I was absolutely stunned by the responses I’ve had to 8 Thoughts On Moving From WordPress.Com To WordPress.Org!
I actually wrote it more as an update; I didn’t expect so many people to be in the same position! I’ve had emails, comments, DMs on Instagram (have I told you before how much I love it when you guys contact me personally? I really do; it makes me feel almost helpful. If you ever want to – trust me, just go for it. I don’t bite. Promise.) . . . Loads of people are interested in moving from self-hosted to hosted.
Now, I only know about migrating from WordPress.com to WordPress.org – but I’m sure the steps are pretty similar moving from Blogger or whatever other hosting service you use. This post is going to be long and it’s gonna throw a lot of information at you – so grab a mug of green tea and settle in for a while.
(Pin the image!)
Hosted vs. Self-Hosted
There are two types of sites (in the context of this post. I’m aware that there are lots of different sites out there. Stop looking at me like that.) – hosted and self-hosted.
What’s The Difference Between A Hosted Site and a Self-Hosted Site?
A hosted site is a website that runs on a platform that isn’t yours. You have way less control and you don’t actually own the site – but it is usually free. (Examples of self-hosted sites being: WordPress.com, Blogger and Wix.)
A self-hosted website, however, is one that you run. You have complete control, unlimited options and total creative freedom. The sky is the limit. However, self-hosted means you have to put all the work in and it is a paid option. (Although not necessarily an expensive option. It can cost as little as a few pounds a month.)
Should I Use Hosted Or Self-Hosted?
Aha! Now this is the big question for a lot of people. Answer being: it really depends.
Personally, I’d definitely recommend self-hosting. On first impressions, I actually said that I recommended hosted for start-up/personal bloggers and self-hosted for bloggers looking to scale up and monetise.
I’ve changed my mind.
Although hosted is a great option, it’s so incredibly restrictive once you realise what you’re missing. WordPress.Org has plugins for literally every single thing you can think of – the blog of your dreams is actually within your reach. But that’s just my inner control-freak speaking. The real reason that I recommend self-hosting is because of the pure scalibility. You won’t ever run into anymore issues. If you want to host ads, you can. If you want one page to have a really cool layout, you can. If you suddenly want a forum function or a games page on your site or a shop, you can.
The brilliance with this is that you can start as small as you like – but there are no limits to how much you can grow.
What Do I Need To Move My Hosted Blog To A Self-Hosted One?
A really common thing with bloggers who are growing (that sentence excites me) is that we grow out of our hosted websites. But when you’ve got years worth of content and followers and search engine traffic headed there – what do you do?
You migrate. You can move all your content over to a new site and keep your domain name and your followers. What do you need for this? Not too much!
This is the only part of the process that’s going to cost you – and, in all likelihood, it won’t cost you that much anyway. Depending what you need from your hosting provider, it can cost you as little as a few pounds a month!
If you use WordPress.org, (which you really should because . . . well, come on, it’s amazing.) you’ll need a hosting provider that allows you to integrate WordPress. Naturally, I’ve included some of these for you below.
** Note: I’m an affiliate for some of these companies, which means I earn a small comission if you sign up through my links. You don’t pay anything extra – and you help me out a lot. If you want to become an affiliate for these companies, I’ve included the affiliate sign up for you. **
- WPEngine – This host is absolutely great if you need a bit of extra support. They take care of literally everything for you
- BlueHost – Directly recommended by WordPress. Brilliantly cheap – only $3 a month with a free domain name.
- SiteGround – Also directly recommended by WordPress. Also brilliantly cheap – I think the lowest is £2.45 a month with a free domain name.
- 1&1.com – The one I currently use. I can personally attest that their customer service is outstanding. Free support 24/7 and they’re willing to help you and set things up that you can’t. However, with 1&1 their packages are a little confusing so make sure that you know what you’re buying. Also – great prices, I currently pay around £4 a month for two domains.
