Now that you have been able to create a WordPress website successfully, are you really contented with the domain name and hosting provider? If your answer is no, then you need to perform a migration to a new domain name and host. Well, moving a WordPress site to a new domain may be challenging especially if you do not have the necessary tools and strategy to follow. Furthermore, if the switch is not done correctly, it may result in unnecessary errors in your existing site. Luckily, if you read this guide to the end, you will not encounter any problems switching your WordPress site from one domain and/or host to another.
In this article, I will explain how you can move an existing WordPress website to a different domain name both in the case where the host does not change and where the host is also changed.
Did you know that shifting to a new domain name does not necessarily require you to move your WordPress website? This is absolutely possible and you only need to change some WordPress settings and then search for your domain name in the database using a plugin. Keep in mind that you can do this if you are only not contented with the domain name and not the site and the hosting provider.
You can achieve this in 3 steps:
1. Register the new domain with your hosting provider and point it at your website- Here you will have to change either the name servers or the A records with your domain registrar.
2. Configure some WordPress settings to use the new domain name- Go to WordPress admin, click on Settings then General and look for the WordPress Address and Site Address fields. Edit this section to match your new domain name.
3. Set up redirects so that the new domain’s links replace the links to your old domain. You can use a redirection tool like the free Redirection for this task.
With this said, let’s now look at the case where you need to move your site as well.
When is this needed?
You would want to move your site entirely to a new domain name and host due to the following:
• When you are not contented with what your current web hosting provider offers
• When in addition to changing the hosting plan you want to redesign your site
• When you want to switch your standalone website to a multi-site network or vice versa
How to Move a WordPress Website to a new domain and host (A step-wise Guide)
1. Make a backup of the files on your website and database
This is both a security measure and a requirement when moving your website to a new domain and hosting provider. You can either do this manually with a file transfer tool like FileZilla or a plugin like WPvivid. On installing a file transfer tool, you will need to use SFTP control to connect to your site’s server. On connection, you just have to select and download all the files on your site’s directory. On the other hand, using a plugin is more of an automatic process where on installation, you just need to follow the directions given.
2. Export the WordPress database
Login to your cPanel account of your server then open phpMyAdmin. Select the database you want to export and then click the Export tab and Go button to start the process. Once the transfer is complete, you are ready for the next step.
3. Create a WordPress database that you can move your SQL data into
Connect to your cPanel software, open MySQL and create a new database with a preferred name. Create a new MySQL user and add this account to the new database.
4. Edit the wp-config.php File
Here, you need to first make a copy of the wp-config.php file from the list of files you downloaded earlier.
Using your preferred text editor, open the original file and change the database name, database username and database password
created in step 3
5. Import your WordPress database
On your new server, launch the phpMyAdmin and select your new database then click on the Import tab. Click Choose File on the File to Import section and select the SQL file you exported previously. Uncheck the Partial Import check box and click the Go button to start the process.
6. Upload WordPress Files to Your New Host
Using your FTP program, connect to your new web host and search for the folder that your site will be held. If this is the only site being installed on this server then uploading the files to the public HTML folder is the usual directory. If the remote directory is selected, you can upload your site files including the new version of wp-config.php.
7. Replace the old domain using the 3-steps procedure explained at the beginning.
8. To finish up the process, you need to reconfigure your domain’s DNS settings and connect to your old web host to delete old files.
If you have spent a lot of your energy and time to create a website, shifting it to a new domain name and/or host should not stress you further. If you follow the approaches explained above, you should not have any problems with this task. Keep in mind that having a backup of your existing website’s files is crucial in case any error or hitches occur and you need to repeat the process. With such simple approaches, you don’t have to keep a website domain name that is too expensive to renew or is inferior or incompatible for your new business. Good luck as you shift to a better and reliable domain name for your dear WordPress website with the approaches I explained above.