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How to Move Your Content From WordPress.com to WordPress.org (Copy and Paste Not Needed)

Moving content from WordPress.com to WordPress.org for a blogger can sometimes seem like an overwhelming task.  It’s a question I see asked over and over again in Facebook groups and when I’m with my blogger friends, “How do I move my content over to WordPress?”  This WordPress Resources for Bloggers post is going to show you how to do just that today!

Even if you have a website built on another platform and you want to move your blog to WordPress.org, at some point in your planning process, you are going to have to figure out how to get everything over to WordPress.  I’m going to show you how to move your content from WordPress.com to your new WordPress.org website. Even if your blog is built on a different platform like Blogger, you can also use this method too.

How you should not move your content from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

Before I show you how to move your content, I’m going to tell you how NOT to move your content.

When I first started with WordPress back in 2007, I didn’t know there were 2 versions until AFTER I’d almost built the entire website on the WordPress.com version.  I wanted to cry!

Imagine learning a language so you could visit a country, only to learn the language you learned isn’t the right one.  I had a free website built on WordPress.com only 2 months later tI found out there was another version, WordPress.org (self-hosted version).

You know I was fit to be tied (that’s Texas for frustrated and pissed off)! Of course, all that content had to be moved over so how was I going to get it over to the new site? Because I knew so much about WordPress (That is such a sarcastic statement!  Who am I kidding?  I didn’t have a clue!)  I used good ‘ole copy and paste!  Let me tell you right now.  This is NOT what you want to do! Please don’t do that.  Save yourself a TON of clicks and headache.

By the time I learned there was another better version, I had almost 30 blog posts.  Yep, I know you feel sorry for me because I literally copied and pasted every.  single. post. I shudder even now after all these years thinking about it.

Now that I’ve told you what NOT to do, here’s what you should do.

How to move your content from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

The first thing you want to do is to grab all of your content from your WordPress.com site.  I recommend going through your website and doing a little clean up first.  Remove all of the pages, posts, media, etc., you don’t need or don’t want to use.  This will keep you from transferring any information you just don’t need.  There’s no point in carrying over unnecessary information, right?

Step #1

Go to your WordPress.com blog and log in.  

Log into WordPress.com blog

Step #2

Now it’s time to grab your content.  Head on over to Tools and choose Export.

Step #3

You will arrive at the Export page and are given 2 options; one that you can export yourself, which is free and a paid options where WordPress will transfer the information to your self-hosted WordPress site for a fee of ($129, at the time of this post).

Step #4

You guessed right, we’re choosing the free option!  Click on start export.  An XML file will be created for you to download and import into your new website.

Step #5

WordPress is then going to ask you what content you want to export.  See why I told you to clean up first?  This way you’ll only bring over the content you want.  I’m going to bring over all of my content.

Step #6

Click on Download export file.

Step #7

All of your content will be exported to one file.  Once you have your file, it’s time to head on over to your new self-hosted WordPress website so you can add your content!

Step #8

Log into your self-hosted WordPress website.

Step #9

Go to tools but this time, you’re going to choose import.

Step #10

You’ll arrive at the import screen which provides a list of sites you can import your content from.  Choose WordPress.

Step #11

You will need to install the WordPress Importer plugin on your website.  Click on Install Now.

Step #12

As WordPress is installing the plugin, you will have to choose Activate Plugin & Run Importer.

Step #13

We’re almost there!  You will arrive at the Import WordPress page.  Remember that XML file you exported from your WordPress.com website?  It’s time to use it.  You choose that file from your computer (or wherever you stored it).  Once you have chosen the file, you will click on Upload file and import.

Step #14

Whether you had once author on your website or 10, WordPress is going to ask you who you which author you want to assign the content being imported to.  If you want to assign it to someone who isn’t an author on your self-hosted WordPress website, you can go ahead and create a new user on this page.  If the author is already added, you can choose the user from the dropdown.  You also want to check download and import file attachments.  Next, click Submit.
Step #15

Guess what?  You’re done!  Your content has been imported AND you didn’t even have to do one darn copy and paste!  Don’t forget to update the passwords and roles of the imported users.

