Your domain name is more than just a URL – it’s the brand and face of your online presence.
A well-chosen domain name can contribute to your site’s visibility and accessibility, making it easier for users to find and remember your site.
However, there may come a time when you need to change your domain name.
Perhaps you’re rebranding, or your current domain name no longer reflects the nature of your business.
Whatever the reason, changing your domain name is a significant step that requires careful planning and execution.
Understanding Domain Names and WordPress
So, what exactly is a domain name?
In simple terms, a domain name is the address where internet users can access your website.
It’s a unique string of characters that directs users to your site when they type it into their browser’s address bar.
WordPress, as a content management system, uses domain names to identify and locate websites.
When you set up your WordPress site, you assign it a domain name, which becomes the site’s primary address.
This domain name is stored in your WordPress settings and is used to route visitors to your site.
WordPress also uses the domain name to manage internal linking within your site.
For instance, when you create a new page or post, WordPress automatically generates a URL for it based on your domain name.
Changing your domain name in WordPress, therefore, involves more than just updating a setting.
It requires careful consideration to ensure that your site remains accessible and that all internal links continue to function correctly.
For a smooth transition, it’s crucial to understand how WordPress uses domain names and the potential impact of a domain name change on your site’s functionality and SEO.
In the next section, we’ll walk you through the steps of changing your domain name in WordPress, from preparation to execution.
Step-by-Step Guide to Changing Your Domain Name in WordPress
Changing your domain name in WordPress is a straightforward process, but it’s essential to follow the steps carefully to avoid any issues.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process.
step 1 – Logging into Your WordPress Account
The first step in changing your domain name is to log into your WordPress account.
You can do this by navigating to your site’s login page, which is typically located at yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
Enter your username and password, and click on the ‘Log In’ button.
Once you’re logged in, you’ll be taken to your WordPress dashboard, which is the control panel for your website.
step 2 – Navigating to Settings > General
From your WordPress dashboard, you need to navigate to the ‘Settings’ menu.
You can find this on the left-hand side of your dashboard.
Click on ‘Settings’, and then click on ‘General’.
This will take you to the ‘General Settings’ page, where you can change various settings for your website, including your domain name.
step 3 – Changing the WordPress Address and Site Address
On the ‘General Settings’ page, you’ll see two fields: ‘WordPress Address (URL)’ and ‘Site Address (URL)’.
These are the settings that determine your site’s domain name.
The ‘WordPress Address (URL)’ is where your WordPress core files are located, while the ‘Site Address (URL)’ is the address that visitors type in their browser to reach your website.
In most cases, these two addresses will be the same.
To change your domain name, you simply need to replace the existing URLs in these two fields with your new domain name.
Make sure to enter the full URL, including the ‘http://’ or ‘https://’ part.
step 4 – Saving the Changes
Once you’ve entered your new domain name, scroll down to the bottom of the ‘General Settings’ page and click on the ‘Save Changes’ button.
This will update your settings and change your domain name.
Please note that once you save the changes, your old domain name will no longer direct users to your site.
You’ll need to ensure that your new domain name is working correctly and that you’ve set up any necessary redirects from your old domain name.
Changing your domain name is a significant change that can affect your site’s SEO, so it’s essential to do it correctly.
If you’re unsure about any of the steps, consider seeking help from a professional.
At Glenire, we offer a range of services to help you manage your WordPress site, including domain name changes.
For more tips and guides on managing your WordPress site, check out our blog. Here’s how we recently showed how to justify text in WordPress.
We regularly post helpful articles to help you make the most of your WordPress site.
Post Domain Change Actions
After successfully changing your domain name in WordPress, there are a few more steps you need to take to ensure a smooth transition.
Setting Up Permanent Redirects
Setting up permanent redirects is crucial to ensure that any visitors trying to access your site using the old domain name are automatically redirected to your new domain.
This is typically done using 301 redirects, which tell search engines that your site has permanently moved to a new location.
You can set up 301 redirects using various plugins available for WordPress or through your hosting provider’s control panel.
Notifying Search Engines of the Change
It’s also important to notify search engines of your domain name change.
This can be done through Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
By submitting a change of address, you help search engines update their index and understand that your site has moved to a new domain.
Updating the Domain Name in Google Webmaster Tools
In Google Webmaster Tools, you can update your domain name by going to the ‘Change of Address’ section under ‘Site Configuration’.
Here, you can select your new domain from the list of sites you have verified and click on the ‘Change of address’ button.
This will help Google understand that your site has moved and update its index accordingly.
Common Issues and Troubleshooting
Changing your domain name can sometimes lead to issues.
Here are some common problems and their solutions.
Dealing with Common Issues After Changing the Domain Name
One common issue after changing the domain name is broken internal links.
This happens when the internal links on your site still point to the old domain.
You can fix this by updating your internal links to point to the new domain.
There are several plugins available for WordPress that can help you do this.
Another common issue is that your site may not display correctly, or at all, after the domain change.
This can be caused by various factors, such as problems with your DNS settings or issues with your site’s cache.
If you’re facing this issue, check your DNS settings to make sure they’re correct, and try clearing your site’s cache.
Solutions to Potential Problems
If you’re still facing issues after trying the above solutions, it may be a good idea to seek help from a professional.
They can help you identify the problem and provide a solution.
Remember, changing your domain name is a significant change that can affect your site’s SEO and user experience, so it’s essential to do it correctly.
Can I change the domain name of my website?
Yes, you can change the domain name of your website. This process involves purchasing a new domain name, updating your website settings to reflect the new domain, and setting up redirects from your old domain to the new one.
Can you change your WordPress domain for free?
Changing your WordPress domain itself is free, but you will need to purchase a new domain name from a domain registrar, which usually involves a fee.
How do I change my primary domain managed in WordPress?
In WordPress, you can change your primary domain by navigating to Settings > General in your WordPress dashboard. Here, you can update the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) fields with your new domain name.
How do I change my subdomain name in WordPress?
Changing a subdomain name in WordPress follows a similar process to changing a primary domain. You would need to update the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) fields in your Settings > General page with your new subdomain name.
Is it a good idea to change domain name?
Changing your domain name can be a good idea if your current domain no longer reflects your business or brand. However, it’s important to note that changing your domain name can impact your SEO. It’s crucial to set up proper redirects and notify search engines of the change to maintain your site’s visibility.
How do I change my domain name without losing SEO?
To change your domain name without losing SEO, you need to set up 301 redirects from your old domain to your new one. This tells search engines that your site has moved and helps to preserve your search rankings. You should also update your domain name in Google Webmaster Tools and other search engine tools. For a more detailed guide, check out our ultimate guide on website migration.
Do I own my WordPress domain?
If you purchased your domain from a domain registrar, then you own your WordPress domain. However, if you’re using a free domain provided by a hosting provider, the hosting provider typically retains ownership of the domain.
Can I have a WordPress site without a domain?
Yes, you can have a WordPress site without a domain. WordPress.com offers free subdomains for users who don’t want to purchase a domain. However, having your own domain gives your site a more professional appearance and makes it easier for visitors to find your site.
Can I bring my own domain name to WordPress?
Yes, you can bring your own domain name to WordPress. If you’ve purchased a domain from a domain registrar, you can point it to your WordPress site by updating your domain’s DNS settings.