How to Switch Your WordPress.com Blog to Self Hosted WordPress.org (Part 1)

wordpress switch (part 1)

It’s been a crazy time since my relaunch. I’ve changed the entire look of my blog and have been focusing on creating more and better content for you – my readers.

One amazing thing that has come from this relaunch is that you all are helping to build my email list and you are sending questions! And because of these questions, I’ve been adding posts to my calendar in order to speak directly to all of you.

After reviewing some of the more recent emails and comparing them with ones in the past, I’ve decided to create a post with a step-by-step tutorial on one of the biggest topics/questions that many of you bloggers have.

The question: How do I switch from free WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress.org?

But before we get into the details, read about why I decided to switch from free WordPress to self-hosted and why you should too.

Also read about the basics of how to start a blog & if you’re a fashion blogger, check out my details on how to become a fashion blogger.

So now that you’ve reader over the basics, let’s get started.

What You Will Need

  • Domain & Hosting Provider
  • WordPress.org
  • Landing Page (optional)
    • Leadpages
    • Coming Soon plugin

Step 1: Initial Set-Up

There are many aspects that you need to get situated first. Kind of like, getting all of your ducks in a row.

1 – Get a domain and hosting account 
You may already have one, and if you do, then you’re ahead of the game. If not, you’ll need to sign up for an account. I recommend Bluehost – it is the domain and hosting provider that I use now and have had nothing but great experiences with them.

You may have already purchased your domain with WordPress.com (don’t worry, I did too when I first started), we will go over that a little later.

Many seasoned bloggers started with Bluehost because of the great customer service and the speed that it offers for steady traffic. As they grew to exponential heights, they changed over to other hosting sites that are a little more advanced. I’m currently working to switch over myself to keep up with my growing traffic.

But as a beginner blogger, this is the best option for the price.

Here’s how to set up with Bluehost: 

When you head to Bluehost.com, they have plans specifically for WordPress users. You’ll want to head towards these pages and start from there. The pricing for the WordPress plans look as follows:

bluehost wordpress prices

When I switched, I chose the plus plan because I get much more space and storage than the first plan. And the difference in price is less than $3.

Now, you may notice that each plan has an asterisk (*) next to each plan. Well, that’s because the price listed is only for that monthly price if you commit to a set amount of months (I think 36 & changes after you renew – but not usually).

When I purchased my plan, I paid for the entire year so that I didn’t have to worry about any rate changes or monthly bills. This just made it easy for me because now I don’t have to risk the idea of me forgetting to pay and my blog getting turned off.

You may be hesitant because you’re not ready to make that commitment, but just think – if you’re about to make the commitment to switch over to self-hosted then you’re serious about your blog for the long run. So, just do it. It’s not a regrettable decision.

So, now you’ve purchased your plan…you’re ready. Let’s go!

1 – After you’ve selected your plan, Bluehost will prompt you to enter in your domain. If you haven’t purchased your own domain in the past, then type in your new created domain name in the left box. And, if you created and bought one through WordPress.com previously, enter it into the right.

bluehost domain set up

2 – Once you’ve entered in your domain, you’ll be taken to the next page to complete your personal information and payment information. You’ll want to complete this thoroughly.

For the package options, I choose this:

bluehost package information

You can alter the account plan to only commit to a certain amount of months, which will lower the payment at this point. But if you opt for the longer contract, you are saving more money in the long-run. So I advise to stick with 36 months. And then when the time comes to renew, you can consider switching over or staying with Bluehost.

If you’re wondering why I only chose one of the options in the package and not the others. Here’s what they mean & why I did or didn’t choose them:

  • Domain Privacy Protection: This keeps your personal information private. You’ll avoid solicitations and possible breaches.
  • Site Backup Pro: Backs up your site’s data, but there is a plugin for this.
  • Search Engine Jumpstart: Gives you a boost in SEO. May seem valuable, but it’s really not.
  • SiteLock Security: Establishes security for your blog, but again, there’s a plugin for that.

3 – Fill in your payment and click “Submit”. You’ll be asked to create a password to log into your account. Go ahead and complete that and now we are ready to move another step forward.

You’ll be taken to a page that asks whether you want Bluehost to set up your page for you or if you want to do it yourself & since you’re here reading this. Just click the “do it yourself” option.

You did it! You’ve just created your self-hosted blog complete with your own personal domain! 

Now that you’ve created your page, if you head to the URL, you’ll see a coming soon page. This is because there’s nothing on this new site. So let’s get everything over or at least talk about doing it!

Step 2: Install WordPress

We are going to get everything set up before bringing all your content over. This is so that when you’re blog switches over, it looks exactly how you want it to.

1 – Log-in to Bluehost with the log-in formation sent to the email addressed you entered in the sign-up. The login is in the top right of the Bluehost home page.

You’ll be taken to this home screen with a welcome message:

bluehost home page

2 – On the second row under ‘website’ you’ll want to choose ‘Install WordPress’.

3 – You’ll get a pop-up box that will prompt you to install a new WordPress site. Select your domain from the drop-down list.

Untitled

4 – You’ll be taken through a few more steps to install WordPress. Go through those steps and make sure to choose the drop-down for advanced options and change your site name, username and password then click install.

This will go through automatically and once everything is installed, you’ll receive an email with your log-in information for WordPress.

Now, you can log-in to your self-hosted WordPress site by going to:

http://blogname.com/wp-admin

You’re dashboard will look like this:

wordpress dashboard

(Note: Yours will look much simpler when first logging in, this is my layout which shows my activity)

So now that you’re set up, you want to switch over everything from your free WordPress.com to your new WordPress.com, go forward to Part 2 to find out what to do next!