I have wanted to transfer my blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org for awhile now. The more I read, the more I knew I had to do it. I just didn’t know if I could do it on my own. Well last night, I took the plunge and officially clicked the “live” button on my new, self hosted site. I am rather proud of myself for doing this on my own. I am no expert, but if I can do it, you can too.
I’ve successfully transferred all of my old posts and managed to migrate all of my subscribers from WordPress.com. After a few tweeks, I have redirected traffic from my old blog url to the new one as well as fixed some broken links. This is especially important to me because I thought I would have to redo all of my posts on my social media accounts. But no! If anyone clicks on an old link, it actually directs it to the proper post on the new blog! Total score!
Firstly, let me list some of my reasons for wanting to transfer my blog.
- Stories of blogs being shut down on .com
- Plugins and more control over blog appearance
- Better analytics, SEO and data
I researched a few options for hosting and decided on bluehost. Not only did I get an awesome price ($2.95/month), my new domain name and SSL certificate were included. Setting up the hosting was extremely easy. Click over to this post for a full tutorial set-up. That post will guide you when you need to come back to this post.
Once you have been directed back to this post, you should see at the top of your new WordPress dashboard that you are in draft mode and that your blog is not live yet. I recommend that you do not launch your new blog till you make sure that everything has transferred, the links are working and the theme looks like you want it to.
If you click on view site, you should be looking at your new blog with one sample post in it.
Time to migrate
I am now going to take you through the steps to transfer all of your posts from WordPress dot com to your new self-hosted blog.
- On your old blog’s dashboard>Tools>Export
- You will then be asked if you would like to transfer your blog for free or paid guided transfer. This is always an option for you if you do not feel comfortable doing the transfer of your blog yourself, but honestly, its really easy, so don’t be nervous, click on the free option.
- It will now ask you what you would like to export. I chose all content. This means that all of my posts, categories, tags, media and menus would be saved to an XML file on my computer. I suggest you write this file name down once downloaded.
- Now go to your new blog’s dashboard in wordpress.org.
- You will now be asked to install the WordPress Importer plug-in. Click install, activate, then run.
- Next you will have to choose the file from your computer. Find the file from above step and click open.
- A screen will appear asking if you wish to assign the old posts to a new author. You can choose to leave the author as imported or select a new name. Make sure to check the box that imports all attachments. These are your media files(pictures).
Once complete, click on view site and all of your old posts should now appear on your new blog. You can now set up your menus and widgets the way you like.
When your new blog is looking the way you like, there are 4 more things you will want to do before you click on activate.
1. Set old blog to private
- On dashboard of old blog>Settings>Reading>I would like my site to be private>Save changes
2. Redirect traffic
- On dashboard of old blog>Store>Search for Site Redirect.
This is a paid feature and it was $17/year at the time of this post. It is well worth not only redirecting your traffic but also preserving your ranking. When my year is up, I will look at the amount of traffic being transfered from my old blog and if it is low to nil, I won’t renew the redirect.
3. Make sure all old links on social media will redirect properly
- Go to old dashboard>Posts>All Posts>Click on Edit for the top post. Underneath the title, you will see its permalink. Make a note of the format the permalink is in. Mine was http://www.livingwithbatman.com/2015/05/17/transfer-blog-wordpress-com-to-wordpress-org/ name
- Go to new dashboard>Settings>Permalink
- Make sure the common settings are set the same as above. I clicked on Date and Name.
This step will direct all old links on social media to the proper post on your new blog.
4. Import subscribers from wordpress.com
- Make sure you have Jet Pack downloaded and activated on your new .org self hosted blog.
- Use the signed in screen to select your new blog from the list. Do not use the WP admin dashboard, as the following will not be found there.
Screen should look like this:
- Click>Settings>migrate followers
It will then ask you which site to transfer subscribers from and if you are sure. Click OK.
A message will appear saying that they have put you in a queue for migration. You will get an email when they begin and when migration is complete. Mine was complete in 5 minutes. If you now go to your site stats on the new blog, it should have your old subscriber count. If you go to your old blog, the count will be zero.
