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Transferring from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

Switching from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two different web design platforms, which are frequently misused by web developers, especially by newbies. Both systems make it possible to launch various types of web projects, covering an extensive range of tasks. The difference is that WordPress.com is a DIY website builder, while WordPress.org is a world-popular Content Management System. This is the reason why the services utilize diverse approaches to the process of website creation.

Many users get puzzled when choosing between the systems and often give preference to WordPress.com instead of WordPress.org, which is a more preferable solution in their case. As they start working on their startup project, though, they soon realize that using WordPress.com is much more difficult than it seemed from the start. They face problems with code editing, website promotion – this is not to mention hosting-related nuances (or the process of moving between the hosts) and domain name choice, which is not provided by default in WordPress.org. These are only some of the most popular reasons to switch from one platform to another.

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When you make the decision to switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, you encounter multiple problems and questions. This is especially true, if you don’t have such experience yet. What’s more, there are lots of factors and special nuances to take into consideration to make sure the website transfer process is smooth and successful. Among the steps you have to complete, it makes sense to mention hosting, domain name transfer as well as content transfer. This is important to preserve current website positions in the search engines. Do you wish to make the process a success? Then read on to find out the must-have steps of WordPress.com to WordPress.org migration.

1. Moving Website from WordPress.com to WordPress.org – Is it Worth It?

The decision to switch between the platforms may be the result of multiple reasons. The most widespread causes are as follows:

  • Realization of the inability to master website management process from the technical point of view sooner or later triggers the need to start looking for a simpler, more convenient, affordable yet feature-laen web building tool. This is where switching from the familiar self-hosted WordPress.com to WordPress.org proves to be a reasonable solution.
  • WordPress.org makes it possible to create feature-laden web projects with powerful integrated functionality. The platform grants you absolute website ownership rights and freedom of actions.
  • The CMS boasts advanced integration and design customization options and it also lets you pick a trusted hosting provider of your choice based on your current requirements, budget and skills.

Taking into account the diverse nature of the platforms, it may take time and effort to properly transfer your web project from one system to another. It’s also crucial to keep in mind the result you wish to obtain in the long run in order to leave you satisfied.

2. WordPress.com versus WordPress.org – What Is the Difference?

As mentioned above, WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two quite different yet powerful platforms, which provide a rich spectrum of web design services and come with an impressive set of design customization and integration options. Let’s see, what exactly differs the systems from each other and which of them really stands out from the crowd.

WordPress.com is a SaaS website builder – a self-hosted platform that works best for the development of blogs and small websites for personal or business use. The system is quite easy to use yet it lacks some of the crucial features needed for professional website creation.

Transferring from Wordpress.com to Wordpress.org

WordPress.org, in its turn, is an open-source Content Management System, which is now regarded as one of the best platforms in the modern web design niche. The system was initially created to run all types of blogs, but it is now used to run other types of projects as well.

WordPress.com comes with a limited set of pre-installed widgets provided by default. The system grants access to its integrated marketplace of apps to choose from with regard to your project needs. There are dozens of them here, but the service does not allow replacing or expanding them once you have made your choice. As opposed to the website builder, WordPress.org excels in powerful integrations. Actually, this is one of the most distinctive highlights of the platform. The CMS makes it possible to pick and integrate lots of third-party extensions, which give your project the required functionality, be it eCommerce, blogging, business focus or what not.

WordPress Community plugins

When it comes to design customization options, the systems deliver various features as well. The website builder offers a stunning collection of built-in pre-designed templates. All in all, there are over 400 themes here, which are free and paid. The CMS stands out from the crowd due to its unlimited collection of themes specially developed for it by third-party designers. You can pick from free and premium templates, using your coding skills (if any)to customize them to your liking.

Finally, WordPress.com offers integrated hosting along with domain connection, customer support and a set of premium plans providing a diversity of tools and features for various user categories. WordPress.org doesn’t offer hosting and domain name by default, which triggers the need to look for third-party providers. The CMS does not provide customer support options, yet it boasts a powerful and very extensive user community that can help you solve almost all platform-related issues. The system is free, but the final cost of projects launched with it will still depend upon multiple factors like the price of hosting/domain, number of plugins and the cost of template chosen.

