Beginner's Guide for WordPress / Start your WordPress Blog in minutes

How to Properly Move Your Blog from to

Do you want to move your blog from to

Many beginners often start with, but they soon realize its limitations and want to switch to the self-hosted platform.

In this step by step guide, we’ll show you how to properly move your blog from to

Moving to

Why Move from to allows anyone to start a blog by creating an account. However, beginners soon realize that there are a lot of limitations on their free blog like limited ability to monetize, can’t install plugins, third-party ads displayed to your users, and more.

This is why users soon switch to the more powerful and popular self-hosted platform.

To understand the differences between the two platforms, see our full comparison of vs

We recommend using because it gives you complete ownership of your website and freedom to control all its features. To learn more about all these features, see our complete WordPress review with pros and cons.

That being said let’s take a look at how to properly migrate your blog from to

Things You Need Before You Start

To start with self-hosted, you’ll need a WordPress hosting account and a domain name.

We recommend using Bluehost because they are one of the largest hosting companies in the world, and an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.

They are also offering WPBeginner users a free domain name and a 60% discount on web hosting. Basically, you can get started for $2.75 / month (and this also includes free SSL).

→ Click Here to Claim This Exclusive Bluehost Offer ←

If your WordPress site already has a custom domain name, then you’ll still need web hosting. Go ahead and signup with Bluehost and under the domain step, add your blog domain. We will show you how to keep the same domain while transferring from to without losing search rankings in the later steps.

Aside from the hosting account, you’ll of course 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.

Bonus Free Offer: Since a lot of you asked for this, we are now offering free migration service from to as part of our free WordPress blog setup service. During this guided transfer, one of our expert team members will do the entire migration for you (100% free). This means you can switch from to without any risk.

However, if you are someone who likes learning and doing things yourself, then you can follow our step by step tutorial below.

Video Tutorial

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If you’d prefer written instructions, then just keep reading.

Step 1: Exporting Data from

First, you need to sign in to your site and go to your account dashboard. From the left column, you need to click on the Tools » Export menu and then click on the ‘Export All’ button.

Exporting content from

This allows you to export your WordPress site. Once the export file is ready, a download link will be visible. You can click to download the zip file on your computer. will also email the link to your email address.

Downloading export file

Once you have downloaded the file to your computer, you need to unzip it. Inside it, you’ll find an XML file that has all of your posts, pages, images, comments, custom fields, categories, tags, navigation menus, and other data.

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. If you signed up with Bluehost like we mentioned above, then WordPress will be automatically installed for you.

Alternatively if you chose a different hosting service, then you can follow our 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

In order to import your old site content to your new site, you will need to login to your freshly installed WordPress website’s admin area. From here you need to visit the Tools » Import page and click on the ‘Install Now’ button below WordPress.

Install WordPress importer

WordPress will now install the WordPress importer for you. Once it’s done, you need to click on the ‘Run importer’ link to continue.

Run importer

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.

Upload import file

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 imported content to an existing user or create a new user. You’ll also have the option to import file attachments. It is very important that you check this box, so your image files are imported properly.

Import options

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 import them. Users who were not using this feature can skip to Step 5.

WordPress does not natively support blogroll feature. If you don’t have too many links in your blogroll, then see our guide on how to add blogroll links in WordPress without using a plugin.

However, if you have too many links, or you would like to keep the blogroll functionality, then continue reading.

Blogroll links are exported in OPML format. It is an XML format that 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 website, 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.

Blogroll export file

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.

You will need to install and activate the Link Manager plugin. The plugin’s page says that it hasn’t been updated in many 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’.

Link manager enabled in WordPress

Next, you need to install and activate the OPML Importer plugin. This plugin simply enables a new importer tool that allows you to import blogroll links.

Upon activation, you need to visit the Tools » Import page and click on ‘Run Importer’ link below the Blogroll importer.

Blogroll importer

On the Blogroll importer page, you need to upload the OPML file you saved earlier and click on the import OPML file button.

Importing blogroll

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

Now if you don’t want to redirect your old users to your new site, then this will be your final step.

