How to Migrate Your Blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

Do you want to migrate your WordPress.com blog to wordpress.org?

If you are like many other people who start blog building using free WordPress.com services and now want to migrate to a more flexible wordpress.org platform, this is the perfect guide for you.

It’s a good move because you will get the actual experience of the WordPress based website without investing even a penny.

So if you have spent a lot of time managing a WordPress blog like organizing categories, typography, theme customizations, and creating helpful content for the readers.

Now your blog starts getting some traffic and you realize it’s the time to move your blog from WordPress.com. Because of course it’s free but if you serious you will find out there are many things that limit your growth.

Even if it’s not your case soon, you will realize that WordPress.com is no doubt offer a fantastic opportunity to get familiar with this amazing platform without any cost. But the free WordPress.com does not offer as much control as self-hosting.

For instance, on a self-hosted WordPress, you can use different advertising programs, can install any third party plugin, and install themes of your choice without any limitation.

So if you are ready to switch your site without any loss content, then follow this step by step guide, we will show you the proper and easy way to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.

How to Move Your Blog/Site from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

Here is the list of steps that we are going to cover in this guide

  • Buy a web hosting plan
  • Install WordPress on new hosting
  • Exporting content from WordPress.com
  • Importing Blogroll Links
  • Set your WordPress.com blog to Private

1. Buy a web hosting plan

The very first thing that you need for a self-hosted WordPress.org is the web hosting plan and domain name.

We recommend Bluehost because they are providing quality services and all the essential tools for building a blog on wordpres.org at very affordable pricing.

HostingSprout.com also begins its journey with Bluehost. Furthermore, Bluehost is one of the recommended hosts by WordPress. With a free domain name and free SSL certificate, Bluehost is a nice deal to grab.

If you are using the custom domain name with your free WordPress.com blog, then go ahead, get a hosting plan from Bluehost as you still need web hosting. In this guide, we will show you how you can keep the same domain while migrating to wordpress.org without losing search engine ranking.

On the other hand, if you don’t, then you don’t go anywhere else because Bluehost offers a free domain along with a hosting plan.

And of course, keep your WordPress.com credentials with you as you still need it for exporting content.

2. Install WordPress on a new hosting plan

So after purchasing a web hosting plan from Bluehost, they won’t take much time to make it ready for you. Bluehost makes WordPress installation effortless.

Their hosting comes with a simple setup wizard where you just need to pick a theme, site name, tagline and there you go; they will install the WordPress automatically. For now, you can select any theme as you can always change it later.

Once you see the WordPress install successfully, you will also see some installation details that include website URL, admin, username and password. Write down this information as you need it to log in to the WordPress dashboard.

After installing and setting up WordPress, now it’s time to export the data that you want to migrate to your new WordPress website.

3. Exporting content from WordPress.com

Go ahead, login to your WordPress.com, and get into your blog management dashboard.

You can simply type ‘Yourdomain.wordpress.com/wp-admin’ to access your WordPress dashboard.

From the sidebar, go to Tools > Export.

export wordpress

WordPress then offers you 2 ways for transfer where one method is free while the other one is paid. Go for free and click on “Start Export”.

wordpress free export

Next, they will ask you what you want to export. Simply choose “All content” and click on the “Download Export File” button.

In case if you’re going to export the specific content, feel free to select that as the migration process will be the same whether you go with all content or the selective.

download XML file

It will download an XML in your local computer drive, which contains all of your pages, posts, comments, categories, tags, Media, and every other customization.

Before you move to the next step, one thing that is worthy of mentioning that sometimes, when your exported file is over 2MB file size, you may be unable to import the file on a new hosting server. However, this is a very rare case, but if you encounter such a problem don’t worry it’s easy to diagnose.

There are 2 ways. First way, just contact your hosting company; almost every good hosting company offers live chat for helping their users quickly. And the second way is to use WXR file splitter, which will split the file into manageable chunks so you can upload it easily.

As we mentioned above, it’s a very rare case so no need to worry.

4. Import Your Content to Self-hosted WordPress site

To import your old content from WordPress.com first thing, you need to login to your new web host where you installed your brand new wordpress.org. As we described in Step 2, you will get a login URL and other login credentials on the successful installation of WordPress.

Once you have logged into your new WordPress dashboard, go to tools > Import and then click on “Install Now” links shows under the WordPress, as shown below.

wordpress importer plugin

It will automatically install a plugin called “WordPress Importer”, which is an official developed by WordPress. Once you see Run Importer just click on the link which appears on the same page.

run importer link

It will take you to a page where you will be asked you upload an XML file (the file that you exported from WordPress.com in step 3).

import file to wordpress

So go ahead, click on “Choose File” and locate your WordPress.com XML file on your computer.

Once you click on the “Upload file and import” button, WordPress will show you some options.

They ask you whether you want to assign the same author profile that you were using on WordPress.com or you want to create a new one. You can also assign posts to an existing author on your new WordPress website.

