Did you, like most of new bloggers, started your blog with WordPress.com considering it the easiest option? Yes, it definitely is the best choice for newbies as it is extremely beginner friendly but when it comes to flexibility and scalability, you can no longer use WordPress.com. Over the time when you realize the need to customize your blog by installing different plugins and tweaking your theme, you feel crippled and this is the right time to switch to a self-hosted blog on WordPress.org. Here are few symptoms that confirm it’s time to transfer WordPress.com site to WordPress.org:
- As soon as you realize you want to blog for money, you should immediately move to WordPress.org.
- You want to make customizations to your blog that require the installation of plugins.
- You want to add e-commerce features to your site.
- You want more control on your blog.
Things You Need to Transfer WordPress.com Site to WordPress.org
WordPress.org is a self-hosted blogging platform. As the name suggests, you need to have a web hosting before you can initiate the transfer process. I highly recommend that you use SiteGround Web Hosting to host your WordPress blog.
Alternative Web Hosting Providers
Here are some alternative web hosting services you may look into if you don’t plan to go with SiteGround:
Scenario 1: Moving a Free WordPress.com Blog
This scenario applies if you have been blogging with Free WordPress.com domain. e.g. yourname.wordpress.com.
In this case, you need the following two things to get started:
- Domain Name
If you used SiteGround, you don’t need to worry about site transfer as it is being done by their support team at no extra cost.
However, if you are using a different hosting service and you want to do website transfer by yourself, follow the rest of this guide to transfer your WordPress.com Site to self-hosted WordPress.
Scenario 2: Moving a Branded WordPress.com Blog (A Branded Domain Name)
If you already have a branded domain name e.g. yourname.com, all you need to get started is a hosting service. Once you have purchased a hosting plan, you will need to update your Nameservers information to point your domain to the new host.
Updating the Nameservers should be the final step of migration process in order to avoid any downtime.
Step-by-Step Guide to Migrate from WordPress.com to WordPress.org
#1. Export Data from WordPress.com
- Login to WordPress.com.
- Click “My Sites” in the top left corner.
- Select your desired site (If you have more than one).
- Scroll down in the left pane. Click “WP Admin”.
- In the left pane, go to “Tools>>Export”.
- Select the Free Export option which will generate an XML file of your site content.
- Click “Start Export”.
- Select “All Content”. Click “Download Export File”.
#2. Installing WordPress on New Hosting
Once you have downloaded the XML export file of your data, next step is to install WordPress on your new host. This is a very easy and simple process that takes less than a minute. If you plan to go with SiteGround, you are already enjoying free site migration services.
If you opted for a different host, you will have to Install WordPress by yourself. Here is how you can install WordPress in less than a minute:
This is an important step that needs to be done very carefully.
If you want to use same permalink structure as you had on your old blog, you can update it by going to Setting>>Permalinks.
However, if you want to select a new permalink structure, make sure you add proper redirects as described in Step 5.
Once you have installed WordPress, next step is to import your old content into your new self-hosted WordPress installation.
#3. Import Content in Self-Hosted WordPress
- Login to WP Admin using the credentials provided at the time of installing WordPress.
- Go to “Tools/Import” from the left menu.
- The next screen displays a variety of options to import content files. Select “WordPress”.
- You will be asked to install WordPress importer plugin if this is your first time importing content. Insall the plugin and proceed.
- Now Browse the XML file you exported earlier and click “Update file and import”.
- If your file size is larger than the specified size limit, WXR file splitter to split your import file.
- You will be asked to select an existing user as author of your posts or asign a new user.
- On the next screen, confirm if you want all attachments downloaded to your new host. All image links inside your posts will be downloaded to your new website.
#4. Make Your WordPress.com Blog Private
If you don’t want your old readers redirected to your new blog, make sure you mark your old blog as private. However, this is not recommended as you don’t want to lose readership you have built over time.
- To mark your blog as private, go to Setting>>Reading.
- Under Site Visibility, select the option “I would like my site to be private”. Save Changes.
#5. Redirect Blog Traffic and Retain SEO
In order to avoid any downfall in search engine rankings, it is very important that you redirect old links carefully. Having broken links in your site will negatively impact the SEO of your blog and hence, will result in decrease of blog traffic.
If you are moving a free WordPress blog to self-hosted WordPress blog i.e. Scenario#1, you can simply use the WordPress Site Redirection option to redirect your traffic to new blog. It costs $13 per year and is totally worth your money.
- To enable site redirect, Click here.
- Select a site for which you want to add Site Redirect.
- Enter your domain and complete the purchase.
All of your old blog visitors will now be automatically redirected to your new blog.
If you already had a custom domain and now moving to self-hosted WordPress, you don’t need to specify redirects until and unless you stick to same permalink structure.
If you are using a new permalink structure, make sure you redirect your previous posts to new permalink format using Simple 301 Redirects plugin.
This is all to site migration process. If you had any problem during the transfer process or you feel like not doing it by yourself, you are welcome to contact me for Free site migration services.
If you have any query, feel free to ask in the comments section below.