In this article, we cover how to change a domain name with just seven simple steps. As well as outlining the process to follow, we’ll explore why you might want to make this change in the first place. 

Selecting a domain name is one of the most important choices you can make when establishing an online presence. Hopefully, you’ll be happy enough to stick with it over the course of your brand’s journey, but sometimes, businesses decide their current name isn’t the right fit and opt to change it. So, here’s how to change your domain name, in a nutshell.

We’ll cover everything you need to know about how to change a website name, the reasons why you might decide to switch, and any important things to bear in mind when changing a domain. 

Switching your domain name isn’t technically difficult, but it does come with some vital considerations. 

First and Foremost, Can You Change a Domain Name After Purchasing It?

Altering your domain name after purchasing it is possible but not always convenient. Some domain name registrars have restrictions in place or specific steps you need to follow to complete a change. 

The easiest solution is to contact your registrar and find out what their policy is. You can reach out to their customer support or log into your account management interface and see if it’s listed as an option.

Some companies will only allow you to change names provided the domain hasn’t been activated yet. So, in short, it all depends on the company. 

Is it a Good Idea to Change Domain Name? 5 Reasons Why People Do

Here are just a handful of reasons why you might be interested in finding out how to change your domain name. 

  • Rebranding. It’s natural for your business to evolve over time, and the name of your company might change as part of this. Perhaps you’ve made some marketing decisions that require a different domain name altogether, or maybe you want to specify which country you’re based in with a specific domain ending, such as or .ie.
  • Copyright infringement. Copyright rules and laws can be pretty murky, so it can be possible to accidentally infringe on another person’s intellectual property. Even if there isn’t a strong legal case for asking you to change your domain name, you might choose to in order not to be confused with another company. After all, what is a domain name useful for if not to stand out from the competition?
  • Getting bought out. Related to the point above, if you own a domain name that a bigger company wants, they might offer to buy it from you. If you’ve watched Schitt’s Creek, you’ll be familiar with the episode where the Blouse Barn name gets bought by an Australian company.
  • Expansion. While one reason for changing may be to make your brand more localised, you might also want to do the opposite, i.e., make it more globally focused with a .com ending instead of a one. 

Perhaps your company has become an international success story with customers around the world, and you no longer want to be associated with a single country. For example, changing to .com might communicate to customers that shipping won’t be prohibitively expensive. 

  • Relocation. Equally, if you’re moving your company from the UK to Ireland, you might want to switch from a domain to a .ie one. 

This could even include changing your brand name to also make it more localised. In Ireland, for example, Primark is known as Penney’s (it was changed in the UK for copyright reasons). The colours and style are identical, but the name is different.

While this is a handful of common factors that might necessitate a name or domain change, it is not an exhaustive list. Sometimes, brands simply decide to switch their name because something else sounds cuter or more fun. 

How to Change the Domain Name of an Existing Website and Keep Your Content: 7 Simple Steps

In this section, we’ll guide you through how to change a domain name while keeping your content and maintaining customer loyalty. Just follow these seven steps: 

1. Ask yourself why you want to change your domain name

You may want to change your domain name for several reasons. After all, choosing a name for your website is an important consideration. 

When figuring out what you want, think about your offerings. Take some time to consider what you’re selling and how your audience benefits from this service or product. You can brainstorm ideas for related words and domain name inspiration. 

Try to future-proof whatever moniker you come up with, i.e., try not to make it so narrow that you can’t expand in the future. If you’re currently selling only carrots but know you want to stock more vegetables in the long term, your domain name probably shouldn’t be “” This will help you avoid more name changes going forward. (Says the company called OnlyDomains, which also offers emails and web hosting. We know, we know.)

2. Select your preferred option

Your new domain name should be simple to spell, pronounce, and type into a search bar. You want to make it easy for visitors to avoid spelling mistakes and typos when they’re trying to reach you. 

Having a simple domain name will also help people spread the word about your website more easily. 

In addition, make sure your new domain name is versatile enough that when your business grows, it doesn’t restrict your image. 

What should your new domain name be?

  • When you choose your new domain name extension, “.com” is probably your best bet (unless you want to go for a country-specific option). It’s the most familiar to people and the easiest to remember.
  • You’ll also want a brandable domain name that’s unique and stands out from the competition. More generic domain names that are stuffed with keywords are less memorable.
  • Aim for 6 to 14 characters for your domain name—the briefer, the better. Shorter monikers are easier to type and remember.
  • Make it easy to type and spell. You might think that putting in a long word that perfectly describes your project, like “regenerative” or “sustainable”, is a good idea, but try spelling that when you’re in a hurry!
  • Make it easy to pronounce. She won’t be selling any seashells on any seashores if people can’t find her shop.
  • Avoid numbers and hyphens. Imagine if Facebook’s domain name was Not as simple, right? It would also be easier to mess up. You want your name to be sleek, punchy, and easy to type and remember.
  • Think about SEO. If you use keywords in your domain name, this could help search engine optimisation efforts (if you want to avoid being overly generic, you could combine this with a more niche word). 

3. Redirect your old content to your new domain name

After selecting a domain name, it’s time to redirect your website content. This process will vary depending on your hosting provider, and it can end up being quite tricky. Essentially, it involves moving all of your site’s files and databases.

If you want to do it manually, you’ll need to use a secure file transfer protocol (SFTP) solution, but if you’re not sure you can handle it alone, you may want to hire a developer to complete the transfer for you. It’s also possible that your hosting provider may offer this service (many hosts provide free migrations, including domain transfers). 

