Changing all URLs in your WordPress database

Overview

WordPress hardcodes your site's domain name into the database in such things as image, link, and page URLs. This is a problem when you migrate the site to another domain name, or add an SSL certificate because clicking on links redirect back to the old site, or non-secure version.

If you even need to migrate your WordPress site to a different domain name, or add an SSL certificate to it, you must update the URLs in your database in order for your site to function. You have two options to update the URLs in your database:

  • use a plugin
  • use the command line

When to use these instructions

There are three reasons you will need to update the URLs in your database.

Reason URL change
Moving to a different domain name example.com to dreamhost.com
Moving to a subdirectory example.com to example.com/blog
Adding an SSL certificate http://example.com to https://example.com

The instructions in this article are the same in all of these cases. The only difference will be the URLs you enter into the plugin or the command line.

This article adds HTTPS to the URL and changes the domain name to a subdirectory.

Option 1 — Using a plugin

Below are a couple of plugins that work to change all URLs in your database.

The following steps walk you through how to update your URLs using the 'Search & Replace' plugin. This example changes the URLs in the database from 'http://example.com' to 'https://example.com/blog'.

  1. First, make a backup of your database. Just in case something goes wrong, you can easily replace your old database data.
  2. Download the Better Search Replace plugin. In your panel navigate to 'Plugins > Add New'.
  3. Search for 'Better Search Replace'.
  4. Click Install Now.
  5. Click Activate
  6. In your Dashboard, navigate to the plugin under 'Tools > Better Search Replace'.
  7. Click the 'Search/Replace' tab.
  8. In the first field titled 'Search for:', enter your current http URL. For example:
    • http://example.com
  9. In the second field titled 'Replace with:', enter your new URL. For example:
    • https://example.com/blog
  10. Select all tables.
  11. You probably want to leave 'Replace GUIDs' UN-checked. View the following article for further details:
  12. Check the box titled 'Run as dry run?'. 
  13. Click Run Search/Replace.
  14. This should respond with a message at the top notifying you of what would have been updated if you did not check the 'Dry Run' box.
  15. If everything looks good, run it again with the 'Run as dry run?' box UN-checked.
  16. A confirmation will display notifying you of how many changes were made.

At this point, all URLs in your database point to your site's new URL.

Option 2 — Using the command line

If you are familiar with the command line, you can run the following command for the same effect (assuming you saved the old WordPress address).

  1. First, log into your server via SSH.
  2. Next, navigate to your WordPress installation. Assuming it's 'example.com', you'd probably run the following:
    [server]$ cd ~/example.com
  3. In your site's directory, you can use wp-cli to update the URLs using the following command.
    [server]$ wp search-replace http://example.com https://example.com/blog --dry-run

The --dry-run call at the end tests the address

If the changes make sense to you, then run the above command again without the 'dry-run' call.

Clear your plugin's cache

At this point, you should also delete your cache if using WP Super Cache. 

If you check your site now, all URLs within your WordPress site will use the new domain name. 

Final steps

At this point, all URLs in your database point to HTTPS, however, there are a few other steps you must take to fully ensure all links within your site point to the secure version of your domain name (This means the 'HTTPS' version).

View the following article for additional steps you should take to adjust your WordPress site to use an SSL certificate.

See also

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Article last updated PST.