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How to Properly Move Your Blog from to

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How to Properly Move Your Blog from to

Ok so you’ve been a user of for a while now. Things have been pretty nice so far, but you’ve come to a point where you’re ready to go beyond You want to install plugins and customize your themes. You want to really start monetizing your site and be in full control. Well you are at the right place. While today’s article won’t discuss the differences between and, we will take a look at a question that a lot of users have been asking us: how to move your existing blog to a self-hosted site. In this step by step tutorial, we will show you how to properly move your blog from to We will cover how to transfer all of your content to a site (yes this include images). We will also cover how to keep all of your search engine rankings along with how to redirect your existing users to your new site. Are you ready? Let’s start transferring your blog over to your new self-hosted site.

Things You Need Before You Start

You will need to have a domain name and a good web hosting company that knows WordPress. We highly recommend that you use Bluehost because they will give you a free domain and 50% off their hosting plan (special for WPBeginner users). Bluehost is also an officially recommended hosting provider of WordPress.

If your WordPress site already has a custom domain name, then don’t worry. We will cover that as well. Lastly, you will need access to your account, so you can easily move all of your posts, pages, images, comments, and other data over to your self-hosted WordPress site.

Before you get started with this migration tutorial, we want to let you know that we can migrate your site for FREE as part of our Free WordPress Blog setup service. This will be less hassle for you, but if you are someone who likes learning and doing things yourself, then follow our step by step tutorial below.

Video Tutorial

If you don’t like the video or need more instructions, then continue reading.

Step 1: Exporting Data from

Sign in to your account and go to your blog’s Dashboard. Click on Export under Tools menu.

Export Tool in

Clicking on the Export tool will take you to a new page where you will be asked to choose between Free or Guided Transfer.

Free or Guided Transfer from

Choose the Free option by clicking on Export. On the next screen you will be asked which data you want to export. Select “All Content” and press the Download Export File button. An XML file will be downloaded in your computer which will contain all of your posts, pages, images, comments, custom fields, categories, tags, navigation menus and other information.

Exporting data from in XML format

Step 2: Setting up WordPress

Now that you have exported your data, the next step is to set up a fresh WordPress install on your web hosting. WordPress is very easy to install, and it only takes a few clicks. We have a step-by-step tutorial on how to install WordPress within 5 minutes. Once you have installed WordPress, it is time to import your content into your new self-hosted WordPress website.

Step 3: Importing Content into Self Hosted WordPress Site

To import your old content from to your new site, you need to click on Tools » Import option in your self-hosted dashboard.

Importing content into

Next click on WordPress. You will be asked to install the WordPress Importer plugin. Once you install it, activate and run the importer plugin. It will take you to a screen where you will be asked to upload your XML file that you downloaded in step 1 of this tutorial.

Import WordPress

Note: if your file size is larger than 2MB, then you have two options. One is to ask your web hosting company to increase that limit temporarily, so you can get on with the process. The other option would be to split your file by using a WXR file splitter.

When you start importing, you will have the option of assigning your old content to a current user or create a new user. You’ll also have the option of importing your old attachments (you want to make sure that you check this box to ensure that your images are imported).

Step 4: Importing Your Blogroll Links

If you had been using the Links feature on your blog to store blogroll or other links, then you need to follow these instructions to export and import them. Users who were not using this feature can skip to Step 5.

Blogroll links are exported in OPML format. It is an XML format which allows you to export and import your links and link categories. Your links have an OPML file located at an address like this:

Replace example with your blog’s subdomain. If you are using a custom domain with your blog then your OPML file can be accessed by visiting a URL like this:

Your OPML file will open in your browser window and you need to save it to your desktop. Press CTRL+S (Command+S on Mac) to save the file on your computer.

Now that you have a backup of your links, the next step is to import them into WordPress. However, self hosted WordPress does not have a link manager enabled by default.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Link Manager plugin. The plugin’s page says that it hasn’t been updated in last two years. That’s because it didn’t need updating and you can confidently install this plugin.

Upon activation, the plugin will add a new menu item in your WordPress admin bar labeled ‘Links’.

Links manager in WordPress

Your WordPress site is now capable of managing links and blogrolls and you can safely import them. Visit Tools » Import and click on Blogroll to install the OPML importer.

Blogroll Importer

Upon installation you will be redirected to the importer. Where you need to upload the OPML file you saved earlier and click on import OPML file button.

Importing an OPML file in WordPress

WordPress will now import your links and link categories from the OPML file. You will be able to see the progress and on completion you will see the success message.

Successful completion of blogroll link import

Step 5: Setting your blog to private

The final step would be to set your blog to private. If you don’t want to redirect your old users to your new site, then go ahead and follow this step. Go to the Reading page under Settings tab, from your Dashboard and select the last option, “I would like my blog to be private, visible only to users I choose”.

