Can you change your domain name?
YES. You can change your (WordPress) domain name (on SiteGround).
Even it is doable; you still need to do it with caution, especially for older sites. So you can have a smooth change without losing your hard-earned rankings and credibility on search engines like Google.
In this post, you will know the possible reasons for changing a domain name and what you need to do when changing your domain name.
Reasons For Changing Your WordPress Domain Name
It is not uncommon to switch the domain name of your website.
Let’s have a quick look at some possible reasons.
You would like to rebrand your business, so a new name and a fresh look for your website would be in need.
When your business grows, you might think the current domain doesn’t reflect the site’s core value, and it is time to expand or upgrade with a brand new name.
The domain price is higher than you expected.
For example, you have recently started a WordPress blog and bought a domain that costs 35/y or more. Now you consider looking for a cheaper domain for your blog site.
Maybe you have started your website on a whim and didn’t get a great domain name. Now you have more knowledge on website development, and you think the domain name is too long, not catchy enough, or hard to pronounce.
Or, you have received some negative comments from your regular visitors, so you decide to make a domain change.
Change Your Domain Name Earlier
Changing your website’s domain name is not something you often do unless there is a good reason.
However, if you have thought about changing your domain name after creating a website, it is better to do it earlier for the following reasons.
- You wouldn’t lose the rankings and traffic you have built for a long time because of the domain transition.
- You might not have so many regular visitors, and they probably wouldn’t remember your domain name (because of a new site).
- There are not many relevant third parties (such as Google Analytics) that you need to inform about your domain change.
How To Change Your Domain Name On SiteGround
1. Buy A New Domain Name From An Accredited Registrar Fast
If you want to change your domain name, you will need to choose and register a domain name first.
Once you have decided on a new domain name and checked the availability, buy it fast because it might be taken if waiting for too long.
Plus, your visitors and search engines don’t have to wait for a long time to see your new domain site if acting fast.
Learn how to choose and register a domain name here (tips and free tools).
2. Back Up Your Website
Before you make any changes to your website, back up your site first. So if something goes wrong, you are protected.
3. Update The Siteground Nameservers For Your Domain
Once you have registered a new domain, you need to point the domain name to the correct nameservers.
Here I will show you how to do it with Namecheap and SiteGround.
First, you can log into your Namecheap account > Domain List.
Find the domain and click on Manage.
When you scroll down a bit, you will see the Nameservers section and choose an option from the drop-down menu (3 options).
- Namecheap BasicDNS (Domain Name System): If you want to point your domain to its default nameservers, you can choose this option.
- Namecheap Web Hosting DNS: With this option, you need a shared hosting plan on Namecheap to point your domain to its hosting nameservers.
- CustomDNS: If you want to point your domain to your DNS provider (such as your hosting provider), you can choose this one by pasting your hosting nameservers. Don’t forget to save the changes.
If you don’t know your hosting nameservers, simply contact your host for the information.
As for SiteGround users, you can go to your SiteGround Account > Website > Three Dots Menu > Server Details; then copy the SiteGround nameservers from the NS1 and NS2 and paste them to Namecheap.
Note: Only copy the SiteGround nameservers; DON’T include the IP addresses (the digits in the brackets).
Once you have updated the nameservers, it will take up to 24 hours to propagate; then, everyone can visit your website.
4. Change The Primary Domain On SiteGround
Now you can change the primary domain on SiteGround. Go to your SiteGround Account > Website > Three Dots Menu > Change Primary Domain.
Type your new domain and click Confirm. Then you are all set.
Now you can go to Site Tools > Domain > Parked Domains, here you will see your old domain.
5. Add An SSL Certificate To Your New Domain
After changing the domain name, you need to add a brand new SSL certificate (the one with the old domain wouldn’t work) to your new domain site (change from HTTP to HTTPS), so a green padlock will be shown in the address bar of your browser.
Go to Site Tools > Security > SSL Manager > Install New SSL. Then you can select your new domain and install the SSL (Choose Let’s Encrypt unless you have other plans).
Next, check if your HTTPS Enforce SiteGround has been enabled by going toSecurity >HTTPS Enforce.
Now you can double-check if the SSL is installed successfully by typing your URL into an incognito window (check the existence of the padlock and HTTPS).
6. Check The Settings On Your WordPress Website
You can go to your WordPress dashboard > Settings > General.
Here you can see if the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) have been updated automatically. If not, simply edit them and save the changes.
You might also want to edit the site title and tagline on the same page to reflect the new domain.
