Oh this is a fun one because we struggled with this issue for ages. What we’re talking about is when you have your WordPress directory in say www.domain.com/dev and you are moving it via FTP to just www.domain.com/ – the root or main folder of your website. When you transfer all the files and follow the WordPress guidelines for moving your site, the database will still have many images and in line links (any links you setup within the posts or pages editors) that still point to www.domain.com/dev in its database. Even though you changed it on the “General Settings” tab in your dashboard.
So how do I fix it?
The high level way to repair this issue is to jump into phpMyAdmin and run queries on your database to make your adjustments; backing up your database first of course. But if you’re not a developer, this is simply just not an option. So what do you do?
Velvet Blues Update URLs
We were looking for a quicker way to make these updates and found a nifty little plug in called Velvet Blues Update URLs. This handy little thing I have to argue is light-years faster than the phpMyAdmin method I mentioned above, and requires next to no skill to implement.
Here’s a newbie-level run thru (Note: Although these steps will be strikingly similar for older versions of WordPress, we are using version 4.8 for this example, also for helping out those that don’t know, URLs mean “Universal Resource Locators” – i.e. a fancy way of saying “links”. So you are in the right spot, don’t let the name fool you.):
First, go to your Add Plugins screen within your WordPress Dashboard. (Located on your left menu at Plugins – > Add New). Type in the full Plugin name: Velvet Blues Update URLs. You should see a screen like below:
Click “Install Now”, and the button will change to a “Installing” icon:
When it’s done, it will change again to an “Activate” icon:
Click “Activate.” Once it completes the activation, it will take you to the Plugins screen with a green “Plugin activated” message:
From here, you’ll find Velvet Blues in your installed plugins list below. You’ll want to click on the blue text link for “update URLs”. You can ignore the instructions to activate the plugin because you’ve already done so:
This is where all the magic happens, but you have to be ultra-double-dog-dare-you-100%-make-no-mistakes sure that you enter your information correctly into these two fields. You only get one chance at this, so let’s review some really important backup tips. You can backup your database going to your lefthand Dashboard menu and clicking on Tools – > Export. Here are detailed instructions from WordPress on how to do this. You can also go to phpMyAdmin and export your database there as well. Either way you do it, make sure you do, because a typo, a cat suddenly jumping on your keyboard, could make this process 10,000% harder than it needs to be. If this is just above your paygrade (i.e. you don’t trust yourself to do this part, please note they’ve got an option where you can pay to have them do the update for you for a relatively small fee. I can’t speak to it, I haven’t used the service, but I wanted to make sure you all know it’s there.) Also one final option is to call your hosting company and they can walk you through (or do it for you) how to do this. After all you’re paying them for their services, so don’t be afraid use them.
All good? OK let’s finish up!
This part is deceptively simple. Type in your old site’s URL, and the new one. For example, http://www.domain.com/dev and http://www.domain.com/. You’ll want to check all the boxes except “Update ALL GUIDs”. It’s doubtful that you’ll have links in all these places, but it doesn’t hurt to ask the system to check.
You’re ready – hit “Update URLs NOW” and sit back and watch the magic! When it’s done, and it’s super quick, you’ll receive a results screen like this:
If you do not receive this screen, I have to refer you over to their WordPress Forum Support, as I don’t have any info to share on how to handle problems, but I will say we tried several other link update plugins and this was the first one to work – and work extremely well. Velvet Blues also has their own support page setup on their website.
As a final thought, we always donate to plugins after we use them if they have been over-the-top helpful to us. It’s a great (and cheap!) way to give back to the community. We chose to give $10, but it certainly was worth more to us and we will be using them again and again. Here’s where you go to donate (it’s about half way down the WordPress Support page). And just to reiterate, we are not an affiliate, we don’t receive any funds, this is just a gem that was worth sharing with the community.
Hope this was helpful to you! If so, please help us out by leaving a comment below, or liking our Facebook community page!
Have a good one!