So, you have been blogging in WordPress.com for a while. Things are looking good; actually they are improving. And now you want to move your blog from WordPress.com server to WordPress.org. While that situation fits you perfectly, you are confused about the whole process. You don’t know what to do first, what’s next and so on.
If that is the case, you have come to the right place. In today’s tutorial, I will show you how to move your WordPress.com site to WordPress.org within the shortest period.
Along the way, I will show you how to transfer all of your content including the images without hampering your search engine ranking. Sounds good?
Okay, let’s see how to do this.
Before The Transfer
There are some things you need before starting the process.
First of all, you will need a domain and hosting package where you will move your WordPress.com site.
Then, you will need admin level access to the WordPress.com site which you will transfer. Once you have everything ready, move forward with the tutorial.
Step 1: Export Data from WordPress.com
To start the moving process, the first step is to export the existing content. To do that, log in to your WordPress.com account. Go to the admin section. The URL for the admin section should be like the following – https://yoursitename.wordpress.com/wp-admin/
Here, replace the ‘yoursitename’ part with your actual site name. This will take you to the site admin section.
Now, go to the Tools -> Export page. You should be taken to a screen like the following –
On the page, you will have two options –
- Export and
- Guided Transfer
The Export option allows you to do the transfer process yourself. And the guided transfer is a paid service by WordPress. If you choose the second option, one of Automattic’s happiness engineers will take care of the whole thing for you.
Since we will do the process on our own, we will go with export. Click the ‘Start Export’ screen. This will result with a screen like the following –
‘All content’ will be chosen by default. Since we want to transfer the whole site, this is totally fine with us. Click the ‘Download Export File’ link. This will download an XML file on your computer. The file includes all the posts, pages, comments, images, tags, categories, menus and other information on your WordPress.com blog.
Step 2: Set Up WordPress on Your New Server
So you have successfully exported the data from your old site, that’s great. Now you need to install WordPress in your new hosting. Doing that is very simple; it will take only a few clicks and not more than 10 minutes.
However, if you are not familiar with the process, we have a step-by-step tutorial about installing WordPress in your server. Check out this tutorial and you should be able to install WordPress in the hosting on your own.
Once you have set up WordPress, continue to the next part of the process.
Step 3: Import Site Content
So far, we have exported content from the old site and installed WordPress in the new hosting. Now it’s time to import the content into your new site.
To do that, you need to access the dashboard of your site. The URL should be like the following – http://www.yousrsitename.com/wp-admin/
Like before, don’t forget to replace the ‘yousrsitename’ with your actual domain name.
Once you have installed WordPress, go to Tools -> Import.
As you can see, there are various types of import options available. Click on ‘WordPress’, which should be the last option.
Next, you will be asked to install the ‘WordPress Importer‘ plugin.
Click the ‘Install Now’ button to install the plugin. This will install the plugin. Once it is installed, click the ‘Activate Plugin & Run Importer’ link.
This will take you to the screen like the following –
Click the ‘Choose File’ button and select the file you downloaded a while back, the file that you exported from your old site. Then, click the ‘Upload file and import‘ button.
If the downloaded file is larger than 2MB, you will not be able to upload it this way. By default, WordPress has an upload limit of 2MB. If you want to upload bigger sized files, you should ask your hosting provider to increase the limit.
On next step, you can assign the author(s) for the content you have imported. You have two options here–
- Create a new user or,
- Assign posts to an existing user.
You will also have the option to import all the images that were used on the old site. Choose the options that suit you the best and then click ‘Submit’.
And that’s it. You have successfully moved your WordPress.com site to a WordPress.org server.
Step 4: Import the Blogroll Links
Now, you have some additional things to take care of. If you have used the links feature in your WordPress.com site, you need to transfer them too. However, if you didn’t use that feature, feel free to skip this step.
WordPress enables you to export the links as a OPML file. This is a special type of XML file which is capable of storing the detailed link information in the proper format. You will find the links to your WordPress.com site at the following address –
Or, if you are using a custom domain, the URL should be like this –
And obviously, you have to replace ‘yoursitename’ with your actual site name.
This will open a page with the necessary codes. You need to save this file on your computer. Press Ctrl + S (or Cmd + S for Mac users) to save the file.
Get back to your WordPress.org site. First of all, you need to install the Link Manager plugin. While it has not been updated recently, the plugin still does its job perfectly. You can use it without any problem.
Installing and activating the plugin will create a new menu item titled ‘Links’ on your new WordPress website dashboard.
Then, go to the Tools -> Import page. This time, choose the ‘Blogroll’ link. Clicking the link will tell you to install another plugin titled ‘OPML Importer’.
After installing the plugin, you will be provided with two options to import the blogroll –
- Upload by using a link
- Upload the links file
We will use the second method. Click the ‘Choose File’ button. Choose the file and click open. Finally, click the ‘Import OPML File’ button. At this point, the links will be imported automatically. Once completed, you will be provided with a success message.
Step 5: Dealing with the WordPress.com Site
Well, this is the final part of the process.
Now that you have moved all the content, links and other things of your old site into a new site, there is no point in keeping the old site running. Here, you have two options –
- Set your WordPress.com as private or
- Redirect the visitors to your new site.
The first approach, setting your WordPress.com blog as private will not redirect the visitors to your new blog. To do this, log in to the site dashboard.
Go to the Settings -> Reading page. In the ‘Site Visibility’ section, choose the option titled ‘I would like my site to be private, visible only to myself and users I choose’.
However, if you have been running the site for some time, it is likely that you have created a visitor base. In that case, it doesn’t make sense to make the site private all on a sudden. You should redirect the visitors to your new site.
You can do that by setting up 301 redirections on the old site. Doing this has two benefits –
- The visitors will be redirected to the new site and
- Your search engine rankings will be intact.
Since your site is hosted in WordPress.com for free, you don’t have the necessary control for setting up the redirection. To do this, you have to purchase a premium upgrade package from WordPress. Go to the Site Redirect page of WordPress.com store. From that page, you can finish your purchase.
At the time of writing this tutorial, the package is priced at $13 per year. Choosing this option will automatically redirect your visitors to the new site and keep your SEO rankings intact.
Moving your site from WordPress.com to WordPress.org takes some time and patience. Before you start the process, make sure that you have both in hand.
And if you are facing any problem or have any question about any part of the process, feel free to ask me in the comments. I will be glad to help you.
So, have you ever moved a WordPress.com site to WordPress.org? If yes, please share your experience by leaving a comment below.