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Moving Your WordPress Site from WordPress.com to a “Self-hosted” WordPress.org Site

If you are looking to have a little more control on your WordPress site, you may be considering migrating to a WordPress.org self-hosted platform. WordPress.org is free and open-source, so you have optimal control over all aspects and monetization of your site. Whereas WordPress.com does not allow you to monetize your site, does not allow you to upload plugins, and places ads on your site that you cannot control. With a WordPress.org site you can sell your own ads, and utilize google analytics to gauge site performance.

To gain the autonomy of a WordPress.org site all you need is a hosting service, like CanSpace, and a domain name. You will need a small amount of capital to invest in those two services, as well as 13 dollars to redirect your WordPress.com site to your new domain name. This will help to resolve all the traffic and SEO rankings your current site has achieved. You don’t have to start from scratch, and you can export all the content of your current site very easily with a few steps.

Step 1

Attain a website hosting service and a new domain name. If you purchase website hosting from a service like CanSpace, you will receive free domain registration or transfer for free. Otherwise you will have to purchase and register a domain name, as well as paying a (typically) monthly fee for website hosting.

Step 2

Access your WP Admin. You will need to login to your current WordPress.com site’s WP Admin page > Tools > Export. This will create and download an exported grouping of files for your website. The XML file created will contain all the pages, posts, and general content of your entire website. Important to note: avoid paying the $129 guided transfer fee by following exporting and importing procedures outlined in this post. Your exported website files will also be emailed to the address associated with your WordPress account. If your file is in a compressed or zipped file, you may need an unzip application.

Step 3

Install WordPress on your new site. This is a very easy step, but hosting services will also do it for you. If you are using CanSpace you can also install it with our one-click script installer.

Step 4

Import your old site into your new WordPress.org site. Log in to your WordPress account on your site, and navigate WP Admin > Tools > Import. Then scroll to “WordPress” and click “Install Now.” You will now have the importer plugin installed automatically via your page, and the “Install now” click event will change to “Run Importer” click this. 

Step 5

Select file. You will now select the .xml file from your original site’s export. If your XML file is larger than 2MB you may have to split your file, or contact your hosting service to ask for a temporary exception. Once your file is selected click “Upload file and Import.”

Step 6

Assign Authors. You can opt to keep the original authors, create a new user with a login name, or assign posts to existing users. You will want to select the box that says “Download and Import file attachments.”

Step 7

Wait and Check your site for errors. After the import is complete, which may take time depending on your site’s size and dependencies, you will want to check it thoroughly to make sure everything is functioning as it should. Check the look, your themes may not import perfectly, so make notes of anything you need to change or update. The site should import perfectly, but if you are missing any images, consider a plugin.

Step 8

Log in to your WordPress.com account and redirect your domain name. If you have put time and effort into the success of your website, this $13 a year will save you some trouble having to get your traffic and rankings back on your new self-hosted site. If you don’t have the scratch, consider logging into WP Admin on your old site and making it private, so there aren’t duplicates of your content out there disrupting your traffic and SEO.

No matter what issues you may have, a good hosting service should be able to guide you. If you have any more questions about host or site migration, or general inquiries on your hosting services, reach out to us! At the end of the day, we just want to see your website succeed.

CanSpace Team

CanSpace Solutions is Canada's leading domain name registrar and web hosting provider. Keep an eye on our blog for expert information on domain names, websites, and running a business online.