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Move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

How to Move From WordPress.com to WordPress.org 

Written By: author image Joella Dunn
author image Joella Dunn
Joella is a writer with years of experience in WordPress. At Duplicator, she specializes in site maintenance — from basic backups to large-scale migrations. Her ultimate goal is to make sure your WordPress website is safe and ready for growth.
     Reviewed By: John Turner
reviewer image John Turner
John Turner is the President of Duplicator. He has over 20+ years of business and development experience and his plugins have been downloaded over 25 million times.

Do you want to move your website from WordPress.com to WordPress.org?

If you’ve ever found yourself limited by WordPress.com, you’re not alone. WordPress.org can offer you more control and freedom for your website. However, you might not know how to make the switch. 

In this tutorial, we’ll guide you through the migration process from WordPress.com to WordPress.org!

What Is the Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

WordPress.com is a user-friendly hosted platform for creating and managing websites. It provides a basic, free service suitable for beginners who have simple sites. On the other hand, WordPress.org is a self-hosted platform that requires some technical skills but rewards you with extensive customization options and powerful features. 

With WordPress.org, you can customize your website to your liking, install any plugin or theme you desire, and even tweak the underlying code if you want to. 

However, you’ll need to manage your website’s security, backups, and updates yourself, or hire someone to do it for you. You also need to pay for your own web hosting. 

Think of WordPress.com as renting a furnished apartment while WordPress.org is like owning a house. While the apartment might be easier to manage with less choice of furnishings, the house offers more freedom but requires more maintenance. 

Why Migrate From WordPress.com to WordPress.org?

There are many reasons you might choose to migrate from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. It offers greater control over your site, expanded customization options, and the ability to monetize your web content

On WordPress.com, certain features might be restricted depending on the plan you’re using. With a self-hosted WordPress.org site, you have complete control over the design, functionality, and content of your site. 

Using plugins and themes, you can design a website that truly reflects your brand or personal style.
WordPress.org supports thousands of free, paid, and custom plugins for virtually any need. 

WordPress Plugin Directory

Want to build a website that stands out? Try SeedProd. It simplifies web design with its pre-built themes and user-friendly drag-and-drop feature. It’s building a website made easy! 

SeedProd custom theme

You can get detailed site metrics with MonsterInsights. It integrates Google Analytics into your WordPress site, providing essential statistics directly on your dashboard. Now, you can easily monitor your website’s performance and user behaviors. 

MonsterInsights report

Lastly, there’s Duplicator, a lifesaver when it comes to backing up your website. With its help, you can automate backups, send them to cloud storage, and restore your site whenever you need to. 

Custom WordPress backup schedules

Although WordPress.com can be an affordable, hassle-free way to build a website, you won’t be able to use custom themes or plugins. This severely limits your website’s level of customization and room for growth. 

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Pros and Cons

WordPress.comWordPress.org
Pros– Easy to set up because it’s a hosted platform
– Security and backups are automatically handled for you
– Free option is available for small, personal sites
– Full control over your website
– Ability to use custom themes and plugins for more advanced functionality
– Easier to monetize your site without any limitations
– You own your website
– Create online stores and membership websites
Cons– Options for customization are limited unless you upgrade to a premium plan
– Not allowed to sell ads, unless you split the revenue with WordPress.com
– Your website can be deleted if you violate the terms of service
– No custom themes or plugins
– Free websites have a WordPress.com branded subdomain
– No eCommerce features unless you upgrade
– Requires more technical knowledge to set up and manage
– You’re responsible for backups and security, but many plugins can help with these tasks
– It may require more initial investment for hosting and domain costs

Preparing for the Migration: What You Should Consider

Before you decide to migrate from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, there are a few important things to consider. These will help you ensure a smooth transition with minimal disruptions to your visitors. 

Taking your site offline, even for a short period, can disrupt the visitor experience. Consider the timing of your migration wisely – ideally during low traffic. 

Unlike WordPress.com, your WordPress.org site will need a web hosting provider and domain name, which comes at an added cost. Therefore, budgeting for this expense is essential. 

