After 3 years of blogging, I decided to shift from my self-hosted .com site to a free wordpress only site.
I had no issues with my hosting provider (Tigertech), but while it was nice to own my domain name, it has been money down the drain. Because I’m not doing anything commercially, there’s no return and during my 3 years of blogging I’ve seen plenty of successful writers with wordpress-only blogs. It seemed the sensible thing to do.
However. Despite it being a fairly painless process due to the helpful instructions I found online, it wasn’t completely obvious.
This was mainly, I think, due to certain assumptions that we actually have a clue as to what we’re doing!
So, for anyone out there in similar circumstances, here are my instructions on how to switch from self-hosted to wordpress-only – for dummies!
But before you do anything, don’t forget to back up a copy of your blog.
Done that? Ok, then let’s continue.
The thing that confused me the most was the instruction that you need a wordpress.com account first. Some comments seemed to imply that if you’re already self-hosted then you’ll have a .org rather than a .com account.
Well, for whatever reason I had a .com account. Had I done something wrong at some point? Had things changed since I set things up? Was this going to cause me any problems? Had I read this wrong?
Don’t sweat it. I never did find a definitive answer to this and it hasn’t caused me any problems. If you already have one, continue to use it. If not, create one.
OK, so the next bit really is as straightforward as it seems, even though I hesitated on pressing the button for a long time because I wasn’t sure what the consequences would be.
Calm down. Nothing explodes. Nothing gets deleted.
On your wordpress dashboard menu, select Tools -> Export.
Then click Download. This will copy the contents of your blog into a file on your computer.
Just make sure you know where to find it!
The next bit is where I got confused.
You see, when you set up a wordpress blog, your default is a wp domain name. When you opt to buy your own domain then your blog gets pointed to the new name instead.
For some reason I’d assumed that the wp version of my domain name existed all along in the background. (It didn’t, it was an ‘either/or’ option).
So, when I clicked Tools -> Import, it just copied it back into my existing blog and I ended up with a duplicate menu.
Eventually it dawned on me that I had to go through the original process of setting up a blog.
[on your WP menu, select My Sites -> switch site -> add new wordpress
This takes you through a 5-step process to set up a blog. Don’t worry about what theme to select, any old one will do as you’re about to import your old one. The important thing to do is when you choose the name, select the example.wordpress.com free option.
Ta-da! There is your new free, virgin blog.]
Now, go into the wp menu on your new site.
Select WP admin -> Tools -> Import
Then select ‘wordpress‘ from the given list.
Click Browse to select the file that you just downloaded onto your computer from your old site.
Click Upload file and import.
And wait for the magic to happen.
I received a message saying that it could take up to 24 hours, but the process was almost instantaneous.
I then spent a while faffing around because although my blog content was in place, I had to re-create my menus (they were in the appearance -> menus section, I just had to select and position them).
I also had to set up the widgets on my side bar. But again this was straightforward – especially as I still had my old site to refer to.
And that’s it. Job done – or nearly…
You need to let people know where to find you!
I put up a final post on my old site with details of my new blog address. Then I updated all the links to my site such as Twitter, Facebook and any other sites holding a link.
Then, only when I was happy with all that, did I pull the plug on my Tigertech account. Don’t do that until you’re sure you don’t need anything from your old site. I can’t speak for other hosting providers, but with Tigertech, the cancellation was instantaneous.
So. Here I am; new premises.
Welcome. Settle in, look around. Let’s stick the kettle on and get comfy!