3. How to Migrate from WordPress.com to WordPres.org – Step-by-Step Guide

Before you get started, there is one thing you should not overlook. While WordPress.com is a self-hosted website builder, WordPress.org is the CMS, which doesn’t come with integrated hosting and domain and that is one of the major concerns of beginners.

You need to find a reliable hosting provider, look through the plans, terms and subscriptions it offers and pick the one that comes up to you current website development and promotion needs. You will also need a domain name. If you have the one already, then you should just provide it, while registering your new hosting account. This will help preserve your search engine ranking and properly redirect traffic from the previous website, while completing the next steps, namely:

  1. Choose Hosting – The first step to undertake is to pick hosting and install WordPress on it. There are multiple hosting providers to choose from, which takes time and effort to explore all the available options and make the right choice based on your needs.
  2. Export the Data from WordPress.com – Sign in to your WordPress.com account and reach the dashboard of your website. Access the WP Admin section and click it to open the admin area. Then go to the “Tools” section and then to the “Export Page” area.
    When you click the button, you will be redirected to the new page, where you’ll be offered to pick either Free or Guided Transfer option. We recommend choosing the free option and then click the “Start Export” button. Right after that, you will get to the next screen, where you’ll have to select the data elements you wish to export. Choose the “All Content” variant, if you intend to export all content at once and then press the “Download Export File” button.
    If you do everything correctly, the export tool will offer you to download the XML file (which will contain all your images, posts, categories, tabs, web pages, comments, navigation menus and other fields) to your computer so that you could further import it to the new website.
  3. Install WordPress CMS – As soon as the XML file is ready for further import, it is high time to download and install the CMS as well as to connect your hosting account. Mind that some hosting providers (like Bluehost, for example) offer 1-click automated WordPress installation that takes a couple of minutes only and does not require your effort. Otherwise, you’ll have to install WordPress on your own, but this is also quite easy and fast – just follow the guidelines and tips the system generates, while you are completing the task.
  4. Import the Content – As soon as you are done with your CMS installation, you may proceed to the content import. To do that, you’ll need to access the admin section of the new website, reach the “Tools” section and then the “Import” page, where you will be offered to activate the “Install Now” button to run the importer tool.
    Upon the completion of the step, you will be redirected to the new screen, where you’ll have to upload the exported XML file you’ve downloaded to your computer in the second step. While completing the task, the system will offer you to create a new user or to assign the imported content to the current user. You will additionally be offered to import the old attached files. It’s a must to check this box to import your image files correctly.

As soon as you are done with your content transfer, you will have to invest effort and time into correct domain name migration to the new hosting.

4. How to Transfer Own Domain Name from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

Upon the completion of content import, you will need to transfer the domain name of your WordPress.com website to the new hosting you’ve chosen in the first step. The main reason to do that is to preserve your current search engine ranking and traffic. The systems will provide you with a set of guidelines that help simplify the process.

Generally, the process of domain name transfer encompasses two major stages: getting the domain away from WordPress and transferring it to the new hosting provider. We recommend using Bluehost as a reliable host for your WordPress website as the platform is officially recommended for this purpose. Are you ready to get started? Then follow the steps listed below:

  1. Prepare the domain for transfer. Mind that it’s not possible to move the domain to another registrar for 60 days since the registration date or during 60 days after a previous transfer (if any). This is an obligatory requirement provided by the ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). If everything is ok with that, make sure to change the name servers to the new host before initiating the transfer procedure. This will simplify the task.
  2. Login with the account associated with your domain. This is where you will be able to reach the Domain Management section to get ready for the transfer process. Select the site you wish to move (if you own several domains) and have a look at its settings, options and other related info.
  3. Select the Transfer Domain section to see the available options that let you move your domain to another registrar, site or user. Then pick the Transfer to Another Registrar button and read the message that tells you how to unlock the domain and how to deactivate Privacy Protection option. Then you should click the Update Settings and Continue button and proceed to the next page.
  4. Get ready to receive the confirmation email with a transfer code also known as EPP code or auth code. It usually takes around 15 minutes for the system to send the email. As soon as you get the code, save it along with the Authorization Info to further submit it to the new registrar.
  5. Now you are ready to transfer the domain name to the new registrar (Bluehost in our case). Login with your Bluehost Domain Manager and click the Transfer button in the submenu found at the top of the page.
  6. Enter the domain name you wish to transfer to the new account without www. And then click the Continue button. The system will check the current domain status to define, whether it is ready for transfer. If it is locked for some reason, the transfer won’t be approved.
  7. Provide the EPP code you’ve received from WordPress and click the Continue button. Bluehost has the two-step verification process, so, you will also have to enter the code received from the domain administrator. Proceed to the next step.
  8. Check if you need to change your name servers to Bluehost, set renewal options and add/update domain privacy. Finally, make sure to tick the box to agree to the Terms of Service and activate the Add to Cart button. Make the payment as required.
  9. Take your time to check the process status. It generally takes up to 5 days to complete the entire domain transfer procedure. Upon the end of this period, you will be able to check the domain transfer status manually. To do that, login to your Bluehost Domain Manager, click the Transfer button in the submenu at the top of the page and view the transfer progress in the Details section. Then click the link to get more information.

