How to Move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

How to Move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

You’ve already spent days or months working on your WordPress.com blog but perhaps you are starting to realize that WordPress.org would be a better choice? Worry not. You won’t have to start the process all over again to have your content migrated to the other version.

This article created by our team at wpDataTables will help you move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org in just a few steps.

Beginners usually start with WordPress.com because they find it more suitable for their purposes at the time. As their blog grows, and as traffic increases, the goals that they initially set start to change, leading them to consider the more powerful WordPress.org.

The free WordPress.com version comes with many limitations when compared to the self-hosted WordPress.org version, so the change is definitely justified.

Keep reading to learn how to easily transfer from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.

Why Should You Move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org?

Why should you make this change in the first place, you might ask? Does it matter? Well, WordPress.com is the first option for people when they are creating a website for the very first time because they are not aware of or bothered about the limitations of this version.

Indeed, WordPress.com is perfectly suitable for most small blogs, but as soon as it starts to get popular, the free Com version will no longer be suitable.

Two important limitations you should know about are the limited possibility for blog monetization (with ads, etc.) and the impossibility to install plugins.

WordPress.org, on the other hand, has little to no limitations at all. You will gain full control over your blog, being able to customize it in any way that you desire. In addition, you can monetize your blog, add third-party apps and plugins, and much more.

Here are some other things that may convince you that WordPress.org is better:

  • WordPress.com users are limited to just a few basic themes and plugins, so you will be able to use only a narrow range of personalization tools. Conversely, WordPress.org doesn’t set any limits when it comes to themes and plugins.
  • You can customize your code using WordPress.org. If your website is going to get bigger and bigger, you may eventually encounter the need for custom development. On WordPress.com you won’t be able to make any code modifications.
  • If you own an eCommerce website, WordPress.com sets a lot of restrictions that will cause your website to stagnate. When you want to expand in the eCommerce sector, WordPress.org is the only sensible choice.

Things to Know Before Getting Started

WordPress.org is a self-hosted website platform, which means you’ll need to create a separate account and domain name for it, unlike with WordPress.com where you don’t have to pay anything.

Before moving on to further steps, you should start setting up a WordPress web hosting account. In order to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, dealing with web hosting is simply unavoidable.

Besides paying for a hosting account on WordPress.org, you also need to get yourself a domain. Of course, most of the best domains are already taken (especially .com domains). Even so, you can always use your previous blog name and pair it up with one of the new Top-Level Domain extensions like .expert or .news.

To move your files and content from your WordPress.com account to your WordPress.org account, you’ll have to follow the steps listed below.

How to Move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

Export Your Blog

To transfer WordPress.com to WordPress.org, export your blog first. To do this, go to WordPress.com and log in to your account. Navigate to your dashboard and look for the WP Admin link that sends you to the settings panel.

Once you get there, navigate to the Tools tab and go to Export. On this page, you’ll be required to choose what content you desire to export.

Because you want to move your entire WordPress account from Com to Org, you should do a full export. This export will include posts, pages, media files – everything.

Check all the boxes and proceed to download the export file. Store this file safely until you need to use it again. This is an XML file in the WXR (Windows eXtended RSS) format.

Fresh WordPress Install

Once you have your file ready, you must install a new self-hosted WordPress site on your web hosting account. If your web host gives you the option for a 1-Click WordPress install, you can go with that to make things easier.

After going through all installation steps, you will have a fresh WordPress copy to work with. This is where you will import your content and set up a self-hosted site.

Import Your Blog

To import the XML file you’ve previously created, go to Tools and then hit Import. Choose the file and upload it. The process should take a few minutes and all of your content will be transferred to your new site.

Don’t panic if the process seems to last longer than expected. Two of the aspects that could affect the time required for importing your blog are your internet connection speed and the size of the XML file.

Check Your Files

The data migration process is not always successful. This is a problem that many people encounter when they move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, for one reason or another. To make sure that you’re not a victim of any errors too, check all your files manually.

Pay attention to the files you’ve uploaded. If anything is missing it means that the process failed, and you’ll have to upload those missing files separately.

Set Up a Redirect

Last, but not least, you need to set up a redirect link to notify your users that your website is no longer a WordPress.com one and is now self-hosted on its own separate domain.

For a slight period of time, all of your traffic will go to your old address, so it would be a shame to lose it by skipping this step.

The redirect link will help them access your new domain, so you won’t lose visitors. You can use the Site Redirect service that WordPress offers to users. Unfortunately, this service does incur a slight fee, but it’s absolutely worth it if you want to keep your previous audience.

To use the Site Redirect service, access your blog’s dashboard, look for Settings and access “Site Address”. Click on “Redirect” and provide the new address of your blog.

Save the changes and you’re done. Keep in mind that you should use the redirect service for at least one year after you’ve migrated from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. This should give your users enough time to memorize your new address.

Extra tip: check your content thoroughly and replace your internal post URLs for SEO purposes.

Ending thoughts on how to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

Now you know how to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. As you may have noticed, there is not much effort involved. You just have to know when this change is required and whether it is worth the investment or not.

When moving from Com to Org, you will start paying for hosting services, as well as investing more money into various aspects of your site with add-ons. This is a small price to pay for the success that comes with a great website.

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