Tips to Update URLs When Moving Your WordPress Site

Migrating to a WordPress site is never an easy decision. It’s actually a process that many people find daunting and avoid doing until it’s necessary. Not only that you’ll have to update URLs when moving your WordPress site but there is plenty more work to do in the process. Thankfully, nowadays we have many WordPress automation and plugin tools that can help you get this tedious task completed. You’ll be able to do something that could take hours in a matter of minutes! The best part is that we’re about to show you how.

Why do you need to update URLs when moving your WordPress site?

After WordPress assigned URLs to different files, pages, or posts on your website, they are being stored in a database. However, if you do something that changes the URLs (for example, add an SSL certificate or change the domain name), the old URLs will stop working. It’s essential for you to update them as quickly as possible. Otherwise, your website will not be able to function properly.

For example, let’s imagine you migrated your WordPress site to a new domain name. You can easily update the WordPress address and site URL in settings located on your WordPress dashboard. However, this will not change the URLs previously assigned to different posts, pages, and even images on your website. This is the part you’ll have to do on your own.

Black laptop screen showing 404 error message
If you don’t update URLs when moving your WordPress site you’ll end up with plenty of broken links that will only give you headaches.

It can be very time-consuming to manually update all URLs on your website. Even fixing the critical error in WordPress is a much quicker process. Plus, there’s always a chance you’ll make a mistake. For instance, you can miss some URLs and leave your website with broken links. By updating your URLs when moving your WordPress site, you’ll enhance the user experience and enable your site visitors to easily find the page they’re looking for on your website. Also, you’ll improve your WordPress SEO. Updating URLs will allow search engines to figure out new content for indexing.

As you can see, there are many reasons why it’s important to update URLs when moving your WordPress site. Further in this article, we’ll let you know how to prepare for this task and how to easily do it. Remember, although fully migrating your WordPress website is not something you should do often, you should still review and update your WordPress website regularly.

Prepare to update URLs when moving your WordPress site

Before updating your URLs, there are two things you should do:

  1. Back up your website! Otherwise, you’re risking having crucial data lost and having to do a lot more work than just updating URLs. In case you already have a WordPress backup plugin, you simply need to check if you have the most recent backup saved and on hand in case of any issues.
  2. Choose a plugin for updating your URLs. There are many options to choose from and further in this article, we’ll present the two we find to be the best.

How to update URLs when moving your WordPress site?

There is nothing as important for your WordPress site as regular website management. By keeping your WordPress website up to date and functional, you’ll avoid having to deal with many potential issues. However, when the time comes to update URLs when moving your WordPress site, regular maintenance won’t help much. To avoid manually updating hundreds, or even thousands of URLs, we recommend installing one of the two WordPress plugins we’re about to introduce to you.

Download a plugin to update URLs when moving your WordPress site
The easiest way to update URLs when moving your WordPress site is to use a plugin.

Use the Velvet Blues Update URLs plugin

In case you’re looking to do a simple, quick, and easy update and nothing else, download the Velvet Blues Update URLs plugin as it’s a perfect choice for you.

Once you’ve activated the plugin, go to Tools > Update URLs and you’ll instantly notice that this plugin works in two steps:

  1. You should add the old URL (site address) that needs to be replaced as well as the new URL which you want to use to replace the old one.
  2. The second step consists of choosing which URLs you want to have updated. You can choose to have only parts of your website’s URLs changed. You can even combine different parts of your website and update their URLs at the same time. This plugin will enable you to update all GUIDs, too. However, this is something you should know about if you’re specifically trying to change GUIDs. This plugin will let you know if that’s something you should do.

Once you complete step two, simply click on the “Update URLs NOW” button and let this simple and amazing plugin do its job. You can keep an eye on the progress and check at any point how many items have been updated.

Use the Better Search Replace plugin

In case you want to do more than simply update URLs, download the Better Search Replace plugin and you’re good to go. This plugin lets you do all sorts of cool and interesting things. For instance, you can change a single word on your entire website. Or, you can choose to have only certain things in specific databases changed.

Once you activate the plugin, you can start updating your URLs. Go to Search/Replace tab in the plugin’s menu and the first you’ll need to do is to define what you’re searching for and what you want to replace it with. As you want to update URLs when moving your WordPress website, you should enter your old and new URL here.

The next step is to choose the tables where you want this change to happen. Unless you specifically know which table contains the exact data you want to search and replace, shift + click will select all of the tables and you’re good to go. Afterward, you’ll be able to choose whether the search should be case-sensitive, do you want to replace the GUIDs, and if you want to run a search/replace as a dry run or the real thing.

The best way to go is to use the Better Search Replace plugin to do a dry run first. Once it’s done, you’ll get a notification on what would have been updated. Simply uncheck the dry run box and you’re ready to run the search and replace for real.

A person sitting at their computer desk with a coffee mug next to it and a WordPress page opened on the monitor
Even though updating URLs after migrating your website is a daunting task, you can make it quite simple by using the right plugin.

The bottom line

Even though having to update URLs when moving your WordPress site is a task no one looks forward to, it can be quite easy with the help of the right tools. Given that it’s one of the most important things to do after migrating your WordPress site, you need to be careful and use verified tools to help you. Try one of the plugins we’ve recommended and we guarantee you’ll make this process simpler and easier than you imagined.

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