Transferring WordPress to Self Hosted WordPress.org – My Experience and Tips
I have been thinking about transferring my WordPress blog over to a self hosted WordPress.org blog for quite some time now. I first started thinking about it last year. At this point, I had been posting on my blog for 3 years. When I first started my blog I didn’t know how much I would enjoy it, so after 3 years of blogging I decided I wanted to take my blog to the next step. I purchased the personal plan on WordPress and purchased my own domain. I purchased a plan because I needed more storage on my blog – I post a lot of photos in my content and had taken up all of the space on my blog. I took my blog to the next step – created my own logo, had my own domain and started thinking more about my content.
Shortly after this I received an email from a company asking if they could work with me and design a theme for me. They sent the theme over and it looked amazing and I was so excited to use it. So when they tried to set this theme up, the company emailed to say they couldn’t apply the theme as I did not have a self hosted WordPress blog. I had never even heard the term ‘self hosted’ I had no idea what this meant. I just thought WordPress was.. WordPress? So they sent me some informative links on how to transfer over to self hosted blog. I also did my own research and soon realised that going self hosted had a lot to offer. I had just purchased the plan on WordPress and to transfer to a self hosted blog meant I would need to spend more money as I would need to use a web hosting service and obviously these services do not come cheap. It also seemed like a completely long winded and daunting task so I decided to stick with my WordPress plan.
Fast forward a year – My WordPress plan was coming up to renewal. I had used up so much space, that the Personal plan wouldn’t benefit me for much longer. So I looked at the next plan up – the business plan which was seemed a lot of money to me. So I had a light bulb moment, I decided to look into transferring my blog over to WordPress.org (Which is the self hosted version) and I honestly couldn’t even figure out how to download WordPress.org nevermind transfer my whole blog over to it! So in this post I will be sharing some of my tips, because I wish someone would have made it simple for me when I was looking into self hosting.
Step 1 – Purchasing a Web Hosting Service
First you will need to look at a web hosting service. This is the very first thing you will need to do. I did some reasearch into this and honestly some of the quotes were coming up extremely expensive. One was £200+ and I didn’t want to pay annually which is usually the only option for web hosting services, however I finally came across a service that worked for me. I found a service where I could pay monthly and the price of the packages were extremely affordable. They also had special offers, where you only have to pay £1 for the first year and the domain is free for the first 12 months.
Click here to view these packages.
So already transferring over to self hosted blog was cheaper and more convenient in terms of payments for me.
Once you’ve purchased your package and set this up you should automatically be able to access WordPress.org through the IONOS website without downloading any software, making the transfer extremely convenient.
Step 2 – Transferring your domain
If you haven’t yet purchased a domain you can set one up during the signing up process. (The first year is free with IONOS) If you already have a domain which you would like to transfer over, it’s really easy to do this. You will need to following these steps –
Click here to view how to start the domain transfer process.
Click here to view how to finalise the domain transfer process on Ionos.
(If you have decided not to use Ionos, you can Google how to transfer your domain for whatever web hosting service you have chosen)
Once you have transferred your domain over, it can take some time to complete the transferring process and you may receive an error message when you type in your domain. Do not panic (like I did) this will just take some time to show properly! Please give this 24 – 48 hours.
Step 3 – Importing your content over
This step took me the longest, but mainly because I wasn’t doing it properly so I want to point this step out to prevent you from making the same mistake.
On WordPress you have to export your content – if you have a lot of content / posts to import over, do this in steps and export a few months worth of data at a time. This is the mistake I was making. I was importing everything at once and when I came to import this over to my self hosted blog, only 3 of my posts were appearing. The file was too large for my self hosted blog to process. I spent days feeling confused and googling things to make sense of the situation, when really all I needed to do was break this down to make the files smaller.
Click here to see instructions on exporting.
Once all of your files have downloaded you will need to extract them, as they download as ZIP files. You will then import this to your self hosted WordPress.
First go to tools and select ‘import.’
Then install and run the WordPress importer.
Select the files you have downloaded and extracted.
Select your name as the author, make sure to tick the ‘Download and import file attachments’ at the bottom and select ‘Save.’
This should take a few moments but your content will appear on your new blog.
Important note – Featured images
One thing I will mention is all of my featured images disappeared! This was a long process to fix considering I have 100+ posts, however I downloaded a Plugin called ‘Quick Featured Images’ which helped speed up the process. With this Plugin you can go to ‘posts’ and an uploader will appear at the side of your posts. This saves so much time as opposed to going into each post and editing the featured images.
Step 4 – Install the Jetpack plugin
Once all your content and posts have been transferred over sucessfully you can install the Jetpack plugin which will give you the same features of WordPress. (Likes, Subscribers, Stats) This plugin will also let you access the WordPress app to view your reader and receive notifications like you would with WordPress. It’s basically like just using WordPress but with all the added benefits of having a self hosted blog.
Step 5 – Transfer your followers over
The final step is to transfer your followers over. This was the easiest step and took 5 minutes, if that!
Click here to view a step by step guide.
Once your followers have been moved over, your new self hosted blog is good to go! You can either delete your old blog or make it private. It’s completely up to you. You can now start to enjoy the benefits of a self hosted blog!
Important reminder ** – You will not be able to transfer your existing likes on your blog posts or existing stats. This will reset when you move over to your self hosted blog.
Self hosted benefits
I’m already starting to see the benefits of transferring over to a self hosted blog. You have much more control over your blog, how you want it to look, if you want to use ads and you can install plugins to really spruce up your blog. This also worked out a lot cheaper and more convenient for me in terms of payment by transferring to a self hosted blog.
Another benefit for me is more storage as I do post a lot of photos with my content.
The first obvious benefit will be how your overall blog looks. You have a wider variety of themes and have more flexibility with CSS and HTML. You can also install plugins for different widgets, which can really spruce your blog up.
This is my blog before (WordPress) –
My blog after (Self hosted) –
If you have been thinking about transferring over to a self hosted WordPress I would highly recommend it. It may seem like a long and daunting task however it is worth it and you will instantly see the benefits.
If you’re new blogging, I would recommend sticking with WordPress for a while just to get the feel for blogging. WordPress is a lot more user friendly. WordPress makes starting a blog an easy process, without over complicating things and they do offer some great packages. When you move over to WordPress.org there are a lot more settings and things to customise which can be confusing at first and its does take some getting used to.
If you have any questions please just leave me a comment and I will be more than happy to help and if you found this post useful remember to give it a like.
I hope you like my new, shiny, self hosted blog and I’ll see you all on the next post.