Use cases - How to change the domain of an existing website

Find out how to change the domain name of an existing website

Last updated 25th October 2022

Objective

During the lifetime of your website, you may need to change the domain name used to access it.
The most common use case is a change of company name.

The aim of this tutorial is to explain the main steps you need to follow when you want to change the domain name of your website.

This guide explains how to change the domain name of an existing website.

OVHcloud provides services that you are responsible for with regard to their configuration and management. It is therefore your responsibility to ensure that they function properly.

This tutorial is designed to help you with common tasks. Nevertheless, we recommend contacting a specialist provider or reach out to the OVHcloud community if you encounter any difficulties. We will not be able to assist you. You can find more information in the Go further section of this guide.

Requirements

Instructions

Changing a domain name to access your website may affect its SEO ranking. Be careful about the changes you make, and contact a specialised provider for SEO if necessary.

To change the access domain name for your website, there are several steps to follow in a specific order.

Step 1: Declare the new domain on your hosting

Declare your new domain name using our guide on adding a multisite on your web hosting. Also declare the sub-domain as www if, for example, you want to have www.NewDomain.tld also display your website in addition to NewDomain.tld.

There are several conditions to meet for this part:

  • Your new domain must point to the same root folder as the domain currently used to access your site.
  • Check that your new domain points to the IP address of your hosting plan. To retrieve the IP address, log in to your OVHcloud Control Panel, go to the Web cloud section, click on Hosting plans, select your Hosting, then retrieve IPv4 in the General information tab.

If you enable the country IP or CDN options with your new domain, be sure to use the appropriate IP address listed in our documentation IP address list for Web Hosting clusters.

To find the cluster number where your hosting is located, go to the Web Cloud section, click on Hosting plans, select your hosting, then the FTP-SSH tab. You will see the cluster number in the form FTP server and SFTP: ftp.cluster0XX.ovh.net (where X is the cluster number).

SSL certificates

If the domain name originally used to access your website has an SSL certificate, please refer to our two guides to perform or check the actions described below these two links: - Managing an SSL certificate on a Web Hosting plan - Activating HTTPS on your website with an SSL certificate

For the free Let's Encrypt SSL certificate, simply activate the SSL option now for your new domain via the Multisites tab on your hosting plan. Then click on the Actions button above the table indicating your nodes, then on Regenerate SSL certificate. Regeneration will take at least 2 hours to complete.

Sectigo DV and Sectigo EV paid SSL certificates offered by OVHcloud are only valid for one domain name and its www subdomain.
Once you have reached step 3 in this guide, you will need to delete your paid SSL certificate in order to subscribe to another one for your new domain.
Warning, the deletion is irreversible and no refund will be made for the remaining time of your old SSL certificate. Ensure steps 1 and 2 are completed correctly.

For any other custom SSL certificates that you have installed yourself, contact your SSL certificate provider to find out what you can do in this situation.

If all of your actions have been correctly performed, the multisite declarations for your domains must be identical unless you are using a paid SSL certificate such as Sectigo DV, Sectigo EV or *custom*.

multisites

Once you have completed step 1, you will need to allow between 4 and a maximum of 24 hours for the changes to propagate fully.

If your website does not use databases and/or you do not rewrite URLs for your website, your website must already display correctly with your new domain. In this case, go directly to step 3 of this guide. If not, continue to step 2 below.

Step 2: Rewrite URLs of your website with the new domain

Most sites use databases to operate. The tree structure for these nodes is generally built around the domain originally used for your website. Additional actions are required for these sites.

Warning, the operations described in step 2 are extremely sensitive and can have serious consequences for your website if they are not carried out with caution. If you have any doubts, do not try anything and contact a specialist provider.

Before you take any action, we advise retrieving a backup of your FTP storage space and a backup of your database. This will allow you to restore your website in the event of an error.

We will distinguish two types of website:

  • CMSs (Content Management System) such as WordPress, Joomla!, PrestaShop, Drupal
  • Classic websites designed by you or your service provider

Case 1: Your website is a CMS

Most CMSs can directly replace the domain originally declared for your website with another one via their backend administration panel.

Since CMSs are developed by third-party organisations and are not managed by OVHcloud, you will find below links to the official documentation for the various CMSs offered for installation on our hosting plans:

  • WordPress: https://wordpress.org/support/article/changing-the-site-url/
  • Joomla! : The publisher of this software does not offer any documentation to date for changing the access domain for your website. Please contact the publisher directly on this subject. For more information, visit the official pages docs.joomla.org or forum.joomla.org.
  • Drupal: The publisher of this software does not offer any documentation to date for changing the access domain for your website. Please contact the publisher directly on this subject. For more information, see the official pages drupal.org or drupal.fr.
  • PrestaShop: The publisher of this software does not offer any documentation to date for changing the access domain for your website. Please contact the publisher directly on this subject. For more information, click here to go to their official page.

Please note that for these CMSs, you can also edit the domain names directly in the corresponding database. You will need to change the URL for accessing your website in the table used for your CMS.

For other CMSs that are not offered for automatic installation by OVHcloud, please also contact their respective customer support to carry out this rewrite in a secure manner.

Case 2: You have a custom built website

To rewrite your URLs with your new domain, log in to your website database then replace your old domain with the new one in the corresponding table.

Don't forget to check your .htaccess file to see if you need to update URL rewrites with your new domain.

If you used a service provider to create your website, contact them so that they can carry out the modification securely.

Once step 2 is complete, your website must appear with your new domain.

Step 3 - Remove the old domain name

To avoid duplicate content, you will need to delete the multisite entry for your old domain name. Once your new domain name is fully operational with your site, use our guide on managing multisites on your hosting to remove it.

Don't forget to take care of your SSL certificate Sectigo EV, Sectigo DV or Custom as specified in step 1.

Once your old domain has been removed from the multisites tab, and if it is registered with OVHcloud, you can redirect it using a permanent visible redirection 301. This will allow your visitors to be automatically redirected to your site when accessing your old domain name/URL in the address bar of their browser.

Go further

Hosting multiple websites on your Web Hosting plan

Managing an SSL certificate on a Web Hosting plan

Activating HTTPS on your website with an SSL certificate

Redirecting a domain name

IP address list for Web Hosting clusters

For specialised services (SEO, development, etc.), contact OVHcloud partners.

If you would like assistance using and configuring your OVHcloud solutions, please refer to our support offers.

Join our community of users on https://community.ovh.com/en/.


Did you find this guide useful?

Please feel free to give any suggestions in order to improve this documentation.

Whether your feedback is about images, content, or structure, please share it, so that we can improve it together.

Your support requests will not be processed via this form. To do this, please use the "Create a ticket" form.

Thank you. Your feedback has been received.


These guides might also interest you...

OVHcloud Community

Access your community space. Ask questions, search for information, post content, and interact with other OVHcloud Community members.

Discuss with the OVHcloud community