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Domain Name Change—What are My Challenges?

    • 11 posts
    December 4, 2017 4:48 PM EST

    I am seriously considering a domain name change for my php site. I know this will most likely be a serious undertaking since my site has over 1,000 users and contains a lot of contributed content. But, I don't know what impact this will have on the functionality of the site or other issues I will have to address. I've not done this before so I'm hoping anyone that has some experience with this can share their experience with me. I also appreciate input from the SE team if they can tell me what I'm facing and what I'm going to have to do. 

    Best regards, 

    Andy

  • December 5, 2017 1:51 AM EST
    Andy Holmes said:

    I am seriously considering a domain name change for my php site. I know this will most likely be a serious undertaking since my site has over 1,000 users and contains a lot of contributed content. But, I don't know what impact this will have on the functionality of the site or other issues I will have to address. I've not done this before so I'm hoping anyone that has some experience with this can share their experience with me. I also appreciate input from the SE team if they can tell me what I'm facing and what I'm going to have to do. 

    Best regards, 

    Andy

    Hello Andy, you can easily switch your website to a new domain without any issues. But, please keep in mind if you have used any hard code URL like : www.yourcurrentsite.com at any place on the site, then that link will be broken. This can happen in case where you have uploaded an image from the File & Media Manager in the admin panel and you have pasted the complete URL somewhere on the site. Since, the site will be moved to a new domain, you will have to fix such URLs manually on your website.

    If you want any assistance from our professional developers in any sort of migration or upgrade service, then you can contact us at: support@socialenginesolutions.com .

  • gs
    • 355 posts
    December 5, 2017 3:54 AM EST

    Obviously backups prior to the switchover (even if site will literally be on same server in same folder, although I'd prolly suggest cloning to a new folder and pointing the new domain there; this way the original site is left untouched, as-is).  

     

    For licensing purposes, you will want to notify SE of the change as well as any 3PDs (esp if any Plugins have callbacks - live or at point of install/config, so that you don't run into unexpected issues all of a sudden).  In addition you'll want to be cautious about #SE licenses and how they're used (dev+live).

     

    Since nothing was mentioned of your network config, there might be some things to consider with that.

     

    As Vaibhav@SES stated, it should be a straight forward process (except as was noted - any copy/pasted URLs as well as hard-coded changes to files which you hopefully shouldn't have).  SES is great to work with - Plugins, Support, Customization, and Themes (esp SpectroMedia). I've been fortunate to work on many things with SES over the past 2+ years, and highly recommend them.

     

    Wishing you a hassle-free, successful migration.

     

    • 44 posts
    December 5, 2017 4:25 AM EST

    Some 3rd party developers have licenses tied to domains (as well as SocialEngine). It's worth notifying all vendors about the change.

     

    I suggest to keep the old domain for a while, but to configure redirects from old domain urls to exactly the same url on a new domain.

    • 1235 posts
    December 5, 2017 4:44 AM EST

    Great question and helpful answers from everyone. For SE, you don't have to notify us but do need to conform to the terms of one install per license (other than a closed development site on the same domain). So, if you plan on having it on both domains for a time to move people over you will need another license to cover that. Once moved, remember to log in to socialengine.com/login and change the domain on the license there.

    Check your .htaccess in case anything is in there for your domain as it can have things you may have added. Clear cache and check your settings for cache as it can be pointing to the old domain. If uploading plugins or upgrades, check that path too as it can also be pointing to the old domain. 

    Redirect google stuffs and bing for your SEO.

    Check menus in case you added any with full url.

    Tell your members ahead of time where you are moving to and to clear their browser cache. Clear your browser cache.

    Check all of your social media accounts and point those to the new domain if you have them set up to show your domain such as twitter, facebook, etc.

    I think that's all that I had to do when I migrated from fox to SE and moved my SE to the main folder.

    • 11 posts
    December 5, 2017 12:25 PM EST

    Thanks everyone for the great feedback! I'm very appreciative of your time and willingness to assist.

