How to Switch Your WordPress.com Blog to Self Hosted WordPress.org (Part 2)

wordpress part 2

You’re here and ready for part 2 of switching over to self-hosted WordPress. Congrats!

You’ve made it this far and you’ve made a great choice to move forward with your blog.

Let’s recap on what we did in part 1:

  • Registered for domain and website host on Bluehost
  • Installed WordPress
  • Got access to site admin page

If you are starting on part 2, I recommend going back to part 1 and reading over everything that I went over before. But if you’re ready for part 2 then let’s get started.

In part 2, I’ll be discussing how to bring your old blog posts to your new self hosted blog, how to redirect your WordPress.com blog to this new blog, and how to maintain your domain with Bluehost or with WordPress.com

Step 1: Export WordPress.com Data

1 – Sign into your WordPress.com site and access your WP Admin page. (found at the bottom of your left sidebar)

2 – Select ‘Tools’ and then ‘Export’. You’ll be asked whether you would like to export your date for free or with a guided transfer. You are welcome to pay the $129 and skip the work, but why do that when I’m giving you a step-by-step tutorial on how to do it yourself.

wordpress export

Choose ‘Start Export’ and you will be taken to a screen that asks what you want to export. Select ‘All Content’.

A XML file will be downloaded to your computer. Locate where it is and put is somewhere easily accessible, you’ll need this in a few minutes.

Step 2: Import Data to Self Hosted WordPress

1 – Log into your self-hosted WordPress site (http://blogname.com/wp-admin).

2 – Head to ‘Tools’ and then ‘Import’

3 – On the page that it takes you to, choose the WordPress option since you’ll be bringing over WordPress.com data.

wordpress.org import

Depending on your computer, you’ll be asked to download and activate the WordPress importer – make sure to do that.

Once that is finished, you’ll be prompted to upload that XML file. Find it and upload it.

4 – If you would like, you can now assign posts to an author (this is more for self hosted blogs that are being created by two people merging into one). If you are one blogger and are planning to remain the sole writer of the blog for awhile, I would leave this alone.

5 – Make sure to choose “Download and Import File Attachments” – this will bring over and images and PDFs that you attached to posts.

Step 3: Redirect Your Old Visitors (aka a 301 redirect)

Even if your WordPress.com site wasn’t as popular as you wanted it to be, I still recommend that you redirect your followers because they are loyal to you.

WordPress.com offers a service that allows you to redirect anyone visiting your WordPress.com blog to your new self hosted WordPress blog. Your traffic and search engine rankings will be redirected as well. This is well worth your time and it’s only $13/year. And after 2-3 years, you can deactivate the old WordPress blog and stop paying the fee.

(Note: This is for bloggers who only had a blogname.wordpress.com site and did not purchase a domain name through WordPress.com)

Step 4: Domain Maintenance

If you just purchased your domain name through Bluehost or your hosting site, then you’re completely fine. Just continue on, but if you’re like me and once went along and purchased your domain name through WordPress.com, you might want to take special care in this step.

There are two scenarios you can go through:

1 – Keep your domain name with WordPress.com

That is allowed. You can do that. Just make sure that when you had registered with your host, you indicated that you already had a domain.

What you’ll need to do is go into  your nameservers and redirect them to the Bluehost servers. Here’s a guide through WordPress.com on how to do that. And here are the Bluehost nameservers.

2 – Transfer your domain to your host

This is also possible.

If you’re with Bluehost, here’s a basic tutorial.

1 – Log into your Bluehost account & head to your cpanel. (This option is seen on the top navigation bar).

2 – Look under ‘domains’ section and select ‘Transfer Domain’

Untitled

You’ll enter in your domain that you purchased from WordPress.com, and Bluehost will take it from there. Their system will initiate contact with your domain Registrar and after about 7 days you will receive an email confirming that your domain has transferred over.

You may also receive emails from the WordPress.com registrar during the process asking whether you initiated this transfer – make sure to answer yes. The process will cancel your domain with WordPress.com and bring it over to Bluehost for free.

Now you’re done! 

You’ve completed everything you need to do to transfer your blog over. Now it’s time to set up your theme and make your blog look exactly how you want it to.

Have additional questions?

Leave a comment or send me a message! I’m here to help!

  • Living Paula Blog

    Great tips! Love this post.

    Paula- http://www.livingpaula.com

    • Thank you! It was hard for me so I thought I’d make it easier for someone else.

  • Thank you for the tips! I’ve been nervous about switching over, but this seems much easier than I thought:) Do you know if your theme (provided by wordpress) transfers over along with your content? I’m worried about having to re-customize the whole site at one time!

    • My theme did switch over when I switched from free to self-hosted. WordPress is still running on the same system you just have more rights to your posts. When I switched, I changed my theme anyway. I wanted more capabilities that I originally had with the theme that was working on the free wordpress. But when I first switched, there was no way anyone could tell that the blog was changing until I put up a “coming back soon” landing page because I made such drastic changes.