Domain Migration Steps: Your Comprehensive Guide

Knowledge Base > Migration > Domain Migration Steps: Your Comprehensive Guide

What Are the Main Steps of a Domain Migration?

Embarking on a domain migration can be like navigating uncharted waters, but with the right compass, the journey to a new digital domain can lead to unexplored opportunities for growth and rejuvenation. Key steps such as establishing a robust pre-migration plan, ensuring DNS configurations are precisely orchestrated, and securing a domain migration checklist are akin to a mariner’s map—vital instruments in ensuring the new domain shores are reached without sacrificing the SEO treasure amassed over time.

In the thick of a domain migration, attention to technical execution is paramount, pairing the swiftness of a well-oiled vessel with the precision of a master craftsman. This involves not just transferring ownership and updating records, but also adapting content, implementing thorough redirects, and a constant vigil over SEO stability, positioning your website firmly upon SEO serenity even as it arrives at its new digital berth. All steps, taken with thoughtful planning and sound advice, as found in a domain migration steps pdf or domain migration steps example, chart the course for a successful transition, turning the daunting into the triumphant.

Check out these important domain migration steps when you're planning to export a website.

Chapters Topics Covered
Preparing for Domain Shift Explore systematic strategies for preparing your digital assets before transitioning to a new domain, including DNS considerations, and content inventory.
Validating the Migration Learn the crucial steps in validating the success of the migration process, including monitoring traffic flow, functionality checks, and audit trails.

Preparing for Domain Shift

Before the anchor is lifted and the domain migration sails set, there’s a nautical chart of terms to navigate. In the glossary ahead, discover the lighthouses and buoys—key terminologies that illuminate and guide you through the complexities of domain migration. They stand as beacons ensuring safe passage through the technicalities and intricacies, guaranteeing a thorough grasp of the domain migration journey ahead.

Domain Name System (DNS)
The hierarchical and decentralized naming system for computers, services, or other resources connected to the Internet or a private network, translating human-readable domain names to machine-readable IP addresses.
An entity that manages the reservation of internet domain names and is accredited by a generic top-level domain (gTLD) registry and/or a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) registry.
301 Redirect
A method of redirecting users from one URL to another, signaling to search engines that a page has moved permanently, which is critical in preserving SEO ranking for the domain being migrated.
Migration Plan
A detailed strategy that outlines the process of transitioning a domain from one environment to another, considering all technical, administrative, and SEO aspects.
Content Inventory
A comprehensive cataloging of all content on a website, which is essential for ensuring that all important content is accounted for and correctly transferred during a domain migration.
Top-Level Domain (TLD)
The last segment of a domain name, following the final dot, such as .com, .org, or .net, which is a critical factor to consider during a domain migration.
Domain Propagation
The process by which DNS servers worldwide update their records to reflect changes to domain names, such as the IP address they point to after a domain migration.
WHOIS Database
A public directory that stores and displays domain information, including owner contact details and domain registrar, which needs updating after a domain migration.
SSL Certificate
A digital certificate that provides authentication for a website and enables an encrypted connection, which must be reconfigured or transferred in the event of a domain migration.
Canonical Tag
An HTML tag used to specify the preferred version of a web page, helping to prevent duplicate content issues in search engine indexing – a factor to maintain post-domain migration.

Technical Execution

With a precise compass in hand, the technical execution of a domain migration flows through methodical steps. Each phase is executed with precision and attention to detail, ensuring no stone is left unturned:

  1. Backup Data: Secure a complete backup of the original domain’s data, including all files and databases, to prevent any loss during the migration.
  2. Registrar Transfer: Initiate the transfer of the domain to the new registrar, confirming all compliance requirements are fulfilled.
  3. Update DNS Records: Modify DNS records with minimal downtime through careful timing and verification of propagation.
  4. SSL Update: Reissue or transfer SSL certificates to avoid security warnings and maintain trust with users and search engines.
  5. Final Testing: Conduct thorough testing of the new domain’s functionality across different browsers and devices to ensure a seamless user experience.

SEO Continuity

Maintaining SEO equity amid the waves of domain migration requires a firm hand on the tiller. Focus on the continuity of your search presence:

  • 301 Redirects: Implement 301 redirects from old to new domain pages to preserve link equity and redirect traffic appropriately.
  • Update Backlinks: Reach out to websites linking to your old domain and request the update of backlinks when possible.
  • Canonical Tags: Review and adjust canonical tags to reflect the new domain structure, maintaining clarity for search engines.
  • Monitor Rankings: Keep a close eye on keyword rankings and organic traffic patterns for fluctuations and respond to any changes observed.
  • Google Search Console Update: Update the domain’s property in Google Search Console and submit a change of address to signal the transition to Google.

Validating the Migration

As the voyage nears its end, validation of the domain migration is like sighting land after a long journey at sea. This crucial phase is marked by thorough checks and assessments to ensure that the migration was executed successfully and the new domain is fully operational.

Post-migration, attentively scrutinize every facet of the website on its new domain. Perform extensive functionality tests, check for broken links, verify that redirects are working flawlessly, and ensure that all operational services, from email to subdomains, are up and running. Scrutinizing web analytics and tracking codes is vital to maintain a pulse on user engagement and website performance, with any anomalies addressed swiftly to steady the course and step confidently into future growth on the new domain.

What exactly is domain migration? Learn more with this topic.


Kirill has been in the SEO industry since 2010 as a college intern commenting on forums and blog posts and other outdated SEO tactics. Those days are long gone and now he focuses on promoting a full-service approach to SEO where design, analytics, backlinks development and content are equally valued and managed by SEO specialists, since it takes a whole team to build a quality SEO-proof website. He writes on changes to the algorithm and different tactics and processes businesses can utilize to improve their SEO. Feel free to contact him on Linkedin if you'd like to get in touch!

FAQ Page

  • How to Do a Domain Migration?

    Domain migration involves several key steps: starting with comprehensive planning, setting up necessary redirects, transferring domain registration, updating DNS settings for minimal downtime, and diligently monitoring the site’s functionality and SEO impact post-migration.

  • What Are the Best Practices for Domain Migration?

    Best practices for domain migration include thorough preparation, using a step-by-step checklist, backing up data, ensuring seamless redirect implementation, monitoring traffic and rankings, and maintaining consistent communication with all stakeholders.

  • What Is Migration Steps?

    Migration steps refer to the comprehensive process and individual actions necessary for moving data, applications, and services from one environment to another, with minimal disruption and ensuring continuity of operations.

  • What Is a Site Migration?

    A site migration is a process of making significant changes to a website’s structure, content, UX, platform, or location, such as moving to a new domain, which requires careful SEO considerations to mitigate the risk of traffic loss.