Making a Blog Private

Attention: If you have been writing for sometime, and you have a loyal audience, then it does not make sense to leave them hanging. Furthermore, if your blog has been out there for a while, then chances are that it is indexed in Google and other search engines. You should keep all the search engine juice and easily redirect your old users to your new blog.

Step 6: Redirecting Visitors and Preserving SEO

Redirecting users to new location with a 301 header is the standard solution to keep search rankings while moving a site from one location to another. Since you don’t have access to .htaccess on, you can not make any changes by yourself to retain search engine rankings. However, offers a paid upgrade, Site Redirect, which provides this functionality.

Go to blog’s dashboard and click on the Store menu item. The upgrade you are looking for is called Site Redirect. At the time of writing this tutorial, this update was reasonably priced at $13 USD per year. This upgrade provides 301 redirect which allows your site’s visitors and search engines to be automatically redirected to your new site. site redirect

Some of you will ask how long should I keep paying for this Offsite redirect feature? The answer is for as long as you want to. However, we personally think that 2 years would be enough time for your old users to memorize your new domain name :)

If you are changing domains, then another thing you want to do is update all in post URLs. If you ever inter-linked your posts, then those links have to be updated. Use our article on how to update URLs when moving your WordPress site.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We wrote this article in January 2013 and since then we’ve received tons of great questions. A lot of which we’ve answered via email or in comments, so thought it would be nice to compile it at one place where everyone can see them.

What happens with my Subscribers?

Thankfully, allows you to migrate your subscribers with one condition. You must use Jetpack plugin which adds the same subscribe functionality that you had at Once you install and activate the Jetpack plugin, you would need to contact the team and ask them to migrate the subscribers for you. Our hope is that in the later versions of Jetpack, this will become easier and users will be able to do it themselves.

Can you help me transfer from to for FREE?

Absolutely. We offer migration from as part of our free WordPress blog setup service. If you need our assistance, then simply signup. It’s free :)

What are the costs of switching to

WordPress is free. However, there are some minimal web hosting costs. We recommend that you read this article on: Why is WordPress free? What are the costs and what is the catch?

Will my images break?

No they will not. When you transfer using the import file, all attached images are downloaded and the link is updated. However there is one caveat that we noticed. If your image URL starts with, then they will not be converted. If you notice that the image URL has not changed and still points to, then we recommend that you use import external images plugin, and it will take care of that.

I registered my domain through, can I still move?

Yes you can. WordPress believe in empowering users and giving them full control of their content. If you already have a domain name through, then all you need is a web hosting account. We recommend that you setup with Bluehost or any of these other WordPress hosting providers. During the signup phase, you will be asked do you have a domain or want to register a new one. Simply select the option that I have a domain name, and insert the domain that you registered at Next thing you would have to do is change the nameservers to point to the hosting provider. We’re able to assist with this as part of our free setups service. You can also ask your web hosting provider for support.

Will my website go down when I switch?

If you do it correctly, then NO. The method we’ve suggested above will ensure that your website never goes down. If you’re worried, then know that we are here to help. You’re welcome to use our free setups service at anytime.

We hope that you found our guide on switching from to self-hosted to be helpful. If you have any questions, then please let us know by leaving a comment below.

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  1. Preeti Tomar says:

    Today I had bought free hosting plus plan from bluehost and installed wordpress. After installing that password wasn’t working so I changed it, but when I am logging in its showing the same old dashboard , mine is looking like same old dashboard. After reading above i think it need this migration process, is it? Kindly guide me whats wrong with it, where I am at fault, why I am not able to login through username and password i got while installing WordPress through blue host.

  2. Ankeah Srivastav says:

    Hello admin.

    I have registered a domain naming during sign up of google apps from its partner ENOM INC.
    I have given a mail id too following my domain name.
    Bit i don’t wanna use that anymore because actually i was doing all this to have a website for my new company.
    But now i am feeling that i have sticked to just a mail service from google. Now i solely want to have a website ( no more keen to use google apps).
    I have seen about mapping my domain to,
    Will it give me a website ?
    I can afford anything in between 12$ to 15$ yearly.
    As i am not a technical geek please help me best. I have already expanded 12$ on google apps without any worth

  3. Katharine says:

    Hi! Thanks for this. I have two questions:
    1. I live very rural and must use Internet that is limited. I have a somewhat large site, about 700 posts, 1600 followers. My question is how much of my data would I burn by moving the site, myself? Should I hire it done for me? I pay $10 per gig of data. I can only purchase 5gigs at a time. Would the move be interrupted by my needing to instal more data.
    Okay, that was one question. Ha.
    2. What would be wrong with me moving the posts, individually, myself, as I edit them, delete some, and generally improve them by adding photos, etc., as if they were new posts? As if the site were brand new…

  4. Michael Amir says:

    Can I use my theme on the new website and us there any work around dor it ?

