Tag - Domain

What is a Domain Name and How Do Domains Work?


We are often asked by beginners: what is a domain name and how do domains work? If you are a beginner, then you may have heard that you need a domain to make a website.

However, many beginners confuse domain name with a website or website hosting service. If you are just starting out, then all these different terms may sound too technical.

In this beginner’s guide, we will answer what is a domain name and how domains work. The goal is to help you understand and choose the right domain name for your website.

Domain names and how do they work?

Here is a quick overview of the topics we will cover in this guide.

What is a Domain Name?

Domain name is the address of your website that people type in the browser URL bar to visit your website.

In simple terms, if your website was a house, then your domain name will be its address.

A more detailed explanation:

The Internet is a giant network of computers connected to each other through a global network of cables. Each computer on this network can communicate with other computers.

To identify them, each computer is assigned an IP address. It is a series of numbers that identify a particular computer on the internet. A typical IP address looks like this:

66.249.66.1

Now an IP address like this is quite difficult to remember. Imagine if you had to use such numbers to visit your favorite websites.

Domain names were invented to solve this problem.

Now if you want to visit a website, then you don’t need to enter a long string of numbers. Instead, you can visit it by typing an easy to remember domain name in your browser’s address bar. For example, wpbeginner.com.

How Domain Names Actually Work?

To understand how domain names actually work, we will take a look at what happens when you enter it in your browser.

How domains work

When you enter a domain name in your web browser, it first sends a request to a global network of servers that form the Domain Name System (DNS).

These servers then look up for the name servers associated with the domain and forward the request to those name servers.

For example, if your website is hosted on Bluehost, then its name server information will be like this:

ns1.bluehost.com
ns2.bluehost.com

These name servers are computers managed by your hosting company. Your hosting company will forward your request to the computer where your website is stored.

This computer is called a web server. It has special software installed (Apache, Nginx are two popular web server software). The web server now fetches the web page and pieces of information associated with it.

Finally, it then sends this data back to the browser.

How is Domain Name Different from a Website and Web Hosting?

web hosting

A website is made up of files like HTML pages, website builder software, images, and more.

If the domain name is the web address of your website, then web hosting is the home where your website lives.

This is the actual computer where your website’s files are stored. Such computers are called servers and they are offered as a service by hosting companies.

To create your website, you need both domain name and web hosting.

However, it’s important to remember that they are two separate services, and you can buy them from two different companies.

Now you may be wondering, how would it work if you bought them from two separate companies?

You just need to edit your domain name settings and enter the Name Server information provided by your hosting company. Name Server information defines where to send user requests for your domain name.

We recommend getting both your domain name and hosting from the same company. This allows you to easily manage them under the same account.

For more details, see our guide on the difference between domain name and web hosting.

Different Types of Domain Names

Domain names are available in many different extensions. The most popular one is .com. There are many other options like .org, .net, .tv, .info, .io, and more. However we always recommend using .com domain extension.

Let’s take a more detailed look at different types of domain names available.

Top Level Domain – TLD

Top level domain or TLD are generic domain extensions that are listed at the highest level in the domain name system.

There are hundreds of TLDs, but the most popular ones are .com, .org, and .net. Other TLDs are lesser known and we don’t recommend using them. For example, .biz, .club, .info, .agency, and many more.

Country Code Top Level Domain – ccTLD

Country code top-level domain or ccTLD are country specific domain names which end with country code extension like .uk for the United Kingdom, .de for Germany, .in for India.

They are used by websites that want to target audiences in a specific country.

Sponsored Top Level Domain – sTLD

Sponsored top-level domain or sTLD is a category of TLDs that has a sponsor representing a specific community served by the domain extension.

For example, .edu for education-related organizations, .gov for the United States government, .mil for the United States military, and more.

Who is Responsible for Domain Name System?

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) manages the domain names system. It is a non-profit organization that creates and implements the policies for domain names.

ICANN gives permission to companies called Domain Name Registrars for selling domain names. These domain registrars are allowed to make changes to domain names registry on your behalf.

Domain name registrars can sell domain names, manage its records, renewals, and transfers to other registrars.

As a domain name owner, you are responsible for telling the registrar where to send requests. You are also responsible for renewing your domain registration.

