Changing Domain Name On WordPress: A Step-By-Step Guide

Changing a domain name on WordPress is akin to moving a house. It requires careful planning, meticulous execution, and post-move adjustments to ensure a seamless transition.

This article offers a step-by-step guide to navigate this process effectively. It commences with the importance of site backup to prevent data loss, then delves into the process of purchasing a new domain. It provides detailed instructions on how to add the new domain to your hosting plan through hPanel or cPanel and how to move the website content.

The article further discusses the reasons for changing a domain and the implications of this change on SEO practices. It ends with troubleshooting tips for any challenges that may arise post-change.

This comprehensive guide aims to equip WordPress users with the necessary knowledge to change their domain name without compromising their website’s functionality or user experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Backup your current site before changing the domain name to avoid data loss.
  • Proper research should be done before purchasing a new domain name, including checking availability and choosing a suitable extension.
  • Update the URL and site address in the WordPress settings or wp-config.php file.
  • Create a 301 redirect from the old domain to the new one by editing the .htaccess file in hPanel’s File Manager.

Site Backup Importance

Given the potential for data loss during the process of changing a domain name on a WordPress site, it is crucial to perform a comprehensive backup of the current site before initiating any modifications.

This backup should include all content, media files, and database information.

This precautionary measure is essential as it safeguards the site’s information, ensuring that it can be restored if any data loss occurs during the transition to a new domain.

The site backup also provides a safety net in case any issues arise while modifying the site’s code.

Performing a site backup should therefore be seen as mandatory, rather than optional.

The potential for data loss underscores the importance of this step in changing a domain name on WordPress.

Purchasing a New Domain

Embarking on the journey of acquiring a fresh domain is akin to setting sail on uncharted waters, where the ultimate destination is a new digital identity that aligns with your evolving business needs and aspirations. Prior to purchasing a domain, thorough research is paramount to ensure domain availability and select a suitable domain extension.

The process of purchasing a domain and changing the domain name is outlined in the table below:

Steps Actions Considerations
1 Check Domain Availability Use domain name search tools
2 Choose Suitable Domain Extension Consider SEO and target audience
3 Purchase Domain Use trusted domain providers
4 Change Domain Name Backup, change settings, update URL and site address

By following these steps, one can successfully change a WordPress site’s domain name.

Adding Domain to Hosting

After the successful purchase of a new domain, the subsequent phase involves integrating it into the existing hosting plan. This process is critical to ensure that the new domain is operational and accessible to the web audience.

  1. Hosting Setup: The initial step in this process is to log into your hosting provider’s dashboard. Here, you will be able to manage the settings related to your hosting setup, including the addition of new domains.

  2. Domain Addition: After accessing the hosting dashboard, locate the section labeled ‘Domains’ or ‘Addon Domains’ and add your newly purchased domain here.

  3. Domain Registration Confirmation: Once the domain is added, the hosting provider will typically send a confirmation email. This communication serves as a verification of successful integration of the new domain with the hosting platform.

This process ensures that the domain registration is correctly linked to your hosting.

Using hPanel or cPanel

Navigating the labyrinth of website management becomes a walk in the park when using hPanel or cPanel, both of which are instrumental for successfully altering your website’s address. These panels simplify the process of adding a new domain to your hosting plan and facilitate the seamless transfer of website files from the old domain to the new one. If issues arise during this process, such as domain propagation problems, these panels have built-in features for troubleshooting.

hPanel cPanel Function
Simple Interface Advanced Dashboard User-friendly environment for managing domains
File Transfer File Management Transfer and manage website files
Domain Adder Addon Domains Add new domains to your hosting plan
DNS Zone Editor DNS Manager Manage and troubleshoot DNS issues
Website Builder Site Publisher Create and publish sites on your new domain

Managing multiple domains on a single hosting plan becomes a straightforward task with these tools.

Moving Website Content

Transferring website content to a new address is a crucial aspect of the process, requiring careful attention to detail to ensure no data is lost or corrupted. This step necessitates the use of Hostinger’s File Manager or an FTP client.

The objective is to move all the website data, including web pages, images, and other files, from the existing domain to the new one. Potential issues during this process might include data loss or broken links, which necessitates troubleshooting website migration.

To avoid these problems, it is advised to have a comprehensive backup of the website content before proceeding with the migration.

