How to Change Your Domain Name on WordPress: A Comprehensive Guide

Rebranding your business? Or, maybe you’re trying to choose a more relevant, shorter, or easier-to-remember address. Whatever the reason, migrating your WordPress website to a new domain requires careful planning and execution.

Changing the domain name would involve updating the WordPress settings, the wp-config.php file, and the database. Then you will have to redirect the former domain and notify the search engines.

Don’t worry; our WordPress experts have compiled this detailed guide to change the domain name. We’ll cover the reasons to migrate and the pre-checks, along with the process and plugins. Let’s begin.

Why Change the Domain Name of Your WordPress Website?

For WordPress website owners, the domain name serves as a crucial digital identity, shaping brand perception and influencing online visibility. However, strategic shifts and evolving business needs may require a domain name change.

It could be driven by a company rebrand or a targeted expansion into new markets. Or maybe, you just want a more concise and memorable address that aligns better with the website’s core message.

Regardless of the reason, changing your domain name in WordPress requires careful planning and execution. That ensures a seamless transition with minimal disruption to your existing audience and established SEO value.

What to Do Before Changing Your Domain Name?

As with complete WordPress migration, you need to take care of a few preparatory steps to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

Secure Your Backup

A comprehensive WordPress website backup is paramount. This includes both your WordPress files and the database. Having a backup readily available provides a safety net in case of any unforeseen issues during the migration process.

Plan the Migration Timeline

Outline a detailed timeline for the domain change, factoring in potential delays and dependencies. This will help you stay organized and manage the process efficiently.

Research the New Domain

Conduct a thorough investigation of your chosen new domain. Check its history in search engines and ensure it’s free from any negative SEO associations.

Domain Acquisition and DNS Configuration

Secure your new domain name and ensure it points to the correct server hosting your website files. This typically involves updating the DNS records through your domain registrar’s control panel.

Inform Your Audience

Communicate the upcoming domain change to your website visitors, email subscribers, and social media followers. Provide clear explanations for the transition and the effective date to minimize any confusion.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Considerations

Changing your domain can have a temporary impact on your SEO ranking. To mitigate this, plan to implement proper 301 redirects from your old domain to the new one. This signals to search engines that the content has permanently moved, preserving your established SEO value.

Internal Link Review

Thoroughly examine your website for any internal links that reference the old domain name. Update these links to point to the corresponding pages on the new domain to ensure seamless navigation and avoid broken links.

Update Essential Services

Ensure all relevant services associated with your website are updated with the new domain name. This includes email addresses, analytics platforms, social media profiles, and any third-party integrations.

Make sure you address these preparatory steps carefully. It will help minimize the downtime, maintain user experience, and safeguard your search rankings. And the transition to your new online identity will be smooth and successful.

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How to Change Your Domain Name in WordPress?

The aim of this migration process is to change the domain name of your WordPress website without affecting its functionality or search rankings.

Step 1: Backup Your Website

Hopefully, you covered this step during the preparatory phase. If not, before making any changes, it’s essential to create a full backup of your WordPress website. So you have a copy of your site’s content, databases, and settings. You can revert to them if any issues arise during the domain name change.

Step 2: Choose Your New Domain Name

Select a new domain name that aligns with your brand identity, business objectives, and SEO goals. Consider factors such as domain availability, relevance to your niche, and ease of recall for your target audience.

Step 3: Purchase the New Domain

Once you’ve decided on a new domain name, register it through a domain registrar or web hosting provider. Make sure to choose a reputable registrar that offers reliable service and domain management tools.

Step 4: Update WordPress Settings or wp-config.php

Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard and navigate to the Settings → General section. Here, update the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) fields with your new domain name. Click ‘Save Changes’ to apply the updates.

You can also take care of it through the wp-config.php file (a key part of the WordPress file structure).

Access your website’s root directory through FTP client or your hosting provider’s file manager. Then, locate the wp-config.php file and download it to your local machine. Open the file and search this code excerpt:

define('WP_HOME', '');
define('WP_SITEURL', '');

Replace “[invalid URL removed]” with your new domain name in both lines. Finally, save the file.

Step 5: Update Site Content and Internal Links

Review your website’s content and update any internal links, images, or references that contain the old domain name. This ensures that all elements of your site reflect the new domain accurately.

Step 6: Set Up 301 Redirects

Implement WordPress 301 redirects from your old domain to the new domain. That ensures seamless redirection of traffic and preserves your website’s SEO value. You can set up redirects using a plugin or through your WordPress hosting control panel.

Step 7: Update External Links and Listings

Update the domain name external links, business listings, social media profiles, and marketing materials that reference your old domain name. This helps maintain consistency across your online presence and prevents potential confusion for visitors.

Step 8: Notify Search Engines

Inform search engines about the domain name change by submitting a change of address request through Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. This helps expedite the indexing of your new domain and ensures that your website’s SEO performance is not adversely affected.

Step 9: Monitor for Errors and Issues

After implementing the domain name change, closely monitor your website for any common WordPress errors, broken links, or unexpected behavior. Address any issues promptly to minimize disruptions to user experience and search engine visibility.

If you encounter any issues with this process, you can consult with our WordPress development company. We’ll help you migrate your WordPress website to a new domain.

FAQs on Changing Your Domain Name in WordPress

How long does it take for the domain change to take effect?
DNS propagation, the process of updating your domain name's connection to your website server, can take anywhere from a few minutes to 48 hours. Be patient and allow time for the change to fully propagate across the internet.
Will I lose my SEO ranking after changing the domain?
While changing your domain can temporarily impact SEO, it doesn't have to be a permanent downfall. Implementing proper 301 redirects from your old domain to the new one helps search engines understand the website has moved and preserves your established SEO value.
How can I ensure my website is functioning correctly after the domain change?
Thoroughly test your website on the new domain after making the changes. Check for broken links, functionality issues, and overall user experience to ensure everything works as intended.


Domain name is usually one of the first things anyone learns about a website. So you need to choose a domain name that reflects your brand or business. Changing your domain name on WordPress can help you rebrand or improve your SEO.

Remember to prioritize comprehensive backups and proper SEO considerations. And after the change, do thorough testing to ensure a smooth transition and minimal disruption to your website’s functionality and online presence.

Domain name is a crucial aspect of any website. So if you’re not comfortable with this migration process, you can consult with WordPress specialists. They will take care of the migration while ensuring proper security and functionality for your website.

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Chinmay Pandya is an accomplished tech enthusiast specializing in PHP, WordPress, and Laravel. With a solid background in web development, he brings expertise in crafting innovative solutions and optimizing performance for various projects.

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