organic search traffic and rankings in the weeks following the domain change. Be prepared for fluctuations in rankings, which can occur during a domain transition. Continue monitoring and optimizing your SEO efforts as needed.

By actively managing the transition and keeping search engines informed, you can help maintain your website’s visibility in search results and minimize any temporary disruptions in organic traffic. Updating search engines and indexes is a crucial step in preserving your website’s SEO value after changing your WordPress domain.

Monitoring Your Website

After successfully changing your WordPress domain, your work isn’t done. It’s essential to monitor your website regularly to ensure that everything continues to run smoothly and that any issues that arise are addressed promptly. Here’s how to effectively monitor your website:

  1. 404 Error Tracking: Set up tools or plugins to monitor 404 errors (page not found) on your website. These errors can occur when old URLs are accessed or when redirects aren’t functioning correctly. Address any 404 errors by setting up appropriate redirects to the new domain.
  2. Website Performance: Continuously monitor your website’s performance. Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, or Pingdom to check for slow-loading pages or performance issues. Optimizing your website’s speed ensures a positive user experience.
  3. SEO Health: Regularly check your website’s SEO health using tools like Moz, SEMrush, or Google Search Console. Keep an eye on rankings, organic search traffic, and any SEO-related issues. Address any SEO issues promptly to maintain or improve your search engine rankings.
  4. Security Monitoring: Implement website security monitoring to detect and respond to potential security threats. Regularly update your website’s security plugins and software to protect against vulnerabilities.
  5. User Feedback: Encourage user feedback and monitor comments, emails, or inquiries from your website’s visitors. Address any issues or concerns raised by users promptly to maintain a positive user experience.
  6. Content Updates: Keep your website’s content fresh and up to date. Regularly review and update information, blog posts, and any outdated content. Ensure that all content remains relevant and accurate.
  7. Backup Verification: Periodically verify that your website backups are functioning correctly. Test the restoration process to ensure that you can recover your website in case of data loss or emergencies.
  8. Monitor Traffic Sources: Keep an eye on the sources of your website’s traffic. Track where your visitors are coming from, which pages they visit most, and which keywords drive organic traffic. Use this data to refine your content and marketing strategies.
  9. Mobile Responsiveness: Continuously test your website’s mobile responsiveness across various devices and screen sizes. Ensure that mobile users have a seamless experience.
  10. SSL Certificate: Regularly check the status of your SSL certificate to ensure that it remains valid and properly configured. A secure connection is crucial for user trust and SEO.


Changing your WordPress domain is a significant undertaking, but with careful planning and execution, it can be a seamless process. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you’ve learned how to navigate the domain change while preserving your website’s integrity, user experience, and SEO rankings.

Remember that proper planning, including selecting a relevant domain name and preparing your website, is the foundation of a successful domain change. Backing up your website and updating domain settings are crucial technical steps, followed by setting up redirects to ensure a smooth transition.

Testing your new domain thoroughly and updating search engines and indexes are vital to maintaining your website’s visibility and SEO rankings. Finally, ongoing monitoring and regular content updates will help your website thrive with its new domain.

As you move forward, stay vigilant and proactive in addressing any issues that may arise, and your website will continue to serve as an effective online presence with its new domain.

If you have any questions or need further assistance with your domain change, feel free to reach out to the WordPress community or seek professional guidance from web developers and SEO experts. Best of luck with your domain transition!

Katerina Valeria
Katerina Valeria
Hi there! My name is Catherine and I am a professional content creator with a focus on WordPress. I write blog articles for Gloria Themes, sharing my knowledge and expertise on all things related to this popular website platform.

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