Go to your blog to make sure things look okay and imported properly.  Make adjustments where needed!

Need more help with your WordPress blog?  Sign up for the Declutter and Organize Your Blog E-course and get access to the Bloggers Resource Printables Library below this post.

See ya later!

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23 Comments… add one
  • Lauren 07/12/2017, 12:08 PM

    This situation just happened to my friend, she had no idea there were two different Wordpress sites! But I had showed her how easy it was to actually switch platforms in Wordpress and the situation was resolved 🙂

    • Lynn 07/12/2017, 3:55 PM

      You’re a great friend, Lauren! Glad the two of you were able to get things taken care of for her.

  • Jackie 07/12/2017, 12:12 PM

    Love this great writing !!! Thanks for sharing lots of bloggers will benefit . I

    • Lynn 07/12/2017, 3:55 PM

      Thanks, Jackie!

  • Hannah @ The Northern Writes 07/12/2017, 12:16 PM

    that makes it sounds so much easier than I thought it would be!

    I don’t see why all bloggers don’t do this

    Hannah @ The Northern Writes | http://www.thenorthernwrites.co.uk

    • Lynn 07/12/2017, 3:55 PM

      Yes, it looks much scarier than it really is!

  • Vanessa @ {nifty thrifty things} 07/12/2017, 2:56 PM

    I switched from blogspot to wordpress.org a few years ago and it was such a scary process. A good guide is crucial and I’m sure this will be of great help to a lot of people unsure how to do it. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!
    XO, Vanessa

    • Lynn 07/12/2017, 3:49 PM

      Thanks, Vanessa! I’m glad everything went well!

  • Mae 07/12/2017, 10:38 PM

    Great step-by-step tutorial! I use Squarespace and love it so I don’t think I’m moving to Wordpress soon, but I know a lot of people like it. Thanks for sharing.

    Mae | http://www.thegospelofbeauty.org

    • Lynn 07/13/2017, 12:06 PM

      Thanks, Mae!

  • Rachel Ritlop 07/12/2017, 11:05 PM

    Really great post! Super helpful!

    • Lynn 07/13/2017, 12:07 PM

      Thanks, Rachel!

  • Ashley Battle 07/13/2017, 1:13 AM

    This is super detailed, thanks for sharing!

    • Lynn 07/13/2017, 12:07 PM

      Thanks, Ashley!

  • Jenn 07/13/2017, 8:53 AM

    This is really going to be helpful to people. I started with my .org and am thankful since I have heard some horror stories about moving their site.

    • Lynn 07/13/2017, 12:06 PM

      Yes, I wish I would have started with .org! 🙂

  • Krysten 07/13/2017, 10:15 AM

    I really needed this guide. I have been thinking of moving over sometime soon! Thank you!

    • Lynn 07/13/2017, 12:06 PM

      You’re welcome, Krysten. Good luck!

  • Stacy 07/13/2017, 6:31 PM

    I didn’t know this. Thanks!

  • Neelie 07/14/2017, 7:08 PM

    This is such a useful post Lynn. I’ve been thinking about whether or not to move to wordpress.org for awhile now (mainly because of the non-possibility to install plugins with wordpress.com), but haven’t made my mind up yet. Like you I didn’t know there was a .com and a .org version and by now I have over 100 posts 🙁 Anyhow, great post and thanks for sharing!

    • Lynn 07/17/2017, 11:52 AM

      Thanks, Neelie! Yes, once I found out about plugins, I was like, “I have to move!” 🙂

  • Gigi Kiersten 07/14/2017, 7:34 PM

    Thank you for writing this post! I currently a have an author’s blog on WordPress that I have been thinking about moving to its own self-hosted site. I totally bookmark and share this post.

    • Lynn 07/17/2017, 11:51 AM

      Thank you, Gigi! Glad it helped!

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