How to Change the Domain Name for Your WordPress Site

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When you plan on changing the domain name for your WordPress website, there are a couple of things you should bear in mind because the process might be tricky for an inexperienced user.

Investing in WordPress can yield pretty good results. WordPress is a great and easy tool to learn the website’s basics, and once you gain enough experience, it becomes the go-to solution for every new project. For example, you might have gone for one of the Top 5 Best New WordPress Themes of 2022 we published earlier and saw with your own eyes that building a website on WordPress can produce stunning websites.

Plans change, and you must always consider unexpected customer requests, among other things. This guide answers every potential question on how to change the domain name on your WordPress website.

Back up Before You Move on

Backing up all the related server files is mandatory if something goes wrong. It’s an important step that is often overlooked. Make sure you log in to your web hosting account and download your website’s database locally. We advise you to do the same from your FTP manager for your server files and store them locally. 

Some web hosting providers make daily or hourly backups of the database and the files on the server. These are both accessible through the web hosting manager. If you’ve never used them before, navigate to their menu and scroll through the list of available backups. But, downloading all the files ensures that your files are safely stored twice, in case you need to merge them.

Can I Change My WordPress Domain?

Domains change. It doesn’t mean your WordPress site should have the same domain name for its whole lifecycle.

The process is straightforward if you have already bought another domain from your web host. It requires some technical knowledge, but following our guide, you’ll have no problems changing your domain name on your WordPress site.

Why Would You Want to Change Your Domain Name?

Τhere are plenty of reasons you might want to change your domain name. Some are unexpected, while others are planned for weeks or months beforehand. Here are some examples:

  • You or your customer changed their business name and want a new domain name to reflect it.
  • The domain name you wanted wasn’t available originally, but now it is.
  • You want to have a more SEO-friendly domain name. 

Change Your WordPress Website Domain From Your WordPress Settings

If you’ve already bought a domain name, then the process is as follows.

  1. The first step is to change your WordPress website domain.
  2. You need to log in to the WordPress dashboard.
  3. Once logged in, go to Settings > General to access the WordPress Address (URL), and the Site Address (URL), where you can change your site’s domain name. 

How to Redirect Your Old URL to the New One

With a change like this, it would be reasonable to inform your audience that there will be some changes to your site while sharing the new domain on your social media to ensure that every visitor will get the news. But that’s not enough.

You want to set up redirects so that the visitors who still are going to your old domain get redirected to the new one automatically. It will also redirect content you already have published so that old links will still work.

This process is called 301 redirects, and it’s done through the .htaccess file on the root of your WordPress installation. Open .htaccess through your web host’s web FTP or your PC with an FTP file manager. Find RewriteEngine On, add the following line to the next row, and save the file.

RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R=301,L]

Then you should also update your social media and Google Search Console accounts to begin using your new domain name.

Do You Have to Purchase a New Domain Name?

The process is easy, but finding the right domain name is time-consuming. Once you settle on the new domain name you will use, you must buy it from any domain registrars. An extra account to the domain registrar is needed in that case.

A small tip: If you buy a second domain from a domain registrar, you’ll have to connect it to your web host by changing the nameservers from the registrar to point at your hosting company.

While most trustworthy web hosting providers will give you one domain name for free with your web hosting plan, it’s almost sure that’s the one you’re already using. The good thing is that you can buy the new domain from your current web hosting provider, saving time while it’s also faster.

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