If you have been using WordPress.com for a while and feel like it is time for a change, it is important that you know how to go about transferring your website to WordPress.org so you can enjoy the many benefits that come with doing so. Many people are making this transfer so they can be in full control of their website and make more money with it at the same time.
Before you Start
There are going to be some things that you will need before you get started with the process of transferring your website over to WordPress.org, including:
- A reliable web host: It is extremely important that the web host you choose for your website knows WordPress and is familiar with it. Bluehost is just one of the many options you will have, and they provide new customers with a free domain as well as 50% of the hosting plan they offer.
- Access: You will also need access to your WordPress.com account, enabling you to transfer all of your images, posts, comments and everything else to your self-hosted WordPress.org website.
Making the Transfer: A Step by Step Guide
- Exporting Data
The first step in the process of moving your website from WordPress.com to self hosted WordPress.org is to sign into your current account on WordPress.com and go to the Dashboard section of your blog. Click “Export” under the Tools menu.
If you wish to transfer your posts, comments and all other forms of media to your self hosted website on WordPress.org, you can export all of them. You can create an XML file that contains all of your posts, comments and everything else, which you can save or import into another WordPress blog. If you want to transfer this data without having to pay anything, simply click “Export”. When it comes to the next screen, you will have to choose which data you want to export. Click “All Content” and press the “Download Export File” button. The XML file will download to your computer and it will contain all of your data from your WordPress.com website.
- Setting up WordPress
You will then have to do a brand new install of WordPress on your web hosting (we recommend Bluehost); it is extremely easy to install and only takes a few clicks of your mouse. After you have installed WordPress, you will need to import your content into your new self hosted WordPress.org website.
- Import all of your Content to your Self Hosted Website
In order to import all of the content on your current website to your new WordPress.org site, you will have to go to Tools>Import in the WordPress.org dashboard. Then you will need to click on the “WordPress” tab. You will then be asked if you want to install the WordPress Importer plugin. After this plugin is installed and activated, you will want to run it. A screen will come up where you will be asked to upload the XML file from your WordPress.com website that you first downloaded at the beginning of this process.
Note: If the XML file you are importing is larger than 2MB, you will have two different options to choose from. The first option involves assigning your old content to an existing WordPress user, and the second method is to create a brand new user. If you want to import all of your old attachments, make sure to check the appropriate box so that all of the images are importanted as well.
If you exported all of your old links/blogroll, you should definitely take the time to import them. The process that is required for doing this is fairly similar to the above-mentioned process. Simply navigate to the “Import” page from the “Tools” tab, click on “Blogroll”, install the plugin and choose the location for the exported link or blogroll file and import it.
- Making your WorddPress.com blog Private
The last step in this process is making it so that your old WordPress.com website is completely private. If you don’t want your old users to get redirected to your new website, then you will definitely want to take the time to follow this step. First go to the Reading page, located under the Settings tab, on your WordPress.com Dashboard. Select the option “I would like my blog to be private, visible only to users I choose” at the bottom.
- Redirecting your Users
If you want to keep your search rankings up while moving your website, it will be necessary to redirect users to a new location with a 301 header. Because you do not have access to .htaccess on WordPress.com, you will not be able to make any changes by yourself to keep your search engine rankings. WordPress.com does however offer a paid upgrade to users, and it is called Offsite Redirect, which is exactly what you will need. Navigate to WordPress.com blog’s dashboard and go to the Store Menu. You are searching for the Offsite Redirect upgrade. This update can be purchased for a fairly reasonable amount, and it will provide you with 301 redirect, allowing everyone who visits your website as well as the search engines to automatically redirect to your new site on WordPress.org. This is a very important part of the transfer process, so make sure you don’t forget it.
Bringing your Subscribers over to the New Site
If you are wondering what happens with all of your WordPress.com subscribers, there is no need to worry. WordPress.com will allow you to transfer all of your subscribers over, provided that you use the Jetpack plugin, which adds the same subscribe function that you had on your old website. After you install and activate this plugin, you will have to contact the WordPress.com staff and request that they migrate all of your subscribers.
Making the transfer from WordPress.com to WordPress.org is a good decision for many people who are ready to take control of their websites and really start making money off them. This is a fairly simple process, but it is important that you follow all of the required steps for the best results.