How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Website?

Choosing domain name

There are currently more than 350 Million registered domain names and thousands more get registered each day.

This means that all the good ones are already registered or will be registered very soon. This puts a lot of pressure on new users to come up with a domain idea for their website.

Here are some quick tips to help you choose a domain name for your next website.

  • Stick with a .com domain name as it is the most popular, easy to remember, and easy promote.
  • Make sure it is shorter and easy to remember
  • Make it easy to pronounce and spell
  • Do not use numbers or hyphens
  • Use domain name generators to come up with clever domain name ideas

For more tips and practical advice, see our guide on how to choose the best domain name for your website.

How to Buy a Domain Name?

You can buy domain names from one of the many domain name registrars. A domain name typically costs 14.99 per year. Some popular domain name companies are:

However, buying domain does not automatically give you hosting service. For that, you will need a website hosting account as well.

Many WordPress hosting companies offer domain registration services as well. This allows you to manage both services under one account, and you also don’t need to worry about changing name server settings for your domain.

We recommend using Bluehost. They are offering WPBeginner users a free domain name and 60% discount on hosting. Basically you can get started for $2.75/month.

Frequently Asked Questions About Domain Names

Over the years we have helped thousands of beginners start their first websites. We have heard almost every possible question about domain names that you can think of.

Following are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about domain names.

1. What is a subdomain?

A subdomain is basically a child domain under the main domain name. For example, videos.wpbeginner.com is a subdomain of wpbeginner.com.

Once you register a domain, you have the permission to create subdomains for it by yourself.

Subdomains are commonly used by websites to create child-sites under the same domain name. For example, a business website can create a subdomain for their blog or their online store as store.example.com or blog.example.com

2. Can I cancel my registration of a domain name?

Some domain registrars allow you to cancel your domain registration at any time. If you cancel your registration, it will become available for others to register.

Other domain name registrars allow you to simply let your domain registration expire.

In most cases, you will not get any refund for the domain registration. However, some domain registrars do have refund policies which you may want to discuss with them before canceling your registration.

If you don’t have the auto-renew feature turned on, then your domain name will simply expire after the registration period you have paid for.

3. Can I move my website to a different domain name?

Yes, you can. You can point your domain name to your hosting server. You can also keep both domain names pointing to the same website.

However, search engines consider it duplicate content and that will affect your search rankings.

We have a step by step guide on how to properly move a website to new domain name and setup redirects, so you don’t hurt your SEO.

4. Can I sell a domain name?

Yes, you can sell your domain name. Domain names are like real estate for web. There is a huge demand for good brandable domain names.

Trading domain names is a multi-million dollar industry. Since domain names are so cheap, smart entrepreneurs are always looking for great domain name ideas to get their hands own.

If you want to sell your domain name, then there are many marketplace websites like Sedo, GoDaddy, and others where you can list your domain for sale.

Popular registrars like Domain.com also let you buy premium domains right from their domain search feature.

5. What is domain privacy? Do I need it?

ICANN requires people registering domain names to provide an email, physical address, phone number, and other personal information to be made available publicly.

Domain Privacy is a separate add-on service sold by domain registrars. It allows you to show proxy information instead of your actual personal info.

You don’t need to buy domain privacy if you don’t want to. However if you are concerned about privacy, then you can buy this service for a small cost.

6. Can I buy more than one domain name?

Yes, you can buy as many domain names as you like.

7. Where can I learn more about making websites?

Right here. WPBeginner is the world’s largest WordPress resource site for beginners. We have tutorials, step by step guides, and videos created specifically for beginner users.

Here are some of the helpful resources you’ll find on WPBeginner (All of them are completely free).

We hope this article helped you learn what is a domain name and how do domains work. You may also want to see our list of best free domain name generators to find cool ideas for your next domain name.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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How to Move Custom Domain Blogger Blog to WordPress (Updated)


Do you want to move your custom domain Blogger blog to WordPress? Blogger is a free blogging platform that has been around for a very long time.

Normally, a free blog on Blogger has blogspot.com in their website address. For example, myblog.blogspot.com.