Importantly, you’ll need to inform Google of the change to your website domain. If you’ve already set up a Google Search Console account, the change of address tool allows you to easily move your site from one place to another. 

4. Audit your site

Before you change domains, create an overview of all your statistics. As well as helping you understand how your website is performing, this will function as a benchmark after your name change is complete. 

You can start with a backlink audit. You’ll also want to use Google Search Console to do an audit of the top keywords that drive people to your website.

5. Update your email address and signature to match your domain name

Another step in your domain changeover is to update your email address and signature so they match your new name. Instead of “,” you should have “,” and your email signature should direct people to your new domain name like in the example below: 


Tina Wichita


Hours: Mon-Thurs, 10 am – 2 pm

This will avoid unnecessary confusion for your customers and clients, as well as keep things cohesive and professional for your brand. 

6. Let your clients know about the change

You can send out an email or make an announcement on social media to introduce people to your brand-new domain, which may or may not coincide with a rebrand of your whole company. 

You could even offer a special discount to get people interested, making them aware of the change and creating a positive association with your new domain in their minds. 

If you present it as an exciting new development and part of the ongoing growth of your company while maintaining the elements that attracted your customers in the first place, you’ll be set. 

7. Keep paying for both domains until your migration is fully complete

You should keep paying for both of your domains while you migrate your content. 

Firstly, this facilitates the technical aspects of the domain change. A second reason is that it allows customers to be automatically redirected to your new site, which helps you avoid customer loss.

Another option is to put a redirect notice under the old domain name, explaining that you’ve moved and showing people where to find you. 

You don’t want to erase all traces of your old domain straight away. In fact, you want to keep it for at least a few months post-migration. 

How Do You Change Domain Name and Keep Your Google Ranking?

There are two things you should focus on to keep your Google ranking—both of which we’ll cover here. 

Save your website traffic

To save your website traffic, you’ll need to add 301 redirects from your old domain to the appropriate pages on your new website. This indicates to search engines that you’ve moved your content.

You should also update any internal links on your website to pages on your new domain so that visitors don’t click on broken links. You should also reach out to any websites that link to your content to ask them to update their links to point to your new domain. 

By keeping an eye on your website analytics, you’ll be set to notice any changes in traffic and respond accordingly. 

Ensure Google and all search engines know about your domain name change

To make sure Google and other search engines know about your domain name change, you should add it to the Google Search Console. 

You can also create a new XML sitemap for your domain and submit that to Google Search Console as well. 

Planning Your Domain Name Change: A Pre-Change Checklist

Before you decide on a new name for your website, check out this list to make sure you’ve got everything covered.

Think about why you want to change your domain name

Before you make any snap decisions, think about what it is you’re hoping to achieve with your name change. This will guide you in choosing a new name that fully suits your purposes. 

Check the availability of potential domain names

You can check whether your preferred domain name already exists using various services online. These can also show you how much it would cost to buy a domain name. 

Know where your domain is hosted

If you know where your current domain is hosted, you can find out more about the necessary procedures and support available for moving your content to a new domain. 

Know what platform your website is built on

If you find out what platform your website is built on, this will give you insight into how to download and store your site files so you can rebuild them on another platform if you wish. 

Research your new domain host’s features

It’s important to read the small print, as well as make a list of any useful features you can gain from your new domain host, such as around-the-clock technical support. 

Backup your website

Backing up your website will protect you from losing years’ worth of content, design, marketing, and more. This will help you transition seamlessly to your new domain. This is also a good opportunity to make sure your website is backed up to the cloud automatically. 

Download a backup file to your laptop

You’ll also want a backup file on your laptop to cover all your bases and have easy and immediate access to your website content. 

What Are the Risks of Changing a Domain Name?

Of course, there are certain risks inherent in changing a domain name. These are the most important ones to look out for: 

  • Even if you follow all the advice laid out here, changing your domain name can still impact SEO—yes, even with the right 301 redirects in place, you may still experience a temporary drop in rankings. 
  • Backlink authority drop. You need every website that links to you to update their links so they point to your new domain. Otherwise, your SEO will be affected. 
  • Confusing your audience. People will quickly get used to your new domain, but it might take a beat, and you may see a temporary drop in visitors while people get used to any changes to your brand (or the associations they have with it). This can also affect the reputation you’ve built, so you need to make sure your brand identity remains strong. 
  • Technical challenges. Changing domain names is a technical process, and it’s not something you should do without proper help or knowledge. Even small mistakes can negatively impact your website’s performance, so you should consult an expert for help. 
  • If your email is linked to your old domain, this could cause some issues with your contact info, so you’ll want to update your customers ASAP. 

How Long Does This All Take, and How Much Will It Cost?

The process of changing a domain name can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a week on average, depending on the complexity of your website and the hosts you’re working with. 

The cost will also depend on several factors, such as: 

  • The popularity of your new domain name
  • The fees of the company you go with
  • Your top-level domain (TLD)
  • Your domain registrar
  • Any renewal fees
  • Your contract length
  • WHOIS protection features
  • Whether business email accounts are included. 

Make Changing Your Domain Name as Easy as 1, 2, 3 With OnlyDomains Support

Changing your domain name doesn’t have to be difficult—you can use online solutions to simplify the process and take the headache out of it. 

OnlyDomains, for example, delivers domain names in a simple and easy format, with WHOIS privacy and 24-hour phone support five days a week.

Why not contact us today to find out more about how to change domains quickly and easily? 

Similar Posts