For more information about the costs of migrating a WordPress site, check out our in-depth guide. 

How to Move From WordPress.com to WordPress.org

Ready to take the plunge and migrate from WordPress.com to WordPress.org? If so, you’re likely wondering where to start. We’ve created an easy-to-follow guide that breaks down the process into manageable steps!

Step 1: Export Your WordPress.com Website

Let’s kick off the migration process by exporting your WordPress.com website. 

Head over to your dashboard and click on Tools » Export in the sidebar. Then, click on Export All:

Export WordPress.com site

After this, hit the Download link. Your entire WordPress.com site will be compiled into a zip file and downloaded to your local computer. This contains important data like your pages, posts, tags, categories, navigation menus, and more.

As a final step, extract the zip file. Inside, you’ll see an XML file. This is the format you’ll need to import into WordPress.org.

Step 2: Choose a Hosting Provider and Install WordPress

Once you’ve exported your WordPress.com website, the next step is to choose a hosting provider for your WordPress.org site. While WordPress.com hosts your site for you, WordPress.org requires third-party web hosting.

When it comes to hosting, there are plenty of providers out there. Your choice will depend on your website’s needs and your budget. Some popular options include Bluehost, Siteground, and WP Engine

Here are some things to consider while choosing a hosting company: 

  • Reliability and uptime: You want a provider with a strong record of reliability. Check reviews for mentions of frequent downtime—this is something you want to avoid.
  • Customer support: Look for a hosting service that offers 24/7 support. This can be a lifesaver when you have a technical problem you can’t figure out.
  • Price: Pricing varies widely among hosting providers. Keep in mind, however, that the cheapest option might not always be the best one. Balance affordability with reliability and quality of service.

Once you’ve decided on a provider, your hosting plan will usually install WordPress in just one click. If you need help, read this tutorial on how to install WordPress.

Step 3: Import Your Old Website Into WordPress.org

You’ve successfully exported your data from WordPress.com and set up your new hosting environment on WordPress.org. Now, it’s time to import your old website data into your new WordPress.org site. 

In your WordPress.org wp-admin dashboard, go to Tools » Import. Here, you’ll see a list of platforms to import data from. 

In our case, we want to choose WordPress. Next to this option, hit Install Now.

Install WordPress importer

After the WordPress importer is installed, click on the Run importer link:

Run WordPress importer link

On this new page, select Choose File and upload the .xml export file you previously downloaded from your WordPress.com site. Once the file is uploaded, click Upload file and import. WordPress.org will now do the heavy lifting and import all your content.

Import WordPress XML file

During the process, you’ll be asked to assign authors for your imported content. You can either create new user accounts for each author or assign the content to your existing user account.

Assign author to imported WordPress content

If you want to import your images correctly, select the checkbox next to Download and import file attachments. Finally, click the Submit button.

Take a moment to verify if everything has been imported correctly. Check your posts, pages, and comments to ensure they match your WordPress.com content. If there are any issues, you may need to repeat the import process.

Following the successful import of your content, you’re now ready to handle a crucial aspect of your site: your blogroll. The blogroll is a list of outbound links that you feature on your WordPress.com blog. 

You might use this to promote similar blogs that you want your readers to check out. Here at Duplicator, our blogroll shows our sister products:

Duplicator blogroll

If you have just a few links in your WordPress.com blogroll, read this helpful guide on how to add a blogroll to your WordPress site. This will give you steps to follow without having to install a WordPress plugin.

On the other hand, you might have many links in your blogroll. In this case, you can find an OPML file for your WordPress.com links by visiting this address:

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

Once the file opens, hit CTRL+S (Command+S for Mac users) to save it. 

Next, you’ll need to install the Link Manager plugin. After this, you’ll have a new Links tab in your WordPress dashboard:

Links Manager tab

OPML Importer is another plugin that’s necessary for importing your blogroll links. It adds a new option to your Import page:

Blogroll importer

Hit Run Importer under Blogroll. Then, upload the OPML file that you downloaded earlier.

