How to Move From to Using a Self-Hosted Domain

In this guide, I assume that you have already set up your new domain name and installed If you haven’t done that yet, please follow my free guide on how to set-up to see exactly how to get a free domain name and install I can even do the install for you for free, just submit a blog install request here.

If you already have a blog on and would like to move it to your own self-hosted domain using, this tutorial will show you how. has several inherent issues that make it less desirable for many bloggers. The main issues are the lack of control and security, along with the inability to profit from your blog. If you have run into these issues, it is time to move from to

1 – Export Your Blog

Although you cannot install third-party plugins using a free blog hosted at, there is an export tool included with the platform that allows you to download all of your posts and comments to make it easy to transfer from to

  1. Navigate to “Tools > Export” in your blog, and click on “Export”.
  2. Choose the content that you want to export. Most likely, you’ll want to stick with the default option, “All content,” to export all of your posts, pages, comments, navigation menus and other content.
  3. Click “Download Export File” to download your content to your computer in the form of a single XML file.


2 – Import Your Blog

Now you can upload the XML file to your new blog (find detailed instructions on making your new blog here) so that all of your content will immediately appear on your new website.

  1. Navigate to “Tools > Import” in your new self-hosted blog, and click the last option “WordPress”.
  2. Click “Choose File” and navigate to the XML file that you downloaded in the previous step. Click “Upload file and import,” and wait for WordPress to transfer your content to the new site. The transfer may take a while depending on your Internet connection and the size of the XML file.


3 – Set up a Redirect

Since your visitors won’t know that you have moved to a self-hosted blog, they’ll still be visiting the old one for a time, so you’ll need to have them automatically redirected to the new domain. The easiest way to do this is to use the Site Redirect service from, which costs $13 per year.

  1. Open the “Store” menu item in your old administrator dashboard and search for “Site Redirect”.
  2. Click “Buy Now,” and click “Buy Now” again to confirm. Enter the address of your self-hosted blog, and click “Redirect to this URL”.
  3. Confirm the purchase, and enter your payment details to complete the process.

With the redirect set up, you will be able to manage your site redirects from the “Store > My Domains” menu item in the administrator dashboard. In order for the redirect to work correctly, the permalinks on your new site will have to match those used on your blog. You can change the redirect at any time you want, and for best results, you’ll probably want to use the service for a year or two until your visitors come to memorize your new domain and it takes precedence in the search results.


  1. Hi Scott, thanks for your post! I just renewed my plan last June and am now realizing I’d rather be on to get more value. Will I be paying an annual fee for if I transfer my domain now?

  2. If you pay extra for a web address that doesn’t have “” in it and you keep the same domain name, do you still need to do the redirect when you switch from .com to .org?

    1. You don’t need to do the redirect, but you will need to change your nameservers of your domain to point to your new hosting company. For BlueHost the namservers are &

  3. Don’t want a redirect… using the same name… so, I have to completely shut down one, change domain name servers, then upload to new?

    1. You don’t need to do the redirect, but you will need to change your nameservers of your domain to point to your new hosting company. For BlueHost the namservers are &

  4. Should I be able to see my posts that have been copied over just in my posts section or is there somewhere else I need to activate the information? I followed the steps but I can’t find any of the posts.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      You should see all of your posts in your dashboard for sure. If you don’t then you need to go back and redo the export/import steps.

      If you are having trouble just seeing your posts on your live blog (but you can find them in your dashboard) then you just need to make some adjustments to your theme settings to get them to show up where you want.

  5. Hi Scott!
    I’m interested in making the leap to paid web hosting for my site which has been on a free account for a few years on I’d like to monetise my adverts to offset the costs. But I worry about losing a lot of views during a move to self-hosting. Almost all of my page-views are from Google searches (currently only around 2k a month.)
    Is it common for these hits to fall significantly, or not?
    If so, is there something I can do to avoid it (besides re-directing)?
    Thanks a lot, Morgan

    1. Hi Morgan,

      You will want to make sure you have the 301 redirect working correctly. It is common to have a decrease in your Google search rankings when you first make the switch, but that should resolve itself within a few weeks of having the redirect set up.

  6. Hi Scott,

    Do you help bloggers migrate their site to Your steps are very helpful but I don’t want to mess anything up!

    Thank you!


  7. Hi Scott,

    Thanks for this. Just want to be clear what you mean by having already installed…where would it be installed?

  8. Rather than set up a re-direct, is there a way to actually delete the account and transfer the domain to

  9. Thanks for this valuable info, Scott!
    I’m just wondering why a new blogger wouldn’t just start with off the bat rather than with and then the hassle of the redirect?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *