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

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

Ok so you’ve been a user of WordPress.com 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 WordPress.com. 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 WordPress.com and WordPress.org, we will take a look at a question that a lot of users have been asking us: how to move your existing WordPress.com blog to a self-hosted WordPress.org site. In this step by step tutorial, we will show you how to properly move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. We will cover how to transfer all of your WordPress.com content to a WordPress.org 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 WordPress.com 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 WordPress.com 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 WordPress.com

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

Export Tool in WordPress.com

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 WordPress.com

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 WordPress.com in XML format

Step 2: Setting up WordPress

Now that you have exported your WordPress.com 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 WordPress.com to your new site, you need to click on Tools » Import option in your self-hosted WordPress.org dashboard.

Importing WordPress.com content into WordPress.org

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 WordPress.com 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 WordPress.com 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 WordPress.com links have an OPML file located at an address like this:

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

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

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

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 WordPress.com 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 WordPress.com blog to private

The final step would be to set your WordPress.com 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 WordPress.com Dashboard and select the last option, “I would like my blog to be private, visible only to users I choose”.

Making a WordPress.com 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 WordPress.com, you can not make any changes by yourself to retain search engine rankings. However, WordPress.com offers a paid upgrade, Site Redirect, which provides this functionality.

Go to WordPress.com 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.

WordPress.com 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 WordPress.com Subscribers?

Thankfully, WordPress.com allows you to migrate your subscribers with one condition. You must use Jetpack plugin which adds the same subscribe functionality that you had at WordPress.com. Once you install and activate the Jetpack plugin, you would need to contact the WordPress.com 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 WordPress.com to WordPress.org for FREE?

Absolutely. We offer migration from WordPress.com 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.org?

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 files.wordpress.com, then they will not be converted. If you notice that the image URL has not changed and still points to WordPress.com, then we recommend that you use import external images plugin, and it will take care of that.

I registered my domain through WordPress.com, 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 WordPress.com, 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 WordPress.com. 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 WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress.org 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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Comments

  1. Jenniffer says:

    Hello,I recently started my blog in WordPress the free version. I was reading your article about setting up a domain in WordPress. When should I buy my domain in WordPress? Currently, I only get 50 viewers and I’m wondering if the $99 for the domain is a good investment or should I wait?Thank you for your reply!

  2. Kaesmene says:

    Hello! I exported my wordpress.com site according to instructions and received an email with the download link. I downloaded the file, unzipped it, and logged into my wordpress.org admin page. I imported the file but am getting this error: 405 Not Allowed . Any thoughts on what might be happening here? I’m working on a Mac, OS X Yosemite 10.10.4, if that makes a difference, and use Chrome as my browser. I registered my domain through Bluehost.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Please contact your web host for support, they will be able to help you better.

  3. Karen says:

    I would like to switch over and have by own GoDaddy domain. You mentioned it takes 3-4 days. Is there a way to keep the .com one up while the switch happens? Don’t want to lose readers.
    Thx

  4. Katelyn Goddard says:

    I have a client who I have set up WordPress.org website for. At the last minute, they remembered the have a Blog at WordPress.com that they would like to integrate into the WordPress.org site seamlessly. How can I integrate the blog over to the new WordPress.org site without losing my progress?

  5. Dimitris says:

    I moved form .com to my server and the browsers claim that “connection is not private”. As I understood it asks for the ssl certificate from wordpress.com. I also removed the domain mapping service from wordpress.com.

  6. Michael Prime says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for this, so I have a custom domain which I bought from godaddy and I made it to
    WordPress.com for $13.
    Is it still possible to make the switch and retain my custom domain?
    Do I have to pay to WordPress.org again for mapping it again?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Yes, you can still switch to self hosted WordPress.org site. No you don’t pay anything to WordPress.org. You may want to see our guide on why is WordPress?.

      • Thanks for the reply says:

        Do you help move another hosting service other than bluehost like c panel?
        Do I have to pay to the hosting service

        • WPBeginner Support says:

          Currently, no.

          Yes, you will have to pay for the hosting service.

