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Changing website domain name

What is the correct way?

     
5:11 am on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hi all. Most likely it's been posted here many times but for some reason I cannot find an answer I'm looking for.
Guys, I need your help.
Pretty soon I'll have to change my domain name and I know it's going to hurt, but what is the correct way to do that? I've never done it before and cannot afford making a mistake. It's a 1.5 years wordpress blog and gets over 5000 unique visitors/day. I know, it sucks changing the name now.

Here's my goal.


olddomain redirects to newdomain
olddomain/page/ redirects to newdomain/page/
olddomain/another-page/ redirects to newdomain/another-page/
etc...

I have an idea but not sure if it's a correct solution
1. Buy a new domain name
2. Buy a new hosting account for this new domain name
3. Create an exact copy of the old site on the new hosting account and then 301 redirect in .htaccess located on the old account.
I'm not sure if it's too compleated. Maybe there is an easier way to do that?
Maybe it's not necessary to buy a new hosting account and it will be enough just buy a new domain name and then somehow modify the existing .htaccess file to point it to the new domain? I'm lost.

Thank you for any help you can provide.

5:24 am on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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You have it down right. That is the text book way to move a site.
5:31 am on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thank you ogletree
5:48 pm on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Why would you need to do any redirecting at all? Why not just have both domains point to the same site? </stupid question I've never given a lot of thought to>
4:10 am on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It is a bad idea to point both domains at the same IP. You are now showing Google 2 websites with the same content. Now Google has to figure out which one is more important and remove the other one. When you 301 redirect a site you are sending all your link juice to the new site. You do not get the link juice if you don't 301.
4:41 am on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure there's really any need to "2. Buy a new hosting account for this new domain name" unless you really want to change hosts (and have to copy all your files over, and deal with possible inconsistencies in server configuration).

If your current hosting package allows you to have two sites in your 'account' -- and many do, then just set up the new domain pointing to your old filespace, change the old domain to point to the new filespace (or even the same filespace -- you can do it either way on many hosts), and then put a redirect in place from the old domain to the new domain.

I also hope you're doing this because you're under legal pressure to do so; Any other reason is arguably less justification for taking the temporary ranking hit of changing domains...

Jim

5:22 pm on Apr 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for your responses,
I also hope you're doing this because you're under legal pressure to do so; Any other reason is arguably less justification for taking the temporary ranking hit of changing domains...
That's exactly the reason. I have a domain witch is similar to a registered trademark (I didn't know that when I purchased the domain). Their attorney contacted me last year but I was able to negotiate and keep the domain and site by placing a disclaimer on the site. The site is getting popular now and I decided to change the name to avoid any trouble in the future, I don't know what they keep in mind.
If your current hosting package allows you to have two sites in your 'account' -- and many do, then just set up the new domain pointing to your old filespace, change the old domain to point to the new filespace (or even the same filespace -- you can do it either way on many hosts), and then put a redirect in place from the old domain to the new domain.
I thought about that but wasn't sure if I need two exact copies of my site in order 301 redirect to work properly. Never done it before.

Here's an update.
1. I purchase a new domain name with hosting (new domain name is very similar to the old one)
2. Created an exact copy of my current site (Wordpress blog) under the new domain
3. Checked everything 3 times, so all URLs are the same and sites are similar as much as possible
4. Allowed access to all search engines in robots.txt file on my new site
5. Placed 301 redirect into .htaccess file on the old site
6. Started getting traffic to my new site right away
7. Checked if my redirect works properly with a redirect checker tool (many of them on the Internet)
8. Created a google sitemap for my new site and submitted it to Google (I'll remove the sitemap later, I need it just for faster indexing)

Two days later first pages appeared in Google and Yahoo. For some reason Google indexed first pages incorrectly, giving them some weird titles and no descriptions at all. I was scared for a while and rececked my new site again but didn't find anything wrong, all titles and descriptions are set correctly. Next day Google indexed more pages and they all showed up correctly. I guess it's OK during the transitional period. We'll see. Yahoo indexed all pages correctly right away. At this time my new site doesn't appear in MSN (don't really care).

I hope it will not be a disaster for my site and I'll keep my rankings.

 

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