If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog (WordPress.org) and you are wanting to keep your content but move it to a new domain, this guide is right for you.
If you are wanting to move a WordPress.com blog to a self-hosted site, here is the right guide for you.
Moving your self-hosted WordPress blog to another domain is pretty easy, although there is a consequence to consider up front: Something that will be affected by this move is your current SEO. You will definitely see a sudden drop in traffic at first. The search engines will need a few weeks to adjust to your domain change.
If you are ready to begin, here are the steps you need to take to move your WordPress blog to a new domain while keeping the SEO work you have put into place.
STEP ONE: Back Up Your WordPress Database
To keep this move as risk-free as possible, an essential step to you to take is to back up your WordPress database, as it holds all of your content including posts and comments.
A free and easy way to do this is to use a free plugin like WP-DB-Backup. This is what will be shown in this tutorial.
- Navigate to “Plugins>Add New,” and search for “WP-DB-Backup”. Then click “Install Now” and activate the plugin after the installation is complete.
2. Navigate to “Tools>Backup,” then select “Download to your computer” before clicking “Backup Now”.
What’s nice about this tool is it can also be used to schedule automatic backups and have them emailed to you, downloaded on your computer or saved to a remote server like your web hosting FTP server.
STEP TWO: Export/Import Your Content
Let’s assume you already have your new domain ready with WordPress installation, now you can export your content and import it into this new blog.
For your convenience, WordPress has a built-in export tool.
A) Navigate to “Tools>Export” and click “All content.” Then click “Download Export File.”
B) Go to the administrator dashboard inside your new WordPress blog and navigate to “Tools>Import”. Click the “WordPress” option at the bottom of the list, then upload the export file that was downloaded. Click “Upload file and import,” and then your content will show up on your new blog.
This should now include all of your posts and pages, although images and other uploads will need to to be migrated also. Plus, any plugins and themes will also need to be redownloaded and reconfigured.
STEP THREE: Migrate Your WordPress Uploads
Tip: Using an FTP client like FileZilla would be a simple, effective way to move all your WordPress uploads onto your new site. You will need to manually transfer them with Filezilla.
Another option is tapping into your hosting company, who might provide a web-based client. Or a third option is to use File Explorer in Windows 8.
A) Log into the FTP server of your old WordPress site, and navigate to “wp-content/uploads”.
B) Then download the complete folder and copy it over to the corresponding directory with your new WordPress blog, and if you are prompted to overwrite any files, do it. If you need to preserve any previous uploads on your new website, then go ahead and merge the folders without overwriting any files.
STEP FOUR: Restoring Your Themes and Plugins
You’ll need to redo any customizations even after your content and uploads are available on the new site. A paid plugin called “BackupBuddy” is one choice you could go with.
A) Reinstall then reconfigure your theme. If you have any modified code in the theme, then you should probably copy over the files manually from the FTP server on your previous site. Themes are located in the “wordpress\wp-content\themes” directory.
B) Now reinstall or reconfigure any plugins and widgets you want. An easy way to do this is to open both your old and new WordPress sites side by side and then manually go through the settings step-by-step.
Does your new WordPress site look a lot like your site? It should. If not, see if you need to update any internal links on the new site so they are referring to the new domain. The plugin “Pretty Link” works to automate this process.
You also should update any RSS feeds. And set up a 301 redirect so search engine traffic and the search engine crawlers will automatically be redirected to your new domain.
Your final step is to submit a new XML sitemap to Google.
Now review your new WordPress site, testing it thoroughly, and you’re done!