We’ve put together this step-by-step guide to help you move your WordPress.com website to a self-hosted WordPress.
So you’ve spent countless hours on WordPress.com, setting up your site and writing engaging articles for your readers and your baby is now starting to get the attention it deserves? People are really starting to notice it, and you think it is time to get it to the next level, well a move to WordPress self-hosted is the way to go if you are serious about long-term growth.
You might be a litter scared about the entire process and don’t really understand the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, not to worry, in this post, we’ll explain what the main differences are between these two platforms and guide you through the entire migration process.
You are most likely familiar with WordPress.com and know how everything works so let’s see what the big fuss about WordPress.org is and why is this a solution for you and your website.
What exactly is WordPress.org?
First of all, you must know that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two very different platforms and most of the times people confuse the two, and they end up choosing the wrong platform. With WordPress.org – a self-hosted WordPress platform – you host your blog or website, you can download the free WordPress software and install it on your own hosting plan.
When using WordPress.org, you have full control of your website and are free to do pretty much anything you want and customize it as you please without any restriction whatsoever.
That is why it is the go-to choice and is used by bloggers, small businesses and even large brands like The New Yorker, TechCrunch, Sony Music, MTV News, Time Inc. and many more.
Main differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com
|WORDPRESS.ORG||WORDPRESS.COM||+ PAID UPGRADES|
|Full theme support|
You have the freedom to install any theme you want. You can also create your own theme and customize it as you want.
|Limited theme support|
Offers a limited number of themes for you to choose from and has limited customization options.
|Premium users can customize CSS and select some premium themes
There is no limit on the plugins that can be installed. You can also modify any plugin installed.
|No plugins allowed|
You are not allowed to install any third party plugins, however, there are several built-in plugins offered.
Business users can install third-party plugins.
|You own the content|
You own your content and you are free to do whatever you want with it, you can even sell it as a website/blog without any restrictions.
You can place ads and even monetize your blog.
|You DON'T own the content|
You don’t own the content or the blog it's posted on, WordPress owns it and you can't place ads or monetize your blog.
Premium and Business plans get access to the WordAds program and place ads.
You can create your own online store and start selling immediately.
|Online stores are not supported|
You can not create an online store with the free plan, this is only possible on paid plans.
Store functionality is available to Business plan subscribers located in the US or Canada.
You have you to pay for a web hosting service and a domain. Most of the hosting providers offer free domains with an annual subscription.
There is no cost if your blog uses under 3GB of disk space, however, WordPress will post their ads on your blog.
Personal plan - 6GB : $48/year
Premium plan - 13GB: $96/year
Business plan - Unlimited: $295/year
What do you need before we get started to move on a self-hosted WordPress
You will first need to have a domain name and a reliable web hosting company that can host WordPress applications. Luckily we offer WordPress Hosting plans which are fully optimized for top speed and reliability which also come with a FREE domain name.
If you are not sure what domain name to choose for your website, please check out this post in which we talk about to find the right domain.
If you already have a domain name registered, no worries you can use that with your new WordPress.org website.
How to move WordPress.com website to a self-hosted WordPress
Well if you decided to choose one of our WordPress hosting plans there is no need read any further, we will take care of the entire migration process for you, so all you need to do is choose a beautiful WordPress theme for your website and sit back will we do the hard work.
If you, however, chose another hosting company or already have a hosting plan with someone else you can easily migrate your website content.
To pull this off, you will just need to follow these steps.
Step 1: Export Your WordPress.com Content
You will first need to login to your WordPress.com account and then go My Site tab and then click on WP Admin as shown on the screen.
Now that we are on the WordPress Dashboard look for the Tools tab which you can find on the left side of your screen and then click on the Export button within.
You will be taken to a new page where you will be asked to choose between the Free Transfer or the Guided Transfer which costs $129.
We’ll assume that you want to move forward with the regular Free Transfer so please click on that Start Export button.
In the following screen, you will be asked to choose which data you want to export. Most of the times you would prefer the full export which includes posts, pages, testimonials, feedback, and media.
