Moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

WordPress is one of the best content management systems around today.  It’s a good place for any blogger to build a platform from which he can share his ideas and thoughts.

What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

How to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

WordPress.com provides you with a free hosting solution. This means that WordPress takes care of your web hosting. This makes things fast and easy.  It’s simple to maintain your blog and you won’t have to deal with any hosting issues. There are a couple of downsides to free hosting your website on WordPress.com. You won’t be able to install plugins and customize your theme or install a new one.

At some point you may want to add functionality or make changes to your blog. Even new WordPress users find things they want to change.  If this is the case you might want to migrate your WordPress website to a shared hosting or VPS provider.  This way you can benefit from thousands of plugins and themes and you’ll be able to customize your site in any way you please.  All you really need is around $10 a month and some time to learn the basics of installing and setting up your site.  We’ve mapped out how to move your site in four simple steps.

1. Choose your hosting provider

First you need to register a domain name for your site or you can buy an old one. Old domain names come with added SEO value, but you have to be careful because some of them may be considered spammy – Flippa.com is a great place for buying domain names.

After you’ve registered your domain name you’ll need to find a hosting provider. There are many companies to choose from. You can choose a traditional hosting provider like HostGator or GoDaddy or you can go with a specialized one like Bluehost. Specialized hosting providers are a little different in that they build their entire business model around hosting one specific CMS (Content Management System). Whatever you choose is up to you. Make sure to do some research to see what works best for you. After you’ve found a suitable host, you’ll need to pick a domain name and register an account with your new hosting provider.

2. Export data from WordPress.com

Now that you have chosen a domain name and found a suitable hosting provider, you can move your data. Login to your WordPress admin panel, and click on “Tools” from the left sidebar menu.  From the Tools menu find the Export function.

You have the option to let WordPress.com give you a “guided transfer,” instead for a one-time service charge.  I recommend you use the free transfer version because the fee is $129. That’s a bit steep for something you can easily do yourself.

After you choose Export, select “All content” to download all of your content.  Then click “Download export file” and you will begin to download an xml file. Don’t forget where you’ve saved it as you will need it next.

3. Import data to your new site

Now it’s time to use the space your hosting provider has given you.  Most hosting providers use CPanel as their main control panel for uploading and managing websites. First you need to install your WordPress website. There are several methods in order to achieve this task. The easiest of them is to use Softaculous auto installer. You can also install your WordPress website manually through FTP.  After you’ve done that, login to your blog’s dashboard.  In order to do so use your domain name with the /wp-admin path added – Something like mywebsite.com/wp-admin. Go to the “Tools” menu once again. This time choose “Import.”

You will see a screen that shows a list of places to import data to. Choose WordPress from the bottom. Now upload the .xml file you downloaded during step 2 and you are almost finished!

4. Redirecting your users

There are a couple more things that you’ll need to do until you have fully migrated your blog.  First make a 301 redirect so people who visit your old website are going to be redirected to your new one. You can also buy a Site Redirect that will automatically send any visitor to your new domain. Last but not least don’t forget to update all the internal links to match your new domain. That’s it, now you can start exploring plugins, themes and customization options. If you need ideas for great plugins check this article – 10 must have plugins for WordPress.

Do let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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