Import blogroll

This keeps your blogroll links intact and transferred to your WordPress.org site!

Step 5: Make Your WordPress.com Site Private 

Once all your content is securely imported to your new WordPress.org site, it’s time to prevent any new visitors from accessing your old site. 

Go to your WordPress.com dashboard. Navigate to Settings » General. In the Privacy settings, select Private:

Make WordPress.com site private

This step helps to avoid confusion between your old and new site, and most importantly, it protects the SEO of your new site. However, don’t delete the old site—it’ll be important for redirecting visitors and maintaining search engine rankings!

Step 6: Use Redirects

At this point, the bulk of the transition is complete, but there’s still some work to do to ensure your new WordPress.org site runs smoothly. Here comes the crucial part – adding redirects. 

To easily send old visitors to the new website, consider using the WordPress.com Site Redirection feature. Although it’s a paid tool, it allows you to keep your website’s traffic when you move to a different address. 

Site Redirection can help you instantly send your old visitors to the new location on WordPress.org. The cost is minimal, and the benefit of not losing your established traffic is massive. 

To get started, visit the Site Redirect page on your WordPress.com account. Choose the site you want to redirect:

Redirect WordPress.com site

Enter your new WordPress.org domain name:

WordPress.com redirect to new domain

After you hit Go, WordPress will add a 301 redirect from your old WordPress.com site to the new domain name. Keep in mind that this costs $13 per year, but you’ll avoid any major dips in traffic or SEO.

Another important task after a migration is updating your in-post URLs. To do this, check out this step-by-step guide on how to update URLs when moving a WordPress site. If you had a custom domain on WordPress.com, be sure to update your DNS record to point to your new hosting account’s web server.

FAQs About Moving From WordPress.com to WordPress.org

What happens to my old website when I migrate to WordPress.org?

Your old website on WordPress.com doesn’t actually move. After moving your content, all your blog posts and pages will now live on your new site, while your old site will remain intact. You’ll have to make your WordPress.com site private so that public visitors can’t access it. 

Can I move my site back to WordPress.com if I don’t like WordPress.org?

Yes, you can. Though WordPress.org offers more flexibility and control, if you find it daunting, you may choose to revert back to WordPress.com at any time. However, the process might require some technical adjustments. 

Is it worth migrating to WordPress.org from WordPress.com?

Yes, if you want more control over your website’s design or plan to monetize your site, shifting to WordPress.org is a great choice. It gives you more room for customization and scalability.

Will my SEO rankings be affected after a migration?

If migration is done correctly, your SEO ranking should not be significantly affected. It’s important to manage your redirects, update your DNS settings, and inform Google about the change. This ensures both organic visitors and Google can still access your site.

What are the best WordPress plugins?

These core plugins are helpful for any website owner, from bloggers to e-commerce store managers. Once you import content from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, you’ll be able to improve SEO, grow your audience, create custom forms, and much more. 

To install these plugins, go to Plugins » Add New. You can search for the plugin you want or upload a zip file. If you decide to use a premium version, you’ll also have to activate a plugin license. 

Note: Keep in mind that some WordPress.com plugins like Jetpack, Easy Digital Downloads, and OptinMonster are also compatible with WordPress.org. If you want to, you can install these plugins on your new site and keep using the same tools.

Enjoy the Freedom and Flexibility of WordPress.org

You’ve just successfully moved from WordPress.com to WordPress.org!

Now, it’s time to embrace the remarkable flexibility and expanded freedom that WordPress.org offers. Check out these tutorials to get started:

Are you ready to protect your new WordPress.org website? Try out Duplicator Pro, the best all-in-one plugin for safe backups, cloning, and migrations!

author avatar
Joella Dunn Content Writer
Joella is a writer with years of experience in WordPress. At Duplicator, she specializes in site maintenance — from basic backups to large-scale migrations. Her ultimate goal is to make sure your WordPress website is safe and ready for growth.

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