This tutorial is going to show you how to easily transfer a website from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
The process of moving from WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress.orhg is actually pretty easy! You don’t need to hire out to do it. I have put this guide together to help you do it yourself.
Overview of WordPress Transfer Steps
Step 1. Start a self-hosted wordpress.org blog
Go ahead with setting up wordpress.org by choosing a domain name, hosting and installing WordPress. Step 2:
Step 2. Export your existing content
Next, I’ll show you how to export all of your content; blog posts, images, etc. from your wordpress.com website
Step 3. Import your existing content
Then, we get to import all of your content to your new wordpress.org site
Step 4. Decide if you’d like to redirect traffic?
Redirect any traffic to your old site (if required)
Step 5. Set up your blog!
Go ahead and start setting up your brand new self-hosted blog
Let’s dive into the tutorial.
Step 1: Start a self-hosted wordpress.org blog
The first thing you need to do to move a website from WordPress.com to .org, is you need to open a proper web hosting account.
Click here to follow THIS step-by-step guide on setting up your web hosting. You’ll also get 60% off your hosting bill, too!
Once you have signed up for your hosting, you can come back here and move on to the steps below.
Step 2: Export Your Existing Content from WordPress.com
Sign in to your WordPress.com account and go to your blog’s Dashboard. Click on Export under Tools menu.
Clicking on the Export tool will take you to a new page where you will be asked to choose between Free or Guided Transfer.
Choose the Free option by clicking on Export. On the next screen, you will be asked which data you want to export. Select “All Content” and press the Download Export File button.
An XML file will be downloaded in your computer which will contain all of your posts, pages, images, comments, custom fields, categories, tags, navigation menus, and other information.
Step 3: Import Your Existing Content to WordPress.org
Navigate to tools > import then select WordPress
You will be asked to install the WordPress Importer plugin. Once you install it, activate and run the importer plugin.
Click install now then go ahead and select the import file. This will be a file that you just exported from wordpress.com and will be in an XML file format.
Then, select the upload file and import.
You will then be given the option to assign imported authors to existing authors on your website. This is useful if the same authors exist on both websites. Alternatively, you can create a new account for each author’s posts.
This page also has an option for downloading attachments. When you select this, WordPress will attempt to import all of the images that are attached to the posts and pages you are importing – this is important as you’ll likely want to keep all the existing media, so don’t forget to check this box.
Your content will now be imported into your site!
Step 4: Decide If You Will Redirect Traffic
It’s recommended that you redirect all of your current traffic from your wordpress.com blog straight to your new site.
WordPress.com offers a paid upgrade, Site Redirect, which is around $15 for the year.
To complete this, navigate to your WordPress.com blog and click on the Store menu item, then look for Site Redirect.
This upgrade provides a 301 redirect which allows your site’s visitors and search engines to be automatically redirected to your new site.
If you want your existing traffic to redirect to your new site, I’d recommend this service for at least 1 year to preserve SEO. After a year, google should know your new site’s address.
But If you don’t want to redirect your old users to your new site, that’s cool too, just navigate to ‘settings’, then ‘reading’ and select the last option, “I would like my blog to be private, visible only to users I choose”.
Step 5: Set Up Your WordPress.org Blog
Now the fun part! It’s time to set up your new self hosted WordPress.org blog and make it look pretty.
First, you need a quality theme. Check out my WordPress Theme Shop.
And then, enroll in my WordPress blogging course – that link gets you in for free!
Q: I registered my domain through WordPress.com, can I still move?
Yes, you can. WordPress believes in empowering users and giving them full control of their content. If you already have a domain name through WordPress.com, then all you need is a web hosting account.
During the signup phase, you will be asked do you have a domain or want to register a new one.
Simply select the option that I have a domain name, and insert the domain that you registered at WordPress.com. The next thing you would have to do is change the nameservers to point to the hosting provider.
You can also ask your web hosting provider for support with this.
Q: I already paid WordPress.com, can I get a refund?
Yes, you can. If you recently purchased a custom domain or a paid plan from WordPress.com, then you can ask them for a full refund.
Please Note: Domain registrations can be canceled within 48 hours of registration. Plans and other purchases can be canceled within 30 days of purchasing.
Q: Will my images break?
No. When you transfer using the import file, all attached images are downloaded and the link is updated. However, if your image URL starts with files.wordpress.com, then they will not be converted.
If you notice that the image URL has not changed and still points to WordPress.com, then I recommend that you use import external images plugin, and it will take care of that.
Q: What happens with my WordPress.com Subscribers?
WordPress.com allows you to migrate your subscribers with one condition. You can use the Jetpack plugin which adds the same subscribe functionality that you had at WordPress.com.
Once you install and activate the Jetpack plugin, you would need to contact the WordPress.com team and ask them to migrate the subscribers for you.
Q: What If I’m changing domains?
If you are changing domains, then another thing you want to do is update all in post URLs.Here’s a helpful article: how to update URLs when moving your WordPress site
Q: My file is too large and won’t import?
If your wordpress.com XML file size is larger than 2MB, then you have two options.
One is to ask your web hosting company to increase that limit temporarily, so you can get on with the process.
The other option would be to split your file by using a WXR file splitter.
More blogging-related posts to dive into
- WordPress Vs Squarespace: What are the differences and which one should I choose?
- WordPress.com Vs .org: What really is the difference?
- List of apps, tools & freebies I recommend for bloggers
- Share Your message, publish your passion & make money blogging
- How to overcome blogging advice overwhelm by listening to your intuition
Do you want to transfer to wordpress.org?
Feel free to share your experience with other fellow bloggers in the comments below!