I’ve had a self-hosted blog for just under a year now. At the time I wrote a post about some of the reasons why I moved to a self hosted blog. But today I thought I would share my experience of actually moving over. I had originally assumed the whole process was going to be quite confusing, especially since most people I know have paid for a Guided Transfer which will do everything for you. But apart from a few hiccups, it ended up being a pretty simple process.
MOVING TO A SELF-HOSTED BLOG
I didn’t just decide to move to a self-hosted blog on a whim. It was something I had been thinking about for a while. I had done a good deal of research, looking into where was the best deals for hosting and any other extras I may need to buy.
After speaking to a few friends and having a look around the wordpress.org site I settled on BlueHost for my blog. This is actually one of the hosts WordPress recommended and the WordPress software was automatically installed on my server space when I bought the hosting.
Then I had to transfer my blog across from WordPress.com. You can pay £100 for someone at WordPress to do this for you but I thought I would be able to handle most problems. There is also a handy guide on WordPress.com on how to transfer which helped me through the whole process.
EXPORTING MY BLOG
After getting the WordPress software all set up in my new hosting space I had to transfer over my posts and pages. This involves exporting everything from my old blog, then installing a plugin on my new blog, when I uploaded the exported file it would transfer everything across. The actual exported file doesn’t contain everything on your blog, just the information needed for the plugin to go to your old one and move everything across.
However, this didn’t work. At the time I had been blogging for four and a half years, had almost 500 posts and quite a lot of data to move over. It seemed like I had come upon some limit that BlueHost had for the amount of data in a specific folder. All my posts moved over fine but none of the images made it. This meant I spent a day going back through every single post on my blog and manually uploading the images.
After that I got my theme reinstalled. I kept the theme I had been using on WordPress.com but I did need to buy it again which cost me around £50. Making sure my domain was pointing to the right place was reasonably easy. The hardest part is waiting for the domain to start working. Having the ability to install plugins made the rest of the setup pretty quick. I have plugins for Google Adsense and Analytics. Security software and automatic backups.
SETTING UP JETPACK
I also have the Jetpack plugin installed. This means I can connect my self-hosted blog to WordPress.com. This has a number of benefits like additional login security and it monitors for anyone trying to hack into my blog. It also meant I could transfer my subscribers over to the new blog so my posts would still appear in their reader.
I can still access my analytics and notifications through WordPress.com. The Jetpack support team can move your statistics over to the new blog. This isn’t something which is totally necessary. But it is nice to not feel like you’re starting out from scratch again.
I can understand why someone would take advantage of the Guided Transfer service. Moving a blog can seem daunting at first. Fortunately, I have a background in Computing which really helped here. But there is a fantastic guide on WordPress.com which takes you through the whole process step by step. If you’re thinking about moving and want to save £100 I really would recommend trying it out yourself. The whole process took me about a day to complete. And though I did have a few problems with moving to a self-hosted blog it still could have been worse.