Skip to content

How to Move From to Using a Self-Hosted Domain

by Scott Chow | June 3, 2019

If you already have a blog on and would like to move it to your own self-hosted domain name 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 to a self-hosted blog.

In this guide, I will assume that you have already set up your domain and installed You can follow my guide on how to start a self hosted WordPress blog to see exactly how to get a free domain name and install if you have not done so already. I can even do the setup for you, just submit a blog install request here.

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 for importing into your self-hosted blog.

  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.


Share This Post


  1. Avatar
    Morgan says: February 14, 2019

    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

    • Scott Chow
      Scott Chow says: March 9, 2019

      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.

  2. Avatar
    Mollie says: January 6, 2019

    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!


  3. Avatar
    Brooke says: November 17, 2018

    Thank you so much for a simple, clear and easy to follow explanation! This was immensely helpful!

  4. Avatar
    Adam says: November 13, 2018

    Does the exporting of the comments retain the users names, dates, etc?

    • Scott Chow
      Scott Chow says: December 7, 2018

      Yes, it should retain all that info for the comments.

  5. Avatar
    Wambui Njuguna-Räisänen says: November 6, 2018

    Hi Scott,

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

  6. Avatar
    Kaira says: September 23, 2018

    Thank you it was so easy!

  7. Avatar
    Cindy says: September 11, 2018

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

  8. Avatar
    Rose says: August 27, 2018

    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?

    • Scott Chow
      Scott Chow says: September 2, 2018

      Hi Rose,

      Some prefer to start with since it is free to use in its most basic form.

  9. Avatar
    L Kay Elliott says: August 23, 2018

    Great info! Helped a lot! Thanks!

Add a Comment