  7. JAY says:

    I want to create a company website, and I’m currently using wordpress.com but havent found a suitable theme yet, do you suggest i switch to wordpress.org?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Yes, switching to WordPress.org will allow you to install from any of the thousands of themes available for self hosted WordPress sites.

  8. Ali says:

    How long would it take you to transfer wordpress.com site over to wordpress.org? thanks

  9. Liz says:

    Thank you so much for sharing all of your tips and advice on your wonderful site. I recommend you to all of my fellow bloggers and I will certainly be in touch for your help when I make the switch to self hosting with Siteground in the future :-)

  10. Rizwan Amjad says:

    Hi. I am fan of your site. Actually i have bought domain and hosting from local service provider and installed wordpress from cpannel. Is my site on wordpress.com or wordpress.org?

  11. Al Evans says:

    I’ve followed this guide and I can see that all my old wordpress.com site’s images have been imported to my new wordpress.org site. I’ve also set up the theme I want.

    However, none of the pages I made on the ‘wordpress.com’ site have imported. I’ve looked around for others with a similar problem but can’t seem to find any! T_T

    Any help you can give would be hugely appreciated. I don’t fancy entering all the data in from scratch again! :)

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      You can run the import again. The importer is designed to prevent duplicates. Download a new import file from WordPress.com and You can select to download only pages.

  12. Caroline says:

    Hi! So… I’m a complete newbie, and would oh so appreciate any help I can get! I have a wordpress.com blog, and then I decided spontaneously that I’m going to hold myself accountable to blogging by paying $$$ for a real blog, so I used Site Ground as my host which transferred everything from my wordpress.com blog on over to my new wordpress.org blog although technically it’s “my” website now. So, to clarify any confusion, what was once example.wordpress.com is now example.com.

    I AM SO CONFUSED ON HOW THIS ALL WORKS SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME. I know I need to sit down and just read read read and watch videos all about wordpress.org, but I want to start following other blogs and every time I do so it’s through my wordpress.com account, but I want it to be off of my website (the wordpress.org account)!! Because that way, people who see that I’ve followed them can click on my page and can subscribe to my new and improved website, not my old wordpress account in which I deleted my blog off of, so it’s literally just an empty account! I used the same email for both the .org and .com, so that’s also making me SO confused. Please help??

  13. Nik says:

    I was able to successfully migrate my blog posts from my old wordpress.com site to my new wordpress.org site, however, I cannot get the posts to show up under my “Blog” page. Each individual post has it’s own separate URL. Is there a way to fix this so that when visitors click on the “Blog” tab they will see all of the posts in one place?

  14. Chris says:

    Is there a way to work on/look at a site prior to redirecting the servers away from the wordpress.com site?

  15. DJ says:

    Hi I recently purchased hosting services with BlueHost in an effort to switch from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. Prior to the switch (over a yr ago) I purchased the domain name thru wordpress. I believe I properly changed the name servers and I also thought that I properly imported the wordpress.com content but I noticed when I typed in my web address there was no data there from my wordpress site. I also noticed on my laptop, whenever I typed my website which uses ‘http’ in its address, it automatically switched to ‘https’ and then gave me an error message saying the owner of the site configured the site incorrectly. Help!. Is it wrong for me to assume that if I import all my data, the wordpress.org site will look exactly like the wordpress.com site? Also, do you know why my http address is changing to https in the address bar?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Seems like your name servers are still pointing to WordPress.com servers. You will need to point them to BlueHost.

      • DJ says:

        Yes, I had to redirect it back to WordPress because I didn’t want my site down. As the server names changed, I didn’t see my content come over.

