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How to Move From WordPress.com to WordPress.org Using a Self-Hosted Domain

by Scott Chow | April 3, 2018

If you already have a blog on WordPress.com and would like to move it to your own self-hosted domain name using WordPress.org, this tutorial will show you how.

Wordpress.com 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 WordPress.org blog.

In this guide, I will assume that you have already set up your domain and installed WordPress.org. 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 WordPress.org 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 WordPress.com Blog

Although you cannot install third-party plugins using a free blog hosted at wordpress.com, 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 wordpress.org blog.

  1. Navigate to “Tools > Export” in your wordpress.com 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.

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2 – Import Your WordPress.com Blog

Now you can upload the XML file to your new wordpress.org blog so that all of your content will immediately appear on your new website.

  1. Navigate to “Tools > Import” in your new self-hosted wordpress.org 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.

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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 wordpress.com, which costs $13 per year.

  1. Open the “Store” menu item in your old wordpress.com 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 wordpress.org 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 wordpress.com administrator dashboard. In order for the redirect to work correctly, the permalinks on your new site will have to match those used on your wordpress.com 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.

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Comments

  1. Brooke says: November 17, 2018

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

  2. 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.

  3. Wambui Njuguna-Räisänen says: November 6, 2018

    Hi Scott,

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

  4. Kaira says: September 23, 2018

    Thank you it was so easy!

  5. Cindy says: September 11, 2018

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

  6. Rose says: August 27, 2018

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

    • Scott Chow
      Scott Chow says: September 2, 2018

      Hi Rose,

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

  7. L Kay Elliott says: August 23, 2018

    Great info! Helped a lot! Thanks!

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