There is also an option to download and import file attachments. Make sure to check that box so that it will bring all the media files that you were using in your posts and pages. So you must check this box.

importer plugin assigning author

5. Importing Blogroll Links

If you are using Blogroll links, you might be aware of this term. However, in simple words, Blogroll links are the list of links that normally appear on the sidebar of your website. These are the links to the other blogs which might belong to your friends. You can also link to your own sites.

So if you are using Blogroll links, then follow this step; otherwise, simply scroll down and skip this step.

Blogroll links are in an OPML format, and you can save its file in XML format that will export and import all the files.

So how you can find that OPML file? It’s simple. If you are using free subdomain which WordPress.com provided you then just type that subdomain name in a web browser like this

yourfreedomain.wordpress.com/wp-links-opml.php

However, if you are using a custom domain name with your WordPress.com blog, then you need to type the below URL in the web browser tab in order to access the OPML file.

yourdomain.com/wp-links-opml.php

After hitting the Enter button, your browser will open an OPML file which you need to save. Just right click on the page and use “save as” or simply Ctrl+S for saving the file. It will save the file in XML format. The Mac user can save it using Command+S.

Now once you have saved that OPML file, the next step is to export that on your self-hosted WordPress. There is no link manager in WordPress.org by default so you need to enable it by downloading and activating a plugin.

Link manager is one of the excellent plugins that has been around for years, developed by WordPress. After activating the plugin “Links” item will be added in the WordPress dashboard.

blogroll URL

For managing the blogroll links of your WordPress.com, you also need to install another plugin. Either simply go to Plugins > Add New. Search for the OPML importer install and then activate it.

Now in order to import the file OPML file, you again need to visit Tools > Import. Then click on “Run Importer”.

blogroll importer

As soon as you click on it, you will see a page asking you to upload your OMPL file which you saved earlier. Click on Choose File and then locate your OMPL file. After that, hit the “Import OPML File” button.

import OPML file in wordpress

WordPress will now automatically start importing links and links categories from the file that you just uploaded.  Once the process has done you will see a success message.

6. Set your WordPress.com blog to Private visibility

Importing content from WordPress.com to WordPress.org won’t erase the content that you published on your old WordPress.com blog. And of course, you don’t want the duplication of your posts, pages and categories etc.

So there are two ways to go for.

One way is if you don’t want to redirect your WordPress.com traffic on your new site, then you just need to do a simple step and that is setting the old blog to Private.

For this, login to your WordPress.com blog dashboard.

From the sidebar, go to Settings set the blog Privacy to Private and then “Save Settings”. Now only you or the user you approve can access the old WordPress.com blog.

change blog privacy to private

The other way is that if you are writing for some time, and your blog has visitors, then it would not be wise to hang them with your old blog.

Getting traffic on a new blog is not easy; it takes time and lots of efforts so why not redirect your old blog users to the new blog. Fortunately, without affecting the search engine rankings, you can easily redirect your old users to the new blog by following the next step.

6. Redirect your WordPress.com users to WordPress.org website

The redirection makes sure you won’t lose any search engine ranking by automatically redirect the user to the new site whoever access your old address.

The standard solution for redirecting users to a new location is to use 301 headers without affecting search engine ranking. But the limitation here that for doing such a task, you need to access.htaccess file. However, as WordPress.com won’t provide you access to .htaccess, you can’t use this method.

Unfortunately, WordPress.com only offers a paid Site Redirect tool that comes with a small price tag i.e., just $13/year.

So if you think your old WordPress.com has enough traffic for which it is worthy of paying $13/year, you need to head back to your WordPress.com dashboard. Click on “Settings” from the sidebar and click on the “redirect”.

Next, they will ask you to enter your domain name where you want to redirect your audience. After typing the domain name, click on the “Go” button.

paid site redirect from wordpress.com to wordpress.org

After this, you will be asked to fill in the payment details to complete the purchase.

Congratulations, it’s done now; all your users and search engines will redirect to a new domain.

If you were using a custom domain with WordPress.com, then it’s almost done. You just need to change the DNS record to your new web host, and everything will be fine, including search engine rankings.

On the other hand, if you are changing domain, you need to change in-posts URLs. You need to update URLs which are inter-linked to posts. So go ahead follow the below steps

  1. Go to your wordpress.org dashboard.
  2. Install and activate the Velvet Blues Update URLs
  3. Go to Tools > Update URLs
  4. Provide your old and new URL and choose which URL should be updated. And that’s all.

Conclusion

All in all, this migration from WordPress.com to WordPress.org is pretty straightforward. All you need to do the following steps

  • Export the XML using WordPress.com dashboard
  • Get a new domain and hosting plan. Install the WordPress on your new hosting plan
  • After installing WordPress to WordPress dashboard, select Tools > Export. Be sure to check the attachment box in order to export media files.
  • That’s all.

I hope this tutorial will help you migrating your WordPress.com website to a self-hosted blog. If you need further help, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section.

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