In our previous guides, we went into detail to explain what does WordPress.org represent. We also did a WordPress.com vs WordPress.org comparison. In this guide, we will go through the steps it requires to move a site from WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress website.
WordPress.com as a platform is one of the big names in fully managed WordPress hosting. Moreover, this platform is a great headstart for new businesses, as much of the grunt work, this platform already handles for its users. Yet, there are a number of caveats with WordPress.com platform, which prevent the users to utilize WordPress content management system to its full extent.
Why Move a Site from WordPress.com?
Plugins in the WordPress ecosystem are imperative in extending the functionality of websites. WordPress.com, however, puts restrictions on installing third-party plugins. Further, options for the users reduce only to installing premium recommended plugins.
In addition to that, the users of this platform are only limited to a few choices regarding theme design and other customization options. Now, this can hinder a business from providing a unique experience to their customers online. On the other hand, a self-hosted WordPress website gives you more control on your website and opens up a slew of new enhancement opportunities.
Prerequisite: Purchase a Hosting Provider Space and a Domain Name
In this guide, we assume that you have already your domain and hosting set in place. In case, you have not yet, no worries, we have got you covered. You can follow this guide to find a good hosting provider for your self-hosted WordPress website. Moreover, we have also published a guide about how to come up with the most suitable domain name for your website.
After you have fulfilled this mandatory step. You can go through the following five simple steps to complete your website migration to self-hosted WordPress website.
1. Export Your Data from WordPress.com Server
The first of these steps is to export all of your data from WordPress.com. Luckily, WordPress.com itself provides many options to move your data from their platform. As a matter of fact, WordPress.com has also provided this brief guide to move your website from its platform.
To export your data, log-in to your WordPress.com account. Then, click on the My Site option on the top left corner of the page. Next, you will be presented with a number of options on the left side of the page same like WordPress dashboard. Scroll down and look for Settings options like in the screenshot below and click on it.
The Settings option will open up all the options related to your site. Next, scroll all the way down to the Site Tools section and click on Export option as shown in the screenshot below.
Next, under the Export option, you will be presented with two options. The first option is Export your content which will generate an XML file to all of your posts, pages and alike. Also, this option will even allow you to choose the type of data you need to download. Moreover, you will receive that XML file download link via your email address registered with your WordPress.com account.
The second option is Export media library which will download all of your media files in an archived TAR file on your local system.
2. Install WordPress on New Host
Once, you have all the things in place on your new hosting provider as mentioned above. Go ahead and install your fresh copy of WordPress by following this short guide we have come up for you.
3. Import Data into New Self-Hosted WordPress Website
WordPress allows you to import and export content from your website. In this guide, however, our concern is to import data. WordPress, as with other features, made this one simple for its users as well.
To follow these steps, log-in to your newly installed self-hosted WordPress website. Next, find go to the Import option under Tools Section on the left side in your WordPress dashboard.
Now, WordPress provides a number of different import options. Look for WordPress Importer plugin option which is the last listed plugin in Import options. Simply, click the Install Now link to install the WordPress Importer plugin. Then, click Run the importer link, which will be displayed in the same place. The following screenshot highlights the links you need to click though.
The WordPress Importer will take you to a few steps to complete the import process. The first step is to upload the XML file to start importing your content.
The second step will prompt you to assign existing or new author(s) to your posts from the old website. The following screenshot highlights the options you will be presented by the WordPress Importer.
Once, you have selected the appropriate authors for the posts, check the Download and import file attachments checkbox and click on Submit button. Now WordPress will start importing the content to your newly self-hosted WordPress website. After WordPress is finished with downloading, you will be presented with the success message as shown in the below screenshot.
4. Setup WordPress.com Site to Private Mode
You should follow this step only if your website doesn’t have a large user base and search engines have not indexed a large portion of your website content. To clarify, use only this option if you have very recently set up your website on WordPress.com.
To set your website to private mode, again go to Settings option in WordPress.com dashboard and look for Privacy section. The following screenshot highlights the process to set your website to Private mode.
In addition to that, you don’t want to suddenly disappear from your users and abandon them. Instead, what you can do is redirect your users from your WordPress.com website to your newly self-hosted WordPress site, which is discussed in the next step.
5. Important! Redirect Visitors to New Self-Hosted WordPress Site
WordPress.com provides a premium option to redirect existing users of the website from its platform to any other website. As a serious business owner, you might want to avail this option and use it as long as you are getting redirected users to your new Self-hosted WordPress website. Once, the redirects significantly decrease in number then, you can cancel redirect subscription from WordPress.com.
To subscribe for this option, got to Settings options again and look for redirect this site sub-option under Site Profile-> Site Address. The following screenshot highlights the redirect option section.
The redirect this site link will prompt you to enter the website URL, where you want WordPress.com to send the users from the old website. The following screenshot shows the prompt screen for providing the self-hosted WordPress website URL.
The last step is to make sure to check and update all of your internal and external links and resource URL(s). Once you are finished with these steps, you can go ahead and read a number of other published guides on CodexSpot to accommodate you in the process of fulfilling all the necessary steps it takes to set up a self-hosted WordPress website.
We have already referenced in the different sections of this guide, some of those essential guides which we have published so far as a quick reference for you to go through once you have moved your site. However, to help you navigate quickly, we have again listed those guides below.
- How to Install WordPress – An Old School Approach
- Shared vs Managed WordPress Hosting: Best Use Cases
- How to Choose a Good Domain Name for a Good Impression
- How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting Provider
- 10+ Must Have WordPress Plugins for Business Websites
- How to Do WordPress Website Maintenance using Free Backup, Security and Optimization Plugins
Well, folks, these are quite a few steps for you to follow, we have given our best to make this process as easy for you as it could get.
We hope you will find this post a useful resource for you. If you like this guide, don’t forget to share your feedback, subscribe and spread the word. In fact, we will greatly appreciate it by saying… Thank you! #Peace!