Guide to Migrating from Wordpress.com to Wordpress.org

Guide to Migrating from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

When I started blogging I never knew my audience will grow as my main reason for doing it is to keep my recipes online where I can refer to it anytime I want to but things changed when traffic soared, it looks like it’s a bit more helpful for others as well. From there I started exploring what if I put an ads in my blog so it will earn while it is silently stored online, so I stated on looking at options. Sadly I am hosted WordPress.com which is free, having said that you cannot place JavaScript or iframe widgets on your site to enable advertisements but luckily that time WordPress was starting WordAds and I was one of the first users of that service.

My first pay check was $59.08, then $65.66, then $86.24 and so on. I was very happy because I was earning out of what I love doing which is cooking.
01 Initial Earnings


So as months passed by traffic grows bigger and I was earning more than $200 a month until my last month which was $240.25.

02 Total Earnings

Overall I got $3,509.91 which is not bad and that’s just for posting what we eat for dinner every day.


Then one day I suddenly decided to move to self-hosting because of this post from Pinch of Yum I never knew you can earn that much from blogging, that’s 20K a month you can leave your job if you’re earning that much. It inspired me that is why 3 days after I read it, I decided I will move to self-hosted, I looked for different options and even asked some of my blogger friends like Nami on her experience and suggestions and after I compiled most of the information I need I chose Site Ground as my host.

Web Hosting
There are also lots of host providers out there but you need to be very careful in choosing one that is why it’s best to get the ones who are experts in their field.  That is why apart from Site Ground I highly recommend Bluehost which specializes as well in WordPress, I guess I am not the only ones recommending them as they are also given the two thumbs up by lots of bloggers and even Wordrpess.com.

So how easy it is to move? Well it’s quite easy and let this be a guide for you if you plan to move on someday. It took me roughly 3 working days to finish migration from start to finish and most of it is just waiting time, so here you go the step by step process of migrating your blog.

  1. Start by signing up with any Advertising provider if you haven’t done it yet, some of them will take weeks to approve. You can go with any of the following
  2. Sign up for a web hosting plan and choose the ones that specializes in WordPress installation like Site Ground, they will ask your domain and don’t be afraid to give it as it will just be a placeholder and they won’t transfer that domain yet after you pay.
  3. Once you have paid for the hosting set up your WordPress, most of them do this automatically so no need to worry about setting it up. This will take only several minutes.
  4. Install the plugins you use in WordPress.com to your WordPress.org instance. Here are the ones that are needed as they are the ones you might have used to in WordPress.com
    • Akismet – For Spam Filtering
    • Jetpack by WordPress.com – This is for the Contact Form, Custom Css, Sidebar Widgets, Likes, Notification, Shortlinks, Subscriptions, Stats, etc
    • Polldaddy Polls & Ratings – If you are using polls and likes on your WordPress instance.
    • WordPress Importer – This will import your WordPress XML Export, we will discuss that later.
    • Google XML Sitemaps – This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your blog.

    Install also any themes that you may like, you will notice there are heaps more options now.


    Other Suggested Plugins especially if you post recipes on your blog

    • Easy Recipe Plus – this makes it easy to enter, format and print your recipes, as well as automagically doing all the geeky stuff needed for Google’s Recipe View.
    • WordPress SEO – all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more.
  5. Start designing your blog (don’t import yet) until you are satisfied on how it looks.
  6. Now export your wordpress.com by going to your wp-admin and in tools you will see export.03 Export 1
    I suggest do a full export
    04 Export 2and do partial exports in batches i.e. every year if your blog is really big. Big meaning your export file is more than 8MB.
  7. Now import to wordpress.org and make sure to tick import file attachments as well.
    05 Import 106 Import 2This might take time and it might time out, if that happens you can ask you host to increase the time out so you can complete the import process.07 Import Timeout
    This happened to mine and I just created a support ticket, look how fast they response at Site Ground. You can import the same file over and over again as it will not overwrite whatever was already imported. This will be your first import we will do another export-import process once you go live to get any data changes while you are building your new WordPress.org instance.
  8. Check your site, this time it is still not your domain but an IP provided by your host. Make sure everything is fine and looks how you wanted it to look, if things fail you can ask your provider to reset your WordPress that will take only seconds to do and you can start again.
  9. Now update the PHP files in the editor section of the appearance so your ads will be placed nearly in the same location like your WordPress.com instance
    08 Ads
    The files you might need to update (depending on your theme) are:

    • archive.php
    • header.php
    • index.php
    • page.php
    • search.php
    • single.php

    I will create a new tip section on how to add these ads on the file but for now let’s finish this migration process.

