photo by cindy47452 with modifications by me.
This issue has been vexing me for months. I had my site (almost) exactly how I wanted it at jessicamullen.com. Then I realized that my 'personal brand' would be much stronger if I was using my jessicamullen.com domain. So I put it on the to-do list to switch over, probably about 4 months ago. This week, I finally did it! The hardest part was figuring out how to do it right–I have thousands of posts in my database & it was causing all sorts of WordPress dashboard import/export problems. Here is what I finally came up with:
- Backup EVERYTHING. First, export your xml file from your WordPress dashboard. This step is practically worthless though, if you have a large amount of posts. Next, copy your ENTIRE WordPress installation directory from your FTP. Finally, make a complete backup of your database. I chose to not compress my database backup, but you may have success with a compressed file.
- Point your new URL to the directory you will be putting your new files in. First I had to transfer my domain from another hosting company, Yahoo. Once it made it over, I assigned it to my cPanel as an addon domain. During this process I chose a directory for that URL to point to.
- Copy your database to a new database. This I did in phpMyAdmin. Find your active database, & simply copy it to a new database with a new name. It should be an option under "operations".
- Go back to your cPanel & add a user to the new database. I'm not sure if this is totally necessary, but it's what worked for me.
- Download the most recent version of WordPress & update your wp-config.php file with the new credentials - the new database name, user & password. I tried using SimpleScripts through Bluehost to install WordPress but that was a nightmare. Upload the WordPress files to the new folder on your FTP that you designated when you assigned your addon URL.
- Upload your theme, plugins, & uploads folder. I still can't figure out how to get the old posts on the new site to point to the new uploads folder. Any ideas on how to remedy this?
- Go back into phpMyAdmin & open up your database to start editing entries. All of the entries you need to edit should be in the wp-options table. I had to change the site URL entry from jessicamullenslifestream.com to jessicamullen.com. Then find any other entry that references your old URL and change it to the new one.
- Try loading your site! If it doesn't work right away, try logging into your WordPress dashboard. If that works, then you might just have a problem with your theme.
- Fix up your widgets, sidebars, & plugins. I had to re-enter my widgets & sidebars (maybe, my memory is hazy here!), but my plugins made it through the process unscathed.
That's all there is to it! I would love to hear if you have any easier methods or suggestions for improvement, since I have to do this again several more times in my near future...