First, visit your old blog’s dashboard. From the left menu, you need to click on Manage » Settings menu and scroll down to the ‘Privacy’ section.

Making your old blog private

From here, you need to select ‘Private’ option and then click on the ‘Save settings’ button. This will make your old blog private, and it will only be visible to you or other logged in users that you approve.

Attention: If you have been writing for some time, 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 can keep all the search engine rankings and easily redirect your old users to your new blog by following Step 6 (highly recommended if your site is established).

Step 6: Redirecting Visitors and Preserving SEO

Redirecting users to the new location with the 301 header is a 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 cannot make any changes by yourself to retain search engine rankings. However, offers a paid upgrade feature called, Site Redirect, which provides this functionality.

Simply go to blog’s dashboard and click on the Manage » Settings menu item. Under the ‘Site Address’ option, click on the ‘redirect’ link.

Site redirect link

On the next screen, you will be asked to provide the domain name where you want visitors to be redirected. Enter your new site’s domain name and click on the go button.

Note: Site redirect is a paid upgrade and costs $13 per year. It will add a 301 redirect which redirects your blog’s visitors and search engines to your new site.

Purchase site redirect from to

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. You can use our article on how to update URLs when moving your WordPress site.

If you had a custom domain on, then you don’t have to worry about anything. Simply change the DNS record to your host, and you will retain all the SEO benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We wrote the first version of this article in January 2013. Since then we’ve received tons of great questions. A lot of which we’ve answered via email or in comments, so we thought it would be nice to compile the popular ones 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 their Jetpack plugin which adds the same subscriber 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?

I already paid, can I get a refund?

Yes, you can. If you recently purchased a custom domain or a paid plan from, then you can ask them for a full refund.

Note: Domain registrations can be canceled within 48 hours of registration. Plans and other purchases can be canceled within 30 days of purchasing.

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 believes 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 The 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.

Can I add an online store my website?

Yes, you can easily add an online store in without any additional costs. Since Bluehost and most popular web hosts offer free SSL certificate, you simply need to install a WordPress eCommerce plugin to add an online store.

What are some of the must have WordPress plugins that you recommend?

Now that you have switched to self-hosted, you can install as many plugins as you like.

Here’s our recommended pick:

  • AIOSEO – to improve your website’s SEO rankings (used by 2 million sites).
  • WPForms – to add a smart contact form on your website (used by 4 million sites).
  • SeedProd – to easily customize your landing pages with drag & drop builder – works with all WordPress themes.
  • MonsterInsights – to see how people find and use your website. It’s a must have for bloggers and small business owners.
  • PushEngage – to connect with visitors after they leave your website.
  • UpdraftPlus – to create daily backups of your new website in case of emergency.
  • OptinMonster – to help you get more email subscribers and succeed in your blogging journey.

Aside from these, we also recommend looking at our expert pick of must have WordPress plugins and 40 useful blogging tools to manage and grow your blog.

You can install all of these plugins from inside your WordPress dashboard. We have created a step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

I want to change my site’s WordPress theme, can I do that?

Yes, you can absolutely change your WordPress theme at any time. Another big benefit of switching to is that you get additional customization options and a larger collection of themes to choose from.

In your wp admin sidebar, click on the Appearance Menu dropdown and select Themes to install a theme.

We have hand-picked some of the best themes to help users avoid choice paralysis. See our guide on best free blog themes and best multi-purpose themes for WordPress.

You may also want to see our guide on how to properly change a WordPress theme.

We hope this article helped you properly move your blog from to You may also want to see our checklist of the most important things you need to do after installing WordPress, and our ultimate guide on how to increase your blog traffic.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. See how WPBeginner is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us.

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Reader Interactions

1,206 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. What if the zip file downloaded for backup has 2 XML files. Should we import both the files on WordPress org site or what? TIA

    • You would want to import both XML files, would split your export file for larger sites into multiple files to hopefully reduce the chances of your import timing out.


  2. When transferring to, how can I reset my slugs from the default (date etc) to another format and preferably retain rankings. Or is it start over?

  3. I have two websites – can I migrate them both onto under one Bluehost plan?

  4. Thank you for the straightforward directions! I followed the video exactly, but only 8 of my 171 posts migrated! I’m terrified of losing all that content. What did I do wrong?