  10. Now it’s time to transfer your domain, you can do this from your provider and it will require an approval on the WordPress.com side. Transfer can take 24-72 hours so be patient and just blog normally on wordpress.com, in my case it was around 12 hours. Once it is transferred ask your provider to point to your new WordPress at this time it will take 24 hrs. for the URL to propagate across the internet and this is the crucial part. My one took 2 hrs. to propagate if you are curious on how long.
  11. Connect your wordpress.org to your wordpress.com account, first by going to your jet pack home, there should be a button there that lets you connect your WordPress to your jetpack, once done you will see it’s successful.
    08x Jetpack
    Now go to https://wordpress.com/my-blogs/ and find your new WordPress instance, there will be a manage button there10 Migrate Users 2
    make sure it’s the correct domain not the IP address like this in yellow09 Migrate Users
  12. Now migrate your subscribers emails and followers click manage then you can choose the WordPress instance where your users migrate from.
    11 Migrate Users 3
    From here you wait, WordPress will then email you of the status, the whole process might take 30 minutes. Also this is one once its migrated you cannot go back so at this point make sure everything is A-OK! If you make a mistake in migrating it using the IP address instead of the URL you can email Jetpack support and tell them your mistake they will fix this for you.
  13. Check if your site has propagated and once it’s done, activate you social media sharing on your new WordPress.
    12 SharingThis will populate any numbers you might have on the sharing icons below an article.13 Sharing and LikesTake note that the likes on WordPress.com cannot be migrated to WordPress.org but luckily the Social Media likes are automatically moved.Here is a message from one of the support staff regarding that issue14 Likes Email
  14. Test is the new WordPress emails as well by creating a contact form or by commenting something (taking note that emailing for comments is enabled).
  15. Fix paths in MySQL, you will need MySQL access on your control panel and change the left over links you have on your old WordPress.
    This means anything with
    .wp.com/{the ip address of your new WordPress}/~{yourtemporaryblogname}/wp-content/uploads
    should be replaced with
    .wp.com/{yourdomain.com}/wp-content/uploads
    also anything with
    .wp.com/{yourblogname}.files.wordpress.com/
    should be replaced with
    .wp.com/{yourdomain.com}/wp-content/uploads/
    The only tables and column you need to modify are
    table : xxx_posts, column : post_content
    table : xxx_postmeta, column : meta_value
    Once it’s changed then you there are no more links to your old website and all of it now points to the new one.You can also use a plugin called Search and Replace so you don’t have to write your query, but as a programmer I want to do it on my own.
  16. Check your website by looking at the links, pages, archives, etc and you’re done.

See I told you it’s really easy, if you have any questions just comment below I will try to answer it as much as I can.  And if you are asking how much I am earning now well I cant say it yet as at the moment of this writing it was only 4 days since I migrated, what  I can tell you though is that 4 days of earning from AdSense is nearly half of what I earned on my last month with WordPress.  Take note I also added some advertisers like FoodieBlogroll, Lijit and Swoop and hopefully I also expect a decent amount from it as well.  So if you’re thinking about moving don’t think twice see how much you can earn and the things you can do with your blog.

Happy Blogging Everyone!

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7 Responses

  1. Arlene Poma says:

    Raymund, thank you so much for sharing the wealth. That’s what I admired about you in the first place when I found you online over a year ago. Being Filipino doesn’t hurt either!!! LOL! Anyway, thank you so very much for answering my email about taking SheRetired.wordpress.com to the next level. Unlike you, it’s not about the money for me. I just struggle with tech, but I know I can take my time and do it right. If I have to hire someone–so be it. I was paid for my writing, reporting, photography, graphic arts and layout skills since the 70s. This is part of the reason why I’m retired. These same skills also put me through college and even bought me extras like travel, art pottery, antiques and fancy shoes. Those days will never come again. Writing is my passion. The first of many. I am so glad I found you. You are the first online writer that I asked for advice on monetizing my blog. I will look no further. I have jumped off cliffs all my life, so I’m taking that usual leap of faith. Don’t care where I land. That’s the beauty of life. Anyway, I’m no tech genius, but your post is so helpful. I have all the time in the world because I am retired. Money is not an issue with me because my path in life is a spiritual one. But I would like enough money to support my favorite charities since I do have a pension that takes care of me. I wish you much, much success in anything you do. I have no doubt you will soar because you are so willing to create beautiful posts as well as share information. As your fan, I will forever be grateful. Unfortunately, my husband only barbecues. This past month, he has been using a smoker. He is clueless when it comes to following recipes, so I’ll have to take what I’ve got or file for divorce and get a younger man who can cook. Take care!

  2. Mia S says:

    Wow, this is a lot of info for me to grasp! I found your blog while searching on how to migrate a wordpress.com blog to a self-hosted blog.Very detailed and informative. Quick question, is there a difference in the process if I already have a domain name? My blog is hosted at the free wordpress.com site but I bought the domain name upon signing up. Thanks in advance for answering my question. Your blog is fantastic. I will be a regular visitor from now on.

  3. Denver Nario says:

    Thank you for this in depth guide! It’s very helpful!

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