Then clear the cache and go back to the frontend to check if all the URLs are updated with the new domain.
7. Set Up SiteGround 301 Redirects
A 301 redirect (permanent redirect) means a page has been permanently moved to another location.
For example, if someone clicks on the link from an external site, post, or previous email, the link will be redirected to your new domain site after setting up301 redirects.
8. Change Your Site Email Address
Have you wondered why you haven’t received emails from your audience after changing a domain? Maybe it is because you haven’t updated your site mail address.
Before the domain change: email@example.com
After the domain change: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget to run a test (check the deliverability) if you have forwarded the site mail to your personal email account (such as Gmail).
9. Update Your Website
You want to make sure all pages and posts that have ever mentioned your former domain name have been replaced with the new domain name.
Some places to look at:
- Your header and footer
- Copyright area
- Relevant posts
- Site email address
Once you are done with the changes, double-check the whole website.
10. Inform Search Engines
After successfully changing your domain name, you can inform different search engines (such as Google, Bing, and Yandex) about the new domain name.
You can add a property to Google Search Console (GSC) and submit a new sitemap.
Here are the steps.
- Delete the property
- Add a property
- Enter the full URL: https://www.example.com
If you use an SEO plugin like Rank Math (which generates a sitemap for your website), you can submit the sitemap to GSC.
Go to your dashboard > Rank Math > Sitemap Settings, copy and paste the part(sitemap_index.xml) to GSC (Menu > Sitemaps).
After submitting, you will see the status (success).
Other Search Engines
In terms of Bing, Yandex, and other search engines, you will need to log into your corresponding accounts to update the new domain name and submit a new sitemap.
11. Update Google Analytics
It is essential to update your domain URL, profile names, and account name so that you can get the data about the new domain.
1. Go to your Google Analytics Account > Admin > Account Settings > Edit Your Account Name.
2. Then go to Admin > Property > Property Settings > Change the Property Name and Default URL.
3. Lastly, go to Admin > View > View Settings > Update the View Name and Website’s URL
12. Don’t Cancel Your Old Domain Registration Right Away
If you have a lot of traffic, it is wise to keep your old domain alive for a long while to go through the transition period.
If your old domain expires in half a year, let it be. However, if it’s going to expire soon, you might want to renew it for another year to keep the traffic flowing to your new domain.
When you are confident that the transition period is finished, you can disable the auto-renewal button of your former domain registration and cancel the registration with your registrar.
13. Add The New Domain Site To Google AdSense
If you have a Google AdSense account for your former domain site, you can add the new domain site.
Go to your AdSense account > Sites > Click on Add Site.
Note that AdSense will need to review your site. They will notify you when it is ready.
14. Activate Your Plugin License (Pro Version)
When you change your website’s domain name, you might need to activate your licenses again for paid plugins that have been linked to your previous domain.
You can find the information in your WordPress dashboard or the Plugins section.
15. Get A Fresh Look
After changing your domain name, you might also check if your website logo, favicon, and primary colors match your newly selected domain.
If not, you can alter them at your discretion.
16. Notify The Key Stakeholders
Once your new domain name is up and running, you can let your key stakeholders (such as regular visitors and affiliate partners) know about the domain change.
For example, your affiliate programs might want to know where their services or products are promoted.
Note that it is optional to inform your affiliate partners. If you think it is necessary, feel free to do it. But it is smart to update your regular visitors (using your email list) to avoid confusion.
Besides, don’t forget to alter the URLs on your social media accounts so that visitors can find your website.
17. Monitor The 404 Error Pages
404 page (a.k.a. error page) on your site means the server can’t find the requested page when visitors reach your website.
The last thing you want is the ‘Page Not Found’ pages because the error pages could badly affect your rankings and user experience.
Luckily, you can check all your 404 pages in one place if you use Rank Math.
Make sure you monitor the 404 regularly after changing the domain. If there are many hits on the same 404 page, you can redirect them to the right page.
18. Monitor Your Stats On Google Analytics
After changing a domain, you want to pay close attention to your stats. You might lose some traffic at the start, but if there is a significant drop in traffic or rankings, it could signal something wrong (such as inappropriate settings).
Don’t hesitate to find it out and fix it on the spot.
Conclusion – How To Change Your WordPress Domain Name
Changing a domain name could be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be if you have done the research and do it properly.
Now you know how to change the domain name on your SiteGround website.
I hope this article can help you change your website’s domain name.
Also read: Common Blogging Mistakes You Must Avoid