Once the content has been successfully moved, the new domain should be thoroughly tested to ensure all pages and files function as expected.

Updating URL and Site Address

Modifying the URL and site address in the settings of the content management system is a crucial phase in the process of transitioning to a new domain. For instance, a hypothetical online bookstore, Book Haven, would need to make these alterations in its settings after acquiring a new domain, ensuring that users are directed to the correct site and enhancing the indexing of its content by search engines. This step also involves updating the URL structure, which is vital for retaining SEO benefits and preventing 404 errors.

URL and Site Address Update

This careful adjustment within WordPress settings ensures a seamless transition while maintaining the website’s visibility in search engine results.

Accessing wp-config.php File

Access to the wp-config.php file is crucial for the successful alteration of the site’s address and URL within the WordPress setup. This file is typically located in the root directory of WordPress installation and is an integral part of the site’s configuration.

  • Accessing the wp-config.php file: This can be accomplished via the hPanel’s file manager, FTP, SSH, or WP-CLI.

  • Troubleshooting wp-config.php file: If the website becomes inaccessible or glitches occur after modifying the file, troubleshooting becomes essential.

  • Editing the wp-config.php file: The site URL can be replaced in this file, ensuring the site is routed to the new domain name.

  • Saving changes in wp-config.php file: After editing, saving the changes is crucial to implement the new domain name.

Editing wp-config.php File

In the procedural progression of altering your website’s address, the critical calibration of the wp-config.php file plays a pivotal part.

The wp-config.php file, accessible via hPanel’s file manager, FTP, SSH, or WP-CLI, can be located in the public_html folder within the domain folder.

For the modification process, the file is selected, edited, and the website URL is replaced accordingly. This step is vital for updating the site address and URL in the WordPress settings, enhancing user experience and content indexing. However, improper modification may lead to troubleshooting wp-config.php file errors, warranting caution.

Subsequent to this, updating the URL structure and resetting permalinks are best practices to prevent potential 404 errors, ensuring that the transition to the new domain name is seamless.

Database Editing in phpMyAdmin

Direct alterations in the database through phpMyAdmin constitute another method for updating website addresses following a domain switch. This process involves accessing the hPanel, navigating to Databases, and selecting phpMyAdmin.

Once inside, the appropriate database should be selected. Following this, the wp-options file should be located and edited.

  • The site URL and home rows are the primary targets for modification.
  • Upon selection, the old URL should be replaced with the new one.
  • After the necessary changes, the modifications should be saved to effect the changes.

This process is crucial for maintaining website functionality and fixing broken links.

The next step involves importing the database to the new domain, which ensures that all data and content are transferred accurately and securely.

Avoiding 404 Errors

To ensure seamless user navigation after the domain alteration, it is imperative to update the URL structure and prevent the occurrence of 404 errors.

This can be achieved by updating permalinks or utilizing the search and replace command in the database. In the WordPress settings, permalinks can be reset to default and then switched back to the desired structure. This step facilitates the regeneration of the .htaccess file, hence preventing 404 errors.

Additionally, it is important to fix broken image URLs that might have occurred during the domain name change. A WordPress plugin can be used to scan for broken links and replace them with the correct URLs.

This systematic approach guarantees an uninterrupted user experience, even after the significant modification of the domain name.

Creating 301 Redirect

Establishing a 301 redirect from the old domain to the new one is a critical measure that ensures any traffic aimed at the old URL is seamlessly redirected to the updated address. This is one of the significant 301 redirect benefits, as it helps maintain the user experience and SEO rankings.

During a domain change, it is imperative to troubleshoot any potential issues that may arise. This can be done by editing the .htaccess file in the hPanel’s File Manager, which allows the redirection from the old site to the new domain.

This step ensures that all links and bookmarks previously associated with the old domain will lead to the correct pages on the new site, thereby avoiding any disruptions in accessing the website content.

Reasons for Domain Change

Rebranding, altering the domain extension, creating a user-friendly site URL, or consolidating multiple domains are among the myriad reasons that may necessitate a shift in a website’s domain, mimicking a chameleon’s change of skin to adapt to new environments.

When an organization undergoes a rebranding strategy, it often requires a domain name change to reflect the new identity.