    • More than likely you either had a large image or similar large content that caused the import to time out. If you run the import again it should start importing from where you left off.


  5. Hi,
    I’m considering migrating to…is it possible to create a completely new domain name for and then migrate my blog to this new site while still maintaining the name of the blog as some sort of “page”. Kinda like having a blog within a website, and if I post in this blog, will links to posts have the new domain name or the blog name? Can redirection from the old site work with this as well?

  6. Hi There

    I followed the instructions in this post to go from .com to .org using bluehost as the host platform.
    Upon reviewing the new website before going live, I’ve found it to be a a mess and looks nothing like my old website. I assumed by doing the export/import that I would be looking at a mirror image of my former website. What this an incorrect assumption?
    Do I actually need to go through the motions of fine tuning every little detail to get it where I need it to be again?

    Any assistance or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    • It would depend on the specific theme you are using on your site, some have tools for allowing you to transfer the customizations as long as your theme is the same on the new site but, if your theme does not have that option, you would need to customize the theme to have it appear as it was on


  7. I plan to switch over my .com to .org (rookie mistake purchasing .com). I got a free year of domain through .com with a paid plan. So I will keep that and sign up for bluehost, but I also have a wordpress email address. Will there be any issues or interruptions with the email address if I switch over as it is important that I keep it?

    Thanks in advance

    • You would need to ensure the email is set up with your new hosting provider and as long as that is set up there should not be an issue.


  8. I don’t know if this has already been answered. I configured my nameservers on to now point to the new hosting service.

    If my paid account on expires or if I remove the account entirely, will the nameservers continue to point to the new hosting service from Thank you

    • That would depend on if your domain is on or not. If your domain is on then you would want to transfer it to your new host to prevent that from happening in the future.


  9. I just went through most of the process of changing from to It all went smoothly, with exporting and importing, but it’s still .com. I already had an account with Bluehost and a domain name. Do I need to start over and get a new account with Bluehost? If so, can I keep my domain name? What are the steps to doing that?


    • You likely need to ensure your nameservers updated and you’ve cleared your cache to see your new site. You do not need a new account to transfer your site.


  10. I just changed from to but my login will not work in to access my site. How do I fix this? do I have to register with

    • We would recommend reading through the article again, moving to would mean you would log in through your site’s URL with /wp-admin at the end, not directly through the site.


  11. I love WPbeginner! What interests me most is your wholehearted dedication to giving the best to the WordPress community.

    Well done!

  12. Hi, can I transfer my contents to my installed .org when I don’t have a host yet (still in building/learning stage)?

    • You would need a new host to have an installed .org site. You can create an installation on your local computer to have a test site that you can transfer to a live host.


  13. I have attempted to import my XML files from site to my .org site hosted by bluehost. My export resulted in 3 XML files. I imported all 3 files to the .org location following the instructions. Sadly, I can see that the media has been transferred, but when viewing my new page, none of my old content is displayed. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    • The most common reason would be for large sites it can time out the import, if you run the import again it should import your missing content onto your site.


  14. Hello, please could you simplify this for me. If my current domain on is, would this change to when I migrate to Also, will the date stamps on my post remain as they are after the migration? For example, will a post that was made June 2020 retain that date to change to the date it was moved over to the new site?

    • No, you would keep the same domain, it would not change to .org and your dates should remain the same when the content is transferred.


  15. Hello! Can I use my own domain for registration on Bluehost (the wordpress domain) when migrating it?

    • Yes, you can choose that you already own a domain when signing up for hosting.


  16. It seems that customers of the free version are not allowed to contact their customer support team.

    So how do I contact them to transfer my subscribers?

    • They’ve updated their method for transferring subscribers so once your site is connected using Jetpack you would want to go into your settings area on your site to transfer your subscribers.


  17. Hi,

    Do you have to get the paid Jetpack version in order to transfer over your subscribers form Or does the free Jetpack plugin allows for that?

    Many thanks

  18. Hello i Tried to import myself following all the steps, but now i enter to my new website i see only an example webpage and not my webpage from

    Please help!