In our main Blogger to WordPress migration tutorial, one of our readers asked us for step by step instructions on moving custom domain blogger website to WordPress.

That’s because Blogger also allows users to connect custom domain names to their blogs such as myblog.com.

If you have a custom domain Blogger blog, and you want to move it to WordPress, then this tutorial is for you.

In this step by step guide, we will show you how to easily move a custom domain blog from Blogger to WordPress.

Moving custom domain Blogger blog to WordPress

Note: If you’re looking for moving a normal Blogger subdomain blog to WordPress, then see our guide on how to switch from Blogger to WordPress.

Following are the steps we will cover to help you move your custom domain blog from Blogger to WordPress.

  1. Getting started
  2. Change DNS settings
  3. Remove domain redirect
  4. Install WordPress
  5. Export content from Blogger
  6. Import content in WordPress
  7. Setup Permalinks
  8. Redirect Blogger feeds to WordPress
  9. Customizing WordPress
  10. Extending your WordPress site

Step 1: Getting Started

Before we start, it is important to note that this guide is for the self-hosted WordPress blog. See our guide on the difference between self hosted WordPress.org site vs WordPress.com blog.

In order to get started, you will need a WordPress hosting provider to set up your self hosted WordPress website.

We recommend Bluehost because they are an officially recommended WordPress hosting company, and they are giving WPBeginner users exclusive 60% discount + free domain and SSL.

Basically, you can get started for $2.75 / month.

→ Click Here to Claim This Exclusive Bluehost Offer ←

If you want a Bluehost alternative, then take a look at Siteground. They also have a special offer for WPBeginner users.

Step 2: Change DNS Settings

Blogger allows you to use any domain name registered by a 3rd party. U.S. based users can also use a domain registered with Google Domains.

When you first setup the domain pointing to your Blogger blog, you were asked to add CNAME and A records to your domain’s DNS settings.

These domain name records help browsers decide where to direct users when they enter your domain name. See our guide on domain names and how they work)

You will need to delete those old records and add your new WordPress host’s DNS settings.

You can get DNS settings required by your WordPress hosting company from their documentation or support websites. A typical DNS nameserver looks something like this:

NS1.Bluehost.com
NS2.Bluehost.com

In this guide, we will show you how to update DNS settings in Godaddy. However the basic settings are the same across all popular domain registrars.

Changing DNS Settings in GoDaddy

You need to Login to your Godaddy account and click on the manage button next to domains. After that you need to click on the gear icon next to your domain and then select manage DNS.

Launch DNS management in GoDaddy

You will see your domain information page. Next, you need to click on the DNS Zone File. This is where all the DNS level records for your domain are stored.

Edit DNS zone file in GoDaddy

On the DNS Zone File page, you need to locate the A record and CNAME aliases you added for your Blogger blog and delete them.

Don’t forget to click on the save changes button to apply your changes.

The next step is to setup nameservers for your WordPress hosting provider.

Go back to manage DNS page for your domain and then click on ‘Manage’ under the namservers section.

Manage nameserver settings

On the next page, you need to click on ‘Custom’ and then click on edit nameservers link to add your new WordPress hosts nameservers.

Adding nameservers

Click on the save button to make your DNS changes go live.

Important: DNS changes may take anywhere between a few hours to one or even two days to fully propagate. During this time, you can access your Blogger blog by logging into your account.

Step 3: Remove Domain Redirect

Your Blogger blog’s original blogspot.com address is redirecting users to your custom domain. Since we have changed the domain settings, we need to remove this from Blogger too.

Simply log into your Blogger account and go to Settings » Basic page. Under the publishing section, click on the cross icon to cancel the redirect.

Remove custom domain redirect from Blogger

Step 4: Install WordPress

If your domain’s DNS has propagated now, then you can install WordPress on your hosting provider.

If your domain is registered on a 3rd party service other than your web host, then you will need to add the hosting for the domain.

For example, in Bluehost you will add your domain as an Addon domain through cPanel unless it is the main domain on your account.

Adding a domain name to your hosting account

After adding domain to your new host, the next step is to install WordPress. Most hosting companies have simple 1-click WordPress installers that you can use to quickly install WordPress.

If you need more help, then follow the instructions in our complete WordPress installation tutorial.

