Learn how to move your content so that you can join us here at WordPress.com! Or leave us, if you must. (Please don't leave us.)
I started my first blog when I was 25 and headed off on a backpacking trip across Southeast Asia. I wanted to keep a record of my travels for my friends and families to enjoy, and I chose Blogger as my platform.
Blogging turned out to be so much fun that I decided to keep it up when I got home, but by that time, I knew more about what I was looking for in a platform, and so I started my second blog on WordPress.com. (Granted, I’m a bit biased now, but this was years before I worked here, I promise.)
Years later, my new WordPress.com blog had come to feel like my online home, and I was sad that my old travel posts were lingering on a blog elsewhere that I never looked at. Enter the importer.
Options for moving content
Many blogging platforms and web hosts have tools that let you download all of your content in a format that can easily be moved to another site. For WordPress sites, this format is an XML file. If you download your blog’s XML file and open it in a plain text application like Notepad or Text Edit, you’ll see a lot of code with your blog text buried within. To try it out, just head to Tools→Export in your dashboard.
Note: You’ll see options to export only certain types of content, such as one category of posts, and to specify by date range.
With WordPress, your XML file will contain all of your posts, pages, categories, tags, comments and feedback. You can also typically use the export tool to move your media files. Your export file will not include your theme, theme settings, CSS revisions, widgets, upgrades, followers, stats or any other aspect of your site’s appearance.
Not only can you easily move your content between different WordPress sites, but WordPress also provides importers for most major types of blogging platforms, such as Tumblr, TypePad, and Blogger. This makes it a snap to gather in stray content from abandoned projects, to combine multiple blogs, or to move your site from a platform that’s not working out for you.
Note: Exporting your content doesn’t delete it from your site; it just downloads a copy. So there’s no harm in exporting and importing into a test blog if you’re curious about how this works.
Keeping your traffic
But what about your traffic? If you have your own custom domain (such as example.com), and you move between two WordPress sites, regardless of where they are hosted, you shouldn’t lose any traffic. This is because you will move your domain to the new site, and all of your permalinks (direct links to your individual posts, many of which might be indexed by Google) will redirect automatically, since they will be exactly the same (provided you choose the same permalink structure on your new WordPress site).
This is one reason why it’s a good idea to register and maintain a custom domain. As long as you continue to renew a domain, you own it, and you can use it with any website you like. Thus, you can move your content around and your domain with it, and people can still find you, because you’re at the same address.
If you don’t have a custom domain, or if you move from, say, Blogger to WordPress.com, you might also need a Site Redirect. Different services provide different types of redirects, but what they all do is automatically “redirect” one address to another.
So let’s say you did not have a custom domain and your site was at example.wordpress.com and you wanted to move your site to Tumblr. You couldn’t take example.wordpress.com with you, because you don’t own that domain. But what you could do is purchase a site redirect to redirect anyone going to your example.wordpress.com address to your new Tumblr address instead.
Alerting your followers
No matter how or where you move your site, it’s always a good idea to post an update on your original site letting your followers know where you’re moving, and whether they need to refollow you or should continue to recieve posts as normal. It’s also a good idea to provide a way for them to contact you, just in case anything gets lost in the shuffle.
If you decide to move from WordPress.com to a self-hosted WordPress site or vice versa, you can install the Jetpack plugin on your self-hosted site. This plugin enables you to move your followers so that they don’t have to refollow you on the new site. It also provides access to many of the features you’ve gotten used to using here at WordPress.com.
Although we here at WordPress.com certainly hope that you never leave us, we still want to give you the freedom to do what you want as easily as possible. We try to provide tools to make your moving experience seamless, whether you’re coming or going.
But as with real-life moves, no matter how much you plan, there are always unexpected glitches. To stay safe, always make sure that all of your content is moved, organized, and visible at the new site before you delete or dismantle anything on the old one.
- Test your move first! Move to a test blog, explore the new platform, kick the tires.
- Export and import your content. Check and double-check that all of your content moved, including image files.
- Make everything look pretty on your new site. Set up your theme, organize your content, add widgets.
- Post on your old site to let your followers know what’s up.
- Move your domain, or redirect your URL.
- Test your permalinks — check that the links to your site in Google redirect, and that links within your posts and pages are updated.
- Set your old site to private (or delete it), so you do not have duplicate content.