    • You may have imported the content back on to your site for a common issue with that during the domain transfer process. You could also reach out to your hosting provider to ensure you do not have a second installation of WordPress on your account.


  19. Hello, thanks for this wonderful guide, it was really helpful.

    Please, I want to ask, If i didn’t do the redirect and just migrate, will my visitors and users be able to reach my new domain.

    I mean for example, once they search for will they be redirected to

    • Without the redirection, your users would not be redirected to the new site when they search for the address.


  20. Yesterday, I attempted migrating my account to Unfortunately after the migration was complete any attempt to modify anything was made enormously slow.

  21. If I create a free website with a domain e.g and I want to migrate to Bluehost. How should I register the existing domain name, is it e.g or just And that is because I want to keep my domain name.

    • You would need to purchase a new domain as the domains with are not allowed to be transferred.


  22. When i upload file ( end of step 3 ) this error!!!!!!!
    Sorry, there has been an error.
    This does not appear to be a WXR file, missing/invalid WXR version number

    • Should that happen you would want to ensure you are not uploading the .zip file and instead of the files inside the zip file if that is what sent you.


    • You would want to reach out to the support for the specific theme for that question but normally there are restrictions for paid themes on not being able to be transferred.


  23. I’ve transferred the domain name of my wife’s site to Bluehost, and I’ve canceled paying for services on (the services are still active until lat Nov). I’ve activated the site on Bluehost, but it still points to the temp domain and not the actual domain; how do I correct this? Thanks.

    • If you reach out to BlueHost’s support and they can assist with updating your domain or in your BlueHost account there should be a setting to update the address at the moment.


  24. I imported my blog from to (and yes it took a few times to import everything), but when I look at the site, all the text is spread out an the images are huge! I checked several posts, and they all look like that.

    In the editor, everything looks fine. It’s only when I view the site.

    I figured out that it has something to do with the formatting of the images, and I fixed one by deleting and reinserting the images . Is there an easier way to do that or do I have to manually go in and fix all 58 posts?

  25. I want to migrate my newly formed blog from to .org. I have already bought a domain name and a year plan from a hosting company for my blog. Do I need to buy for hosting again or I can carry on with my previous hosting?

    • If you already purchased hosting on a different hosting provider you wouldn’t need to purchase new hosting to transfer your site.


  26. I switched from a .com to .org site over a year ago, but did not work with “import” or “export” y my old blog. I still have a few people coming over to my old site. Is it too late to transfer? After I move the information, is there a reason to keep this blog site?

    • You can still transfer your content from to your site but it is personal preference for if you should remove the old site or not. You can use’s redirect to point your users to the new site.


  27. I switched from com to ,org awhile ago. I want to know if I can export and input from the old site at anytime. And do I just close it down?

    • You can transfer your content with the export/import tools if you wanted and it is a personal preference question for if you shut down the old site, your other option would be to follow the redirect option from this article.


  28. You say “If you had a custom domain on, then you don’t have to worry about anything. Simply change the DNS record to your host, and you will retain all the SEO benefits.” How do I do this?

    • You would need to check with’s support for their current method for changing that. At the moment that setting should be in the domain section of their admin area.


  29. I have gotten to the stage of importing my file to but am not getting the “All done” confirmation. How long should I be waiting on the import page before it is complete?
    Each time I have re-uploaded the file it has added a couple of lines with “this file already exists” so it is doing something however Its been quite some time and I no new posts have appeared.

    • That would depend on the size of the site. If it is a very large site then that can be common but if it is a small site you may want to check with your hosting provider to ensure you’re not running into any issues from their end.


  30. Sorry if I’ve missed something or it’s been answered elsewhere – what if I want the address of my site to be what I’ve set up the site to be? Bluehost won’t let me buy that domain because it’s already in use. Do I need to deactive the site before I can buy it to start a site?

    • You would transfer the domain, you should have the option to select that you already own a domain and you would change the nameservers for the domain or transfer the domain to your new host :)


  31. At final stage of step 3
    it shows
    “Service Unavailable
    The server is temporarily busy, try again later!”

    • You would want to reach out to your hosting provider for that and they should be able to help with this specific error :)


  32. will this affect my site’s stat? if so is there anyway that I can safely move from to my hosting service without affecting my stats? thanks.

