WordPress.com is an equally popular blogging platform as WordPress.org where the latter gives you more liberty to run your blog as you wish. For example, WordPress.com won’t let you install plugins and themes of your choice unless or until you go for it’s premium or business plan.
See our guide wordpress.org vs wordpress.com for more details.
This is a common question among WordPress community that how to transfer a blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org or self-hosted site?
WordPress.org means WordPress software which you can download from https://wordpress.org/download/ to be installed on your self-hosted website later on.Woopoo's Tip
This is what we are going to discuss in this step-by-step guide which will allow you to move all of your WordPress.com posts, pages, images, post featured images, comments and all other data into your new self-hosted blog.
We will also discuss how to redirect your traffic from old blog to your new blog. It will allow you to keep your search engine rankings and link juice remain effective.
1. Finding a Hosting Provider
The first step to make the move is to choose a web hosting provider. You can skip this section if you already have an account with a web hosting provider.
At your WordPress.com blog, WordPress itself was your hosting provider which means they have given you web space to host your blog. A self-hosted blog doesn’t work this way. You have to purchase an account with any of the web hosting companies online to host your blog.
Hostgator, BlueHost, siteground are name a few.
2. Installing a Fresh Copy of WordPress
Once you are done with choosing and getting an account with a hosting provider, our next step is to install a fresh copy of WordPress to start with.
Again, you can skip this section if you have already installed WordPress otherwise see our guide how to setup a WordPress blog for more details.
3. Exporting Content from WordPress.com
We are all setup to export data from WordPress.com site now.
- Login to your WordPress admin dashboard and go to Tools > Export.
- You can use WordPress Guided Transfer which will cost you money but we will take the free track here. Click Start Export under Free.
- On the next Screen, click All content and press Download Export File.
- An XML file will be downloaded and saved on your computer.
That XML file holds all the information of all of your posts, pages, images, navigation menus, comments and all other related content. The size of the XML file depends upon the number of posts, pages and images of your WordPress.com blog.
Until here, we are done with our WordPress.com blog. You can even sign-out from WordPress.com and close the browser tab to avoid any future confusions as the coming steps involved to work with your self-hosted new WordPress blog.
4. Import data into WordPress.org site
Do you have a self-hosted blog and an XML file filled with all of your WordPress.com posts and pages? Then what are you waiting for? 🙂 Let’s move on.
- From your WordPress dashboard, go to Tools > Import. (Remember we are NOT in WordPress.com dashboard now)
- On the Import screen, click Install Now under WordPress. It will install WordPress Importer plugin.
- The Install Now link will turn to Run Importer. Click it to start WordPress import process.
- On the Import WordPress screen, click Choose File to select your exported XML file you have downloaded earlier. Click Upload file and import.
- On the next screen, you need to assign an author to all imported posts. You can create a new user account or assign posts to an existing author. Also enable Download and import file attachments under Import Attachments and click Submit.
- WordPress will start processing posts and pages and you will see a success message shortly. All of your data has been imported into WordPress successfully. You can confirm by visiting your posts or pages section.
A complete WordPress blog import may require three additional steps:
- Once all posts are imported, you may need to bulk change posts categories. For more details, see our article how to bulk change post categories in WordPress
- Another important item left behind will be the theme you were using. If you are lucky enough you will find your theme from WordPress Theme Directory as most of the themes at WordPress.com are also available for WordPress.org sites.
- To import subscribers (if any), you have to install WordPress Jetpack Plugin which will allow you to import all of your followers into your self-hosted site.
5. Redirecting Visitors to your New site
One way to redirect traffic to a new blog is by using 301 redirects in WordPress. Webmasters or bloggers normally use .htaccess file for this purpose. Access to .htaccess file in WordPress.com is not permitted but they do offer a Site Redirect service for the same purpose which will cost you $13/year.
Visit https://wordpress.com/domains/add/site-redirect/ and follow the instructions to add a redirect to your new WordPress domain.
Update Website URLs (if required)
If your domain name has been updated then another step you may require to do is to update your website URLs. Any internal links will take back visitors to your old WordPress.com blog again.
See our guide how to bulk change WordPress URLs for more details.
We hope you found this article useful and these transfer instructions to switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org self-hosted website easy to follow.