If you don’t update your DNS after a WordPress migration, your domain name will still point to your old hosting server, meaning users won’t be able to access your newly transferred website.
So, after going through all the hard work of backing up your WordPress site before transfer and carefully managing the data transfer, there’s still work to be done, and this guide will show you how to do it.
Below, we’ll talk you through updating your DNS records using easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions.
We’ll also outline what DNS means, how it works, and why you can’t afford to neglect this part of the process if you want to ensure a smooth and seamless WordPress migration.
What Are DNS Records, and Why Do I Need to Update Them?
DNS (Domain Name System) records help browsers and other internet-connected devices locate and access your website.
When you host your website on a server, the under-the-hood technology of a web browser accesses that site via an IP (Internet Protocol) address.
However, IP addresses are long and unwieldy; easy to remember for computers, but not so easy for us humans.
That’s why we use shorter, manageable domain names such as YourWebsite.Net, which essentially provide a human-readable address for our websites.
For that to work, a website’s domain name has to be matched to its IP address.
That’s where DNS comes in, translating domain names into their corresponding IP addresses.
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In one sense, it operates something like the contacts in your phone that match the names of people you know to their corresponding phone numbers. You don’t have to remember your friend John’s phone number, you tell your smartphone to call John, and it does so.
Likewise, you don’t have to remember the IP address for this website; you tell your browser to visit WPLift.com, and that’s what it does.
Sticking with this analogy, DNS records are akin to the records in your phone’s contacts, the ones that match John’s name with John’s number or, in this case, your IP address with your domain name.
The Importance of Updating DNS Records After a Site Migration
With all that being said, you can probably see why you need to change your DNS records when you move your website.
Switching to a new hosting server means your website now has a new IP address.
So, if your DNS records are still translating your domain name into the IP address of your old server, visitors will be directed to that server, where they’ll find either an out-of-date or non-existent version of your website.
Failing to carry out this step is like changing your phone number and not telling anybody to update their contacts, meaning nobody could get hold of you.
Or, to use a more fitting analogy, moving a website to a new server and not updating your DNS records would be like driving a brick-and-mortar business to a new location and not updating your address online or putting a notice in the window directing customers to your new location.
How to Update Your DNS After Migrating Your WordPress Site
As technical as all this sounds, updating your DNS records is a simple process.
First, you get the DNS information of your new server from your hosting company.
You can usually get this information by contacting your host’s customer support if it isn’t readily available.
Then, you log in to your domain registrar account, locate the DNS settings, and replace your old DNS records with the new ones.
Of course, how this process looks varies from domain company to domain company, depending on how they organize their site features.
Below, we’ll show you examples of where to find your DNS records on three top platforms, including industry-leading domain registrars Domain.com and GoDaddy, as well as the web hosting provider, Hostinger.
That way, you should get a good idea of what to do, even if your domain provider looks a little different.
How to Update Your DNS Records on Domain.com
1. Log in and Access Your DNS Settings
Log in to your Domain.com account and look in the left-hand menu.
Under Advanced, click DNS & Nameservers.
From there, tap DNS Records
2. Edit Your DNS Records
You’ll see all your DNS records for your domain name listed under this tab.
To update them, first, click the three horizontal dots next to each record, then tap Edit.
You can then update all of the following details about each DNS record:
- IP address
- Time to Live (TTL) value
Tap Update when you’re done.
How to Update Your DNS Records on GoDaddy
1. Select DNS from Your GoDaddy Dashboard
Log into your GoDaddy account and, under My Products, scroll down until you see your domain name, then click the DNS hyperlink.
2. Update Your Records
This brings up your records. You can click Edit to update your records or add and delete them where necessary.
How to Update Your DNS Records on Hostinger
1. Open the DNS Zone Editor
The way to update your DNS records on Hostinger is through the DNS Zone Editor, which is hidden under the Advanced options in the main dashboard menu.
2. Edit and Save Your Updated DNS Records
From there, you can tap the edit button to change the name, IP address, TTL value, and other aspects of your record.
How To Update Your DNS After A WordPress Migration: A Final Word of Advice
As you can see, updating your Domain Name System information is a fundamentally easy but essential part of the WordPress migration process, ensuring that your domain name points to your website’s home on a new server.
The whole process of editing your DNS records takes no more than a few minutes at the most, though if we could leave you with one final piece of advice today, it would be this:
DNS changes can take as long as 24 – 48 hours to fully propagate across the Internet, meaning some users may experience a disruption of service during that time.
You can speed up the propagation process by lowering the TTL value in your DNS records, though you’ll still benefit by taking this into consideration when preparing for your migration and take steps to mitigate the impact of a delayed propagation, such as placing a notice on your website homepage.
You can also follow our guide to testing your migrated WordPress site to ensure the DNS changes took hold and your newly rehomed site is up and running correctly.