Moving your new WordPress from a Subfolder and into the Root Directory

When designing or testing a new WordPress site, a lot of the times the site is built within a subfolder so it does not affect the currently displaying site.  When the work is done, most people will want to move their new site back into the root directory and have it display as the main site. This guide will take you through the steps of moving your new WordPress site.

When following our instructions, you should use your domain name when you see yourdomain.com in our examples. Same goes with the folder name where we use newsite (e.g. yourdomain.com/newsite), you should use your folder name where you have installed your new WordPress.

 

Part 1 – Make a Backup

As always, it is important to always make a backup copy of your entire site so in case a problem occurs you have something to restore back to. To learn how to make a backup copy of your site using cPanel, please view this KB entry.

 

Part 2 – Initial Setting Changes

Prior to moving your files, you will need to make some setting changes within your WordPress General Settings so that once your site is moved, the Admin Panel will display again.

1. Log into your WordPress Dashboard. (http://yourdomain.com/newsite/wp-admin/)
2. From the main dashboard, go to Settings -> General.
3. Look for the WordPress Address (URL) and change it:
• From: http://yourdomain.com/newsite/
• To: http://yourdomain.com/
4. Also change Site Address (URL):
• From: http://yourdomain.com/newsite/
• To: http://yourdomain.com/
5. Remember to Save Changes

moving_wp_url

One thing to keep in mind is that once you have hit save, you will start getting error screens when trying to access the site or dashboard and this is normal for this stage. This is because your WordPress site is now looking for the files under http://yourdomain.com and our next set of steps is to move the files across.

 

Part 3 – Moving your new site files

1. Log into your cPanel admin dashboard. (http://yourdomain.com/cpanel)
2. From the main cPanel area, look for the Files category and then click on the File Manager icon. Selected the Web Root (public_html) for the Directory you wish to open and also ensure the checkbox Show Hidden Files (dotfiles) is selected as well.
3. Once inside the File Manager, you will want to navigate to the folder you have your new WordPress site in. For example, a folder named newsite.
4. You will see a list of all the WordPress files and folders in the right hand panel. Highlight them all using the Select All icon.
5. Click on the Copy icon from the menu toolbar across the top of the page.
6. A popup will appear so you can enter the destination folder. Currently is should show as public_html/newsite. Remove the /newsite portion from the destination path so the only thing left is public_html.
7. Click the Copy File(s) button. This will copy the files up to the public_html folder.
8. Using the File Manager to navigate back to the public_html folder and you should see the same files as you have in your newsite folder.
9. You can now delete the newsite folder.

At this point you should now be able to see the site when going to http://yourdomain.com/ although it may look distorted or some links don’t work. The main thing we can access now is the dashboard where we can apply the finishing touches to get the site to display properly again.

 

Part 4 – Finishing touches

1. Log into your NEW WordPress admin dashboard. Which should be http://yourdomain.com/wp-admin/ or http://yourdomain.com/wp-login.php
2. In the dashboard menu go to Settings -> Permalinks and ensure the link structure is the same as your new URL. You may not need to make changes to this area, but need to hit save regardless to have WordPress display properly again.

 

If you have setup any custom scripts or custom website links anywhere on the site, these were created by hand and you will need to go into your dashboard to update and edit these by hand. Other than custom links, you should find your site functioning and displaying from http://yourdomain.com/ now without any issues.

Posted in: Beginner's Guide

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