How To Smoothly Transfer from WP.com to WP.org

Moving a blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org with hosting is a wise move in any blogger’s career. You’ll benefit from new themes, options for blog monetization, and most importantly complete control of your blog.

I had to do it recently, so I figured it’d be useful to write down the steps I took. It takes about 30 minutes of work, then comes the fun and glory of designing your new blog.

Lets get started

Log in to your wordpress.com blog and in the left menu, click on Tools – Export. If your blog has multiple authors, choose all of them. You can later rename posts or delete authors. The Export Tool is beautiful, it packages your posts, comments, tags, categories, and custom fields into a WXR file. This is short for WordPress extended RSS. Have any RSS subscriptions? Your WXR file will be the same format with a couple custom fields to tell WordPress.org what’s going on. Once the WXR file is complete, download/save to your desktop.

Congrats, step 1 is now done. Here’s where the fun begins. You now need to get blog hosting, and register a unique domain if you haven’t already. Luckily, I have a video on WordPress.org domain and hosting blog setup. Used HD for best results, and note that the video uses HostGator setup (recommended) and assumes you haven’t registered a domain yet. If you have, just let HostGator know during setup.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZGhIrhbbNI&feature=youtube_gdata

These Honest College articles might also be helpful
Domain registration
WordPress.org Hosting Setup
Why Hosting is Important

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Welcome back! Now log in to your WordPress self hosted admin panel. It looks the same as in WordPress.com, right? It’s much more powerful and just as easy to operate. On the left menu click Tools – Import. It shows you a list of blogging systems, choose WordPress. Then browse for your XML file, find it, and upload it to your new WordPress.org. This will unpack all your old posts, pics, etc and place them in your new blog.

Wait, did you encounter a problem uploading an XML file larger than 2MB? Hope not, but if so, welcome to WordPress Support Forums and their article on XML size upload problems. Complete solutions provided here.

You’ll need to do some rearranging an reformatting once all your old WordPress stuff is imported. The Import tool is beautiful but it doesn’t know how to read your mind. Pics may be misaligned, or gone. WordPress doesn’t transfer old image files over, it just links to them. You’ll also want to set featured images for you old posts, these are the thumbnails that appear on homepage and category pages.

You should do some research on new themes for your blog before you arrange everything. A premium theme is one of the main reasons people transfer blogs from wordpress.com to wordpress.org, so why not get one? I get mine from Theme Junkie. They have ridiculously good looking designs and full support forums, like WordPress, where admins answer any question as simple as changing link colors or font sizes or more complex like removing whole features.

Now, get yourself a Starbucks and spend the whole day rearranging and setting up your blog. This, in my opinion, was the most enjoyable part of the transfer.

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