How do I change my blog's domain name while keeping the same host?
November 15, 2016 7:23 PM   Subscribe

I have a 13 year old self hosted Wordpress blog. I want to change its domain name while keeping it at the same host, which I've also had for 13 years. Google searches on the subject tell me how to move it to another host and a new domain name, or how to move from to self-hosted. I need a few pointers, please.

I just don't like the domain name anymore. It was my online handle since 1994, but times have changed and for REASONS it's not a good fit. I'm not worried about losing traffic or Google rank. It's an old blog and I probably have only a few readers. My #1 concern is making sure that if someone finds a page of mine in search, and the address is, they will actually go to 404 errors drive me batty.

My #2 concern: I used to hard code images a LOT before I really understood how Wordpress worked. Is there a utility that will do a giant search/replace through my posts and change to

Thanks kindly!
posted by kimberussell to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This will depend a little bit on who's hosting your blog and how.

At the least, you need to
1. register a new domain name
2. get it "pointed" at the IP address for your current blog host (I can help show you how to find it if you don't know)
(this is usually something you do via the place you buy the domain from, simplest would be to get the new domain from the same provider, because then you can just copy the DNS entries from your old domain to the new one)

and possibly
3. get your hosting provider to add a virtual hosting entry for your new domain

You probably need to do all 3. These days it's common for one webserver to host many domains on one address. Virtual hosting means that all web hits that go to that IP address are handled based on the hostname in the url (and not just the IP address)
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:44 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Regarding your image question, the *simplest* way would be to simply keep both domains, in which case the old images will keep getting properly served. If that's not acceptable there are a lot of approaches. I don't know Wordpress that thoroughly - do you usually have (or can get) access to the underlying database?
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:45 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Are you planning on keeping the old domain? So if someone types in there will be something that you set up which redirects the URL to If so, this is pretty straightforward, you need to edit one file in your WordPress setup (I can't help with the hardcoded images thing but it should also work if you're just duplicating the directory structure, btu I'm not certain).

So if you did it this way you would

1. register the new domain
2. get hosting for the new domain
3. point it to your host
4. mess with the .htaccess file as shown above
5. talk to your host about whether you could change hosting plans for the old domain since it will just be a pointer/redirect
6. a 301 means google will get the point, you could create a sitemap with a Wordpress plugin to help it get the point that you've moved

There are definitely ways to do mass find/replace throughout your wordpress database, but that's outside my wheelhouse.
posted by jessamyn at 7:50 PM on November 15, 2016

I would recommend using a plugin to search and replace old URLs with new URLs throughout the database. A whole lot of data in Wordpress is serialized, meaning you can't just directly search the database for X and replace it with Y. Here is an example of a highly rated plugin that should fix your image URLs (along with any others that are hard coded).
posted by zebra at 8:01 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

These are tasty answers, thank you! Things are starting to clear up.

I plan on keeping the old domain name and will redirect it to new domain name. My monthly hosting plan ($8.95/mo) gives me an unlimited number of add on domains and SQL databases, and access to those databases via phpMyAdmin.
posted by kimberussell at 4:24 AM on November 16, 2016

- Register a new domain

- Change the name servers to Wordpress', or whatever your hosting provider gave you.

- If you want to redirect users from website A to website B, set up a HTTP 301 redirect request in your .htaaccess file.

- If you don't have hosting for the old domain, you could set up a CNAME, but that means you can't set up any more records for the old name, and it's considered bad practice.
posted by GiveUpNed at 12:32 PM on November 16, 2016

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