MultiSite Domain to Subdomain Move Introduction
For my example I am using a situation where a domain is redundant. However, we want to maintain the existing content as a subdomain of a different domain. I.e. old-domain.com changes to subdomain.new-domain.com. The process is similar in reverse, but details are different. Please ask in the forum if you want a step-by-step lesson for the reverse process.
Moving our domain means that the address of our website changes. Changing the address of your website is not something to be done lightly. It’s the online equivalent of moving home. We all know how stressful that is.
When you move home, you want friends to be able to find you afterwards. And, you want the move to take place as quickly as possible with least possible breakages.
Changing a website address, we want visitors to be seamlessly redirected to our new address. That’s important for our customers, and important for the search engines that help us find those customers. We want to avoid losing Traffic. And, just like family treasures, we do not want to break Analytics data or other performance indicators. We want to avoid losing Statistics.
MultiSite Domain to Subdomain Move Sequence
The MultiSite subdomain change sequence consists of:
1. MultiSite Domain to Subdomain Move Preparation
- Consider posting an explanation that your website address is going to change.
- In CloudFlare, add a new DNS CNAME record for subdomain.new-domain.com.
- In your website hosting account, add a domain alias for subdomain.new-domain.com.
- Run security and quality health checks on old-domain.com and new-domain.com.
- Add subdomain.new-domain.com as a new property in Google Search Console. Note that it is best to verify with the “Domain Name Provider” method. This ensures that the DNS change in step 2 has worked correctly.
- Take a backup of your MultiSite Installation.
2. MultiSite Domain to Subdomain Move Switching
You will need the Site ID of the website that you are moving to a subdomain.
- In Network Admin – Settings – Domains, edit the record for your old-domain.com, and clear the check from Primary.
- In Network Admin – Settings – Domains, add a new record for your Site ID, with Domain as subdomain.new-domain.com, and Primary checked.
- Click the Site ID to edit the site record, and set the correct Site Address (URL) on the Info tab. This should change SiteURL and Home on the Settings tab. If it doesn’t, you can copy and paste it, then press Enter to save. Search the Settings page for any other occurrences of old-domain.com, and change them to subdomain.new-domain.com.
- In Google Search Console, select Change of Address from the Settings menu. It is a drop-down menu located near the top right of the page, with a gear icon. Complete the 4 steps Change Of Address routine.
- In Google Analytics Admin, change the website in View settings and Property Settings
3. MultiSite Domain to Subdomain Move Checking
At this stage, any requests to old-domain should automatically redirect to subdomain.new-domain.com. Once the domain terminates, you might find that certain links that are hard-coded within your posts stop working. To avoid this happening, you should search your content, then edit old-domain.com. Typical content to search is Posts, Pages, and Media. If you use bbPress, also search Forums, Topics, and Replies.
- Check that all links on your website work OK.
- Check Google Analytics is receiving hits.
- Consider posting an explanation that your website address has changed.
- After at least one day, re-run website health checks.
Planning and checking are vital when you change a website address. Switch your website address carefully to avoid losing visitors and statistics.