I Took The Plunge! Moving from WordPress.com to a Self-Hosted Site

After almost a year (my blogiversary is soon approaching!) of blogging over at WordPress.com I decided to take the plunge to a self-hosted site!  If you’ve been floating around with the idea as well, I recommend you read further and hopefully get a clearer understanding of the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.  When I was researching the pros and cons, it left me with more questions than answers, so I’m hoping to clarify some of that for you here.  I’m still tweaking a few things on my site, and learning a whole lot along the way, but excited to share it all with you.

I’ll start by saying that I am a computer geek by nature, and was able to do several customizations on my own when I was on .com.  When you decide to move your blog over to .org, you have the option of doing it yourself, or paying a ‘Happiness Engineer’ to take care of the transfer for you.  I have friends who took care of the transfer on their own and it is really quite simple, but I lack one thing, and that is time, so I opted for a Guided Transfer.  If you follow suit, you will be contacted via email and advised of a 24 hour period for when the transfer will take place.  During that time, your site does not go down, but you are asked not to make any changes to your site so that the transfer goes smoothly.  My transfer went very smoothly, and all my posts, photos, comments, stats, readers came along with me.  As well, WordPress provides additional support for a two-week period after the transfer is completed.  So far, the only hiccup I had was my shiny new website was taking quite long to load.  After some research, my Happiness Engineer informed me that the hundreds of photos I have in my media library were quite huge and this was slowing everything down.  Well, friends, if you aren’t resizing your photos before loading them to your site, beware – eventually you will either run out of space, or slow things down tremendously.  Luckily, (yay for plugins), I managed to install the Smush-It plugin and resize my entire already existing library.  This helped a lot!  For future, I will resize my photos before uploading them, and if you aren’t already, please join me in doing so. 🙂
Regardless of the route you choose (doing the transfer yourself or using a Guided Transfer) in order for it to go smoothly and in a timely manner, you must be prepared.

  1. Begin by purchasing a domain name or redirecting your name servers if you already own your domain.  I used GoDaddy to purchase my domain name a while back, so I just redirected the nameservers to my new web host, Blue Host.  This is very simple to do and if you have more questions on this, please ask!

  2. Choose a Web Host.  As mentioned above, I chose Blue Host, as it was recommended as a secure and stable host by WordPress and after researching and comparing them to others, I felt comfortable with their service and cost, and decided they were the best bet.

  3. At this point you are ready for the transfer.  You can either get your hands dirty and follow some easy step by step guides, I like this one from WordPress, and also these simple tips from my blogging buddy Laura or you can purchase the Guided Transfer and let a Happiness Engineer take care of it for you.  If you are prepared, either process will only take a few hours to complete!

  4.  We obviously want to make sure all our readers are moved along with us, and with a Guided Transfer, they take care of moving your subscribers and readers.  If you transfer your blog on your own, simply email WordPress and request a transfer of your subscriptions and they will take care of that for you.  Along with this, I also wanted to make sure all my favourite blogs which I follow would still be accessible to me.  Wordpress.org does not have a Reader, but I will continue to have access to my WordPress.com account, and therefore to my reader as well!

  5.  You have many more choices for themes in WordPress.org, and although I had a Guided Transfer, they cannot move Premium Themes over from WordPress.com.  So, basically I switched my blog to a regular (free) theme on WordPress.com right before the transfer and then when the transfer was complete, I installed my own theme.  Again, a very simple process which I can happily walk you through if you have any questions!

At this point, you are done!  But the million dollar question is, do you stay on WordPress.com or do you move to WordPress.org?

WordPress.com is a super platform to start your blog.  You don’t need to worry about backing up your content, finding a host, performing regular maintenance and keeping hackers away.  In exchange for the free hosting, your site will be laden with restrictions and advertising. You can pay yearly in order to have these removed. Or, you can commit the time to maintain your own site.  Along with that comes complete control.   You can install plugins to increase the functionality of your site.  You can eliminate ads completely, or if you are looking to monetize your site, you can join affiliate networks of your choice, for example, Google AdSense.

For me, I was starting to feel restricted with things I really wanted to offer on Love and Lentils.  For example, when hosting a giveaway, you cannot install a simple plugin to manage the entries (such as Rafflecopter) on WordPress.com.  Also, simple great tools like a ‘Pin It’ button from Pinterest was not possible on .com.  There are a lot more plugins which I wanted, and the only way to have that control and freedom was to move on over!

I hope this answers some of your curiosities about taking the plunge and if you already have moved to a self-hosted site, I’d love to hear about your experience!

How are you liking WordPress.org?

And please do share;

Are you having any technical difficulties with seeing Love and Lentils posts in your reader or email subscriptions?

Thank you all for your continued support and ever-growing sense of community.

Sophia x

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Comments

  1. This is so useful, thank you so much, Sophia. I’ve seen a few bloggers make the change and have wondered about it. Now to make that ultimate decision….?!

    • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

      Hi Elaine! Yes, it’s a big decision for sure! Still getting used to the ins and outs! 🙂
      Please let me know if you saw this post in your WordPress Reader – just want to make sure no one is having issues with that!
      Sophia 🙂

      • Sorry, only just seen your reply, I don’t get notifications of responses to any comments I leave on your site, or the other bloggers who are now self hosting, now so I need to check back manually. It did come up on the reader x

      • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

        Hi Elaine! I found out it’s because on self-hosted sites, when you comment you should see an option below your comment which you need to check off – it says something like ‘Get email notifications for follow up comments’. I’m pretty sure you need to do it every time you leave a comment on a post.
        Thanks for your feedback!
        Sophia 🙂

  2. Great post Sophia! It was always my intention to start on .com and if I really got into the blogging thing (which I did!), eventually move over to get more freedom with my blog. I’m not quite ready to do the switch yet, but I will soon and this post simplifies a lot of it for me, so thanks! 🙂

    • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

      Thank you so much, Caeli! Feel free to get in touch with me when you make the switch – I’d be happy to help!
      Caeli can you please let me know if you saw this post in your WordPress Reader? Just want to make sure no one is having issues with that.
      Thanks! Sophia 🙂

      • Hey Sophia, I might just take you up on that! As much as I would love to be, I’m not such a tech-wiz, which is probably why I haven’t done it yet!

