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Can we transfer a WordPress site from wordpress.com to self hosted WordPress?

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Last edit: January 3, 2023
(4 weeks ago)

WordPress

Can we transfer a WordPress site from wordpress.com to self hosted WordPress?

Q:

Is it possible to transfer a website on from WordPress.com to a WordPress site on a traditional host? If so, is this difficult? What all is involved?

Issue

The client wants to know about the possibility and difficulty of moving their WordPress.com hosted website to a traditionally self-hosted WordPress website.

Possible solution

Options to Migrate from WordPress.com hosting to hosting WordPress with a normal web host:

Free WordPress.com hosting:

If you’re in the free WordPress.com hosting plan, then your options are more limited… as far as we know, the only option is to use the WordPress Export Tool (Tools > Export).

Some users elect to upgrade their WordPress.com hosting plan for the month (if on a month-to-month hosting plan with WordPress.com), and then they will have more options (plugins, etc.). We suggest considering all options, but also, we tend to suggest clients pay for a migration service rather than attempting to DIY, at least the investment will be successful, vs. investing in a new plugin license and still struggling and needing help in the end.

Paid plan WordPress hosting:

If you’re on a paid WordPress.com hosting plan, then you have many migration options, and can install any one of the many migration plugins available if you plan to DIY the migration.

Caveat for complex or larger sites:

All of the above options will have limitation, be it export file size, import file size, XML max file size, max XML elements, etc. None of these tools play nicely with custom post types or other custom fields, and will certainly have all kinds of issues for sites with databases over 5 years (MYSQL version updates causing trouble, ballooned db file sizes, etc.).

Final note on moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

Our team has a lot of experience making these kinds of migrations, and even with years of experience managing these large migrations, we never fail to see issues with WordPress.com to hosted WordPress moves. When we’re assigned a migration like this, its a bit of an office laugh, and the engineer tasked with these kinds of migrations is rewarded for a successful move after work.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need some help with a migration like this, it’s a solution we really pride ourselves in being the absolute best at, and we love sharing our expertise.

Additional reading

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