Photography credit: Olu Eletu
Photography credit: Olu Eletu

Having just moved over to February Stars from Fibro Geek a couple of weeks ago I thought it would be useful to create a guide on how to move your wordpress blog over to a new domain. At first I thought this would be a massive hassle and a difficult process, but it actually turned out to be pretty straight forward. I have a little bit of technical knowledge but nothing worth shouting about so I made sure to do quite a bit of research beforehand. I actually thought I would have to pay someone to do the move for me as it initially seemed like a daunting task. I wanted to seamlessly move my blog over to my new domain, taking all the old content over with me and then redirect my old domain to my new one. I also didn’t want to lose any SEO that I had built up. I’m not naive enough to think that there won’t be any impact initially but google will soon realise February Stars is replacing Fibro Geek.

For the purposes of this post I will simply make reference to old domain and new domain for the most part as I think that will be easier to follow than talking about Fibro Geek and February Stars. Here is a step-by-step guide of the process from start to finish:

FIRST STEPS: PREPARING TO MOVE YOUR WORDPRESS SITE

01. Backup everything first

Before you do anything always make a backup of your entire site- including your database. If anything should go wrong you want to be able to restore your site. If you have no backup you risk losing it completely. There are plugins that will create a backup of your wordpress site for you, such as Backup WordPress or Backup Buddy. I personally went into my webhosting Cpanel and created my backup through Softaculous as I find this simple and straight forward to do. I then downloaded this backup to my computer.

02. Install WordPress on your new domain

You want to go ahead and set up a fresh WordPress installation on your new domain. My advice would be to keep your login details the same as your old domain.

03. Install the plugin ‘All-in-one WP Migration’

There are a few different migration plugins available. I tried one called ‘Duplicator’ but it didn’t work for me– I’m guessing this might have had something to do with my hosting. It would not export my whole site for some reason. Instead I used a plugin called ‘All-in-one WP Migration‘. It is a great plugin that makes the process so simple. The only downside is that it has a 512mb limit on the free version, but I will explain how I got around that in just a moment. You need to install and activate the ‘All-in-one WP Migration’ plugin on both your old domain and on your new domain.

MOVING YOUR WORDPRESS SITE

01. Export your old domain

Log into the WordPress admin panel on your old domain. In the side bar click on “All-in-One WP Migration” and choose “export”.
all-in-one-wp-migration-export
You can export to FTP, Dropbox, Google drive , Amazon S3 or as a file to download onto your PC. It’s worth noting that the free version of the plugin has a 512mb upload limit when it comes to importing your file onto your new domain. If your site is smaller than 512mb you can leave all the boxes unchecked under advanced options and go ahead and export your site. If it is larger but you are happy to pay the $59.00 for the unlimited version of the plugin you can also do the same (leave everything unchecked). I would suggest doing this if you do not have any knowledge of FTP.

I think my entire site was over 2GB but the majority of that was my media library files. I therefore checked the box “Do not export media library (files)”– as shown above– and this brought my site to under the 512mb limit. I’ll explain how I imported my media library to my new site shortly. After checking this box, I exported my site as a file and downloaded it to my desktop.

02. Import the file to your new domain

Log into the WordPress admin panel on your new domain. In the side bar click on “All-in-One WP Migration” and choose “import”.
all-in-one-wp-migration-import
If the site you exported was larger than the 512mb limit and you intend to pay for the extension, go ahead and do this first (by clicking on “get unlimited”) before you try to import your website. Then follow the instructions in the following paragraph.

Once you have paid for the extenstion, or if your site is smaller than the 512mb limit (including if you are missing your media library), click on “import from” and choose the file you exported from your old site. Once this has uploaded, click on the little WordPress icon in the top left-hand corner of the screen. You should be prompted to login again. Use the login information for the site that you exported (i.e. your old domain wordpress login). Your new domain should now look exactly like your old domain with all posts, users etc. migrated across. The plugin will have updated all your permalinks too so all your links will work as well.

If you did not export your media library, you will see that all your posts, users etc are there but your images are all broken. You need to do one final step. Log into your FTP account for your old domain. Download your entire wp-content folder. Upload this folder (overwrite anything that is already there) in the relevant place on your new domain. Your images should now be working. This is what I did and it meant I could work around the 512mb limit and I did not have to pay for the upgraded version of the plugin.

SET UP A 301 REDIRECT

Once you are happy that everything is working as it should, you need to set up a 301 redirect from your old domain to your new domain. This basically means that anyone who visits your old domain will be automatically redirected to your new one. This is a permanent redirect and lets search engines know that your site has moved. I set up this redirect via my host’s CPanel:
301-redirect
It is important to check the “wildcard” box so that every page from your old domain will redirect to your new domain. Without this checked only your homepage will redirect. If you are not able to do a redirect through your CPanel, you will need to add the following code to the very top of your .htaccess file on your old domain:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^old-domain\.co\.uk$ [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.old-domain\.co\.uk$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ "http\:\/\/new-domain\.co\.uk\/$1" [R=301,L]

LET GOOGLE KNOW YOU HAVE MOVED YOUR SITE PERMANENTLY

Log into your Google webmaster tools account to submit a change of address to Google. Click on your old site, then click on the ‘cog’ icon in the top right-hand corner and then select “change of address” from the drop-down menu. You will need to add and verify your new site first (there should be an “add it now” link). Follow the instructions and once your site is verified you can pick your new domain from the drop down list and submit that your site has moved.

TELL YOUR READERS THAT YOU HAVE MOVED

Although the 301 redirect will take readers to your new website, it is of course a good idea to put a post up explaining that you have moved to avoid any confusion. You can also announce the change across your social media. Speaking of social media, you can also change your username on there to reflect your new domain. This is easily done for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. You need to contact Bloglovin’ and Periscope and request a name change. If anyone would like a step-by-step guide on how to do all of this let me know in the comments and I will write a future post on this topic.

I hope you have found this guide useful.

Author

Hello, I'm Donna. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2013 and started this blog shortly after. After my health declined significantly the following year, I decided to become my own advocate and searched for answers. It took two years but, in 2016, I finally discovered I had Lyme Disease. On February Stars, I share my personal journey back to better health; discussing what has helped me and the mistakes I've made along the way. I also cover topics on self-improvement, managing symptoms and living life to the fullest with chronic illness.

2 Comments

  1. After much trail and error and googling, I found that the cPanel code doesn’t work for wildcards. I use this:

    # CUSTOM REDIRECT – cpanel didn’t work for wildcards
    # put before wordpress entry
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^original-domain\.com$ [OR]
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.original-domain \.com$
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ “http\:\/\/new-domain\.com\/$1” [R=301,L]

    • Interesting. It’s working fine for me but good to know the alternative should anyone run into any issues. Thanks.

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