After successful installation of WordPress on your custom domain, you will be ready to import content from your Blogger blog.

Step 5: Export Content From Blogger

Before you can import content into WordPress, first you need to export it from your Blogger blog.

Blogger allows you to export content in an XML file.

Simply login to your Blogger blog and visit Settings » Other page. Under the blog tools, click on the Backup Content link.

Export blog posts from Blogger

This will bring up a popup where you need to click on the ‘Save to your computer’ button.

Depending on the file size, it may take a few seconds or a few minutes. Once you have your data, it is time to import it into your WordPress site.

Step 6: Import Blogger Blog into WordPress

Login to your WordPress admin area and visit Tools » Import page. There you will see a list of importers for different services. You need to click on Blogger to install the Blogger importer.

Install Blogger importer tool for WordPress

WordPress will now download and install the Blogger Importer plugin for you. Once it is finished installing the plugin, you need to click on Run Importer link to continue.

Run Blogger importer

On the Import Blogger screen, WordPress will ask you to upload the XML file. Simply click on choose file button and upload the XML file you downloaded earlier. Click on the Upload file and import button to continue.

Upload file to import

WordPress will now import your blog posts from Blogger, once it is finished you will be asked to assign an author to the imported posts. You can assign your blogger posts to an existing author or create a new one.

Congratulations! you have successfully imported your Blogger blog into WordPress.

However, you still need to make sure that you don’t lose any search rankings by redirecting search engines and visitors to the same content on your new WordPress powered website.

WordPress comes with a feature that allows you to set up SEO friendly URL structure.

However, since you are importing content from Blogger, you would want your permalink structure to be as close to your Blogger URL structure as possible. To set permalinks you need to go to Settings » Permalinks and paste this in the custom structure field:

/%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%.html

Change permalinks

Setp 8: Setup Feed Redirects

You have successfully redirected your Blogger blog to WordPress. However, users who have subscribed to your Blogger RSS feed will stop receiving updates.

You need to redirect feed requests to your WordPress feeds. This can be easily achieved by editing the .htaccess file in your WordPress site’s root folder.

If you can’t find your .htaccess file, then see this tutorial.

Start by connecting to your WordPress site using an FTP client. You will need to enable ‘Show Hidden Files’ option in your FTP client settings. If you are using Filezilla, you will find this option under Server menu.

Show hidden files in FTP

Once you are connected to your website, you will find the .htaccess file in your WordPress site’s root directory. You need to edit this file and paste the following code before any other code in the file.

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
   RewriteEngine on
   RewriteRule atom.xml /feed? [L,R=301]
   RewriteRule rss.xml /feed? [L,R=301]
   RewriteRule ^feeds/posts/?.*$ /feed? [L,R=301]
   RewriteRule ^feeds/comments/?.*$ /comments/feed? [L,R=301]
</IfModule>

Don’t forget to save your changes and upload the .htaccess file back to the server. Your Blogger feed subscribers will now be redirected to your WordPress site’s feed.

Step 9. Customizing Your WordPress Site

Themes control the appearance of your WordPress site. You can use them to change your website’s colors, layout, navigation menus, and more.

WordPress themes

By default, WordPress comes with a very simple theme that doesn’t offer many features.

Luckily, there are thousands of WordPress themes available that you can choose from.

Following are a few of our showcases with our expert-pick of best WordPress themes in different categories.

Here are a few tips that you should consider when looking at these themes.

  • Simplicity is the best design. Look for a simple theme with flexible features.
  • You will not find a theme exactly as you had on Blogger, but you can look for a theme with similar layout and color choices
  • Make sure that the theme you are choosing looks good on mobile devices
  • Only install a theme from reliable sources like WordPress.org or one of the top WordPress theme shops.

Once you have found a theme, you can go ahead and install it. See our beginner’s guide on how to install a WordPress theme for step by step instructions.

Note: You can also use one of these drag & drop WordPress page builders to create completely custom website designs without writing any code.

Step 10. Extending Your WordPress Site

WordPress plugins

One of the top reasons for using WordPress is the large number of plugins that you can use. Plugins are like apps for your WordPress site. You can use them to add new features and extend WordPress functionality.

