You can run a very successful blog on WordPress.com. Toronto-blogger Neil Pasricha’s 1000 Awesome Things is one great example of a successful WordPress.com blog that led to multiple book deals!
If you are using a WordPress.com site for anything more than just a personal blog, we recommend that you move to a .org (self-hosted) installation.
Bloggers who start out on WordPress.com may later decide that a self-hosted WordPress.org site is a better choice for them.
If you’re in that position, this blog post will help you, step-by-step, to painlessly make the move.
What’s the difference between WordPress .com and .org?
The difference is the host. With WordPress.com – they host it for you; with WordPress.org your web hosting provider hosts your site.
Which WordPress is right for you?
- hosted for you – No servers or code required!
- yoursite.wordpress.com (or point your own domain name)
- doesn’t allow for a lot of customization – can’t add plugins and themes
- great for a basic blog
- is self-hosted installed on your web hosting account
- uses your own domain name
- complete control to customize add themes and plugins
- better if you want to build your brand
Before you move your WordPress blog content …
The links below will outline the steps you need to take before you move your existing content from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
- Register a Domain name (some hosting accounts include one year free so you can do steps one and two together)
- Sign up for Hosting
- Point the Domain to the Host
- Install WordPress – One Click Install (skip this step if you choose a WordPress managed hosting solution)
Congratulations! You now have a fresh self-hosted WordPress installation! And you’re ready to import all your content.
How to export your existing content from WordPress.com
- Go to Tools -> Export in your WordPress.com dashboard to download an eXtended RSS (WXR) file of your blog’s content.
- Under What to Export select All Content. This will ONLY export your posts, pages, comments, categories, and tags. NOTE: You may need to manually transfer uploads and images to your new blog.
- The current version of the WordPress.org installation gives you the option to import uploaded files, but the blog you are importing from must be live and serving images properly in order for it to work. So, don’t delete your blog until you’ve successfully imported your media files into your new blog.
- To export your blogroll: Visit http://yourblogtitle.wordpress.com/wp-links-opml.php and then use the Save File option in your web browser. You do this in your browser by clicking File -> Save As … but the exact wording may vary depending on your browser).
Now to import your content to the fresh .org installation
- Login to your WordPress dashboard … yourdomain.ca/wp-admin.
- Go to Tools -> Import.
- Select WordPress to install the WordPress importer to import posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags from a WordPress export file.
- Click Install now to add the importer plugin -> Activate Plugin & Run Importer
- Browse your computer for the WordPress eXtended RSS (WXR) file -> click Upload file and import
- You will first be asked to map the authors in this export file to users on the blog. For each author, you may choose to map to an existing user on the blog or to create a new user
You can read more about importing content on the WordPress codex.
Setting up a Redirect to your new domain
For $12US/year you can redirect your wordpress.com blog to your new domain name with the Site Redirect upgrade.
Congratulations and Happy Blogging!
More tips in our WordPress for Beginners series
We hope that you’ve found these WordPress for Beginners tips helpful.
If you want to learn more about WordPress, sign up for our WordPress Intensive.