You are now ready to go live on your new, self hosted blog. Don’t be afraid to transfer your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. I did it and you can too. If you are really unsure of yourself, you can pay someone to do the transfer. It all depends on your comfort level.
The next few weeks I will be choosing a new theme and getting to know the plug-ins. I will be updating you with my progress. Subscribe by email to my blog if you don’t want to miss any of my posts packed with blogging tips and reviews.
Are you thinking about doing a transfer of your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org?
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I only recommend products & services that I use and love myself.
This is just the post I needed to read, Elena. Thank you! I’ve been on the free plan forever and want to go self-hosted. I have two questions from reading this though.
When you say your subscribers are transferred, is that only email subscribers or does the new number include followers from the WP reader and the follower counts from linked up social media accounts?
And if there are problems with the link redirect from wordpresssdotcom, is it worth it to upgrade to a premium dotcom before going self-hosted?
Let me try to answer all for you Lorna. 1. The wp readers and email subscribers are transferred. The social should connect once you attach them. 2. It looks like they took away the link redirect again. Depending on how many posts you have, you can manually and links in the old posts to go to new blog. In this case, leave your old blog open. If you have tons of posts, just do your top 10 or 20. 3. The upgrades on wp dot com can cost the same of more than going self hosted. You have to decide what you want your blog to become and then choose the platform that will get it done. Hope that answers your questions. If you have any more, just ask and if you still wish to go self hosted, click the badge in my sidebar to have more details on setting up your blog.
Lorna, you can PM me on fb messenger if you want.
This is so helpful! Thank you!
Let me know if you need any clarification.
I am a fairly new blogger (been blogging for around 9 months now) and I am contemplating shifting to wordpress.org after a few months. Your post has some great insights and tips. Thank you for sharing!
So this is like the best post I’ve read in ages – SUPER helpful – I came here via Debby. I have been wanting to migrate for ages but have been too scared. I’ve built up quite a following and assumed it would drop if I transferred.
When you say subscribers transfer – what does that mean? Everyone that’s following you AND everyone that gets your posts to their inbox?
What about Pinterest – Pinterest directs thousands of people to my site so I’m worried all the links won’t work – is this then what the paid redirect is for?
Once you migrate – can people only sign up to have your posts by email to their inbox? I know some people sign up and then don’t have inbox subscriptions they just follow through the reader.
Sorry a million questions but this is just so damned handy to know someone who has done it ?
Hi Sacha! I’m so glad you found that post and I hope it has given you the confidence to go for it. Yes, all subscribers will transfer if you stay on the WordPress platform. People will still be able to see you in their reader and will still be able to follow you on WordPress. However, I have just heard from a few that the forward paid feature is no longer available. I haven’t investigated this yet. If that is true, it depends on whether you had your own domain name or not if your Pinterest pins will be directed. If you had wordpress.com in your URL, you are out of luck. If you had your own domain name, you may be able to set up your own re-directs to the new site. Hope this helps and good luck.
This is a fabulous rundown on moving a blog to self-hosted. Many times I’ve heard writers questioning how to do this. I will reblog this soon! Thanks Elena. 🙂
You are very welcome. I was really scared to do it on my own too but when I broke it down, step by step, it turned out to be really easy.
Yes, you did somehow manage to take the scare out of it. Thanks Elena, I’ve shared and will reblog soon! 🙂
Everything is scary till it is broken down into steps. Thank you very much for sharing.
Elena – I’ve just shared this with a blogger who was looking for a solution. She has a domain on wp.com – which was recently renewed, so I’m not sure how that works.
Not sure what you mean by renewed on .com. Maybe she bought a theme? If she did obviously that money is lost when she switches as she can’t take it with her but that does not stop her from switching. Unless you mean the domain name, and I am sure it still could be done.
Amazing article. I am so glad I found you. I really owe Terri a huge thanks.