Now, as a beginner, you may be wondering how to start using these plugins? Which plugins you should try first?

Don’t worry we got you covered there as well. Check out our expert selection of the essential WordPress plugins that you should install first.

Next, you should know that WordPress is not just limited to blogs. You can use it to create any type of website you can imagine.

Finally, as a new WordPress user, you may need help now and then. WPBeginner is the largest WordPress resource site for beginners. See how you can make the most out of WPBeginner’s free resources.

We hope this article helped you move your custom domain blogger blog to WordPress. You may also want to see our list of 40 useful tools to manage and grow your WordPress blog.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Move Custom Domain Blogger Blog to WordPress (Updated) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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How to Choose the Best Domain Name (11 Tips and Tools)


Choosing the right domain name for your website is crucial for your success. If you choose the wrong domain name, then it can be a hassle to switch later on without hurting your brand and search rankings.

That’s why it’s extremely important that you choose the best domain name from the start.

When first starting out, it can be hard to come up with catchy business name ideas with a perfect domain name.

In this article, we’ll share all the tools and tips you need to get domain name ideas, choose the best domain name, and register your new domain (for free).

How to Choose the Best Domain Name

11 Tips for Choosing the Best Domain Name

When starting a blog, choosing a domain name can be stressful because you don’t want to make a mistake.

To make the process easier, we have a simple 11 step framework that you can use to pick the best domain for your website.

  1. Stick with .com
  2. Use keywords in your domain name search
  3. Keep your domain name short
  4. Make it easy to pronounce and spell
  5. Keep it unique and brandable
  6. Avoid hyphens in domain name
  7. Avoid doubled letters
  8. Leave room to expand
  9. Research your domain name
  10. Use domain generators for clever ideas
  11. Act quickly before someone else takes it
  12. Best place to register a domain name
  13. Get free domain with web hosting
  14. Most popular domain registrars

Let’s take a look at these tips one by one with more details.

1. Stick with .com

Stick to the .com extension

There are plenty of new domain name extensions available today, from the original .com, .net and .org to niche extensions like .pizza, .photography, and even .blog.

We always recommend choosing a .com domain name.

While it can be tempting to come up with clever blog names using new extensions, .com is still the most established and credible domain name extension.

Newer domain extensions like .ninja or .photography can be untrustworthy.

Dot-com domains are also the most memorable. Many users, especially those who aren’t as tech-savvy, will automatically type “.com” at the end of every domain without thinking about it.

If your website is something like jane.photography, and your users accidentally type in jane.photography.com, they will end up on an error page on photography.com website.

It’s smart to avoid that risk by sticking with .com.

Not to mention, most smartphone keyboards automatically have a .com button.

2. Use Keywords in Your Domain Name Search

Keywords play an important role in a domain. By using keywords in your domain name, you tell the search engines what your website is about. Together with quality content and good user experience, keywords in your domain can help you rank higher in Google.

It is very hard to find a good domain with your target keywords, that’s not already taken.

You will need to be creative and combine your keywords with other words to make your domain stand out.

3. Keep Your Domain Name Short

While keywords are important, don’t go overboard with domain length. It’s better to have a domain name that’s short and memorable.

We recommend keeping your domain name under 15 characters. Longer domains are harder for your users to remember.

Not to mention, users will also be more prone to entering typos with longer domain names which can lead to loss traffic.

That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your domain length short.

4. Make Your Domain Name Easy to Pronounce and Spell

You should be able to easily share your domain name when speaking as well as writing. You never know when you’ll be asked to share your domain name in person.

If you’re planning to use your domain name to create a professional business email address, then it definitely should be easy to understand and spell for any listener.

5. Keep it Unique and Brandable

Your blog domain name must be unique, so you can stand out in your readers’ minds. It’s smart to research other blogs in your niche and find out what domain names they’re using.

You don’t want to accidentally use a trademark name or get accused of copying another blogger.

You can also choose to pick a domain name that’s more brandable.

Brandable domain names are unique, catchy, and memorable. For example, “Amazon.com” is a much more brandable name than “BuyBooksOnline.com.”

