It’s very common that many users initially use WordPress.com, but once they realize its limitations of it they need to switch to self-hosted WordPress.org. So, if you’re also going through the same issue then read on!
Well, you may assume what is the purpose of this post. Yes, you’re thinking in the right way. We’ll show you how you can properly move the blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
Before going into the real process, you need to know why moving the blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org is necessary? Well, let’s see why-
With WordPress.com anyone can easily start a blog by creating just and simple account. However, the beginners who start with WordPress.com, realize soon that there are many limitations in WordPress.com in comparison with WordPress.org.
Limitations such as limited monetization ability, no option of installing plugins, third-party ads displaying, and many more.
For this reason, users quickly switch to the most powerful self-hosted platform WordPress.org which is popular for its features and functionalities.
Well, if you like to know the differences between these two platforms, see our full guide on WordPress.com vs WordPress.org comparison chart.
If you ask us for feedback, we’ll recommend you to go with WordPress.org instead of WordPress.com. Because with WordPress.org you’ll get the full ownership of your site by which you can control your site as you like.
Having said that, let’s take a look at the full procedure of how you can migrate the blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
Things You’ll Need Before Starting
To begin with the self-hosted WordPress.org, you need to ensure a domain name and a WordPress hosting account first.
Well, to get a domain name and hosting for your site, we’ll recommend you to go with Bluehost. It’s the reliable and largest hosting company that is officially recognized all over the world.
What if you already have a custom domain name? Then you just need web hosting.
Along with the hosting account, you also need to have the access to your WordPress.com so that moving all your- posts, comments, images, pages, and other data over to your self-hosted WordPress.org site will not be a problem.
Well, once you’re set up with all these above things, it’s time to dive into the step-by-step process. Follow the steps below and get things complete easily.
First thing first, log in to your WordPress.com to export all the blog data. Once you log in, go to the account dashboard. Now from the left sidebar find and click Tools, and Export from the resulting dropdown. Once you click on Export you’ll see a page on the right side of your screen. From there click on Export All.
This is all about exposing your WordPress site. Once the file is ready, you’ll see a downloadable link on your screen. Now click on it to download the zip file on your device. Moreover, you’ll get the downloadable link in your email address too that WordPress will send to you.
When you’ll get the file on your computer after the installation is complete. Now, unzip the file. And, you’ll get an XML file that contains posts, comments, images, pages, custom fields, categories, tags, navigation, and many more.
Up to this point, you are supposed to export your WordPress.com data, now you need to set up a fresh WordPress install on your web hosting.
Well, actually installation process of WordPress is super easy. It’ll take only a few clicks, and you’ll be done and dusted. If you go with Bluehost, you’ll get an automatic WordPress installation feature.
On the other hand, if you prefer to go with a different hosting theme, then you can see our guide on how you can install WordPress within a few minutes.
As soon as WordPress installation is completed, the next step will be importing the exported content (from WordPress.com) into your new self-hosted hosted WordPress.org website.
To import WordPress.com site contents to your new WordPress.org site, you need to log in to your freshly installed WordPress website’s admin dashboard. From here, find and click on Tools > Import Page, and lastly click on the Install Now button under WordPress.
Now, it’s time for WordPress importer. The WordPress importer will be installed by WordPress for you. When it completes, click on the Run importer to continue further.
This brings you a page where you’ll be asked to upload the WordPress.com file that you’ve downloaded on your device in the very early step of this process of moving the blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
N.B: During the time of importing, you can create a new user to assign the imported content. Plus, you can also go with any existing user to assign all the contents. The file attachment importing option is also there.
So, before you click on Submit here, make sure you read all the boxes here and check/uncheck all the things.
Additionally, if you notice your file size is more than 2MB, then importing could be a problem. In this case, you have two solutions.
The first is, asking your hosting company for a temporary limit increase so that you can complete the process. The other option would be, splitting the files. You can split the files by using the WXR file splitter.
What if you don’t want to redirect your old/existing visitors to your new site because the new site is not completely established? Then this section will help you out with how you can make your WordPress blogs private.
At first, log in to your old blog’s WordPress.com and enter the admin dashboard. From the left side menu bar, hover your mouse over Manage and click. Following these, click on the Settings menu, and now scroll down a bit to find Privacy. Once you get the Privacy option, click on it.
Once you reach this stage, click on the Private option and then the Save settings button. By doing so, you’re making your old WordPress.com blog private so that your visitors can’t see these anymore until you establish your new site. These private blogs are only available to you and to the logged-in users that you approve.
Asking Attention: If you have a loyal and strong audience to your site, then hanging them until your new site establishes doesn’t make any sense.
Plus, there are chances that Google and other search engines have indexed your blog if it has been out there for some time. Step 5 of this guide will allow you to maintain all the search engine rankings while easily redirecting your old users to your new blog (highly recommended if your site has been established for a while).
Step 6: Redirect Visitors and Maintain SEO
301 headers are a standard way of redirecting users to the new address so that search rankings do not suffer while the site is moved.
WordPress.com does not allow you to edit the .htaccess file, so you cannot maintain search engine ranking on your own. It is a paid upgrade feature, however, available through WordPress.com called Site Redirect that provides this functionality.
You can adjust these settings by going to your WordPress.com dashboard and clicking on Manage > Settings. To redirect the site, click the ‘redirect’ option under the ‘Site Address’ option.
Your next step is to provide the domain name of the site that visitors should be directed to. Click on the go button after entering the domain name of your new WordPress.org site.
N.B: Please note that site redirect is a paid upgrade that costs $13 per year. This adds a 301 redirect that directs all visitors and search engines of your WordPress.com blog to your new domain.
The question you may ask is how long I should keep paying for this Offsite redirection feature? It’s up to you how long you pay. It is our opinion, however, that your old users would be able to remember your new domain name in two years.
Furthermore, another thing you need to do if you’re changing domains is to update all in-post URLs. You need to update any links between your posts if you ever interlinked them.
Besides, as long as you have a domain on WordPress.com, then everything will work fine. Simply change your DNS record to point to your host, and you will continue to receive SEO benefits.
We hope this post was useful to get a full insight into how you can move the blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
So, if you’re planning to make a new website and redirect your old visitors to your new site, follow the above-mentioned procedure. Redirect old visitors to your site along with all the blog contents by maintaining the SEO.