How to Move Your Website from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

Congratulations! You are growing your business. It’s easy to guess that now you have started to realize that using WordPress.com for hosting blog may not be the best idea for your long-term growth. You may also know that WordPress.com being a fantastic platform, doesn’t provide the same benefits as self-hosting.

You are going to enjoy ads on your site with unlimited paid WordPress themes and plugins. I think these are the best reasons to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.

You can also check out my blog on popular WordPress hosting services.

Now, what you need to do is to install WordPress on your new host. So, now let us start with transferring website from wordpress.com to wordpress.org.

Step 1:

Export the WordPress.com Content

Sign in to the WordPress.com account and go to the blog’s dashboard of your website. You need to click on the export which is under Tools menu.

export wordpress.com

While clicking export tool, it will redirect you on a new page and then there you need to choose between free or guided transfer.

export data

You have to choose the free option while clicking on export. Now you will be asked about the data you want to export. Do select “All Content” and download the XML file while clicking on export file button. This file will contain all your posts, pages, images, custom fields, comments, categories, navigation menus, tags and other information.

choose what to export

Step 2:

Install WordPress Importer on your New Site

So, you are ready to export wordpress.com to wordpress.org. Now, you need to get your new install ready to process it. What you need to do is go to the wordpress.org dashboard and click on Tools > Import.

import

Now, choose the last option that is Install the WordPress Importer to import the posts, pages, custom fields, tags and many more from a WordPress export file.

tool

So, you will get a new window which shows WordPress Importer plugin. With this tool, you will be processing XML file that we created in the previous step. So, you can import wordpress.com site to wordpress.org. Click on Install now. Don’t bother too much as this is an official plugin developed by WordPress.org team.

install plugin

You will get a new page that confirms that the plugin was downloaded and installed without any issues. You just need to click Activate Plugin and Run Importer at last.

Step 3:

Import Content into WordPress Site

You need to click Tools > Import option in your WordPress.org dashboard to transfer content from wordpress.com to wordpress.org.

import wordpress

The screen will get displayed where you need to upload WordPress.com XML file that you have downloaded in step 1.

import wordpress screen

Just before the start of importing, you get the option for assigning old content to a current user.

Step 4:

Import Blogroll Links

If you are using Links feature on WordPress.com blog to store blogroll or some other links, follow these instructions to export and import them. Users who don’t use these feature can skip this step.

Blogroll links are exported in OPML format. OPML format is the format that allows you to export and import your links and link categories. The WordPress.com links have OPML file located at an address like this:

http://example.wordpress.com/wp-links-opml.php

Write your WordPress.com blog’s subdomain in place of example.

If you are using custom domain with WordPress.com blog then your OPML file can be easily accessed by visiting URL like this:

http://www.example.com/wp-links-opml.php

You can save your OPML file. As you have a backup of WordPress.com links, import it into WordPress.

The self-hosted WordPress does not have any link manager. So, you need to install and activate the Link Manager plugin. After its activation the plugin will display new menu item in WordPress admin bar that is labelled as ‘Links’.

links

So, now your WordPress site is fully capable of managing links and blogrolls, you can easily import them.

Visit Tools > Import and click Blogroll to install OPML importer.

import blogroll

After clicking on install, you will be redirected to the importer, where you would be uploading the OPML file that you saved earlier and click on import OPML file button.

upload blogroll

On completion, you will see the success message like this:

upload blogroll successful

Step 5:

Setting WordPress.com to Private

At last, you need to set your WordPress.com blog to private. If you don’t want that you’re old user’s redirects to new site then you can go ahead and follow these steps:

Go to the Reading page which is beneath Settings tab from your WordPress.com Dashboard. After that, select the last option, “I would like my blog to be private, visible only to users I choose”.

wordpress private

Step 6:

Redirecting Visitors and Preserving SEO

To preserve your SEO, you need to redirect the users to location with 301 header and this is the standard solution to keep the search rankings while migrating website from wordpress.com to wordpress.org.

To retain search engine rankings, you cannot make any change by yourself because you don’t have access to .htaccess on WordPress.com. However, WordPress.com may offer you the paid upgrade, site redirect which will provide this functionality.

Conclusion

The migration of your website from wordpress.com to wordpress.org may take a little longer time. You just need to remember these key steps:

Export the wordpress.com content, install the WordPress importer plugin on wordpress.org website and use it to upload the export file. Next, you need to make sure that no images are broken.

If you ever transfer a site from WordPress.com to .org then you must have solves some issues relate to it. Let us know if you get any issue and comment below in the section.

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