This article describes how to move your blog from WordPress.com to a self-hosted WordPress blog on your own domain. After following this guide, you will have a fully functional, standalone, self-hosted WordPress blog.
Before You Begin
- This guide describes moving everything – including images – from your WordPress.com blog. In other words, your blog should function perfectly even if WordPress.com were not live.
- Make sure you have installed the latest version of WordPress on your self-hosted blog. In my case, I used 2.8.4.
- For a good overview of the process, read Remarkablogger’s post.
- Download and read the step-by-step guide (PDF) written by the gracious folks at BlogWell here, which covers the domain redirection part very well.
Export and Import
- Change the permalinks structure in your self-hosted WordPress to “Day and name” style to match that of WordPress.com.
- In the old WordPress.com blog go to Tools > Export and download the XML file to your computer.
- In the new self-hosted WordPress, go to Tools > Import and check the max allowed import file size. If your XML file size is the same or greater, you will need to increase this limit, as in the next step. Otherwise, you can skip the next step.
- WordPress FAQ suggests several ways in which you can increase the size, memory, and execution time to allow larger file imports. Remember your default values before changing them so that you can revert any changes you make to php.ini or .htaccess. With Bluehost, changing upload_max_size and max_execution_time in php.ini worked.
- Once your WordPress allows a larger file import than your XML, you are set. Enable the option to “Download and import file attachments”, and import.
- All your posts, pages, comments, and tags are now in your self-hosted WordPress
- Contrary to some misleading articles I’ve seen on the web, your self-hosted WordPress also contains all your images (that’s what “Download and import file attachments” does), which you can check by going to your Media Library. However,
- All links to images in your posts still point to the old WordPress. You can verify this by viewing your posts and checking properties of images in them.
- All internal links (links from your posts to your other posts) become external links, since they still point to the old WordPress.
- The export/import does not transfer any videos. You should either use the VideoPress plugin to continue hosting videos on WordPress.com or move them manually.
- Install the Search and Replace plugin on your self-hosted WordPress. Use it to perform the next two steps. Search and replace in all database fields.
- Change the links to images by searching for “http://oldblog.wordpress.com/files/” and replacing with “http://www.newblog.com/wp-content/uploads/”. Check your posts to see that the images are now shown from your self-hosted WordPress.
- Change all external links to the old WordPress.com blog to internal links by searching for “http://oldblog.wordpress.com” and replacing them with “http://www.newblog.com”.
- If you wish, opt for the $10/year domain upgrade to redirect all visitor and search traffic from your old blog to your new site as already described in the BlogWell PDF guide.
That’s it! Your done.
SEO and Page Rank Implications
Your Google Page Rank will not be transferred to your new domain and will need to be developed over time. However, many other factors affect your search ranking. Though you are using a temporary redirect from WordPress.com, I have found that Google is intelligent enough to update its database and start listing your new blog in its search results.
For evidence, see these screenshots showing some of my popular posts. You will notice that the new domain URL has started appearing exclusively or higher than the older WordPress.com blog URL. This is only in a matter of 2 to 3 weeks.
Questions? Comments? Feel free to discuss.