I’ve mentioned domains a few times when talking about hosting, but if you aren’t sure what they are let me help you. Your domain name is the URL of your site. When using a self-hosted like, like WordPress.com, you automatically recieve a free domain – okaaythen.wordpress.com, for example.
For self-hosted, you’ll need to purchase a domain name. As I’ve mentioned above in the hosting section, most hosting packages come with this free – but you can buy them individually for a couple of pounds too.
Your Blog Data
Last but in no way least, to migrate from WordPress.com to WordPress.org you will need your original blog data. This is easily exported from WordPress – and I’ll cover how to do it in the step-by-step below.
The Easiest Ways To Migrate From WordPress.com To WordPress.Org
Now, the absolute easiest way to move your blog from WordPress.com over to WordPress.org is to get somebody else to do it. There are two ways I’ve found to do this.
WordPress.com Guided Transfer
WordPress.com actually offer a service (I think it’s around $100) and one of their Happiness Engineers will take care of the whole process for you. This is called a Guided Transfer.
I personally went the manual route, but if you have the money to spare you could save yourself the time and heartache.
May I just say – regardless of whether or not you use the Guided Transfer, WordPress happiness engineers are absolutely brilliant. I may or may not have panicked a few times along doing the manual process myself and every time I sent a frantic email I’d get a quick and informative reply ASAP. And for free.
Your Hosting Provider Moving Your Blog Over
Now, this is one I wish I knew about. Some lucky kids having hosting providers who will actually move their blogs over to self-hosted for them for free! The best hosting service I’ve found for this has to be WPEngine.
With every one of their plans, they include a completely free migration service. As you need to buy hosting anyway, I think it’s actually a pretty sweet deal to get your hosting provider to do the heavy lifting for you too.
How To Move Your Blog From Hosted To Self Hosted Without Losing Anything
For me, at least, the anxiety of converting my blog to self-hosted lay in possibly losing my precious data. I had years of posts – yes, admittedly, some terrible – that I didn’t want going down the drain. So I’ve created this easy step-by-step to make sure that you know how to protect your blog.
Step By Step Guide To Migrating From WordPress.Com To WordPress.Org
- Back. Everything. Up. Why? Because it’s far better to be safe than sorry.
- Purchase your hosting package. Be careful to choose a package that supports WordPress.org integration.
- Set up your WordPress.org on your new hosting package.
- Fix up your theme and widgets. Although technically not a necessary step, this is definitely one I wish people had told me about.Take the time sort all this out before you publish your site. Oh and install the Jetpack plugin.
- Export your old files. In your WordPress.com admin go to Tools > Export and download your site’s .XML file. This will contain all your site’s content and is what you will upload to your WordPress.org.
Be aware: with sites over a certain size, it’s pretty well documented that WordPress’s .XML code . . . well, it slightly fails at times. This means that some (not many, but some) of your posts may not be on your .XML file. This happened to me; I backed up all my files and cut any extra files I didn’t need on the blog like rubbish posts and images and retried. If your site is extra large, contact WordPress.
- Import your old data. The interface with WordPress.org is almost exactly the same as WordPress.com, so you go to the exact same place, but choose “Import” this time. ( Tools > Import ) This ensures that all of your images, posts and comments are copied over.
- Link your domain. WordPress have a great post on domain mapping here, but you need to attach your new domain to your WordPress.org blog.
NOTE: If you purchased your own domain through WordPress or another hosting provider, this bit might be a little tricky. To ensure your site doesn’t go down, just email WordPress or your hosting provider and they can move it over for you.
- Set your WordPress blog to private, or purchase a redirect. I definitely recommend purchasing a redirect as you keep all your existing traffic and all URLs linking to your site will still be active. It’s only $13 a year from WordPress. Both of these options ensure that your audience won’t be confused by all your URLs and Google won’t penalize you for duplicate content.
- That’s it!
I hope this was helpful! Let me know what you thought in the comments below; are you considering making the move?
All the love,