This page provides a brief introduction to WordPress.com and WordPress.org (self hosted) options for hosting a website. Then below instructions are provided for migrating from WordPress.com hosting to WordPress.org with a self-hosting provider.
Some websites are anticipated to be well served, indefinitely, by the WordPress.com hosting package that costs $18 per year. The advantages of WordPress.com are beyond the low cost. Site security, load balancing, ongoing updates, integrated plug-ins, and social integration are all managed by a team of web specialists. There are some professional, elegant, and sophisticated themes available as well for a one-time purchase.
Those needing more complex customization and content, may want to choose a WordPress.org (self hosted) solution and go with a company like BlueHost for their WordPress website.
If you’re paying for the extra WordPress.com add-ons such as no ads, customization, and extra site storage. The cost can easily be close to $100 per year for WordPress.com hosting.
WordPress.com does not allow affiliate advertising links such as Google AdSense. For high traffic sites, this means you’re losing out on a lot of potential income.
If you plan on having multiple websites, then a self-hosted solution will save you a lot of money.
However, keep in mind that with a self-hosted solution, you’re responsible for keeping everything updated and secure.
If you already have a WordPress.com website and need to switch to a WordPress.org self-hosted solution, the transition isn’t too difficult. WordPress.com offers a guided transfer service. For $129, this is what you get:
“One of our Happiness Engineers will transfer your site to a self-hosted WordPress.org installation with one of our partners. They will transfer over all your content, install and configure plugins to support features you have used on WordPress.com, switch your domain(s) over, and provide support on your new WordPress.org install for a two-week period.”
That’s actually quite a bit of work for $129. You can find this option in your Dashboard under Store at the bottom of the page.
If you’re feeling adventurous, follow the guidelines below for a DIY transfer. These are just the general steps. Be sure to read these instructions through all the way before beginning the process.
- For the least stressful experience, and minimal downtime, you may want to go ahead and signup with BlueHost.com by choosing a hosting package and domain name that’s a variant of your existing site. For example, choose the .net or .org extension for your existing website name. This lets you get the new site going, and import all the old site data prior to officially flipping the switch and moving to the new host.
- If possible, you’ll want to configure your new site to have the same theme as your old site. This may not be possible, in which case the effort you put into header images and other customizations won’t transfer over.
- Find equivalent plug-ins for whatever you were using on your old site.
- Install and enable the JetPack plug-in, and connect it to your WordPress.com user account. Stay logged into WordPress.com during the process, and it’s fairly automatic. This lets you have some of the same features and functionality from the WordPress.com hosting.
- Read the basic instructions on how to setup a WordPress.org self-hosted site (which includes some of what’s written here).
- In brief, you’ll want to go to your old site, from the Dashboard, choose Tools > Export, and export all your WordPress.com content.
- Then on your new site, go to Dashboard > Tools > Import.
- The system will want to have an author name for the imported posts. You may want to create the author name (user) first before importing.
- Delete any existing pages and posts on the new site, since imported pages and posts may conflict with these.