Need to move website to new domain name
January 11, 2020 11:13 AM   Subscribe

I'm changing company names and looking for information on how to properly move a website example: to

Both websites are wordpress sites and both are with the same host. is an established site and is indexed nicely with google. is going to be the new company name website. I won't necessarily have the exact same pages that I did on the old site, but rather I'm looking for the proper way to forward traffic from the old site to the new site.

I'm not sure, but I imagine that simply deleting the old website and putting in domain redirects with my host isn't the best way, but it is a way. I just don't know what the "proper" way is. Especially taking into account how google may look at a site that was once there but is now deleted and just redirected to the new site.

Thanks for your thoughts.
posted by Jackie_Treehorn to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You want to set up a 503 redirect in the .htaccess file in the home directory of
posted by humboldt32 at 11:15 AM on January 11

503 redirect

A 5xx code response indicates a server error. 503 is often used for a temporary maintenance issue. I would say it is not commonly used to change your website like the question asks about.

Google recommends using the HTTP 301 response to change a page's URL.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:00 PM on January 11 [3 favorites]

One major thing you want to do is claim both domains through Google Search Console, then look up in the documentation their instructions for moving domains. Read carefully because as I recall it can be pretty confusing and there are slight variations depending on exactly what you want to do.

(This matter of taking care of search stuff probably involves having Wordpress publish an XML sitemap if it isn't already doing so, but other than that any actual mechanism of forwarding visitors from one domain to another is a totally separate thing only involving Wordpress and/or the web server software. You just want to make sure you're following any advice Google provides as closely as possible, if your search rankings are as important to you as the average web site's.)
posted by XMLicious at 12:01 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]

I have no idea why I wrote 503 redirect. Indeed, I meant a "redirect 301".
posted by humboldt32 at 12:10 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]

Cool URLs don’t change but you can lessen the negative impact of moving things around.

Look at your site’s access logs to select pages with high inbound traffic. Your visitors are likely to be entering via searches or links rather than just hitting the front page and navigating from there. To prevent old searches and links from unceremoniously dropping someone off at’s front door with no further information, set up 301 redirects for individual pages you care about:

Here’s a guide to creating 301 redirects in Wordpress, which you’ll do on your old site. Keep the old site up with all its redirects indefinitely if you can.
posted by migurski at 12:41 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]

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