Next click on the Download export file button and an XML file will be downloaded to your computer. This will contain all of your posts, pages, comments, custom fields, terms, navigation menus, and custom posts.
Keep it handy because you will need it soon after you install your WordPress.org website.
Step 2: Setting up WordPress on your hosting plan
WordPress.org is a self-hosted platform, and this means that you will need to sign up for a hosting service with someone that knows WordPress inside out. The hosting company you choose will have a significant impact on your website in the long run.
There are a large number of hosting providers out there, and you can sign up with whoever you want, however, you need to keep in mind that our WordPress hosting plans are built for speed and security, and you can rest easy knowing that ChemiCloud will look after you! If you need help, our friendly, fast and knowledgeable WordPress Support team is here to assist you with any problems.
In addition to the affordable pricing, you’ll also get the following benefits from our hosting plans:
- A free domain name.
- A free SSL Certificate.
- Free white gloves migration.
- 1-click, hassle-free WordPress install.
- 24/7 WordPress Support from our experts.
- 30-day Money Back Guarantee.
- Fast loading times.
Once you signed up for a hosting plan and the domain you chose is attached to it, you can go ahead and install a fresh WordPress site. WordPress is extremely easy to install, and it can be done in 5-10 minutes and with only a few clicks.
If you need help with installing WordPress, please check out these posts:
After the installation is complete you’ll need to install a WordPress theme, we’ll assume you already have your eyes on a gorgeous theme that will be perfect for your site. If you don’t have anything in mind yet, you could take a look at Themeforest, they have over 11.000 premium WordPress themes from which you can choose from.
It is not a problem if you are on a budget and don’t want to spend anything on premium themes you can also check out these guides that can help you find the right theme without paying a cent:
- 50+ Best Free WordPress Themes for 2018
- 120 Free Premium WordPress Themes
- Popular themes on WordPress.org
If you don’t have a theme yet or don’t know which one to choose, don’t worry, you can change or install a WordPress theme at any time even after importing your current content.
Installing the WordPress Importer
Finished installing your self-hosted WordPress site on your new and shiny hosting account? Well, the hard part is done, and you have almost completed the switch.
Now go ahead and login into the Admin area, you can do that by going to yourdomain.com/wp-login and look for the Tools tab and click on Import.
Next click on the Install Now link located right under WordPress, this will install the WordPress Importer plugin.
After this is installed, you will notice that the Install Now link has changed to Run Importer, go ahead select this to move forward.
Select the XML file you downloaded earlier from WordPress.com which contains all of your posts, pages, comments, custom fields, terms, navigation menus, and custom posts of your website.
In the next screen, you have the option to either create a new user and reassign all the posts to it, use the same username you had on WordPress.com or select from a list of pre-existing users that can take over as the author of the content. It’s recommended you choose an already existing user instead of creating a new account if you use only a single username.
Please also make sure to check the box Download and import file attachments, and click the Submit button.
That’s it, you are all done with importing your content from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, wasn’t that hard, was it?
You’re Ready to Go! So What’s Next…?
There are still a few things to be done before we can celebrate, now that we migrated the content from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, you will need to notify your loyal readers and visitors that you moved. This is an important step, now that the migration is complete it is time to inform your loyal visitors about the change if you don’t want to lose them.
This can be achieved in several ways, the most used and free method is to just publish a post where you inform everyone about the move and the new website address.
Another option would be to use the WordPress.com paid Site Redirect service, that costs 13$ per year which will redirect all visitors to the new domain. This method is a lot better, and if you have the budget just go to Site Redirect service page, this URL will automatically redirect you to your WordPress.com account.
A short recap on how to move WordPress.com website to a self-hosted WordPress
It can take some time and work to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, but it is all worth it as you now have full control of your website and are free to customize it as much as you need.
Just make sure you didn’t miss any steps in the process:
- Export the content from WordPress.org.
- Install WordPress on your current hosting service and the importer plugin.
- Import the XML file exported from WordPress.com.
- Inform your visitors about the migration.
Just remember that if you don’t have the time of the skills to complete the migration process we can always do this for you for FREE.
You may be also interested in reading the article WordPress Security Checklist