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

Are you looking to move your blog or website from WordPress.com to WordPress.org?

Many people start with WordPress.com because it’s easy, beginner-friendly, and there’s a free option. However, when users soon realize the limitations of WordPress.com, they look at their options to switch over to the self-hosted version of WordPress, WordPress.org.

If you’re unsure of the differences between both versions, be sure to read our article on WordPress.com vs WordPress.org to understand the two in detail.

Table of Contents

Why You Should Move From WordPress.com to WordPress.org

Before we begin, it’s important to understand why anyone would want to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. With WordPress.com, you can create a free blog or basic website, however, you won’t be able to install plugins, monetize your site, and so on.

WordPress.org is incredibly powerful; you can install themes, plugins, and set up your own online store. While it does have a steeper learning curve, WordPress.org is used by over 40% of all websites on the internet.

If you want unlimited creative freedom and full control over your website, WordPress.org is a no-brainer. However, migrating your website or blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org can feel overwhelming if you don’t know where to start.

Getting Started Checklist

To start moving your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, you’ll need a few things before you can sign up to WordPress.org. Because WordPress.org is self-hosted, it means you’ll need to source your own web hosting and domain name.

The easiest way to get started with WordPress.org is by signing up for Bluehost. Bluehost is an affordable web host that is recommended by WordPress. When you sign up to Bluehost you’ll get hosting from just $3.95 per month, a free domain name, and a free SSL certificate.

If you already have a domain name, you can still sign up to Bluehost and select the “I already have a domain” option when you register your account.

Unsure on how to install WordPress via your hosting account? We’ve created a step-by-step guide on how to install WordPress with Bluehost. Follow our guide which will take you through each stage, ensuring you set up your WordPress.org account easily and can access it via your Bluehost control panel.

Other Hosting Recommendations

If you’re not keen on signing up to Bluehost, we have lots of other recommendations for the best WordPress hosting. Here are a few of our favorite WordPress web hosts:

1. Exporting Data from WordPress.com

To move your blog or website from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, you’ll first need to export all of the data on your WordPress.com site.

Login to your WordPress.com account and navigate to your dashboard. In the left column, you need to select Tools > Export and then select Export All.

wordpress.com export

This means you can export your WordPress site. When the export file is ready to use, you’ll see a download link. Click download to download a zip file on your computer. You’ll also get an email from WordPress.com which will contain the link.

Once the zip file has been downloaded to your computer, you’ll need to unzip it. Once unzipped, you’ll be able to locate an XML file that contains all of your WordPress.com posts, pages, images, menus, etc.

2. Set Up WordPress.org

To import your WordPress.com data to WordPress.org, you’ll need to set up your WordPress.org account. This is really easy to do, especially if you’re using a web host like Bluehost.

Most web hosting providers offer 1-click installs for WordPress. If you signed up to Bluehost, WordPress will already be installed for you, which makes things even simpler.

However, if your host hasn’t automatically installed WordPress for you, navigate to your control panel, find WordPress, and follow the installation instructions.

Now you’re ready to import your content from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.

3. Import Content to WordPress.org

To start importing your data, you’ll first need to log in to your new WordPress.org dashboard. From here navigate to Tools > Import and select Install Now under the WordPress heading.

Once the process has finished, click the Run Importer link to continue. Here you’ll be required to upload your WordPress.com XML file that you downloaded in the first step.

Several options will appear when you start importing your files across. Make sure you tick the ‘Download and import file attachments’ check box. You can assign authors too, or create a new user if you want a different user/author on your new website.

4. Set WordPress.com to Private

If you’d rather not direct users from your WordPress.com blog to your new WordPress.org website, then you can set your old site to private.

Heading back to your WordPress.com dashboard, you’ll need to navigate to the left menu, select Settings > General, and locate the ‘Privacy’ section.

wordpress privacy setting

Select ‘Private’ then click ‘Save settings’ to set your WordPress.com blog to private. This will make your blog only visible to you or other users that are logged in. 

5. Redirecting Visitors (Save Your SEO)

If your WordPress.com blog gets a fair bit of traffic and is indexed in Google, you’ll want to redirect any traffic to your blog to your new WordPress.org website. By doing this, you’ll preserve your SEO efforts and keep search rankings.

This option does cost, but it’s a small price to pay for all your hard work and effort. With WordPress.com you don’t have access to the .htaccess file, so you can’t make any changes to it yourself.

WordPress.com’s Site Redirect costs $13 per year and redirects your WordPress.com site traffic to another domain. This means if a user comes across your WordPress.com website via Google or another search engine, they won’t end up on an out-of-date website that is no longer maintained. They’ll be redirected to your new WordPress.org website.

wordpress site redirect upgrade

From the left menu select Upgrades > Domains and enter the domain you want to redirect. It’s a simple process that will save you a lot of time in the future, for a small investment.

WordPress.com To WordPress.org FAQs

Transferring your website from WordPress.com to WordPress.org is 100% free. WordPress is free to use, but as WordPress.org is self-hosted, you’ll need to sign up to a WordPress web host like Bluehost. There are plenty of great WordPress web hosts that we recommend, including hosting plans from a little over $1 per month.

If you’ve purchased a custom domain from WordPress.com, you can cancel your domain registration and receive a full refund within 48 hours of registration. If you’ve purchased a WordPress.com plan, you can cancel and receive a full refund within 30 days of purchasing.

If you’ve followed the steps in this guide, your website won’t go down. This method ensures your WordPress.com migrates successfully to your WordPress.org website quickly, with no downtime.

WordPress.com allows you to migrate your subscribers to WordPress.org. You’ll need to use their Jetpack plugin to ensure the same functionality is kept across the board. Once you’ve installed and activated the Jetpack plugin on your WordPress.org website, contact WordPress.com to migrate your subscribers for you.

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