If you are asking yourself, "What on earth? There is a Wordpress.COM and a Wordpress.ORG?!" Here is a description of each:
- Everything is taken care of: from setup, to upgrades, backups, and security, etc
- Downtime is unlikely because the blog is located on several servers
- Posts are backed up automatically
- Easy to find like-minded bloggers through tag and friend surfer
- Your login is secure (SSL)
- No custom themes or tweaking of existing theme (unless you pay 'credits')
- Cannot change the PHP code
- The domain is actually a sub-domain of WordPress.com, therefore you cannot create a custom URL structure
- Own your domain name; especially useful if you are creating a brand or company
- Have the ability to upload themes and plug-ins
- Complete control to change code (if you are so inclined)
- A good web host is needed. This runs about $4-10 per month (with a shared hosting plan)
- You are responsible for killing spam; using the API key plugin is one way
- Backups of the database are dependent on the user
Because migrating your blog away from a great hosting program such as Wordpress is not something to be considered lightly, we suggest you ask yourself the following questions first:
Do you want to advertise on the blog?
When you sign up for a Wordpress.com blog account, you basically agree to not advertise on it. The Wordpress.com codex clearly says: "Adsense, Yahoo, Chitika, TextLinkAds and other ads are not permitted to be added by users." If you want to start making money on your blog with ads, migration is required.
Have you found a theme and realized you cannot use it?
Having your blog on its own host means that you can upload any theme you want and tweak the CSS and PHP as you please.
Do you love your theme, but want to tweak the CSS?
If yes, you could buy 'credits' and activate the 'Edit CSS' in the WP.com control panel. You will be able to change the CSS but are limited by not being able to install an entire new theme.
These questions were designed to give you an idea of why moving a wp.com blog can be a good idea. But as you can see, there are still many things you can do with a wp.com blog. Bottom line is that if you want full control of your blog, changing to your own hosting provider is an idea worth considering.
So, now that you have fully thought out the pluses and minuses of migrating your blog and wish to proceed, here are the steps you need to take. For this tutorial we are migrating the blog noddledout.wordpress.com to the domain noodledout.com. This to give you an live example.
1. Acquire a Web Hosting Plan and Register a Domain
Before starting to migrate a blog from Wordpress.com you need to define its new destination. To run a blog outside wp.com you will need to acquire a hosting account and a domain name with another hosting provider. There are plans referred to as Wordpress web hosting as they include additional disk space and a domain, includes MySQL and PHP support. Regardless of what hosting provider you choose, make sure the hosting account includes domain registration, MySQL databases, and PHP compatibility.
2. Install Wordpress
Now that you have acquired a new hosting account with another hosting provider, the next step will be to install the Wordpress CMS. Many hosts offer pre-written installation scripts to install Wordpress for you (such as Fantastico 1-button) but in case yours do not, we have included instructions for manual installation here.
Download the Wordpress CMS
Visit [[LinkExternal:www.wordpress.org]]Wordpress.org[[/Link]] and download the latest version of Wordpress (2.7.1). Save the zipped folder to your desktop and extract it.
Locate the confirmation email from your new hosting provider. There you will most likely find login information to your hosting account control panel.
Create a MySQL database
Create a MySQL database, using either PhPMyAdmin or any other applications offered by your hosting provider. Write down the name, username and password you define for the new database on a piece of paper.
example from GoDaddy
Go to the Wordpress folder on your desktop and open the file wp-config-sample.php in your favorite text editor (we recommened EditPlus). Fill in the name, username and password for the MySQL database you have just created. There is 99 % chance that you will not have to change the local host. Save the file as wp-config.php in the Wordpress folder.
When logged in to your hosting account, either use the file manager application, or set up an FTP connection to your root directory using an independent FTP client. For FireFox users we recommend the add-on FireFTP. Login information should also be listed in your email from the hosting provider. If not, contact their support or search the control panel.
Upload Wordpress to root directory
If you want your blog address to be www.yourdomain.com/wordpress, upload the extracted Wordpress folder to the root directory of your hosting account. If you want the address to be www.yourdomain.com only, upload only the files and folders from within the Wordpress folder.
Go to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/install.php and take the remaining steps to finish the Wordpress installation.
3. Permalinks Match
Once you have Wordpress installed on the host, the next step is to make sure permalinks match.
The standard permalink structure for a Wordpress.com blog is /year/month/day/postname/. Your installed Wordpress blog however, will be set on Default to show the post or category ID. If you do not change the permalink structure on your new blog before importing the content from your old, it could become a mess.