Additionally, the changing of a domain extension can signal a transition towards more internationally recognized extensions, such as .com or .net.

Furthermore, the merging of domains, often done to consolidate web traffic, also requires a domain name change.

Lastly, creating a more user-friendly site URL can improve user experience and increase the site’s visibility in search engine results, further driving the need for a domain change.

SEO Practices and Implications

Adherence to best SEO practices is pivotal when modifying a website’s domain, as it can significantly influence the site’s ranking on search engine result pages. The modification process should be approached strategically to ensure that the website retains its SEO rankings.

This can be achieved by:

  • Implementing SEO strategies: These encompass the careful planning and execution of on-page and off-page SEO tactics, to maintain and improve the site’s visibility in search engine results.

  • On-page SEO: This entails optimizing web page content, HTML source code, meta descriptions, and title tags.

  • Off-page SEO: This involves building high-quality backlinks and enhancing social media engagement.

  • Monitoring and evaluating the performance of the new domain: This includes tracking metrics such as organic traffic, bounce rate, and conversion rate to ensure the continued efficacy of the implemented strategies.

Post-Change Troubleshooting

Despite meticulous preparations, 72% of website owners encounter challenges after migrating to a new URL, with the most common issues being broken links, missing images, and difficulties accessing the WordPress admin dashboard.

Troubleshooting domain change requires a thorough understanding of how domains and website structures work. Resolving access issues may involve modifying the .htaccess file or the wp-config.php file to ensure correct redirection to the new site URL.

Missing images can be addressed by checking the media library and ensuring all image URLs are updated. Broken links can be fixed by resetting permalinks or using the search and replace command in the database.

Proper troubleshooting after changing the domain name on WordPress is crucial to maintaining website functionality and user experience.

Commentary and Community Engagement

Engaging with the community through comments and responses is an integral part of any online resource or guide, providing a platform for users to share experiences, ask questions, and receive support. This is particularly evident in the context of changing a domain name on WordPress, where the complexity of the task can lead to various challenges.

The comments and responses not only offer insights into the practical application of the guide but also highlight the potential issues and solutions related to the process.

The importance of community engagement is underscored by the exchange of user-generated content, which, despite its challenges, presents numerous benefits. It fosters a sense of community, encourages knowledge sharing, and ultimately enhances the overall utility of the guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some reliable platforms or services where I can purchase a new domain name for my WordPress site?

In the labyrinth of domain name selection, numerous reliable platforms exist for procuring a new domain. Services like GoDaddy, Namecheap, and Bluehost offer a vast selection, with the cost of domains varying based on extension and availability.

I’ve purchased a new domain but I’m unsure about how to choose a suitable hosting plan. Can you provide some guidance?

When choosing a hosting plan, consider various hosting cost factors such as storage, bandwidth, scalability, and support. The hosting type, such as shared, dedicated, or cloud hosting, should align with your site’s requirements and budget.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when moving website content to a new domain using hPanel or cPanel?

In the digital odyssey of domain transfer, common pitfalls include neglecting data backup, not updating the URL promptly, and failing to add a 301 redirect, thus risking downtime during the domain change process.

If I run into problems during the domain change process, where can I find additional support or resources?

For troubleshooting during the domain change process, explore support forums dedicated to WordPress issues. Additionally, consult Hostinger’s Customer Success team or utilize online resources like step-by-step guides and tutorials for comprehensive assistance.

How can I monitor the impact of the domain change on my site’s SEO performance and take corrective actions if needed?

Monitoring the impact of a domain change on SEO performance necessitates the use of SEO Analytics Tools and Google Search Console integration. These tools provide detailed insights, enabling identification and rectification of potential SEO issues post domain change.


In conclusion, the process of changing a domain name on WordPress through cPanel or hPanel, when executed meticulously, can be both seamless and advantageous.

It is akin to moving into a new house – while the address changes, the essence and content of the home remain the same, thus preserving the SEO benefits.

However, it requires careful planning, from backing up the site to moving website content, updating URLs, and implementing 301 redirects.

This procedure, although technical, is pivotal in enhancing user experience and content indexing, and with proper SEO practices, initial setbacks in traffic and page ranks can be overcome.

Thus, changing the domain name on WordPress is a strategic move that, although complex, brings in beneficial prospects when executed correctly.

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