    Here are some details that I should have mentioned in my initial post which would have helped explain my intentions. I don't think it makes a lot of difference, but again, I haven't done this before and don't know for certain...

    My domain names are registered on GoDaddy and point to my site's IP address which is hosted by TMD (my hosting service).

    I don't want to move my SE community to a different address. Instead, I want to use a different domain name I have registered with GoDaddy to point to my existing site. I plan to redirect the old site name to the new one.

    I assume TMD would have to update my account name (root address/name) as part of the process. I'm a bit fuzzy on this part and don't know how this works or what impact it has.

    I did anticipate having to correct any absolute addresses I used in the site. I'm sure there are some. It slipped my mind that I would have to consider updating licensing information with SE and 3rd party plugins. And I didn't think of the htaccess file. GS's suggestion of cloning the site to a different folder is interesting, but I'm not sure how that would work. I think that might require a license for it as well?

    Thanks again everyone for your help and input. It's really great that you are so willing to help a novice. I will definitely pay it forward.

    • 40 posts
    December 5, 2017 2:53 PM EST

    Hi Andy,

     

    Before you do anything make use of some good backups, see here for the backup plans

     

    If you change domain names you will have to update your licence keys in SEAO, if you use them. You won't be able to update any software from the SEAO Core if this is not done.

    This can easily be done without any help of the SEAO Team. Login and go to Files and change your domain and subdomain keys there. Do this after the site has moved or has a domain name change.

    As for cloning: SEAO will allow you to have a development.your-domain.com in a password protected sub-directory on your server. If you clone, make an exact copy and DO NOT install an new version of SE PHP as it will mess up your database.

    Before cloning you have to set Caching to File in the SE admin panel, after cloning switch it to what it was before on the cloned and active site. For some reason sometime it does not clone correct and the site is not accessible. This is often the reason.

    You can have a development site, so long it is not accessible to the public. I am sure this is also the case with other 3rd Devs.

    ------

    TDMhosting is very helpful !! They have moved my site a few times. I had problems with timing out on the server requests. The site is now located in the UK close to home and no problems now.

    Best is to open a support ticket with TDM and explain what you want to do. Maybe it is easier to have a domain with TDM and let them copy the whole site over, as last thing you have to do is put a redirect from your GoDaddy provider. The redirect can be set up by GoDaddy or by yourself. Make sure it is a redirect and not a reroot/forward as it will fail(some 3rd devs licenses will be invalid). In this way you have everything under one roof.

    Note: TDM has a faster internet connection to move things about :)

     

    1. All added content full URLs for/in images/pages/adverts, etc need changing.

    Change https://your-old-domain.com/images/**subdir**/image01.jpg ; to /images/**subdir**/image01.jpg. The easiest way to do this, use chrome, go to your added content on a site and "right click -> inspect" and look what the URL looks like.

    2a. Before you move the site, make sure Caching is set to File only.

    2b. Make sure you have the correct login details for the new database, edit the /public_html/application/settings/database.php file accordingly. 

    2c. If the site fails to start up. Delete the file /public_html/application/settings/cache.php and copy the file /public_html/application/settings/cache.sample.php to /public_html/application/settings/cache.php (this will reset the caching to file only)

    3. After updating you will have to set your email (Send from) in SE settings. so it is sending from the correct mail address and domain.

    4. Update all the licence keys if you use SEAO or other 3rd Dev.

    5. Switch your caching back on and flush the cache (in SE admin panel).

    6. Once all content has the correct URLs then you can put the redirect at GoDaddy in place.

    7. All redirects from google ads and other sites need adjusting to the new domain name.

     

     

    • 37 posts
    December 14, 2017 10:47 AM EST

    There is no magic trick to changing your domain with SE. Just make sure you update your SE license hostnames and any plugin license hostnames. Then have your host or update your DNS for your new hostname to your current site IP. Its really easy. I can change the hostname 10 times in about however long it takes to update license hostnames with the approporiate provider. Thre is no need to clone this folder or that folder. If you are using a host that has a CP, a simple change of the domains or using an addon domain will do the trick. If you have dedicated servers or use command line, it is still very very very easy.

