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How to Migrate Sites from WordPress.com?

How to Migrate Sites from WordPress.com?

For common WordPress users, starting with WordPress.com is the initial choice to test the most basic features of this tool. After all, WordPress.com acts as a platform that allows you to start your online presence and to publish web contents within seconds via a simple registration process. However, as your personal site grows with more daily traffic or you want to earn some money from the website, you may find that moving your website from WordPress.com to WordPress.org is the only choice.

From WordPress.org, you can install the WordPress CMS and have the site 100% self-owned. Besides, you have enough freedom to modify the themes and plugins, carry out the SEO practices, and start the money-making practice.

To know the differences between these two options in detail, you can check this page. In the following, we mainly introduce the steps about how to move WordPress.com to WordPress.org for your current websites and personal blogs.

Basic Preparations

Before the moving steps, you need to do some preparing things in advance.

Choose a WordPress hosting provider

To have your independent WordPress site accessible online, you firstly need to purchase a WordPress hosting provider. When choosing such as web host, you’d better take the price, features, ease of use, uptime, page loading speed and technical support into consideration.

If you feel difficult and time-consuming to pick the most suitable WordPress hosting provider among hundreds of options, you can consider the following three web hosts, all of which are reliable and have been recommended by WordPress.org.

Decide the domain name

In WordPress.com, your website domain is just like “yourdomainname.wordpress.com”. From the SEO and reading experience points of view, this kind of domain is not a good option. With WordPress.org, however, you can decide a domain name the way you like, along with the proper extension that is 100% determined by you. If you have no idea about how to choose a good domain, you can check this post.

Install WordPress

At present, almost all the WordPress web hosts offer the 1-click WordPress installer, so there is no need to worry about the installation of WordPress. You only need to click a few simple clicks of buttons and enter the required website information. Note that in this post, we take BlueHost as an example and utilize the Softaculous installer.

Start Moving from WordPress.com

After finishing all the preparation steps, you now can start moving your site.

Export website data

First of all, you need to export all the data of your site from WordPress.com. For this, you should sign into your account and navigate to the website dashboard. After clicking the Export button under the Tools tab, you will be asked from a new page about exporting using the free Export tool or the paid Guided Transfer. Here, we choose the free one.

After that, you need to choose what to export. As you need to move your whole site, you’d better choose the “All Content” option, allowing the exporting of pages, posts, images, comments, categories and many more. Note that the website template is not included.

Then, you need to download the export file to your desktop or any other secure places.

Export WordPress Data

Import the data into the newly installed WordPress

Now, you need to navigate to the dashboard of your independent WordPress site. Again, click the Tools tab and choose the Import button this time. Then, choose WordPress among multiple tools listed.

Import WordPress Data

Next, the system will ask you to install the importer plugin automatically. Simply follow the guidance and have this plugin installed and activated. After that, you will be required o upload the XML file of WordPress.com, namely the export file you have downloaded from the previous step. Then, click the Upload File and Import button.

Import XML File

Now, you need to go through the process of assigning authors and importing attachments.

  • Author – You can create a new author with the login name and password or assign the posts to one of the existing authors. If you want to do none of these but have your administrative account as the author, simply leave this setting as default.
  • Attachments – This option allows you to import all your attachment files to your WordPress hosting. Sometimes, this step fails due to that you have too many attachments. In this case, you can repeat this step one or more times until all the files are uploaded.

Assign Authors

Now, you have already moved your site from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.

Additional Practices

The above-mentioned steps are the most basic ones for the migration of the website. In addition, you also need to pay attention to the following practices.

Import the blogroll links

If you use the blogroll links in WordPress.com, you also need to import them into your WordPress site. By default, these links are exported with the OPML format. Therefore, to download them, you need to add “wp-link-opml.php” next to your website URL, and open it in your browser. After that, you simply need to save the file in your desktop.

As WordPress does not have the link manager, you have to install a related plugin for the importing of this file. Here, the Link Manage plugin is just the option. Upon the successful installation, you can have a Links tab at your dashboard for link management.

Now, you can click the Import button again and click the Blogroll option to import links with the OPML format. In the next screen, upload your previous saved file and click the Import button.

Make the migration SEO friendly

When moving your website from one location to another, you need to use the 301 redirection to keep the search engine juice and traffic, preventing you from losing all the popularity you have built on your WordPress.com site.


Joyce is a professional writer & SEOer who loves trying new things and sharing the experience through blogging. She loves clean design, playing with different WordPress themes, SEO, etc. Very often, you could find her in various WordPress event as invited speakers.