6. Avoid Hyphens in Domain Name

Never create a domain name with hyphens. Hyphens can be a sign of spam domains which you do not want to be associated with.

Hyphenated domains are also prone to typos. If you choose a domain name with hyphens because the domain you want is already taken, then your users will likely end up at your competitor’s site if they forget to type in the hyphen.

7. Avoid Double Letters

It’s a good idea to avoid domains with doubled letters, because it increases your chances of losing traffic to typos. For example, a domain like Presssetup.com will be more prone to typos, and result in lost traffic.

Avoiding doubled letters will also make your domain easy to type and more brandable.

8. Leave Room to Expand

It’s smart to choose a domain name that’s related to your industry / niche because it gives users some idea of what your website is about. But you also don’t want to limit your long term options too much.

For example, a florist might choose a domain name like orchidblog.com, but then they may want to start blogging about other flowers beside orchids. In that case, the domain might prevent you from attracting readers interested in other flowers.

Properly moving your site to a new domain can be a frustrating process, and it can cause you to lose search rankings if you don’t do it right. That’s why it is important to pick a flexible domain name from the start.

9. Research Your Domain Name

Before you register a domain name, try to find out if there is already a registered business using the same name.

You can perform a trademark search to see if there is already a similar or exact name already trademarked.

Research trademarks to avoid conflicting domain names

You can also perform a Google search and check for the name’s availability on top social media websites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

A similar or matching name would not only cause confusion, but it could also have severe legal implications which may cost you a lot of money.

Once you have your own website up and running, you can learn more about how to trademark and copyright your website name and logo.

10. Use Domain Name Generators for Celever Ideas

Currently, there are more than 360 Million registered domain names. This leads to many people saying that all good domains are already taken.

Searching for individual domain name manually can be very time consuming.

This is where domain name generators come in. These free tools automatically search for your defined keywords to find hundreds of clever domain name ideas.

Nameboy domain generator tool

We recommend using Nameboy, which is one of the oldest and most popular domain name generator tool online. You can also use IsItWP’s domain generator to find more domain name ideas.

11. Act Quickly Before Someone Else Takes it

Each day thousands of new domain names are registered from all parts of the world. If you have found a domain name that you like, then don’t wait too long.

Domain names are like real estate. Thousands of people are actively looking for good brandable domain names that they can register for better rates in the future.

If you don’t act fast, then someone may go ahead and register your domain idea.

Since domain names are relatively cheap, we always recommend our readers to act fast. If you change your mind later, then you can simply let it expire.

Best Places to Buy a Domain Name

How to register your own domain name and how to get one for free

There are hundreds of domain registrars on the web. It’s important to choose carefully because it can be difficult to move your domain later on.

Just like with web hosting, pricing for domain registrations can vary anywhere from $9 to $24. You can even get it for free*.

Let’s take a look at how you can easily buy a domain name.

Free Domain Registration with Web Hosting

Majority of web hosting companies also offer domain registration as a service. Some of those companies offer free domain registration with new hosting accounts.

If you’re starting a new website, then it’s a smart idea to take advantage of this offer and get your domain name for free.

Below are the two WordPress hosting companies that are offering our users over 60% off web hosting, free SSL certificate, and a free domain name:

Bluehost is one of the oldest and largest brand name when it comes to web hosting. They’re an official “WordPress” recommended hosting provider.

iPage powers over 1 million websites and is the most budget-friendly web hosting provider on the web. $1.99 / month for web hosting, and you get a free domain name.

It’s important to keep in mind that most hosts offer free domain registrations for 1 year only. After the first year, your domain registration will renew at usually around $14 per year.

A lot of users take advantage of the free domain for the first year because you would have to pay for the domain name regardless, why not get it for free.

Most Popular Domain Registrars

If you just want to register a domain name without purchasing hosting, then you can do that by purchasing it from a domain name registrar.

Domain.com is one of the best domain registrars on the market. They offer all top-level domain names, with a smart search feature, premium domains, and all the necessary tools to manage your domain names.

Search for domain name on Domain.com

Domain.com is offering WPBeginner readers a 25% discount, and our domain.com coupon should be automatically applied on your purchase.

GoDaddy is the largest domain registrar in the world. They manage over 63 million domain names for over 14 million customers.

