Moving to self-hosted WordPress is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I learnt what self-hosted WordPress was – and I finally got around to it. I probably spent too much time on my laptop during the process but I’m so pleased with the results.
The process sounds so much more complicated than what it is but I promise you that it’s not. Saying that, you will stress a little and have a shout at your laptop, but that’s normal! There isn’t anything in process that’s difficult to get around once you’ve highlighted the problem.
1. Choose a hosting provider and domain
Before you get started you need to choose where you’re going to purchase your hosting and domain from. I picked Tsohost as my hosting provider because they have 24/7 support and a few bloggers had recommended it to me.
Tsohost has been so easily contactable and has always replied within a few hours so I haven’t been waiting around too long when I’ve had a problem.
There are other companies such as GoDaddy and Lyrical Host which are also good options. Do your research and find which company works best for you.
2. Transfer your domain
If you haven’t purchased your own domain yet, then ignore this step and skip to the next one!
I purchased my domain through WordPress.com, and transferring my domain was the thing I was most worried about when moving to self-hosted WordPress. However, it turned out that it wasn’t too difficult at all!
While purchasing the WordPress hosting, I added a domain transfer to my basket. This meant that Tsohost would transfer my domain to their servers for me, so I didn’t have to do all of the technical work – hurray! This also included ID protection.
Tsohost also extend the domain for an extra year, so essentially you get it for free which is a bonus. The ID protection ensures no one can get your details from the WHOIS database, and I’d definitely recommend it.
To start the transfer I had to unlock my ID protection for my original domain in my WordPress.com settings, and update my contact information. You then need to get the EPP code for your domain from your current provider. Your new domain host will contact you and you just need to enter it like a password. Once this is verified, the domain transfer process can start. Tsohost says it can take between three and nine days, although it can be faster. My transfer took six days in total.
The last step of managing your domain transfer, is to connect it to your hosting provider’s servers. It’s really simple to do but if you email your hosting company they will offer to do it for you.
3. Install WordPress.org
Most hosting providers will give you a one-click install of WordPress from your account. After I’d installed it I was given a password to log in and voila: the WordPress dashboard!
The dashboard is really easy to navigate and you’ll find your feet in no time. The menu on the left-hand side of the page is how you access your posts, plugins, media and more.
4. Migrate your content
Moving all of your blog posts and media can feel like a hefty task. To do it manually, you need to go to your current blog settings and find where it says ‘export’. If your original blog is on WordPress, choose the free version and download the XML file of your blog.
In the new WordPress panel, you simply go to Tools > Import and upload the XML file you just downloaded. It will copy all of your posts to your new blog – simple!
I took the easier way out and got a free website migration from my hosting provider. They moved all of my published posts and drafts over to my new blog and it took no longer than a day to complete.
5. Chose and install a theme
Choosing a theme was the most exciting part of moving to self-hosted WordPress for me. I hated the restrictions on editing themes on WordPress.com because I always wanted to get in there and edit the HTML.
I spent days browsing through Etsy to find the perfect theme and I eventually settled on the Sahara theme from PishandPoshDesigns. The seller answered any questions I had and an installation guide was included with the purchase.
To install your new theme go to Appearance > Themes in your WordPress dashboard. Then, click ‘Add New’ and simply upload your theme to WordPress. For my theme I had to install two zip files. Customise away!
That’s pretty much the basics for moving from WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress. I hope this post is helpful if you’re considering doing the move. Do let me know if you have any questions or would like to see more posts like this.