    • There should not be a noticeable change in stats but with any change to your site, there is the chance of a change in your stats.


  33. I think I’ve done something wrong!! I followed your steps but it’s only transferred a handful of posts over and the website isn’t working!!! Is it too late to ask you guys to have a look at it?!?!

    • If you are transferring a large site you may need to run the import again to get the all done message and you can reach out to us using our contact form for questions about your specific site.


  34. Hey Guys!

    I had a query before swiching. Will I lose all of my stats or will the stats be covered in the XML file?

  35. Hi there!

    I am at step 3 and trying to import my XML files from my to but when I originally exported my blog’s files, there were 4 XML files in the folder. I can only import one at a time but when I tried to import one of them, I received a 500 internal server error message.

    How can I fix this? Do I need to use an FTP client? Thank you!

  36. Hello,

    I migrated my site but the views from my old WordPress don’t match with my WordPress sie.It says 0 views which isn’t true.How do I fix this?

    • You would want to reach out to for transferring your stats and they should be able to assist.


  37. Hi,

    I made the beginner mistake and bought a personal plan + got the free domain name from

    However, now I would like to move to the as you suggest, but I want to keep my domain name. I am so confused about how to proceed as I bought the domain name through Can you help?


    • You would either transfer your domain or change your nameservers to point to your new host to keep your domain that you purchased for your new site.


  38. Migrated from to But wanted to know how to migrate the stats. The blog was running on for 2 months.

    • You would need to reach out to’s support as they do not offer a tool for everyone to use at the moment.


  39. Hi. I am trying to export my blog to I followed the very helpful step by step instructions but after I click “submit” and wait a few seconds, it says it already exists. Any help would be so appreciated!! This is driving me crazy! Thank you!!

    • You would receive that message if you’re trying to import the content an additional time as WordPress lets you know it is skipping that item. If you have an all done message at the bottom then that would mean all of your content was imported.


  40. I followed all your steps. Signed up with Bluehost and everything. Clicked submit after I uploaded the XML file and after about 5 mins saw two messages saying:

    media placeholder image already exists
    media placeholder image already exists

    I then went to check and see what was uploaded and the only thing that was imported were from the media library.

    I tried to import again but instead got an even longer list telling me several things already exists.

    I’m frustrated, please help?

    • You may be importing very large images but that is saying WordPress uploaded the content and is skipping over what is already imported. Once you receive the all done message you would want to ensure you clear all caching on your site to check what was imported.


  41. Hi, I have migrated my blog from .com to .org but is showing me to renew my plan. ( i had a premium .com plan for a year then i made the shift to .org). Can you please tell what should i do now, in order to jot receive this message.

    • If everything has been transferred and you no longer want the paid version of you would want to cancel your plan on


  42. Hi,

    Thank you for this useful article. I have been redirecting from to my self-hosted WP site for the last 3 years. I am planning to discontinue the redirect…would I be losing any information in this process? Do I need to take care of any issues in particular? Any help in this regard would be much appreciated!

  43. Hello,

    I’ve already made a website in on the free basic plan, I’d just like to know if there is any way to prevent copy & pasting in the free version. I’ve tried exporting then importing onto, but it shows up on my macbook as a zipped file.


  44. I am working on updating my company’s website, and discovered it is the .com platform, not .org. I do want to make the switch, but before we do that I need to confirm any potential impact this may have on our email addresses, as our emails are the same as our website is.
    If I follow your instructions to switch from the .com to the .org platform will we see any interruption in our email service?
    Thanks so much!!

    • If/when you transfer your domain to BlueHost, you would want to set up your emails again to avoid any issues.


  45. I’ve made a rookie mistake by subscribing to WordPress. com. I was thinking the packages were the same as WordPress.Org. I am pissed. Now it’s time to migrate my domain to WordPress.ORG. I am glad to know that I can contact your service for free setups. Thank you for this article.

    • Thank you for letting us know, for the moment you may need to use their OMPL importer plugin to add this ability back.


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