WordPress is a great tool for making websites. A lot of WordPress users get started with it from a free blog on WordPress.com, then when they become familiar with this website CMS, many of them move their third-party hosted sites from WordPress.com to WordPress.org and host by themselves. Why should you move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org? In short, you can get full control of your WordPress which is based on WordPress.org, such as installing plugins to extend the possibilities, custom a theme to make personalized site appearance, set SEO friendly permalinks, and more. Moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org was far easier than I imagined. WordPress beginners can follow the easy process below to transfer their WordPress blogs to their own web server.
How to move a blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org?
Basically there are two options you can choose when you want to move your WordPress blog from WordPress.com to your own server. You can either purchase the Guided Transfer service from WordPress.com or manually transfer your WordPress blog by yourself. The Guided Transfer service costs $129 one time fee. If you want to DIY, check out below steps. It is not complex or time consuming.
Here is a list of what you need to prepare before moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org:
Export WordPress.com to WordPress.org
Log on your WordPress dashboard on WordPress.com. Go to Tools section on the left navigation panel, then select Export. See below screenshot.
The Export page opens on the right side and you can see two Export Options to choose from. The first option is to create an XML file containing your posts and comments for you to save or import into another WordPress blog. It is the manual migration option on WordPress.com and it is cost free. The second option is the WordPress Guided Transfer. WordPress.com will transfer your site to a self-hosted WordPress.org installation. They will transfer over all your content, install and configure plugins to support features you have used on WordPress.com, switch your domain(s) over, and provide support on your new WordPress.org install for a two-week period. See below figure.
In this case, let’s choose the manual migration of our WordPress blog on WordPress.com. In this new page, you can choose want content to export from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. It defaults to All content. You can also choose only to export posts, pages or feedback. Leave it to the default content export option, this will allow us to download a full copy of our WordPress blog on WordPress.com, including all of your posts, pages, comments, custom fields, terms, navigation menus and custom posts.
Click Download Export File button, an XML file containing all posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags will be saved to our computer.
Import WordPress.com to WordPress.org
We have successfully downloaded all blog contents from WordPress.com in previous step. Now let’s go to import from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
Log on the dashboard of your self-hosted WordPress site, go to Tools section on the left navigation panel, then select Import option. See before screenshot.
On the Import page, you have a lot of options or sources you can import content from, including Blogger, LiveJournal, Movable Type and TypePad, Tumblr and more. You can not only import from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, but also import a lot of other blogging platforms to a self hosted WordPress site.
Click on WordPress link, you will then be redirected to install a plugin on your self-hosted WordPress site. This plugin is called ‘WordPress Importer’, it is the official WordPress transfer plugin developed by WordPress.org. You can find more details about the plugin from http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-importer/
Once the WordPress Importer has been installed and activated on your WordPress site, go to Tools >> Import, you will see a screen as below.
From above picture, you can see that the description of WordPress options changed. It now reads ‘Import posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags from a WordPress export file.’ Click on the WordPress link, you will be taken to a screen like this.
Now you can import blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. Click the Browse… button to select and the exported file from WordPress.com which we have downloaded and saved on our computer. Then click Upload file and import button below. You will then open an Assign Authors & Import Attachments page. See below.
Since you may have created different WordPress users on the WordPress.com and WordPress.org, so you have to assign all posts and pages by an author on WordPress.com platform to an author on WordPress.org. You can create new users on WordPress.org from there, or simply assign to an existing user on WordPress.org. By default, it will assign to the WordPress administrator. We will leave it to the default option in this case. Another important option in this page is to import attachments, mainly the image files, saved in the downloaded file from WordPress.com. Check to enable it. Finally click Submit button all your blog content from WordPress.com will be imported to new WordPress site.
Redirect WordPress.com to WordPress.org
If you have built a popular blog on WordPress.com with many loyal visitors, you do not want to lose, you need to redirect from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, so when anyone opens your old URL links on WordPress.com, they will be take to your new WordPress site powered by WordPress.org. To redirect WordPress.com to WordPress.org, however you have to pay to get an upgrade called ‘Site Redirect’. This upgrade redirects your wordpress.com blog to your new blog by performing permanent (301) redirects for all of your content. You can get it from Dashboard on your WordPress.com account >> Store.
Extra tips on moving a blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org
Domain purchased through WordPress.com can also be transferred or hosted with your web hosting. A simple solution for this is to change name servers through WordPress.com and point the domain to name servers with your web host.
Many free themes, but not all, from WordPress.com are also available for your self-hosted blog. You can’t transfer those premium theme over to your self hosted WordPress. After moving your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, log on your self-hosted WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance >> Themes section to search and install your favorite theme for your new site.