    Any hard coded URLs would need to be updated if you made any custom changes and used absolute URLs and not relative ones.


    This post was edited by Casey at December 14, 2017 10:57 AM EST
    • 37 posts
    December 14, 2017 10:52 AM EST

    oh, if you secure your site with SSL, you will need to update your cert with the new hostname. If just general SSL is the thing you need(no EV certs, etc), use letsencrypt. It is free and the big thing now to getting the whole web to SSL.

    • 37 posts
    December 14, 2017 10:55 AM EST

    Many of these answers are just way off and too complicated with how easy it is to change a site URL if no heavy customization has been done using absolute URLs in the code. If you want private assistance and a walk through while you do it, PM me.

    • 1235 posts
    December 15, 2017 5:08 AM EST

    I posted what I had to do on my site. We also have updated the tutorial for moving servers as there's also a change to make in a file for cache as the site will break without the change. But, yes you are right it is easy to move servers or to clone a site in most cases.

    • 37 posts
    December 15, 2017 7:30 AM EST

    I am not sure the OP was going to move servers but simply change the domain name on his existing server. That would include a bit more. If I did not understand what he was wanting, I apologize.

    • 1235 posts
    December 15, 2017 7:31 AM EST
    Casey said:

    I am not sure the OP was going to move servers but simply change the domain name on his existing server. That would include a bit more. If I did not understand what he was wanting, I apologize.

    You may be right. I just re-read it. I thought this was the other post for the other client as we had two similar posts. 

    • 37 posts
    December 15, 2017 7:32 AM EST

    Oh, if anyone uses LetEncrypt, starting Jan 4, they will start issuing wildcard SSL certs.

    • 1235 posts
    December 15, 2017 7:32 AM EST
    Casey said:

    Oh, if anyone uses LetEncrypt, starting Jan 4, they will start issuing wildcard SSL certs.

    I use it. It works well. Thanks for the tip!

    • 11 posts
    December 15, 2017 11:22 AM EST

    Thanks everyone!

    All I want to do is change my domain name from https://X-DomainName to https://Y-DomainName/  (all of my domain names are registered with GoDaddy)

    I do not have a dedicated server. My site is hosted on a VM and I have no interest in moving it from where it is.

    I have SSL implemented...I used TMD's free SSL service. I don't know what they are using for that.

    TMD is my hosting service and I do have cPanel. I've seen the domain names section, but unfamiliar how that all works so I've left it be. 

    ~Andy

    • 40 posts
    December 15, 2017 4:02 PM EST

    Hey Andy, so far I know you can not change a domain name from y.com to z.com on a touch of a button.

    I have never seen it happening unless you have your IIS indoors.

     

    So I understand you run your site on a VPS or a Cloud Domain hosted at TDM, and you point your website(GoDaddy) to the website-server (VPS or cloud domain at TDM).

    In this way you can not use letsencrypt from TDM, you only have SSL through GoDaddy which you pay for.

     

    Best is to buy a domain y.com at TDM and they will point it to the right server/domain as you are hosting with them anyway, they have a good customer service (10 out of 10 my experience) if you ask them they will help you out.

     

    Once you have purchased the new domain do the following steps on your old server/website.

    Then you have to follow my 1 - 7 on the previous post. To change everything SE PHP / SEAO(if you use them).

     

    If there are not much changes to be made to your site, you can do it in about 30 minutes - 1 hour with the help of TDM or on your own.

     

    For a new domain you have to change your DNS (TDM will help you with this):

    Edit your A record or @ to point to TDM's IP address xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx

    Change your www CNAME record to point to y-domain.com

    • 37 posts
    December 15, 2017 5:19 PM EST
    I will post a video walkthrough here in the next day showing why you need to do. I’ll grab a TDM hosting account and load a blank site. I have a school event for my kid tonight and a funeral tomorrow so it will be up to walk you through step by step.