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Managing GoDaddy-registered domains in moving from another host

This question seems to fall into multiple community categories regarding domains and hosting, and is a bit complicated to explain, so please bear with me. 


The situation:

  • I currently have my photography site hosted on Squarespace. The domain is registered on GoDaddy along with all my other domains. 
  • I intend to build a replacement site using Wordpress on cPanel hosting while leaving the existing site up on the old hosting. When it's done, I will point the domain to the new site and cancel my other hosting.  

The basic plan:

  • Set up hosting with one of my spare domains, install Wordpress
  • Build the new Wordpress site
  • Change the URL/permalink settings in Wordpress (I've done this  part before)
  • ...and?

That's where I get lost. I've never done this particular change of arrangement before. What I'm stuck on is how to direct the domain to the new Wordpress hosting and change the hosting on the GoDaddy end to be for the main URL and not the extra one I used temporarily to build the site. 


Does that make sense? Is this a reasonable way to go about doing this? I need to minimize downtime as much as possible during the switch and I just really want to get working on this. So I want to make sure I can actually do it this way before I dive in. 


Thoughts? Thanks in advance!

Community Manager
Community Manager

Re: Managing GoDaddy-registered domains in moving from another host

Hi @Aleatorist. Thanks for being part of GoDaddy Community! There are a couple of ways you can do this. Which is easiest would be up to you. 


The first method, going along with what you've said, is to build the site with an extra domain, then change the domain in WordPress once you've completed the build. You'll also need to change the domain on your cPanel account if it is the primary domain for that account. Then, you'll update your domain's DNS to point to GoDaddy hosting (see below). In my opinion, this one takes a bit more work as you have to make configuration changes with the hosting and the WordPress site. 


The second method would be to set up a new website using your current domain on GoDaddy. This can be done by updating the hosts file on your computer to tell it to route the domain to your hosting account IP instead of what your domain's actual DNS settings are. Essentially it tricks your computer into thinking the domain is hosted on a different IP than it actually is. This allows you to edit the WordPress site just like you would with any other domain. Once you complete the build, you just remove or comment out the change and update your domain's DNS. No changes would be needed on the hosting plan or in the WordPress site. However, this method can seem tricky if you're new to editing configuration files on a computer. Below is an example of what a hosts file entry would look like.

To toggle off the use of that entry, all you have to do is add a hashtag in front of it, like so.



Note that when editing a hosts file, you need to make sure the application you're using (notepad, notepad++, etc) is running in administrator mode. 


As far as changing your domain's DNS once you're ready to make the switch, this depends on how the domain is currently pointed at Squarespace. If you are using Squarespace nameservers (most common), then you'd just need to update your domain on this end to use "default" nameservers. If you pointed your domain toward Squarespace by updating the domain's A Record, then you'd just need to update the A Record to point to the IP address of your cPanel plan to make the DNS change. 


JesseW - GoDaddy | Community Manager | 24/7 support available at | Remember to choose a solution and give kudos.

Re: Managing GoDaddy-registered domains in moving from another host

Thank you for the fantastic response!