They also offer web hosting plans as well. If you use our GoDaddy coupon code, then you can get a free domain name.

Final Thoughts

If you are starting a blog for the first time, then you may find our ultimate guide on how to start a WordPress blog helpful because it walks you through everything step by step.

You may also want to check out our WordPress and Blogging Coupons page to find the best deal on other web tools and services.

For more domain name ideas, you can see our post on the 14 best free domain name generators.

That’s all. We hope this article helped you understand how to choose a perfect domain name for your blog or business.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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How to Easily Move WordPress to a New Domain (without Losing SEO)


Do you want to move your WordPress site to a new domain? Changing your website’s domain name can significantly impact your SEO rankings, and it’s a process that needs to be done very carefully.

While you cannot avoid temporary SEO fluctuations when moving your website to a new domain, you can definitely minimize the impact and quickly regain your search traffic and rankings.

In this guide, we will show you the proper way to move WordPress to a new domain without losing SEO.

Properly moving WordPress to another domain name

Here’s the 5 step process that we will cover to help you migrate your WordPress site to a new domain name:

  1. Create a Duplicator package of your WordPress site
  2. Create a database for new domain name
  3. Unpack WordPress on new domain
  4. Setup Permanent 301 redirects
  5. Notify Google about the change

Before You Start

Before you start, we want to emphasize a few things.

The process of switching to a new domain will temporarily affect your search engine rankings as Google and other search engines adjust to the changes.

Yes, this will also temporarily affect your search traffic as well. Please keep in mind that this is normal, and it happens to all websites that switch to a new domain.

However, you can dramatically decrease the SEO impact by following this guide. We will show you the right way of moving your WordPress site to a new domain name, setting up proper 301 redirects, and notifying search engines.

Please note that this guide is not for moving WordPress site to a new web host. This is for switching a domain name. Yes, while the process is similar, there are extra things involved in this process.

Pre-Steps

In this guide, we are assuming that you have your WordPress site setup on oldsite.com, and you are trying to migrate it to newsite.com.

We are also assuming that you already have a web hosting account, and you are familiar with your web hosting control panel.

You will also need to know how to use FTP.

In case you don’t have a web hosting account, we recommend using Bluehost (great for small sites + comes with a free domain) or WP Engine (great for large sites).

Once you have your new web hosting account and domain name, you’re ready to start the process.

Step 1: Create a Duplicator package of Your WordPress Site

The first thing you need to do is create a full backup of your WordPress site. While there are many WordPress backup plugins available, the one we’re going to show in this step does both backups and migrations.

It’s Duplicator and it’s a completely free plugin.

Let’s start by installing and activating the Duplicator plugin on your old domain name. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once activated, the plugin will add a Duplicator menu item in your WordPress admin. You need to click on the Duplicator menu, and then click on the create button to create a new package.

Create a new Duplicator package

After that, you will be asked to click on the Next button to continue.

Duplicator will now run the website duplicator wizard. First, it will run some tests to see if everything is in order. If all items are marked ‘Good’, then click on the ‘Build’ button.

Build Duplicator package for switching to new domain name

The plugin will now start creating a duplicator package of your WordPress site. This process may take a few minutes depending on the size of your website.

Once finished, you’ll see download options for Installer and the Archive package. You need to click on the ‘One click download’ link to download both files to your computer.

Download Duplicator package

The archive file is a complete copy of your website, and this will allow you to move WordPress to another domain name. The installer script will automate and run the migration by unpacking the archive file.

Step 2. Create a Database for New Domain Name

Before you can move, you’ll need a database to unpack WordPress on your new domain name.

If you have already created a database, then you can skip this step.

To create a database, you need to visit your hosting account’s cPanel dashboard, scroll down to the ‘Databases’ section, and then click on the ‘MySQL Databases’ icon.

Database icon in CPanel

On the next screen, you’ll see a field to create a new database. Simply provide a name for your database and click on the ‘Create Database’ button.

Create database for switching to another domain name

cPanel will now create a new database for you. After that, you need to scroll down to the MySQL Users section.

Next, provide a username and password for your new user and click on the ‘Create a user’ button.