Log in to your new Wordpress admin and go to Settings>Permalinks and change the permalink structure to /year/month/day/postname/. See the screenshot shown below.
4. Export/Import XML file
With a new hosting account and domain name set up and Wordpress installed, it is now time to migrate the content from your wp.com blog to your newly created MySQL database. This will basically export all the data from your current wp.com database, as an XML file, and import it to your new database.
Log in to your Wordpress.com blog account, go to Tools>Export and download the XMLfile to your desktop.
Then log in to your Wordpress admin on your new hosting domain and import the exported XML file. The XML file containing the content from your wp.com blog will then be imported to your new MySQL database. If successful you should be able to view your posts directly on your new blog.
Specify author details, select Download… for Import Attachments and click Submit
Note! Internal links and images in posts and pages from the wp.com blog will remain linked to the old wp.com blog. You can keep the links redirected to the old location as long as you do not delete your wp.com blog or stop renewing the domain mapping. However, we strongly recommend that you save and upload your images on your new blog and re-link the internal links and images to their new location.
5. Add Domain to Wp.com Blog
Now that you have transferred your old blog content, what remains to be done is adding your new domain as primary domain for your wp.com blog. This is to make sure new and returning traffic to your old blog will be redirected to your new blog properly.
Adding domain to blog
The first thing you need to do is log in to your Wordpress.com blog account and go to Settings>Domains where you have the option to add domain to blog. See screenshot below.
Type in the domain of your new Wordpress blog and click add domain to blog. You will be sent to a page that informs you that Wordpress charges ten credits in order to add a new domain. In the WP world, one credit is equal to one dollar.
But what it does not say is that before you can buy credits and add the domain, you have to verify that you are the rightful owner of the domain you want to add. A domain verification is done by changing the nameserver.
Verifying the domain = changing nameservers
Changing nameservers of your new domain can be tricky and every hosting provider differs in this procedure. However, you should be able to change the nameservers manually from your new hosting account control panel, no matter the hosting provider or plan. It is however recommended to contact customer services for further host specific instructions.
Current nameservers should be changed to:
The nameservers change may vary from five minutes up to four hours (see screenshot below). You will know that the nameservers have been changed by returning to the wp.com admin and continuously trying to add a domain to blog.
When the nameservers have been changed, you will be able buy ten credits by adding your doimain again. This action will take you to the page as screenshot shows below.
Only after changing the nameservers of your new domain will you be able to buy credits and pay to add a new domain. 10 credits is equivalent to 10 US dollars.
Buy Wordpress Credits
Wordpress credits are bought via PayPal, which is perfectly safe. Once you have clicked the 'Pay Now' button, ten dollars worth of credits will be credited to your Wordpress.com account.
After purchase you will be automatically redirected to your wp admin where you now can add the domain previously verified.
It may take up to a couple of hours for the PayPal payment to clear. When this is done you can add the domain without any additional steps.
Set as primary domain
As the new domain appears in the list of domains on your wp.com blog, the only remaining thing to do is to set your new domain as primary.
6. Change Nameservers Again and You are done!
After buying credits and successfully adding your new domain as primary to the Wordpress.com blog, you can change the nameservers back for your new domain. Like we stated before, Wordpress requires the nameservers change for verification purposes only. Once you have proved your ownership, nameservers should now be changed back.
At this point you should have successfully moved the blog to the domain. Congratulations! You now have a real domain and complete control of your blog.
We would like to stress a few notes in case you had more questions.
Wordpress and 302 redirects
The permalink redirects that are used by Wordpress are referred to as 302 redirects. A disadvantage with this method is that your pangrank and rankings in Google will completely die and you will have to rebuild your reputation from scratch.
However, 301 redirects will transfer not only traffic but also rankings (you still may see a temporary dip). 301 redirects are more complicated but are worth the hassle if you have an established blog. Learn more about this migration method at [[LinkExternal:www.wordpress.org/tags/301-redirect]]Wordpress.org/301-redirects[[/Link]]
DNS server changes
DNS server changes may take up to 48 hours. When you first look at the new domain, such as noodledout.com, it may be showing the content and theme from noodledout.wordpress.com. Do not worry, it will be updated.
Internal links and images
Images and internal links will remain connected to the old blog. We mentioned it above; take a look again if you have questions.
Written by Brian Franklin
Brian Franklin is a freelancing journalist with many years in the hosting and web design industry. Wordpress is one of his favorite CMS's and you will find many more articles on the topic courtesy of Franklin. Make sure to also [[LinkExternal:www.webhostingsearch.com/blog/]]visit his blog[[/Link]] here at WebHostingSearch.com!