How to Move a Website to a New Domain Name


Learning how to move a website to a new domain name is pretty straightforward. You can count on the entire process taking anywhere from 48 to 72 hours (or maybe much longer if you have a very large site) but if you have a smaller site then chances are you can get everything set up properly and read to go on the new domain name in just a couple of hours. Read on for a few tips to make moving a website to a new domain name a breeze and then be sure and try out our domain name finding tools on our dashboard to find yourself some some awesome domain names!

Step 1: Transferring Files

The first step in moving your website to your new domain name is to create an account on your server or shared hosting plan for the new domain and then transfer over all of the old website files to the new account you have created for the new domain. Be sure to just copy the files over and do not in any case delete the files from the old account for the old domain name yet.

Step 2: Change Nameservers

Be sure and change the nameservers of the new domain name to point to the newly created account that you have created on your server or shared hosting plan. Keep in mind that it will typically take between 48 and 72 hours for the DNS to propogate throughout the web.

Step 3: Change Files

The next step is to change all instances of the old domain to the new domain within the files that you have transferred over to the new account on your server. You will most likely be able to accomplish this very quickly if you just use the find and replace feature in your FTP client (i.e. Dreamweaver, FileZilla, etc.). Making all of your links absolute links rather than relative links is usually the best way to go for SEO purposes so if this is something that you had ever considered changing over then now would be a good time to go through and audit all of your website files to change relative links to absolute when appropriate.

Step 4: Create 301 Redirects

Setting up 301 redirects in your .htaccess (assuming you have a Linux server) under your old account is very important. A 301 redirect will work to automatically and permanently redirect visitors and search engine bots who visit www.olddomain.com/my-page to www.newdomain.com/my-page. This is very important from an SEO perspective because 301 redirects have the potential to pass through the “link juice” of any backlinks pointing to the old domain to the new domain along with any accompanying search engine rankings. This is also very important from a user perspective because anyone that tries to visit any page on your old domain will be automatically sent to the appropriate page on your new domain. Read this guide on how to set up 301 redirects to get all of the nitty gritty 301 redirect setup details.

Step 5: Test

Make sure that your nameservers have been set up on your new domain and that the DNS has finished propogating. Once you verify that the DNS is resolving correctly for the new domain then it is time to test out all of the old pages that you are redirecting from the old domain to the new domain and then also test by looking through each page of the new site and make sure that there are no errors (from find and replace errors when changing files or other issues).

If all of the pages of your old site have been indexed by Google then a quick way to test out that the 301 redirects have all been set up and working properly is to simply do an advanced Google search query that will return all of the pages from your old site indexed by Google. You can do this simply by typing “site:olddomain.com” into Google (without the “”). Now all you have to do is click on every page and if you have set up the 301 redirects properly then each time you click on the page link your server should automatically and instantly redirect you to the appropriate new page on your new domain.

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