Okay, I made my old site private (thanks for the tip)
but when I went to store, I could not find anything about paying $17.00 to redirect traffic.
By the way, do you work outside the home? I really appreciate how quickly you write back. Great customer service! =)
No, I do not have a traditional job. That is very strange. I do not see the redirect offered anymore either! I will have to have a better look later and get back to you.
What is the advantage to setting the old blog to private?? Please advise.
Also, my tech girl wants to charge me $60.00 per month to update and maintain my site! This is astronomical. Do you have someone cheaper you can recommend? She had me host through A Small Orange.
It sounds like you are so tech savvy you might do your own maintenance, but I am not.
The advantage is to send traffic to your new home, not your old one. My posts have all been transferred but if someone finds an old link hanging around, it is redirected to the new blog.If you did transfer, you don’t want to get penalized by Google for duplicate content existing on 2 sites. I do all my own maintenance but once you are all set up, there really isn’t that much to do so that does seem a bit high. Can you not set up an hour fee with them and just go once a month with a list?
I’m just getting started on wp, but I’m interested in making the switch. I don’t have a lot of followers yet, so maybe it will be easier? Thanks for this post. I will follow it once I begin the process. Yikes!! 🙂
The process is the same regardless of number of followers. Of course the impact on your followers due to downtime making the switch may make you feel more comfortable if that number is low. Good luck and let me know how that works out for you!
Very helpful post, Elena! I’ve bookmarked it and will keep it for reference 🙂
Thank you Lori! Always puts a smile on my face when I know you have stopped by!
A very helpful post, thank you. I have a question: Did you have to correct the layout of your post once you’ve changed to wordpress.org? When I change a theme within wordpress.com, I usually have to correct all the layout, that is, going to each post and work on the layout. You have changed to wordpress.org and at the same time chosen a new theme. So, how much work was it to adjust your posts?
I actually did not have to adjust the posts at all. If you are lucky enough, your theme may be available on org as well. Mine is not but I chose a theme in org that was very similar to the one I had on com. I imagine that if I had chosen something completely different, I would have had to make changes. I wanted the downtime and transition to go as smoothly as possible. I am looking at purchasing a theme so I am sure more adjustments will have to be done at that time. Hope this answers your question. Thanks for stopping by!
I’m thinking of transferring my blog to wordpress.org for a while, but I’m still lacking courage. Is the number of email subscribers important before you change to .org? I think I don’t have enough of them, did you wait until you had a certain number of email subscribtions?
Absolutely not, I believe I had 2! The rest were all WordPress followers and I successfully transferred them over to the new blog. It has been officially one week since I made the switch and I have had 10 new email subscriptions!
Interesting, maybe I should dare… 🙂
Go for it! Let me know how it turns out!
Congratulations and thanks for sharing this. I will be making the switch to self-hosted soon enough, so this may come in handy.
Let me know how that goes!
I would add a recommendation to install Broken Link Checker plugin. That way you can clean up anything that doesn’t redirect correctly.
Thank you Laura! I will check that out.
Congrats on going self hosted!! I’ve never understood why people choose wp.com. If you want to do anything at all to modify the blog it costs a fortune, WAAY more than having hosting and a domain.
I’ve actually moved away from WordPress now, but that’s only because I’m so paranoid about hackers and security and thought it was so much work to maintain the wp site, when I wasn’t even inspired to blog (I’m better about that now though).
Thank you Susan! You never know, one day I might move away from this platform too. I’m always learning and wanting to upgrade and improve. I’m glad you got your mojo back!
Hey, my wife ad I were just talking about this yesterday! We bought a domain name, clumsyandstupid.com, would we be able to transfer that over as well?
the domain name is usually locked to whomever you purchased it from for a year. You would have to point that domain to wherever you get your hosting from. A few more steps and research for you but very doable. Let me know how it works out!
Oh dear. Sounds like a lot of work! I’m sure I’d mess it up but congrats on your success!
It’s so easy if you take it a step at a time! Thank you Jan!