  16. Santje says:

    Hey there wordpress!
    I’m totally confused and I don’t have a clue what to do anymore.
    This is what happened: First I made a wordpress.com which was example.wordpress.com
    Then I wanted to get a Domain name for it. So I went to hostgator and bought the name.
    I also bought the domain name with “Mapping” for wordpress.com so now my blogname is example.com. Everything is fine with the wordpress.com blog but now I wanted to make it a wordpress.org site. I read about it on the wordpress.org site that you need your own database for that, so I installed MAMP. I set up my own database and everything and I got the login screen for wordpress.org and I logged in. Till then everything was fine. But here it comes: Because I use MAMP, my wordpress.org site changed to localhost:8888/example.com.
    Of course, I don’t want people to go to that site and just to example.com, so I went to general, and changed the setting of the name localhost:8888/example.com to example.com, but now every time when I try to login I get the wordpress.com dashboard. And I don’t want that because I want to change things myself on the theme. I have no idea how to get back in the wordpress.org site, I already changed my database 2 times because I couldn’t get in the wordpress.org site. Do i have to delete my .com site and start all over again with .org? Because I saw a lot of tutorials on youtube, where you didn’t even have to get MAMP and you just go to hostgator and download wordpress from there. But when I did that the first time, hostgator just downloaded the wordpress.com. Maybe you could make things more clear for me because I spent days trying to figure it out. Thanks already.

    Santje.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Santje, you were doing everything right except the part where you installed MAMP.

      MAMP is used to create a localserver environment. This means that if you want to play with WordPress on your own computer, then you can do that with MAMP. Your website will stay on your computer and not on a live server.

      In order to move your site to WordPress.org. You will need to purchase Hosting from a WordPress hosting company. After that you will need to install WordPress on your hosting account. Then you will have to import content from your WordPress.com site.

      You can also take advantage of our free blog setup service.

  17. Steve says:

    Hello, I migrated from .com to .org using your tutorial. The most frustrating part was waiting for .com to release my domain name. The only problem I am having is that when my website is accessed on my mobile device, it still points back to my .com blog. When I go to the site via any other device, it works correctly. I can’t figure out what the deal is there. Any suggestions? I even deleted cookies/history to no avail.

  18. Maggie Carpenter says:

    I just had a new website developed for me, and it’s on WP.org. I have an outside host. The information about the subscribers is extremely helpful, thank you. I have the jetpack installed, but couldn’t figure out how to get my subscribers over.

    However, I have 325 “followers”. How do I deal with them? And I cannot, for the life of me (nor can my developer) find out how to put in a “follow” button on the .org site. (NOTE: Not follow by email, just follow)..

    Can you help?

    Thank you.

  19. Brandon says:

    Hi, it seems like the WP official plugin that you mention for importing blog posts or the full site is no longer working properly. It shows that it hasn’t been tested with the most current WP version. Any updates on your end on this? Or other recommendations for exporting and importing blog posts, pages, etc? Thank you for all the information that you have in this site. Truly helpful.

  20. Saana says:

    Hi and thanks for this tutorial. I have been thinking about moving my blog self hosted for ages, and thought I would have some time to do it over Easter. I just have a couple of questions before I even start. I have used my own domain name since the very beginning, I have bought it from 1and1.com.

    1) Is there a way of keeping the urls of my old posts the same after moving self hosted? You know how you need to have the date in the url when blogging with wp.com – will all my links break (e.g. when I have been sharing my posts all over social media, will none of those links work anymore)?

    2) I have a bilingual blog, and with wp.com I have had my two languages, English and Finnish, separated by categories (which I’ve heard is one of the biggest mistakes thinking about SEO…? ) How should I deal with these posts when moving? Is there perhaps a tutorial for such topic? My blog can be found at if it helps.

    Thanks a lot in advance.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      1. Yes, the article above explains how to keep the URLs same as your wp.com site.

      2. You can use a WordPress multilingual plugin. After importing and setting up your website you can go to posts and mark them under the correct language. This could potentially break your URLs, but you can solve this problem by setting up redirects using Regex.

      • Saana says:

        Thanks for your help. I would have another question about Polylang: Can I somehow use bulk actions to change the languages for multiple posts at once? As I have my languages separated with categories, I chose the Finnish category and tried to change the language for Finnish for all of them at once, but couldn’t figure out how and couldn’t either find any solution by googling… Do I really need to do it one by one for all 400 existing posts? :D

        • Saana says:

          Hi again! :) I got my languages sorted, and all my links seem to work even without Blue Velvets -plugin… but I have lost all my social share counts, which is a bit frustrating. I have tried to search for an answer to this issue for the whole day, but I haven’t found any definitive solution. Could you perhaps advice on that? Thanks again so much!

