Intermediate WordPress User

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Site migration

Migrating your site Part 2: Changing your host but keeping your domain

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Hi and welcome to Learn WordPress, part two of migrating your website to a new hosting account. In part one, you learned how to migrate your WordPress website to a new hosting provider while setting up a new domain name. In this session, we’ll be learning about the different steps needed to complete the website migration while keeping the website’s existing domain name.

By the end of this session, you should be able to describe the steps necessary to move your website to a new hosting company when you want to continue to use your existing domain name. Describe how the internet knows where to look for your website. And describe the steps necessary to update the location of your website so that visitors arrive at the version of your site that is in your new hosting location.

Migration similarities

Migrating your WordPress website to a new hosting company and keeping your existing domain name is very similar to migrating to a new hosting provider and establishing a new domain name. When keeping your current domain name, there is a different selection you must make at the beginning of the process, and one additional step at the end of the migration process.

Domain Name Selection

When you establish a hosting account with a new company, one of the first questions that you will be asked in the setup process is whether you are establishing a new domain or whether you already have an existing registered domain name. If you already have a domain name and wish to keep using it you just check that option and enter your existing domain name into the appropriate box.

Hosting account setup

The new hosting company will then set up your hosting account with that entry as the primary domain will also provide you with the information necessary to sign into your hosting account and will provide you with a temporary website address to access the website that you set up in the new account. Logging into your new hosting account will allow you to install WordPress. And the temporary website address will allow you to access your new WordPress Dashboard.

Duplicating your site

Once you have accessed your new WordPress installation, you can duplicate your current website in this new hosting account using the same process that you learned in part one of migrating your WordPress website. Basically, you install your preferred migration plugin in this new website and then use that plugin to import the file on your computer that you downloaded when you exported your website in its old location. When that import is completed, you will have duplicated your existing website and your new hosting account.

Updating website location

You now have your website located in two places on the internet, in your old hosting account and then your new one. However, the internet only knows about your old hosting account. Telling the internet that your website is in a new location is the extra step that you must accomplish in the migration process.

Understanding DNS

Website addresses are actually a series of numbers or numbers and letters called an Internet Protocol address, or IP address. These are examples of IP addresses using versions four and six of the numbering protocol. The domain names that we use in our browsers like or are human readable names that are paired to a specific numeric or alphanumeric IP address that is part of the internet’s Domain Name System or DNS.

Changing Nameserver settings

When you type a domain address into your browser, your request to go to that location first checks with the domain name system through Nameservers to look up the numeric IP address associated with the human readable address that you said you want it to visit.

Your website in the new hosting account has a different IP address from the one in your old hosting account. Until you update the information in the DNS or Nameserver system. The Internet still thinks your website is at its old address.

You update your website’s location by changing the Nameserver settings of your domain. These settings are located in the account where you registered your domain. If you registered your domain at the same time that you established your old hosting account, then that hosting provider most likely is your domain registrar. Most hosting providers are also domain registrars and offer bundled services as were described in the previous lesson. Remember hosting and domain registration are two separate functions, even though you may have initially set up both with the same company at the same time.

When you established your new hosting account, your hosting provider sent you several pieces of information. One of those pieces of information is the Nameserver settings of your new account. If you do not have that information handy, you can log into your new hosting account and find it in the area where you manage your domain settings. They’ll look something like this. There are usually two of them.

You then take the new hosting account Nameservers settings, access your domain registration account. Insert these new Nameserver settings in place of the old ones and save the change.

The length of time it will take for this change to propagate through the internet can vary. Typically it takes 24 to 48 hours a law in some cases, it may take up to 72 hours. If you have made your website in this new hosting account identical to the site in the old hosting account it may be difficult to notice when the Nameserver changes become effective.

Confirmation of migration

One trick you can use is to make a small wording or style change to the website located in the new hosting account. Then in a day or two, navigate to the website using your domain name. If you see that change on the page you will know that you have successfully completed the migration and you’re looking at the website and your new hosting account. Congratulations!

Additional considerations

There are a few other things to consider about your website migration. One is email accounts. The email addresses associated with your domain are part of your hosting account. When you change hosting companies, you’ll have to set up those email addresses in your new hosting account. Some hosting companies will migrate all of your email accounts for you when you set up a new account.

If you added or updated content on your live website, after you made that website migration export file, those changes will not appear in your new website. The exported website file was a snapshot of your site when it was made. Any more recent changes to the site will have to be manually duplicated in your new site.

Remember that you now have service rules from two companies. Your domain registration will be handled by the company where it is registered. And using the example above that will be your old hosting company. You will also have a hosting account renewal with your new hosting company.

The process of changing name server settings or changing domain registrar’s varies between companies. It’s best to look through the help or support sections of your hosting account to find the specific steps to take in your situation. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning just a little bit more about website migrations.


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