Moving a WordPress website from one domain to another can be quite a bit of work, if you don’t know what you’re doing. However, the process doesn’t have to be hard and you can even do it without losing any SEO ranking.
Things to do First
Before you decide to move your WordPress site, you need to take care of a few things. First, it’s important to know, you may see a temporary change in your search engine ranking. However, this will only last for a short amount of time.
The first thing you want to do is create a full backup of your website. If you don’t create a backup, you may lose everything, if something goes wrong. You can choose from a number of plugins to use for your backup.
Moving Your WordPress Website
After creating a backup of your site, you will be able to start the migration process. Using the Duplicator Plugin is one of the easiest ways to do this. Start by downloading it and installing the plugin on your old site.
Once you activate the plugin, you will have a Duplicator menu in your WordPress Dashboard. After you click on this menu, you can easily create a new package.
Click on Create New to start the duplication process. This will give you a package name, which you can change, if necessary. After you click the next button, the plugin will scan your site to ensure it can be properly duplicated. After the scan is done, just click the build button and it will start to duplicate your website.
After the process is complete, you will want to download both the duplicator package and the installer.
Using FTP to Move Your WordPress Website
Now, you will need to use FTP to install the package on your new domain name. Before you do anything else, make sure the root directory of the new domain is completely empty.
Next, upload the installer.php file and your .zip file for the package to your new site. After they are uploaded, just launch the installer.php file.
Once you launch the installer, it will walk you through the entire process. You will need to provide database information for your new site and you will need to click the box for the warnings and notices. After this step, you will have to click on the “Run Deployment” button. This will allow the .zip package to be extracted and installed on your new site.
This process will take a little bit of time, but once it’s done, you will have your new site just about ready to go. All you will have to do from here is use the update page to change the URLs.
Make sure to check your new website for missing information, missing images and broken links. Sometimes there are still issues when moving a WordPress site from one domain to another.
You have now completed the process of moving your website.
Setting Up Your 301 Redirects
If you want to make sure you get the most out of your SEO and give the user the best experience, you need to use Permanent 301 Redirects. This will allow you to redirect any users from your old site to your new one. Whenever somebody finds one of your old pages or posts, they will automatically be taken to your new website.
Changing your old site to use permanent 301 redirects is done by accessing the .htaccess file. This is found in your root folder and can be accessed from your cPanel file manager.
Click to edit this file and make sure it looks like this:
Make sure to replace newsite.com with the domain of your new WordPress website. After you make this change, you will have your permanent 301 redirect set up.
Letting Google Know About Your Changes
After making all these changes, you will need to let Google know about the changes. Simply login into your Google Webmaster Tools and submit a change of address from the Configuration section of your account.
Announcing the News
The final step you want to take with the process of moving a WordPress website from one domain to another is telling your regular subscribers. The 301 redirects are great, but you should still make an announcement. Send an email out to your list, let customers know as you talk to them and even add a popup to your new website to let everybody know about the change.
Now you know how to move a WordPress website from one domain to another without losing our SEO ranking. Don’t forget, you may temporarily see a change in Google ranking.