How to Move WordPress Site to New Domain or Location

If you decide to change the URL or link location of your WordPress site due to changes of domain name from the development server to the main sever or from one domain name to another (such as from http://www.old-domain.com/ to http://www.new-domain.com/) or the blog to another directory location (such as from http://www.domain.com/ to http://www.domain.com/blog/), there are some steps that should be done to ensure the proper migration and no breaking links.

The tricky part when moving WordPress site to another location is that WordPress is using absolute path in URL link instead of relative path in URL link location when stores some parameters in database. Within wordpress site posts’ contents itself, users may also use the old URLs when creating reference backlinks. All these values in the database will need to be changed when WordPress is moved. The following guide will show you which database fields that has references or values related to site’s URLs that you want to modify.

Once the site has been moved (all files copy over in case of moving location or server or new domain name properly propagated across Internet for new domain name), the first thing to change is to tell WordPress the new site location (wp-config.php should be no changes, and .htaccess file should be also no changes. If for some reason mod_rewrite rules for friendly URLs no longer works, you can always regenerate the .htaccess file via WP Administration’s Update Permalinks page). This value can be changed via WordPress Options page, but if you no longer able to access to old site URL, you have to modify the value via MySQL database.

Note: The guide uses SQL statements based on MySQL replace() function to modify the database. To run SQL queries, login to MySQL database that houses WordPress tables via phpMyAdmin or login to the DB server and run MySQL client as root.

To update WordPress options with the new site location, use the following SQL command:

UPDATE wp_options SET option_value = replace(option_value, ‘http://www.old-domain.com’, ‘http://www.new-domain.com’) WHERE option_name = ‘home’ OR option_name = ‘siteurl';

After that you will need to fix URLs of the WordPress posts and pages, which translated from post slug, and stored in database wp_posts table as guid field. The URL values in this field are stored as absolute URLs instead of relative URLs, so it needs to be changed with the following SQL query:

UPDATE wp_posts SET guid = replace(guid, ‘http://www.old-domain.com’,’http://www.new-domain.com’);

If you have linked internally within wordpress site posts or pages with absolute URLs, these links will point to wrong locations after you move the site location. Use the following SQL commands to fix all internal links to own site in all WordPress posts and pages:

UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = replace(post_content, ‘http://www.old-domain.com’, ‘http://www.new-domain.com’);

Browse through WordPress site to check if everything is okay. You also need to re-login to WP Administration as authentication cookie has now became invalid due to different domain.