Are you a newbie to the blogging world and considering WordPress? Or perhaps you’re a longtime WordPress.com user looking for more control over your blog. If so, you’re probably wondering what the difference is between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, and what it means to you.
To put things as simple as possible, WordPress.com is a blog-hosting service that lets users create a free blog on a WordPress.com sub-domain. The package available for download at WordPress.org is essentially the software behind WordPress.com. Using this software, you can set up your own website or blog on your own server.
WordPress.com is generally better for those who want a quick and simple blog with little setup and no investment. Unfortunately, blogs hosted here may eventually outgrow the service, as WordPress.com does not allow users FTP access, monetization options or the ability to modify core files and templates. There’s also the domain name issue (although a custom domain name is possible at WordPress.com for an annual fee). If you’re serious about blogging, you’re better off purchasing a hosting package and hosting the blog on its own domain, rather than one on WordPress.com.
Moving from WordPress.com to a Self-Hosted WordPress Installation
The first step to moving from WordPress.com to a self-hosted installation of WordPress is making sure you have the software installed on your server. Many Web hosts offer “one-click” installs of WordPress and other software. Browse through your hosting dashboard or contact your host directly for more information. If your host doesn’t offer such a script, you can easily install WordPress manually.
Download the latest version of WordPress from WordPress.org. Unzip the package then upload the contents of the WordPress folder to the desired server directory using an FTP client. While this package is uploading, sign in to your hosting control panel and create a new database. Write down the database details, such as the name, username, password and host name.
When the package finishes uploading, point your browser to the following URL: [domain-name]/wp-admin/install.php
Here you’ll be prompted to create a configuration file:
After creating the file, input the database details and set up a user account to finish the process:
Because WordPress.com uses the same file format self-hosted WordPress sites use, transferring your posts and images is a simple process.
Sign in to your WordPress.com dashboard and click on the sidebar “Tools” menu, and then click on “Export.” Check the “All Content” selection and click “Download Export File” to download the XML file containing your WordPress blog data.
Warning: Keep your WordPress.com blog active until you’ve successfully imported the data. If you don’t, you may not be able to import your file attachments, such as photos and videos.
Now that you’ve downloaded the data file, sign in to your self-hosted WordPress admin panel. Click on the “Tools” sidebar link, and then click on “Import.” Select the WordPress format and activate the importer to continue.
Click on “Choose File” to select your data file, and then click on “Upload File and Import.”
Now you’ll choose an author to assign posts to and choose whether or not to import your file attachments. If you want to import your photos, videos and other attachments, check the box next to “Import File Attachments.”
Click “Submit” to finish the process. The data from your WordPress.com blog is now transferred to your self-hosted WordPress blog.
Moving from Blogger to a Self-Hosted WordPress Installation
Blogger is a service similar to WordPress.com, although it does allow you to monetize your blog through Google Adsense. If you’re ready to move on from Blogger, you can use the export feature to easily transfer your content to a self-hosted WordPress installation.
It’s not necessary to download your content from Blogger — WordPress can connect to your Blogger account and download the content automatically.
Sign in to your self-hosted WordPress site. Click on “Tools>Import>Blogger.” Install and activate the Blogger importer. Click on “Authorize,” and then click “Grant Access.” You’ll now be directed to the following screen:
Click on “Continue” to import the content from Blogger. Unfortunately, you’re images will not be imported from Blogger. If you want to retain your images, you’ll need to download each image then manually add it to the imported post in WordPress. You can also try the Blogger Image Import plugin, available in the WordPress plugin repository. It appears to work correctly on the latest version of WordPress, but has not been updated in a few years. Use it with caution.
Moving from TypePad to a Self-Hosted WordPress Installation
TypePad is a service similar to WordPress, except the company charges a monthly fee for Typepad.com hosted blogs. To make the switch from TypePad to WordPress, sign in to your TypePad dashboard and click on “Blogs>Settings>Import/Export,” and then click on “Export.” After TypePad generates the export file, click on “Download.”
Sign in to your WordPress panel and click on “Tools>Import>Movable Type or TypePad.” Activate the TypePad importer, and then upload your import file. Alternatively, you can rename the import file mt-export.txt and add it to the /wp-content folder via FTP.
As with Blogger, you’ll be left to import your files and images manually.
Dealing with Redirection Issues
Importing your content from WordPress.com, Blogger or TypePad isn’t the most difficult part about moving your blog. If your blog receives a fair amount of traffic, and you’ve build up your Google PageRank, the issue that causes the most grief relates to content redirection.
You not only want your old blog URL to redirect to your new URL, but you want your old posts to redirect to the new posts.
Because WordPress.com does not allow FTP access or the editing of server files, generating a traditional 301 permanent redirect is impossible.
WordPress.com does, however, offer a Site Redirect upgrade option through the Store panel in the admin dashboard. This inexpensive package lets you redirect your old blog to your new blog with ease. The WordPress team even takes care of individual post redirection.
Users of TypePad and Blogger will have an even more difficult time. Your best bet is to file a site change of address on the old blog through Google Webmaster Tools and make sure Google has the sitemap URL for your new self-hosted WordPress blog.