- Back up all your blog files and database. The backup buddy premium plugin does this wonderfully. At the old domain's dashboard, access Tools on the left sidebar, click Export, select All content. Menus, custom fields, comments, pages and posts will all be exported. Next, save the downloaded .xml export file on your computer.
- Through cPanel, at your old domain's File Manager, get a copy of wp-contentâ€, compress the folder and save it on your computer. It contains your plugins, themes and uploads.
- Next install into your new domain your WordPress, login into your WordPress dashboard. At the dashboard, select settings, then general. Proceed to setup the WordPress address and new site to be the same, with or without www. At Permalinks settings, set the permalinks PRECISELY the way it was in the old domain. This is a crucial step that re-directs traffic from the old domain to the new one.
- At the new domain, using cPanel, upload the compressed wp-content to the new domain. This over-writes the new folder with the old folder material. Time taken to complete this will depend on the amount of themes, plugins, images and posts. At the dashboard, tools, import, select WordPressâ€, on being asked to install the WordPress Importerâ€, chose install nowâ€ then click activate & run importer. On the screen, select the .xml file from the old domain you exported and upload it. This brings posts, pages and comments from the old blog. Activate the plugins and theme from the old domain. Using Update URLs WordPress Plugin, update all links automatically.
- Next, go to the .htaccess file of the old domain, add the following on top of the file:
#Options +FollowSymLinks RewriteEngine on RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.example.com/$1 [R=301,L]
This tells search engines that your domain has moved. It brings the old site's SEO benefits to the new site. Next go to your Google Webmaster account dashboard, chose old domain, expand site configuration, click change of addressâ€, on item 4, give your new domain. Google will now crawl your new site and index pages.
That is it.