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

Are you looking to migrate your WordPress.com blog to WordPress.org? WordPress.com is often the first choice for beginners. However, many soon discover its shortcomings and decide to move to WordPress.org. WordPress website

This step-by-step guide will show you how to properly transfer your blog from WordPress.com into WordPress.org.

Why should you move from WordPress.com into WordPress.org?

WordPress.com allows anyone to start a blog by creating an account. But, novices quickly realize the limitations of their WordPress.com blog, including limited ability to monetize, inability to install plugins, and third-party ads being displayed to your users.

Users soon switched to WordPress.org, which is more popular and powerful.

For a complete comparison of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org, click here

WordPress.org is our recommendation because you have complete control over your website and all of 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 WordPress.com to WordPress.org.

Things You Need Before You Start

To start with self-hosted WordPress.org, 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.

WPBeginner customers can also get a free domain and a 60% discount for web hosting. You can get started for as low as $2.75 per month, which also includes a free SSL.

Web hosting is required if your WordPress site already has an individual domain name. Go ahead and signup with Bluehost and under the domain step, add your blog domain. We’ll show you how to transfer from WordPress.com into WordPress.org while keeping the domain.

Apart from your hosting account, you will need access to your WordPress.com account so that you can move all your posts, pages, and images to your self-hosted WordPress website.

Get a Bonus Offer for Free: We are pleased to offer a free migration service from WordPress.com into WordPress.org, as a result of many of you asking for it. One of our experts will assist you with the whole process (100% off). You can easily switch from WordPress.com or WordPress.org with no risk.

Step 1: Exporting Data from WordPress.com

Sign in to WordPress.com and then go to the dashboard. Click on the link in the left column. Export Tools Click on the “Export All” button.

Exporting content from WordPress.com

This allows you to export your WordPress site. A download link will appear once the export file has been saved. Click here to download the zip file.

WordPress.com will also send the link to your email address.

Downloading WordPress.com export file

After you have saved the file, you will need to extract it. It will contain an XML file containing all your posts, pages, and images.

Step 2: Setting up WordPress

Once you have exported your WordPress.com data to another location, it is time to install WordPress on your web hosting.

WordPress is easy to install and takes only a few clicks. If you signed up with Bluehost as we mentioned above, then WordPress will be automatically installed for you.

After you have installed WordPress it is time for you to import your content onto your self-hosted WordPress site.

Step 3: Importing Content into Self Hosted WordPress Site

To import your content from WordPress.com to your WordPress.org website, you must log in to your newly installed WordPress website. Administration area. You can visit the following link: Tools >> ImportClick on the button below WordPress to install it.

Install WordPress importer

WordPress will now install the WordPress Importer for you. To continue, click the “Run Importer” link.

Run importer

You will be taken to a screen asking you to upload the WordPress.com XML file you downloaded in step 1.

Upload import file

Notice: If your file is more than 2MB in size, you have two options. You can ask your web host company to temporarily increase the limit so that you can continue with the process. Another option is to split your file using a WXR file splitter.

You can assign imported content to existing users or create new users when you begin importing. Importing file attachments is also an option. This box must be checked to ensure that your image files are properly imported.

Import options

Step 4: Importing Your Blogroll Links

These instructions will be helpful if you have been using the Links feature of WordPress.com to store blogrolls or other links. If you didn’t use this feature, skip to Step 5. WordPress does not support the blogroll feature natively.

If you don’t have enough links or want to retain the blogroll functionality then you can continue reading. Blogroll links can be exported in OPML format. This XML format allows you to export or import links and link categories. An OPML file is located at the address shown below for WordPress.com links.


Replace the example with the subdomain of your WordPress.com blog. You can access your OPML file if you have a custom domain associated with your WordPress.com site by visiting this URL:


The OPML file will be displayed in your browser. You need to save it to the desktop. To save the file to your computer, press CTRL+S (Command+S for Mac).

Blogroll export file

Once you have created a backup of all your WordPress.com links, it is time to import them into WordPress. Self-hosted WordPress doesn’t have a link manager by default.

You will need to install and activate the Link Manager plugin. It is stated on the plugin’s webpage that it has not been updated in many decades. This is because the plugin didn’t require updating and can be installed confidently.

Activation of the plugin will create a new menu item under your WordPress admin bar, labeled “Links”.

Link manager enabled in WordPress

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

After activation, you will need to visit the Tools >> Import Click on the link to run importer below the Blogroll importer.

