You finally did it! You gathered up all that #girlboss energy and decided to share your passion with the world by starting a blog. You are overflowing with ideas and content so when you jumped online, bought a domain, went to WordPress.com, and got started, you couldn’t have been more excited! But then it happened… you realized you couldn’t insert HTML widgets or make your site easy to monetize or customize. Nobody warned you! But you have so many readers and you want to share more with them! Now what?
Answer: You need to move your site from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. Googling tutorials seems like a good start, but the “beginner” instructions are basically written in a foreign language. We decided to break it down for everyone to understand.
Ready, set, let’s go!
Get A Killer Hosting Platform
Bluehost and GoDaddy are fantastic but there are definitely others out there. Do a little research and find the plan that works for you that is within your budget. Most of them will allow you to get your first domain FREE, which is an awesome start if you don’t own it already! Some plans also provide an easier version of the WordPress.org install that’s basically a one-click process (aka a huge time saver).
What if you registered and bought your domain(s) with another registrar like GoDaddy or Dreamhost?
You don’t have to move your website’s registration to your new hosting platform. But if you do, make sure to ask your new host what the “DNS” (Domain Name Server) code is for your new hosting platform.
Go back in to your original registrar’s website and change the DNS codes to what you have been given. (This is usually a visible option on your control panel/homepage that says “Edit DNS”). Then you can go back to your new host and request registration be pulled from your old host to the new.
If you skip this step, it will cause a delay in switching over to WordPress.org. Your new host will request security codes and walk you through approving the move. Be patient because this usually takes a few days to go through!
*Hot Tip #1: Sites like Bluehost and Dreamhost offer a “live chat” option so you can talk live while going through all of these steps! They are always willing to dive in and help you problem solve and it’s a real life saver. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Save Your Blog Content
Time to export your WordPress.com blog content so you can pop it in to your fancy new dashboard. Go to your WordPress.com dashboard, go to “Tools” and then click “Export.” Select “Export All” and allow a few minutes to complete. Save the file somewhere accessible (like your desktop), so you can grab it easily from your new self-installed WordPress.org – which is the next step!
If you chose Bluehost, they have a quick 5-minute WordPress.org install called “Wordpress Install” conveniently located on the homepage. Most hosting sites will have something very similar or identical. You can totally choose to pay for assistance when you get to this step through an online option, or keep doing it yourself. (Personally, we know you can do it!) After the install, you will be provided with your new login information and you are ready to make moves.
Pop Your Content Into Your New Dashboard
Once your install is complete, go into your new dashboard, then go to “Tools” and select “Import.” Select “Wordpress” and select your content from your previously saved convenient location. Give it a few minutes and all of your content should be in your new platform!
Set Your Old WordPress.com Site To Private
While you are waiting for your content and domain to switch over to your new host (which can take up to a week), make sure to set your WordPress.com site to private. Go back into the WordPress.com site, select “Settings” and under “Site Visibility,” select “I would like my site to be private, visible to only myself.”
Fine-tune Your Transition
Once all the moves have been made and your content has been imported, the site will not be live until you click “Make My Website Live” on the top of your new WordPress.org dashboard. This gives you time to check all of your photos, links, and make sure content stayed intact during the move. Keep in mind your theme will not have made the transition over to your new host. WordPress.com themes do not transfer to WordPress.org and vice versa, so you may have to purchase a new one for your new site. It’s like moving apartments and treating yourself to new furniture (or a fab pair of shoes) for doing such an amazing job!
Voila! That’s it! It seems like a lot at first but with a little patience, attention to detail, and a full cup of coffee, you will have this handled in no time! Don’t get intimidated and don’t be afraid to ask questions through live chat on your new hosting platform. We can’t wait to see your fancy new site complete with shopping and social capabilities that only WordPress.org can offer!