A Step-By-Step Guide to Migrating From wordpress.com to wordpress.org

migrating from wordpress.com to wordpress.org

Are you using the wordpress.com platform and tired of being limited in the use of your website resources? Do you want to enjoy complete control and flexible use of your WordPress website resources? You should consider migrating from wordpress.com to the wordpress.org platform.

Yep! You heard me. Migrating from wordpress.com to wordpress.org gives you more control over your website resources. The migration process can be a bit tricky, but it is possible to migrate with the right guidance.

In this article, we will walk you step-by-step through how you can migrate your WordPress website from wordpress.com to .org. And also why you need to migrate and what you should know before you migrate.

Let’s dive in.

Why You Need to Move From wordpress.com to wordpress.org

If you are reading this article, chances are you are interested in the migration process. Before we jump into the steps, it is important to note the need for you to move your site from wordpress.com to wordpress.org.

Although wordpress.com allows you to host a simple blog which is good for beginners. If you want to grow your blog or website beyond the limitations and customization functionalities that wordpress.com offers, then you need to migrate to WordPress.org.

Migrating to wordpress.org not only gives you full ownership of your website but also gives you unlimited functionalities and customization abilities. Which will help you to grow your website.

Migrating from wordpress.com to wordpress.org provides users with more freedom, flexibility, and control over their website, making it an excellent choice for those who are serious about growing their online presence.

If you are interested in knowing the difference between these two platforms, check out my article on wordpress.com vs wordpress.org for more clarity.

With that said, let’s move to the next phase.

What You Should Know Before Migrating From wordpress.com to wordpress.org

Before you choose to migrate from the wordpress.com platform to wordpress.org, there are several important things you should know to ensure a smooth transition.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that wordpress.org requires users to have their own web hosting provider and domain name.

Note: wordpress.com provides hosting and domain registration as part of their service. On the other hand, wordpress.org requires you to have your own web host provider and domain name.

Secondly, it’s also essential to have a backup of your wordpress.com site in case anything goes wrong during the migration process.

It is also worth noting that you need your wordpress.com account to move your website’s content to your new self-hosted WordPress website.

Additionally, it’s important to note that some of the functionality available on wordpress.com, such as automatic backups and security measures, will need to be set up manually on your new wordpress.org site.

Lastly, the whole migration process will take up some time and require technicality. Plan accordingly and seek assistance if need be.

Keeping these in mind prepares you to make a successful transition from wordpress.com to wordpress.org.

Steps to Help You Migrate From wordpress.com to wordpress.org

Now that you have known all you need to know before migrating from wordpress.com to wordpress.org.

we will walk you through every step you need in the course of the migration. Sounds interesting right?

Step 1: Export Your wordpress.com Data

Exporting your wordpress.com data is a critical step in the process of migrating to WordPress.org. Here’s how to do it:

Firstly, log in to your wordpress.com account and go to the dashboard of the site you want to export.

Once you have done this, navigate to tools from the dashboard tabs and click on the export option.wordpress.com admin dashboard
Now that we are inside the export tab, you will be presented with 2 exporting options. One of the options is for a guided transfer process in which you need to pay a certain amount for it to be possible whereas the other is the regular export.

Note: there’s no need to use the guided transfer as this article will walk you through the steps to migrating from wordpress.com to wordpress.org at no cost.

Click on the start export button under the free export option to begin the export process.

wordpress.com to wordpress.org migration

On the next page, under what to export make sure you select all content after which you will click on the download export file.

export your wordpress.com data

Note: Selecting “All content” will export all your posts, pages, comments, tags, and categories.

Your export file will be downloaded to your computer as a .xml file. Save it on your computer.

With this, you have now successfully exported your data from wordpress.com.

Step 2: Set Up Your wordpress.org Site

The next step after exporting your wordpress.com site is to set up a new WordPress installation on your web host provider.

There are many web hosting providers available. So do some research to find one that meets your needs and budget. However, I recommend Bluehost or Namecheap since they are my website, host providers.

If you are interested in using Namecheap, check out this article on installing WordPress on Namecheap.

It shouldn’t take up to 5 minutes for this installation.

After the installation, you will start importing your already downloaded content into your new self-hosted WordPress site.

Step 3: Import Your wordpress.com Data into Your New wordpress.org Site

If you get to this stage, it means you have successfully implemented the first 2 stages.

That’s great!

This stage is all about importing your already downloaded wordpress.com data into your wordpress.org website.

The first thing you will do here is to log into your new wordpress.org site admin dashboard. To do this type in yourdomian.com/wp-admin as shown below and click.logging into wordpress.org dashboard

Note: your domain extension may vary as in .com, .org and even .com.ng. Whatever it is, just follow the above format using your domain name.

If you follow the above step correctly, your admin dashboard will be opened for you.

This is what it looks like.wordpress.org admin dashboard
From the WP Admin, navigate to tools and then click on import.wordpress.org tool menu
On the new page, you will be required to install the official plugin for WordPress from the list of installers.

Click on the Install Now button under WordPress to install it.installing wordpress importer plugin
Once the installation is complete, click the Run Importer button to continue the process.running the wordpress importer plugin
The next page will require you to upload the XML file that you saved on your computer.