        No I didn’t, I accessed it from Bloglovin, as I’ve found WordPress Reader to be very unreliable in displaying all posts from the blogs I follow – I was missing A LOT of posts.

        HOWEVER, I just looked up my reader and your post was in there, so it’s definitely still coming across after the switch X

      • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

        Hi Caeli! I agree, there were lots of posts I would miss on my Reader as well. Thanks for your feedback, and yes, get in touch when you make the move if you need to! 🙂

  3. Great post! I’m glad you made the switch too and it seems like it’s going very well! Let me know if people have trouble following you still (or the solutions you find) as I know a few .com readers do and I don’t know how to fix that!

    • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

      Hi Laura! Thanks so much for your great post which was also very insightful.
      So far I don’t think I’m having issues with that, but I’m asking around to make sure my readers are still seeing my post in their WordPress.com Readers.
      My ‘Happiness Engineer’ told me he doesn’t really have a way to check if it’s appearing in the reader, but apparently whatever way your followers were following you before will remain the same when you make the switch, ie, following through the Reader or subscribing by email.
      You did contact them about moving over your subscribers with you, right?

  4. You clever girl you! xo

    • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

      Thank you my dear! xo
      Did you see the post in your reader, Poppy? Just want to make sure no one is experiencing any issues with that!

  5. Hi, love your website! Only feedback is that I don’t seem to be able to like or comment on your post in the WordPress reader – is that normal?

    • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

      Hello! Thanks for the kind words. 🙂
      Just to clarify, when you saw the post in your reader, did you click on the post to ‘open it up’ and bring you to the full post? Because once you’re there, you should be able to like or comment. I know when I was on WordPress.com I was able to click like or comment right from the reader, but yes, now that is not an available feature on wordpress.org.
      Your feedback is really helpful, thanks!
      Sophia 🙂

      • Hi, yes I had to open up the full post on a new page in Safari and log into WordPress again to like and comment – hope that helps!

      • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

        Thanks so much for your feedback – it helps a ton! 🙂

  6. This is a great post. I’ve been contemplating this for a long time. I’m just so darn ignorant. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

      Hello Amanda! I’m glad you liked the post – please feel free to get in touch if you do decide to make the move and have some questions!
      Thanks for stopping by,
      Sophia

  7. Oh I am so glad you posted this I have been thinking about doing it for a while now but was hesitant thank you! I will be bookmarking this to help me when I finally get around to mine:)

    • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

      Hello Kathleen! I’m so glad to be able to help. Do get in touch if you have any questions when you also take the plunge!
      Sophia 🙂

  8. Great post, Sophia! I made the switch a couple of weeks ago (my husband doing the dirty work of the actual switch) but hadn’t done enough research and was overwhelmed and unprepared. I switched back (ha). I plan on making the switch again soon, but I will be more prepared next time. This was super helpful.
    Johanna

    • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

      Thanks, Johanna! Yes, I totally understand it can be overwhelming at first if you’re not really well prepared for it! I hope this post can help you make the switch again. Best of luck!
      Also, can you please let me know if you saw this post in your wordpress.com reader? Just want to make sure none of my readers are experiencing any issues with seeing my posts. Thanks a bunch!
      Sophia

  9. You (and Laura) have completely inspired me. I have been kicking around the idea of moving off of wordpress.com for a while – for the same reasons you stated: rafflecopter, pinterest buttons, etc. But I’ve been so scared to do it. I hope to at some point have more time to devote and then to try and do it myself as well… I might be sending a note of “help!” in a few months. 🙂

    • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

      I’m so glad to have inspired you to take the plunge. 🙂 Please, feel free to get in touch when you make the move – I am really happy to help!
      Sophia 🙂

  10. Woohoo! Congrats on making the move Sophia! As you know I jumped over to .org a couple of months ago. I’m so happy I did and that I didn’t wait too long.

    • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

      Thanks, Emma! I’m really liking the transition as well!

  11. Very informative Sophia! So many things to think about when you have a blog that sometimes my head spins. 🙂

    • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

      Thanks Celeste! I hear you – just the time alone it takes to manage a blog sure surprised me!
      Sophia 🙂

  12. I am thinking of moving my blog to .com soon! Will be bothering you in future :). Great info Sophia:).

    • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

      For sure! Let me know when you do- I’d be happy to help.

  13. I’ve done this before, would you believe ? – and on my own. But when I did (we’re talking somewhere around two years ago), it wasn’t possible to bring followers or get comments with gravatars: in fact, it was a totally professional look. I did it only because if one wanted one’s own domain, that’s what had to be done. It took me a weekend to do and, because my site was nowhere near the size of yours, it was fine. But it was living in a totally different world, and I didn’t enjoy it at all. I closed down my site fairly shortly thereafter.
    Now I don’t think there’s any point in doing it unless one has merchandise and needs the infrastructure to support selling. I do understand that Automattic gives you guys its best shot at all times, seeing as how you pay them more money; but I can’t see any benefit for a mere whimsical blogger like me in going to .org …

    • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

      Hello Margaret. That’s great that you did it alone, and gave it a try! It’s true, it’s not for everyone. I had several reasons to make the switch which were not related to selling merchandise, but that’s me!

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