How to Move a WordPress Website to a New Domain
You have taken the plunge. You have decided to make a complete renovation of your website, moving it from one platform to another. Congrats! This is a big decision and it needs proper preparations. In this article, we’ll tell you about the things you need to think about before you make the move.
You have been running your website for a while now and everything is working fine. No big deal, right? Well, it is when you make a complete website overhaul and move to a new platform. One small mistake during the migration can lead to serious data loss. You don’t want to find yourself in that situation, do you?
To avoid all the hassle and potential data loss, you need to take proper steps to back up your website before the move. This can be a real pain and many website owners skip this step out of sheer ignorance. Don’t be that guy. Make sure you take a snapshot of your website’s database before you do anything else.
Depending on where you move your website from, there will be certain content that needs to be transferred over. For example, if you are moving from a self-hosted blog to a WordPress.com blog, you will have to export your entire blog’s content and import it on the new platform.
If you are moving from an FTP server to a Cloud server, you will need to download the entire website and move it locally before you can access it remotely. In both cases, this can be a tedious and time-consuming process, which is why we always suggest migrating content incrementally instead of all at once. This way, you will easily be able to track any errors that may occur during the transition and fix them promptly.
Moving a WordPress website means replacing its theme with another one. Just because your theme works well with your current platform doesn’t mean it will work well on the new one. In some cases, it can even cause serious problems. It is always better to replace themes only when absolutely necessary and for the most part, you can leave the default theme intact. If you are going to be rebuilding the entire site anyway, you might as well go all the way and choose a completely new theme.
If you are moving to a different domain, make sure you update all your links manually. There are free tools like Google’s Content Change Checker that can help you identify broken links on your site. Just enter your old and new domain names and the tool will scan your entire site for you.
Make Sure You Have Everything Ready
There are several components that make up a WordPress website. If you are moving to a different domain, you will need to make sure that all of these components are configured correctly on the new platform. This can be a hassle-free process if you follow our step-by-step guide, but you must follow it carefully otherwise you can end up in a situation where your site doesn’t work properly. If you are unsure of how to do this, ask your web host for help or read our guide on How to Setup a WordPress Blog.
Make Sure The New Domain Is Available
Depending on where you are moving your content from, you may need to purchase a dedicated IP address from a reputable provider. A dedicated IP is an IP address that is solely used for your website and cannot be accessed by any other websites. If you are moving to a different domain, you will need to ensure that the new domain is both available and accessible from your location. If these conditions are not met, you may encounter major problems when trying to access your site. Keep this in mind and make sure that you have everything in place before you make the move.
Decide Whether To Migrate From A Subdomain Or Just Move The Root
If the domain you choose for your new site is not registered, you will need to decide whether to create a subdomain (e.g. mysite.com) or just move the root of the domain (e.g. yourdomain.com) to the new platform. If you decide to migrate the root, you will need to consider whether or not to keep your old domain’s name or to choose a new one.
Creating a subdomain can be a convenient way to manage multiple websites, especially when you are starting out. For example, if you want to create a blog for your business and want to keep things separate from your personal blog, you can easily create a subdomain like business.mysite.com and then put your personal blog on mysite.com.
If you decide to move the entire domain, you do not have to worry about creating subdomains as everything will be merged into one. This will also make it much more convenient to manage your content if you are on the move constantly. Just make sure you always use the proper HTTPS protocol when communicating with content that is directly related to commerce (e.g. online stores, membership pages, etc.). In most cases, just moving the root will suffice and there is no need to create a subdomain for the same site.
Once You Migrate, Be Sure To Update All Nodes And Follow-Ups
Once you migrate your site to a new platform, you will need to make sure that all your nodes (e.g. menus, breadcrumbs, and more) and follow-ups are updated to reflect the change. If you are following a specific SEO strategy, make sure all your metadata (e.g. titles, descriptions, and more) are updated as well. This is especially important if you are moving to a platform that is significantly different from what you are used to using (i.e. self-hosted vs. hosted). As a general rule of thumb, try to keep as much of the content on the new site as you can. There are several free tools like Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin that can help you with this process easily.
Regular Backups And Maintenance
As mentioned before, making a complete website rebuild can be a risky proposition. One wrong move and you can end up losing all your site’s content in a flash. To avoid all the potential hassle, you need to take regular backups of your site. This way, you will always have a safe copy of your entire site should anything happen. Make sure you have a professional organization behind this effort and ensure they have the proper licensing should they need to restore your content in the event of a data loss. For even more reassurance, you can always set up a Restore Point every time you make a backup so you will always have the previous version of your site should anything happen.
Keeping your content up-to-date is extremely important and one of the greatest risks if you don’t. Using plugins like Yoast’s Content Updates can help you keep track of all the changes that occur on your site and ensure that all your content is up-to-date. Checking and fixing outdated content can be a tedious process and if you do it regularly you will prevent all the major problems that could otherwise arise from stale content.
Avoid Duplicate Content
When you are on the move, you don’t have the luxury of choosing the domain name you want and making any necessary configuration changes. This means you need to be extremely careful about what platforms you decide to use and ensure you don’t end up creating duplicate content. For example, if you use a self-hosted platform like WordPress, you should make sure that all the content you post on your site is different from what you post on your Instagram account or Facebook page. The more unique content you have, the better. The same goes for links- if you have a website with lots of links, make sure they are all unique and don’t lead to the same platform or domain.
Be Careful With The Plugins You Install
Installing plugins is a quick and easy way to expand your site’s functionality. Unless you are experienced with plugins and know exactly what you are doing, it is always a better idea to consult with the plugin’s author or the community for help. Just remember, not all plugins are created equal and some can cause more problems than they solve. Just keep this in mind and make sure you are not being tricked by marketing ploys. Many times, these ploys can lead you to downloading malware or exposing your site to hackers. Just be careful!