Kevin Kessler
November 20, 2020

Changing your WordPress site to a new domain name is not super-intuitive.

In fact, it can be downright difficult if you don’t know what files to access, and there’s always the concern you could break your database and website if you’re not careful.

That’s why many site owners don’t bother doing this, even in WordPress.

However, since a WordPress URL is not always the most attractive thing for visitors to see, it may become necessary at some point.

Luckily, the process is quite easy to follow once you understand where you need to make changes (and what comes after those changes).

This article will guide you through the process of switching your WordPress domain for a new domain name and creating a new and exciting WordPress site without breaking your database.

Plus, we’ll show you how to keep your old domain active so you can still get traffic from it.

Instantly Export Google Docs Into WordPress

Login with your Google Account now for a 3-export free trial.

What is a WordPress Domain?

A domain name is the custom website address that users can access.

WordPress also offers a domain name for your website, one that’s followed by ‘.wordpress.com.’

This is how a WordPress domain looks like.

(Image Source)

It’s a unique identifier that still allows you to create a memorable address but one that also lets visitors know what platform you’re using.

However, WordPress also allows custom domain names on their platform that aren’t followed by the platform’s name. In this situation, both website addresses remain valid as the old one simply redirects to your custom domain of choice.

Why Change Your WordPress Domain?

Rebranding is the main reason why you may want to opt for a custom domain name. Your address or domain can reflect on your business’s success and help with your new marketing strategy. Simply put, running a site on a subdomain such as ‘.wordPress.com’ doesn’t look as good as “[yourbrand].com” straight up.

The WordPress change domain service isn’t difficult to use. And it’s also recommended at times when a new and better domain becomes available. Yet another popular reason to make a change, if the new name represents your brand better.

How to Change Your WordPress Domain

Changing your domain name isn’t too difficult but it can still pose some problems − not just from a planning standpoint but also with the implementation process.

Fortunately, WordPress seems to address these common requests well and makes the process accessible even to less experienced users.

Here’s how it works…

The Seven-Step Process:

  1. First, you have to start by buying a new domain name. Use a domain checker of your choosing to find a better available fit for your website and your brand.
  2. The second step involves changing your website URL from the admin WordPress dashboard. Navigate to your dashboard then to Settings > General and choose to replace the current WordPress URL and site address. Put your new domain name in both fields and save.
You will be taken to this page when you click on Settings
  1. For the changes to take effect you have to check and update the wp-config.php file. This is the file that contains database information and without which your website wouldn’t work. A very easy way to do this is by using an FTP file manager such as hPanel.
  2. Use the program to access the wp-config.php file from the public_html folder. Edit the file by replacing the existing site name with your new domain name.
  3. The fourth step is updating the database. Using the same hPanel, you can navigate to Databases then phpMyAdmin. Select the database with your WordPress files and enter. Locate and edit the site URL and the home row in the wp_options file.
  4. The final step is also required because of WordPress policies. You have to redirect hits from the old address to your new domain name. Again, use the hPanel to access Files and then the File Manager. Click on your old domain name and then the File Manager.
  5. Locate the public_html directory and then the .htaccess file. Right click on it and hit the Edit button. Replace the site name with your new domain and also add these lines of code:
  • #Options +FollowSymLinks
  • RewriteEngine on
  • RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://yoursitename.com/$1 [R=301,L]

By doing this you’re making sure that all the effort you’ve put into SEO content won’t be wasted, and that you can still take advantage of your Google rankings.

WordPress Domain Name − FAQ

Can you transfer a domain name to WordPress?

It’s possible to transfer a domain name when you move to the WordPress platform. To set your transferred domain name as the primary, you can navigate to My Sites > Manage > Domains. From there, pick the URL you want and make it the primary choice. Also, check the Use WordPress.com Name Servers option under the Name Servers & DNS tab.

How do I change my URL on WordPress?

To change the site’s URL, you have to login as an admin and go to ‘Settings’ then ‘General.’ In this menu, you’ll find the WordPress Address option and the Site Address option. You can edit both of them and then save the changes. Just note that it may take a while for the update to go through.

You have to login as an admin to do this.

(Image Source)

Why does my website say temp domain?

As part of the WordPress policy, you get a temporary domain name so that you can edit and configure your website without having to change the DNS settings. This allows you to perform maintenance and updates on your website without affecting the live version.

What is WordPress admin URL?

This is the link you can use to directly connect to your admin dashboard on your website. It’s the version of the website that you can control and edit, and visitors can’t access without your credentials. It also makes it easier for you to log in and work, since all you have to do is type in your WordPress website address and add the /admin line at the end.

How often should I backup my WordPress site?

This really depends on how often you make changes. If you constantly upload files, edit themes, and update plugins, you may want to back up your website twice or maybe three times per month. The less you work on your website, the less you need to perform backups.

Conclusion

As you can see, changing your domain name is a somewhat simple five-step process that starts with you buying the new domain, changing the addresses in key files, and redirecting from your old domain name to your new one, in order to make sure you still get your visitors.

If you’re doing this for the first time, you may also want to back up your WordPress site to ensure that if something goes wrong with the file editing, you can always go back to a working version of your database.