Adding a new MySQL user

The new user you just created, still does not have permission to work on the database. Let’s change that.

Scroll down to the ‘Add User to Database’ section. Simply select the database user you created from the dropdown menu next to the ‘User’ field, then select the database, and click on the add button.

Add user to database

Your database is now ready to be used on for moving WordPress to the new domain name. Make sure to note down the database name, username, and password. You’ll need this information in the next step.

Step 3. Unpacking WordPress on New Domain Name

Now you need to upload the Duplicator files you downloaded earlier to your new domain name.

First, connect to your domain name using an FTP client. Once connected, make sure that the root directory of your website is completely empty.

After that, you can upload the archive and installer files to the root directory.

Upload Duplicator files to new domain name

Once both files have finished uploading, you are now ready to unpack WordPress.

Open a new browser tab and go to the following URL:

http://example.com/installer.php

Don’t forget to replace example.com with your new domain name. This will launch the Duplicator migration wizard.

Duplicator wizard

The installer will look for the archive file. You need to check the terms and conditions checkbox and click on the next button to continue.

Now, the installer will ask you to enter your WordPress database information.

Your host will likely be localhost. After that, you will enter the details of the database you created for your new domain name in the earlier step.

Connect to the database for your new domain name

Once done, click on the next button to continue.

Duplicator will now unpack your WordPress database backup from the archive into your new database.

Next, it will ask you to update site URL or Path. You shouldn’t have to change anything since it automatically detects the URL of your new domain name and its path.

If it doesn’t, then you can change the URL to your new domain name. After that, click on the next button to continue.

Update URL to your new domian name

Duplicator will now finish the migration.

You can click on the ‘Admin Login’ button to enter the WordPress admin area of your website on the new domain name.

Finishing WordPress migration to new domain name

Step 4. Setting up Permanent 301 Redirects

Setting up a permanent 301 redirect is very important for both SEO and user experience.

This step will allow you to automatically redirect users and search engines to your new domain name.

In other words, whenever someone lands on one of your old posts or pages, they will be automatically redirected to your site on the new domain.

To setup a permanent 301 redirect, you need to connect to your old site using FTP and edit the .htaccess file.

This will be located in the same directory as your wp-includes or wp-admin folder. Open the .htaccess file and paste the following code at the very top:

#Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.newsite.com/$1 [R=301,L]

Note: Replace newsite.com with your new domain in the above code.

Once you have applied these changes, then visit your old domain name. It should automatically redirect you to the new domain.

If it doesn’t, then it means the redirection is not setup properly, and your server likely doesn’t support redirect rules. You need to reach your web hosting’s support to get RewriteEngine turned on.

Step 5. Notifying Google About the Change

Now that you have moved WordPress to a new domain name and setup redirects, it is time to notify Google about the change of address. This will help Google find your new domain name quickly and start showing it in search results.

First, you need to add your new domain name to the Google Search Console. See step 1 in our Google Search Console guide for instructions.

After you have added your new site, you need to switch to the old version of Google Search Console.

Go to old version of Google Search Console

Next, you need to switch to your old domain name and then click on the gear icon at the top to launch change of address tool.

Change of address tool

On the next screen, Google Search Console will show you a step by step wizard to submit your change of address request.

First it will ask you to select your new site from the drop down menu. After that, click on the check button to test 301 redirects and then confirm verification.

Change of address for your old domain name

Finally, click on the submit button to send your address change request.

Notify Users About the Move to New Domain Name

While the 301 redirects do their job, it is always good to make a public announcement about the migration.

You can do this by simply writing a blog post on your new site and sharing it on your social media accounts.

If you have an email marketing list, then you should send a newsletter to let all your subscribers know.

This can be helpful in a lot of ways.

First and foremost, your users are more likely to remember the new domain once they read about it.

Second, you can ask your users to let you know if they see any bugs. You alone cannot test your site in all different type of browsers and system environments. It’s always helpful to have a fresh pair of eyes looking at it.

We hope that this tutorial helped you move your WordPress site to a new domain name. You may also want to see our guide on how to track your search keyword rankings after moving to a new domain name.

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The post How to Easily Move WordPress to a New Domain (without Losing SEO) appeared first on WPBeginner.



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