That’s it. As soon as you do that, your old WordPress.com website will be properly transferred to your Bluehost account. This will help maintain your website search engine ranking and traffic volume.

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5. Professional WordPress.com to WordPress.org Migration Services

As soon as you decide to migrate from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, the first and the most burning problem will be to decide on the best website transfer option. This is where you will face two popular alternatives: DIY website migration vs hiring a professional service. Both options have their pros and cons, realization and analysis of which make it possible to adopt the right solution in the long run.

While DIY website migration can be quite an intricate process, the use of specialized services will help complete the task with maximum efficacy and minimum problems. This is where you can use CMS2CMS – the automated website transfer service that will move all your website entities to the new platform in a smooth, fast and convenient way.

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Another option you will be satisfied with is hiring SiteBuilders.PRO experts. These are real industry professionals with years of niche expertise, who are competent in all the nuances of the migration process and are aware of all the details and challenges that may complicate the task for non-techies.

Both options work great for your WordPress.com to WordPress.org website migration. The choice should eventually depend upon your project parameters, result you wish to avail and your special preferences.

Bottom Line

Whatever your reasons to migrate from WordPress.com to WordPress.org are, you should carefully get ready for this responsible and time-taking process. If you have enough time, skills and knowledge, you can try moving your website independently, but this may take time and effort. There is also a risk to face problems on any stage of the migration process you won’t be able to solve on your own.

To prevent such situations, you can either make use of an automated website migration service like CMS2CMS or hire professional web developers from SiteBuilders.PRO, who will do that for you. Whatever solution you will go for, you will be satisfied with the result as both options are trusted, safe and effective. Hopefully, the tips and recommendations listed in the post will help you cope with the task in the best way possible and get the expected result.

And one more thing: don’t hurry to deactivate your WordPress.com account until you make sure your new website is running well and all the SEO positions are preserved as they are. Good luck and may your website migration experience be a success!

WordPress.com to WordPress.org Migration FAQ

Question: Is WordPress.com and WordPress.org the same company?

Answer: WordPress.com and WordPress.org are not related at all. The difference between the platforms is about the company hosting your website. While WordPress.com is a self-hosted system, offering integrated hosting by default, WordPress.org lets you pick the hosting provider based on your needs.

Question: Can I use WordPress without a host?

Answer: To launch a website with WordPress.org, you need to pick a reliable hosting provider. Unlike WordPress.com, which is a website builder that offers integrated hosting right from the start, the CMS doesn’t provide such an option. It’s up to you to choose a host and a package that meets your needs most.

Question: What is the best hosting for WordPress?

Answer: There are many trusted hosting providers you can pick for your WordPress website out there. The most reliable, feature-laden and affordable of them is Bluehost. The company is regarded as an official WordPress hosting recommended for WordPress. It offers various types of hosting options, multiple features and reasonably-priced plans, the cost of which starts from $3.95/mo only.

Question: Does Bluehost use WordPress.com or WordPress.org?

Answer: Bluehost is an officially recommended host for WordPress.org websites. It seamlessly integrates with your project, providing myriads of advantages, cost-effective subscriptions and trusted website hosting options.


About the Author

I'm Howard Steele, the founder and editor-in-chief of this website. With over 10 years of web building I know how complicated and tiresome this task can be for a non-IT person. Can’t decide which service to choose? Feel free to ask me for advice. Just describe your website needs, and I’ll gladly help you.

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