  21. BJ says:

    Hi I’ve succeeded in transferring the domain and switching over to .org,
    1) however none of my media imported from my .com. Why? How do I get that corrected?
    2) once the steps you mentioned above are done (in your tutorial), is it recommened or safe to just delete the old site (.com) and start using the new one (.org)?

  22. Anna says:

    I have a domain name and sub-domain for different language versions. I understood the transfer of the actual domain is not a problem. Does everything work the same way with the sub-domain?

  23. BJ says:

    THANK you so much for this extremely helpful and informative info. I was able to switch over to wordpress.org without a hitch! I appreciate it so much!

  24. AS says:

    i have a free wordpress.com blog and i would like to switch to wordpress.org, i havent paid anything till now, and i dont want to pay for anything premium or more, can i make this move without any payment?

  25. karan says:

    i bought a domain name and want to get hosting for my wordpress blog… Is Godaddy Good for wordpress hosting? and also Who will provide good SEO in most minimun (3.97$/MO) plan of hosting? Godaddy or Bluehost?

  26. Elaida Biag says:

    I got my domain name through EasyDNS.com, not form wordpress.com. If I plan to migrate to wordpress.org, will you be able to transfer the domain name for me as well through your free service? or do I have to ask EasyDNs for that? Thanks in advance.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      When signing up for a web hosting account you will be able to transfer the domain yourself. You will have two options, first you can move the domain to your new WordPress hosting provider. Second, you can keep your domain on EasyDNS and simply point it to your new WordPress host.

  27. Cat says:

    I have a pretty good grasp of how the transfer works, but I have a dilemma. I have a free blog at WordPress.com for which I currently pay for my own domain (instead of “blog.wordpress.com” I pay to just be “example.com”) through WordPress. That domain is set to expire in a few weeks, however, and while I wish to transfer my existing content (images, posts, subscriptions, etc) to a self hosted WordPress.org blog, I want to transfer to a completely new URL (to become “”) but with my old content imported. How do I handle this? Do I renew the old URL through WordPress.com since most of my readers know my blog without the “wordpress” in the URL or do I just let that expire and do the normal redirect/export? My fear is losing partial content or having a majority of my readers unable to be redirected to “differentblog” since they will be going to “example.com” instead of “blog.wordpress.com?” Does this long-winded question make sense?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Changing domain names will affect your site’s search engine rankings. However, if you use Google webmaster tools on your WordPress.com site, then you can submit an address change request. Before you do that, you will need to make sure that all content from your old WordPress.com site is properly redirecting to correct posts and pages on the new domain name on some other webhost. Hope this helps.

  28. Deborah says:

    Hi, thank you so much for sharing this, but I was wondering if I still have to do all these even if I have a paid domain name from WordPress?
    Or is it because I purchased my domain from WordPress instead of a self-hosted domain (such as Bluehost) that it does not show the plugin option on the Dashboard?

  29. ash says:

    Question. After I move the posts, will the visit count follows and added up to my new self hosted blog? Or will it be like new post? Thanks.

  30. Jessica says:

    Hello,

    I’m hoping to move to self hosted WordPress however I though once you purchase the WordPress plan that they give you a domain name and you use them to host? Sorry I’m new to this and have a lot of learning to do. Do I need to buy these separately please?

    Thank you

  31. Carolyn says:

    Thank you for a clear, concise explanation.

    I don’t understand how the website can NOT go down at least briefly if you have to wait 24-48 for name servers to point to a new host (from WordPress.com to new host, such as BlueHost).

    I got all balled up in this process because I can do no more but change the name servers today then wait a day or two before I can login to the admin site for my new WordPress.org account.

  32. sinnead says:

    I cant find ‘Tools’ on WordPress.com any help with this would be really appreciated!

    • SJ says:

      I’m having the same issue… My “dashboard” doesn’t show any of the things pictured on the tutorial video…

    • SJ says:

      I just figured this out!
      Instead of logging on through wordpress.com, go to [yourURL].com/wp-admin

  33. Maryam says:

    I want to switch from wordpress.com to wordpress.org and i would like to use your assisstance. I have a paid url with wordpress.com that i like to keep but i dont want to save my content. I want to start over. Is this possible? If so, how can i get started?

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