  5. Sarah says:

    Hello, I had a question about how transferring will affect the theme of my blog and settings I have. I pay for the premium version of so I am able to use different fonts and colors, is this still applicable once everything is migrated? Thank you for your help!

  6. Stephanie says:

    I have a site and now reading your article I would like to switch to .org. But I have paid for my Premium account for the year, as well as my domain name. Will this all be wasted? I do not wan to have paid for an upgrade I will not use… And then on top of that pay for hosting. What do you suggest?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      You can get refund by canceling your upgrade with in 30 days. Please contact support for more details. As for your domain, you can continue using the same domain with your new .org website.

  7. Arthur Spiel says:

    A friend of mine deleted the old blog and when switching to, using import option as described in this article, somehow the images were not imported. Is there a way he can get that images again?

  8. Maris says:

    I have 2 questions:

    1. Can I purchase my own domain name directly from How much does it cost per year?

    2. If I had purchased my own domain name from, do I still need to pay it yearly? How? Through visa/mastercard?


    • WPBeginner Support says: does not sell domains. Yes you will have to renew registration for the domain you purchased from if you want to continue using that domain.

  9. Vivienne says:

    Good day

    I migrated my blog from .com to .org a while back and all has been running well and smoothly. My .com site remains as a with old posts still showing there. I have also downloaded the mobile app, and when I login it shows me logged in under the .com account.

    My two questions are this:
    1 – if I delete my .com account will this affect anything on my .org account (keeping in mind that I’ve had my own URL for both and have no need of the link)
    2 – Is there a trick to linking the mobile app to the privately hosted .org account instead of the .com account?

    Kind regards,

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      On the app, you need to add your site as self hosted site. When you are logged in make sure that the app is showing posts from your new self hosted site. You cannot delete a account, you can delete your blog if you want.

  10. Marianna Sharma says:

    Hello! Thank you for lovely tutorial.
    I have followed it but getting this error while attempting import data:
    Internal Server Error

    The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

    Please contact the server administrator, and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

    More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

    Additionally, a 500 Internal Server Error error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

    What can be done to complete the transfer?
    Thank you lots,

  11. Rebecca S says:

    I am interested in transferring my blog to however I am concerned that the pins I have on Pinterest will not link to the new site. Is there a solution so that I don’t have to go back and relink them all?

  12. Sarah says:

    Hello, I currently have a site, but I have a purchased domain name. Will I still need to have a redirect page? Also, when switching from to, will my likes and social media interactions on my posts be transferred as well? (ex. Facebook icon with 35 facebook likes under the post) Thanks for your help!

    • Sarah says:

      Another few questions I had, will I still be able to use the WordPress app and will stats be transferred as well? Thank you

      • WPBeginner Support says:

        WordPress App works for self hosted WordPress sites as well. You can get stats moved by using jetpack connect. Please contact support and they will merge them for you.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      You will not need to redirect, just point your domain to your hosting provider. Since you will have the same domain and URL structure, your likes will still appear as before.

  13. Deniza says:

    I am currently reading through your articles as I decided to transfer my blog to .org. I’m sick of the limited themes and the unability to use plugins.

    However, I have just purchased a .com domain on Could I still transfer my blog to with bluehost as hosting and just change the name servers? I read about the 60 days rule but I understand that is only for transferring the domain to the new host.

    Thank you so much for this site. It is incredibly helpful!

    Have a great day,

  14. Sumti Bhadani says:


    I have a free wordpress blog and I am blogging since last 2 months. I would like to now take a custom domain and remove the .wordpress from my blog name. My question is if I take a custom domain with bluehost then I will have a new wordpress account and I will have to move my existing blog contnet to the new account. Is it possible that I can purchase domain with wordpress ($ 13/year plan) and host the same on bluehost. In this case will I also get the 100 GB space for photos or I will have to get the premium wordpress plan.


    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Please see our guide on the difference between self hosted vs free blog.

      When you purchase a hosting plan from Bluehost. You will get a free domain name. You will not be using the free blogging service. Instead you will be hosting your own site.

      On the other hand if you purchase domain from then you will still be hosted on It will remove WordPress from your free blog’s address. But you will not get any of the advantages of using a self hosted WordPress powered website.

