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Website change of name - can existing site be used with new name

Posted on 2011-05-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
A colleague has a business with its own website, but is changing the name of the business and wants the website to reflect the change. For a while at least, he also wants people using the old name in web browsers to automatically go to the changed site.

What is the best way of doing this? Can it be done without building a new site and just using the existing files?
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Question by:CSHTech
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by:sweetfa2
sweetfa2 earned 400 total points
ID: 35753378
If you own two domain names simply have them both go to the same server address.

There is no problem with accessing the same site, as long as you don't mind that the pages display the same from both sites.

If you want them to display different titles or something then you need to change the pages to handle information from the http request indicating what the intended url was and have your pages dynamically adjust based on this value.

As it stands it sounds like you just want both domain names to hit the same site.  That being the case just set the domains to point to the same server.
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by:jonahzona
ID: 35755408
Also, if you are using wordpress, before you move everything, you will need to adjust the General -settings to reflect the new domain name.

If you don't do this before you move the files, you will have to do it in the MySQL database manually.

Note - Once this is done, you won't be able to access the site under the old domain name as it changes the domain in the database.

See screenshot.

 Wordpress domain settings
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Author Comment

by:CSHTech
ID: 35763606
sweetfa2:

If the (say) oldwebsite.com files remain where they are and 'oldwebsite.com' is forwarded to the 'newwebsite.com' domain name, how do I ensure that people who enter the 'newwebsite.com' name in their browser, are directed to where the files are?

jonahzona:

I assume with changing the Wordpress general settings, I would have to physically move all the files to the new domain name...?
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LVL 13

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by:
jonahzona earned 1600 total points
ID: 35764006
It all depends. If your domain is on the same host, you could simply set up the new domain to host Its files where they are currently loaded.

That could get confusing though.

Personally, i would do it in this order.

1. Download all files for site to a local folder.

2. Upload those files to the new account for the hosted domain.

3. Change the website address in wordpress on the old domain website to the new one so that the database is pointing to the new website.

4. Set up a permanent redirect on your domain to point at the new site.

The only place you would have to be careful is if your database for wordpress is attached to the hosting account for the old domain. If you want to cancel that hosting account in lieu of the new one, you do NOT want to lose that database.

If you haven't backed up a mySQL database before, I could also provide you with steps to do that.

May I ask who you host with? (it sounds like you don't host your own)
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Author Comment

by:CSHTech
ID: 35764211
I'm with a company called Names.

I would intend keeping the old account, so no problems with the old database.

Excuse my lack of understanding as I'm fairly new to transferring domain names - but I'm a little unsure of some things, e.g. wouldn't I need to change the general settings domain name in Wordpress before I uploaded the wordpress files and mySQL database to the new account? think I haven't got my head around this yet.

Perhaps you could point me to a site where this is explained in detail, rather than bothering you with it..?

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by:jonahzona
jonahzona earned 1600 total points
ID: 35764243
Lol. This IS the website! :P

No bother. Happy to share.

Yes, you are correct in saying that you wouldn't be able to access the wordpress site on the new domain until you updated the wordpress settings.

However, you can upload your files to the newsies before doing. In fact, I would recommend it. That way, as soon as you change the settings on the old site to the domain of the new site, everything will immediately start working on the new domain.

If you are confused why this works, let me elaborate. Even though you are talking about to different domains, with two separate copies of the files, you are still using ONE database, which is what drives and stores all the content and permalinks for your wordpress site. Thus, updating from the old site will effect the new site because you are simply updating the database.

The only downside will be if you have any direct url's built in to your theme. Example, your header image points to http://olddomain.com/images/header.jpg, you will have to update all of this.

However, most themes will use relative url's, so this shouldn't be too big if a concern.

This is why the last step before applying the permanent redirect is to change this setting on the current website after the files to the new site are all uploaded and ready to go.

I have done this a bunch of times, since until recently I developed all my sites using wordpress as a CMS. I would develop under a subdomain of my site (since I never bothered setting up apache on my machine), then when complete would transfer it to the clients domain.

If you follow those steps you shouldn't have any problems, as those are the steps i have done many times over.
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Author Closing Comment

by:CSHTech
ID: 35777066
Many thanks.
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