To do this, click on the Choose file button and select the .xml file and then click on the Upload and Import button to initiate the process.import your wordpress.com data into your new wordpress.org site
The system will prompt you to assign authors for the imported content. You can choose to import the same author profile as on your wordpress.com site, create a new user or assign your posts to an existing author by choosing from the drop-down list.

You also have the option of downloading and importing file attachments. Do not forget to check the box beside it.

By doing this, you can import your image files during the importation process.assigning authors and importing attachments

Step 4: Check for Errors in Your wordpress.org Site

If you followed all the steps mentioned above to the latter, then your new wordpress.org site should look exactly like the wordpress.com site.

However, it does not harm to double-check for errors. Doing this ensures that everything is in place and in the correct order.

There are cases where your image files will not be imported as they should. Maybe as a result of too many images on your WordPress.com website or as a result of your image URL starting with files.wordpress.com

Note: it does not always happen. But If this happens, do not panic it can be easily fixed.

To fix this you need to install a plugin; the Import External Images plugin.

When you use the “Import External Images plugin”, it examines the code of your posts and identifies any external sources linked to your website. If it detects such sources, it automatically fetches the associated images and transfers them to your local installation. This process ensures that you have a complete migration of all images to your website.

Wpbeginner’s article on How to Import External Images in WordPress takes you through the whole process of importing your external images as the tutorial is focused on the plugin itself.

Do well to use it as a reference guide in this regard.

Step 5: Redirect Your wordpress.com Site to Your New wordpress.org Site

At this point, your new WordPress website is already complete and fully functional. The last step for you to completely migrate from WordPress.com to wordpress.org is to redirect your wordpress.com to your new self-hosted website.

This is so that you won’t lose your subscribers and also to keep your search rankings.

There are 2 ways you can go about this.

  1. You can write a post informing your subscribers that you have moved to a new domain and also point them towards the direction of the new domain.
  2. You can use the wordpress.com paid site redirection service.

Whichever option you go for is good. However, I recommend the second option because it is a more effective way to keep your traffic and also retain your search rankings. So if you go with the second option, this is what you must know before you proceed.

For you to redirect your users to your new website and also keep your search rankings during migration you need the 301 header. A feature only the paid redirection service offers.

Due to the wordpress.com limitations, you cannot access your .htaccess file and so, you cannot manually make changes to retain your search engine rankings.

In an attempt to solve this, wordpress.com offers a paid upgrade feature called Site Redirect.

Note: it costs $13/year for this upgrade. Which is a fair deal if you want to maintain your subscribers and search engine rankings.

To redirect your wordpress.com site to your new wordpress.org site, follow the steps below.

Log in to your wordpress.com account and go to the “WP Admin” dashboard.

From there, go to Settings and click on it.

Under Site Address, click on the redirect link.

redirect your wordpress.com site to your new wordpress.org site

On the new screen, enter your new WordPress website domain name where you want your visitors to be redirected and click on Go. site redirect

Just so you know, you are not going to be paying for this upgrade forever. I recommend 2 years at most, which is enough for your subscribers to memorize your new domain name.

Do not overlook the important step of updating all in-post URLs when switching to a new domain. If you have ever interlinked your posts, you’ll need to update those links as well.

To learn more about how to update URLs when moving your WordPress site, I recommend reading this article.

If you had previously set up a custom domain on WordPress.com. The good news is that you don’t have to be concerned about losing your SEO benefits. You can easily maintain these benefits by changing the DNS record to your hosting provider.

Another thing you should know in case you prefer not to pay for the site redirection is the need to make your old site private. This is so that you don’t have multiple versions of your content on the internet. To make your old site private, follow the steps below.

Navigate to your wordpress.com website dashboard

From the dashboard menu list, go to Settings and then click on Reading.

On the next page, check the box that says I would like my site to be private. visible only to myself and users I choose

making your old wordpress site private

If you do this successfully, your content will not be found multiple times online.

Wrap Up – WordPress.com to WordPress.org

With the above steps, you are sure to successfully migrate your wordpress.com website to wordpress.org without any difficulties.

One thing you should note, however, is that your new website will not have the original theme from the wordpress.com website. This is because the migration process does not cover the importation of themes.

Your self-hosted site will have the Twenty Twenty-Three theme as the default theme. You may want to consider selecting a different theme.

If you like the theme of the wordpress.com site, and you want to keep using it, you can go ahead and install and activate it.

If you are not sure how to go about installing and activating a theme on your wordpress.org site, no need to worry. In just a few steps I’ll show you how to successfully install and activate one.

From your wordpress.org admin dashboard navigate to appearance and click on the Add New button. wrap - wordpress.com to wordpress.org

From the next page, you will see a list of themes ready for installation. You can choose from the list or if you have a preferred choice, then click on the search themes tab and type in the name of the theme you want. Install and activate it. installing and activating a wordpress theme

Consequently, if you like the functionality of the wordpress.com site, and you want to have that same feel, then you most likely need to install and activate the Jetpack plugin.

This plugin is a good way to bring most of the wordpress.com site’s functionalities to your new self-hosted site.

To learn more about this plugin, click here.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top
Verified by MonsterInsights