  15. natasha were says:

    I have moved my site to It it normal that theme is lost in the process? I thought it would appear as if nothing had changed

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      You will still need to install and activate the theme that you used on your site. Most themes available on are also available for self-hosted site. Go to locate the theme that you used on your site. In the right hand column you will find a link to download the theme for your self hosted WordPress site.

  16. Kayti Christian says:

    Thanks for the awesome post – this worked perfect for me!

    Two questions – is a redirect necessary if your are on the same domain as before? Since I kept the same domain and imported all my content from .com to .org – all the links work fine. I would assume SEO and everything was transferred over as as well since the domain is the same? I’m just not sure what I would be paying to redirect since there are not any broken links.

    Second, should I delete my .com site after having imported it all over to my .org? I know it only exists on the admin panel, but not sure if I should just shut down my account since everything is self hosted now.

    Thanks for the help and awesome article!

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      No you do not need to setup redirection.

      You can make your old site private. Login to account and then visit My Site » Settings and under the Site Visibility section you will find the option to make your blog completely private.

  17. Alisha says:

    If I move my blog to, will I be able to add a new theme that’s available for or no?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Yes, you will be able to install any WordPress theme available on as well as themes sold by third-party theme shops.

  18. Hania says:

    Hello, I’ve discovered your website and your offer of moving wordpress site from .com to .org too late!
    I did this all without backup and export and it looks that I’ve lost everything what was there before.
    I’ve heard so many times that nothing is ever lost in internet – is there any way to recover my posts? Thanks in advance

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      If you login to your account you should still be able to access your content.

  19. Kerry says:

    Do external links work through redirect?

  20. Shalini says:

    Hi Team,

    My blog domain was registered with WordPress last Aug 2014. It got auto-renewed on July 2015. I would like to move to self hosting. Could you please let me know if the package will be downgraded or will I be getting a payback. Solutions please.

  21. praveenb says:

    Hi Sir, First of all Thank you so much for wonderful tutorial. I’m able to move my blog website to personal domain name. Wonderful, Till read your page I thought that, its a not possible for me, but i made it now myself with your wonderful blog. :) Very much pleased to read whole website with helpful links, videos, and your valuable suggestions in between.

    Thank you again.

  22. Jacqueline Bland says:

    I just went through the step to move from to I received the email to say it was successful. Now what??? HELP!!! I am ready to start using plugins, etc. Where do I find the switch?

  23. Julio says:

    I want to ask about how to install, because from my web hosting (namecheap) I do not have access to my cpanel!!!!. I have a page in and I need to install a commercial theme, but I have understood that it is better if you have If the next step is to set up a fresh WordPress install on my web hosting, How can i get access to the cpanel?

  24. Jessica says:

    I recently moved my blog from to self-hosted. I’m using the same domain but transferred it and pointed it to my new server (I use OVH). My self-hosted site seems to be running fine except for the Blog page, which loads super slow. I noticed that when it’s loading the browser says it’s transferring data from my site. Do you have any tips on how to fix this? Thanks!

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      If you are using JetPack plugin then it could be loading things from servers. Locate the scripts that are being loaded from using the Inspect Element tool in your browser. Try to find out whether its a plugin loading those scripts or your WordPress theme. Then you can deactivate that plugin and find an alternative.

  25. Laura says:

    I have migrated my site and everything moved ok but the images. I tried the Import External Images plugin and it just says there is nothing found even though well over 100 of my images and files are just external links back to the old site. Any other suggestions? Or do I just need to go digging through old files and re-upload everything manually?

  26. ron barnes says:

    I have an interesting situation; i signed up for, and got the premium package with a ‘.me’ domain. i would like to get more liberty with my customization, so i want to move to someone like bluehost, which i have heard good things about. I have only had my blog for less than 2 weeks, but i have the option to cancel it within 30 days.

    if i go to bluehost and port my domain to them, which i got through, then i will presumably have it after i cancel my subscription. i don’t feel so good about that, since it feels like i would have gotten my premium domain for free (if it would even work), though that wasn’t my intention.

    if i cancel it without trying to port my domain name over to bluehost, then that domain name, which i really like, is lost in the abyss, right? or wrong?

    obviously, i want to keep the domain name, and nix the stifling atmosphere of

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      You need to contact support. They can downgrade your package and then you can only pay for the domain name.

  27. Cathy says:


    I am interested in your free WordPress Blog setup service. Though, I have some blog posts that are scheduled to be published in the future dates, will you be able to move them as well?

  28. Harry says:

    I want to ask about permalinks. default permalink is /year/month/date/postname so I need to make same format for new selfhosted right? there is no way to make only /postname/ ?? I read some articles that /postname/ is the best permalink for SEO.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      You can make /post-name/ but that would require you to setup complex redirects to make sure all your posts retain their SEO rankings and are not giving 404 errors.

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