Moving your site from a subdomain to a new domain (part 2)

An image showing a truck and a website, implicating the moving or construction of a site.

Continued from… Moving your site from a subdomain to a new domain (part 1)

Setting permalinks

By default, when you install WordPress, permalinks (what your url will look like in the browser) is set to show your url, followed by a slash and then ‘?p=123’. If this was the setting in your old site, then just leave it like this. If not, make sure your permalinks are set to the same as your old site, as otherwise you will have broken internal links.

To change your permalinks, in your WordPress dashboard go to Settings and click Permalinks.

Exporting and importing content

Go to the old dashboard, hover the mouse over Tools, then click export. Choose to export all content, and click the button “Download Export File”. A file is downloaded to your computer.

Now go to the new dashboard, hover the mouse over Tools, then click import. You have a couple of options for where you want to import content from, such as Blogger, LiveJournal, Tumblr and of course, WordPress. You first have to install the importer tool, so click on ‘Install Now’. Once it is installed, click ‘Run Importer’. In the next screen, click on ‘Choose File’ and then locate the file on your computer. Click the button ‘Upload file and import’.

A screen opens where you can assign authors to the imported posts and pages. If you are the only author on the site, the choice is easy. If there are more authors, just work through the different options. Click the option ‘Download and import file attachments’ and click the button ‘Submit’.

Now wait, as the import can take a while. Once everything is imported, you will get a whole list of confirmations per post and media file.

Rebuilding your site

Next, start to rebuild your site. All posts and pages are there, but after I had imported everything tot he new site, there are some things I needed to redo, such as:

  • Main menu
  • Social media links
  • Widgets in the sidebar (see next section)

Just like I did before I switched between the old and the new site using Alt-tab. On both I opened the customize screen for the theme, and I worked through each section and made sure all settings were the same. I also switched between the old and the new site, and worked through it from top to bottom to make sure I haven’t missed anything.

In the above process I slightly changed some things, such as adding the Blogable logo to the sidebar, and I removed those things that weren’t necessary anymore.

Redoing widgets, activating and removing plugins

Remember earlier I said I installed all plugins I had on the old site, but I didn’t activate them? When working in the customize screen in the previous section, I skipped the ‘widgets’ section, because I wanted to make sure I had no plugins on the new site that weren’t used anymore.

So in both the old and the new dashboard, I went to ‘Appearance – Widgets’ and from top to bottom worked through the widgets I had on the old site, and reproduced them on the new. When a widget wasn’t available, I went to the plugin, activated it, and came back to widgets section to add the widget.

Once that was done, I checked which other plugins I still needed, such as the User Submitted Posts, Yoast SEO and Wordfence. You might want to run through the settings of all plugins you will keep using, to make sure everything is like it was before, but mostly activating the plugins, you are prompted to run through the settings anyway.

Once you are sure you have activated all plugins you still need, check to see if there are any plugins you will not be using anymore, and delete those. If you’re not sure, then just leave them in your dashboard, and if by the end if the first month on your new site you haven’t used them, just delete them.

What about your subscribers?

You most probably had subscribers on your old blog, and those are not automatically transferred to the new. You can either let all of them know that you have moved your site, and ask them to subscribe again, or you can follow the easy road: contact Jetpack.

Go to Jetpack in your browser and on the Jetpack Dashboard, scroll down to the section where it says ‘We’re here to help’. Click ‘Ask a question’, and this will take you to a search form. Type subscribers, look for migrate your subscribers and follow the steps.. This works to move subscribers from a site to self-hosted. If you want to move your subscribers from one self-hosted site to the other, you will need to contact Jetpack Support. They always reply within 24 hours.

Redirecting from old to new site

When you are entirely sure the new site is like you want it, it’s time to tell the world you have a new home for your old site. In the example I have above, where I used from a subdomain to a main domain, I have asked my host to help me put a 301 redirect in place. This way, when people click links to the old website, they will automatically be lead to the new one.

After my request for my host to help me, they came back and told me to add the following text to the .htaccess file of the Wicked Wednesday subdomain:

RewriteEngine On
rewritecond %{http_host} ^
rewriteRule ^(.*)$1 [R=301,L]

I had no idea where to put it, so added it before the line “/IfModule” and then I checked the site. It worked!

Post scriptum

The above has been written for when you move a site from one self-hosted home to another self-hosted home with a different address. However, many of what is in here can also be used when you move a site from a free platform such as Blogger or WordPress. Now you don’t have any plugins on the free platforms, so that will be new to you, and you will have a bigger choice for themes, so developing your site might take a bit longer as you try to find your way.

If you are thinking of moving over to self-hosting and you need help, just get in touch and we will help/guide you through it.

Image from Pixabay

2 thoughts on “Moving your site from a subdomain to a new domain (part 2)

  1. Thank you for these two posts Marie. I’m going to be changing MM to its own domain for similar reasons so its really helpful information. 😊

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