Blogroll importer

You will need to upload the OPML files you have saved previously and then click the Import OPML File button.

Importing blogroll

WordPress will now import the OPML file with your links and category. The progress will be displayed and, upon completion, the success message will appear.

Successful completion of blogroll link import

Step 5: Setting your WordPress.com blog to private

If you do not want to redirect users to your new website, this is your last step.

Visit your blog’s WordPress.com dashboard first. Click on the link in the left menu. Setup >> ManageScroll down to the Privacy section of the menu.

Making your old blog private

You will need to choose ‘Private’ and click the ‘Save setting button. This will make your WordPress.com blog secretive and only you or other logged-in users can see it.

Attention! If you’ve been writing for a while and have a loyal readership, it doesn’t make sense to abandon them.

If your blog is well-known, it may be indexed by Google and other search engines, or your site is already established, you can retain all search engine rankings. You can also easily redirect users to your blog using Step 6.

Step 6: Redirecting Visitors and Preserving SEO

It is common to redirect users to the new location using the 301 headers to maintain search rankings when moving a site to another location.

You cannot access .htaccess on WordPress.com to make changes to search engine rankings. WordPress.com does offer Site Redirect, a paid upgrade option that provides this functionality.

Go to WordPress.com’s dashboard, and click the button.Setup >> Manage menu item. Click on the “redirect” link under the Site Address’ option.

Site redirect link

On the next screen, you will be asked to provide the domain name where you want visitors to be redirected. Click on the “Go” button to enter your WordPress.org domain name.

Notice: Site redirect is a $13 annual upgrade. This will add a 301-redirect to your WordPress.com blog, which redirects search engines and visitors to your new site.

Purchase site redirect from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

You may be wondering how long you should continue to pay for the Offsite redirect service. You can pay as long as it takes. We believe that 2 years is enough time to allow your existing users to remember your new domain name.

You should update all URLs in your posts if you change domains. These links must be updated if you have interlinked posts. Use our article on how to update URLs when moving your WordPress site.

You don’t need to worry if you have a custom domain at WordPress.com. You can simply change the DNS record to the host and all SEO benefits will be retained.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What happens with my WordPress.com Subscribers?  WordPress website

WordPress.com makes it easy to migrate subscribers under one condition. You must use their Jetpack plugin which adds the same subscriber 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. We hope that this will become simpler and easier in later Jetpack versions so users can 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.

What are the costs of switching to WordPress.org?

WordPress is completely 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 WordPress.com, can I get a refund? WordPress website

Yes, you can. You can request a full refund if you have purchased a WordPress.com paid plan or a custom domain.

Note: Domain registrations may be canceled within 48 hours after registration. You can cancel plans and other purchases within 30 days.

Will my images break?

They won’t. All attached images will be downloaded when you use the import file. The link will also be updated. We did notice one caveat. Your image URL must not start with files.wordpress.com.

I registered my domain through WordPress.com, can I still move? WordPress website

Yes, you can. WordPress believes in giving users full control over their content and empowers them. You don’t need a web hosting account if you already own a domain through WordPress.com. We recommend that you set up with Bluehost or any of these other WordPress hosting providers. During signup, you will be asked if you already have a domain name or would you like to register one. Select the option “I have a domain name” and enter the domain you registered at WordPress.com. The next thing you would have to do is change the nameservers to point to the hosting provider. As part of our free setups service, we can assist you with this. For support, you can contact your web hosting provider.

Will my website go down when I switch? WordPress website

It’s possible to say NO if you do it right. This will ensure your website is always up and running. We are available to assist you if you have any concerns.

Can I add an online store to my WordPress.org website?

Yes, you can easily add an online store in WordPress.org without any additional costs. Since Bluehost and most popular web hosts offer free SSL certificates, 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?

You can now install as many plugins as you want after you’ve switched to WordPress.org self-hosted.

Here is our recommendation:

  • 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. This is a must-have tool 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.

These are just a few of the many useful tools we recommend to help you manage and grow your blog.

All of these plugins can be installed from within 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?

You can change your WordPress theme at any time. You also get more customization options and a wider selection of themes when you switch to WordPress.org.

Click on the Appearance menu dropdown in your WordPress admin sidebar and choose Themes to install a theme.

To help you avoid choosing paralysis, we have selected the top themes. Check out our guide to the best WordPress themes that are free and multi-purpose.


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