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Moving Day: The Ins and Outs of Moving Your Site

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.

Image via Charlotte Moving Company

Image via Eric Snider

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.

Moving checklist: 

  • 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.
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  1. Timing is perfect for this post. I am moving from a wordpress.com site to a self hosted site. I have purchased a new domain name and will be hosted on GoDaddy.
    Using jetpack, can I move my followers to my new self hosted site? This sounds too good to be true, so I have to ask, even if it is a dumb question that you answered.
    I’m nervous about the move for several reasons, but I want to be a bit more commercial than the EULA will allow.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Unfortunately, I’m moving to a different user account.
        I didn’t think I could create my self-hosted site under my old/current user account. Guess I messed that up.
        Would I still be able to pay WordPress to move everything?

        Like

  2. So I have a wordpress.com and want to stay with wordpress, but take that middle part out of the url (ie I have Mom.wordpress.com and want to change to Mom.com) is that doable with the “jet pack?” I don’t want to confuse or loose my followers, but I would like to look a little less home cooked 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Perfect.
    I was seriously worrying about getting to in depth with this free hosting blog when my ultimate goal was to move to a self hosted site. It’s nice to know that there are options when and if I actually make the move! Thank ya.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I also started with Blogger, than started a wordpress blog to see which I liked better, ended up staying with WordPress, I now have a few **COUGHSEVERALCOUGH** blogs with different names. Importing my blogger posts was as seamless and easy as this post says.

    I also have two blogs that I own, and that was not as seamless and easy, but the first time when I couldn’t get it to work WP refunded my money quickly and nicely. The second time I got it to work. So now I’m a happy blogger.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am not sending this comment to Suzi, hitting reply simply brought me here. Anyone who can answer this in non-tech-speak will be perfect..I know this is a different question from moving a blog, but it is not totally unrelated. How do I back up my posts…to my computer or wherever? I’m not interested in leaving WordPress, but I wouldn’t want to take the chance of losing a years worth of writing. Thanks in advance.

      Like

      1. Hope I’m not to late with this, but you go to your dashboard, then down to tools, export, then under export option click on export. This will create an xml file with all your posts and comments. If something happens to your blog then you can create a new one and import this file.

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  5. I started with Blogger, like many, and I did have a lot of traffic. I still have that blog up, but I’m finding I like WordPress a lot more, especially with the page abilities and the layouts available are much more clean and modern. It was very easy to import my Blogger blog in to WordPress, too!

    Like

  6. Thank you for this wonderful post. I own the domain name for my blog but it’s on wordpress.com.. I’m mow thinking of moving to wordpress.org and self host to be able to get more control and install the google analytics plugin primarily! Which is the best hosting platform that you would recommend, and once I have moved, will my posts still show up on the WordPress reader? Also, will I still have access to the wordpress reader?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would also really like to know this. Been putting off moving to .org for a year now as cant decide on host. Also, if you do move with a new domain name is there a way to ensure your page ranks come with you?

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      1. It’s best to keep your same domain to keep your traffic. You can redirect your old domain, but that’s a little trickier. You can also move your same domain and then map a second new domain to your new site – that’s kind of the best of both worlds. For further detail about this, please contact support:
        http://en.support.wordpress.com/contact

        Like

    2. We have some recommended hosts here:
      http://get.wp.com/hosting/

      Your existing followers will continue to receive your posts in the Reader, if you move them with Jetpack. Any new followers can subscribe in the Reader via RSS feed, but your posts will no longer appear in the Reader’s public Topic pages, since that only pulls content from WordPress.com.

      And yes, of course you can still use the Reader. 🙂

      Like

  7. Indeed a timely post! I hv one of my clients business site on blogger which i imported recently to wp.com 🙂 now how sholud i go abt directling my custom domain? How much it will cost me?

    Like

  8. Excellent article, and many thanks. Not only that, but thanks many times over for all the helpful articles and tips you all post; they’ve made things much easier for me since I started my blog.

    Like

  9. Please help me out. I regularly send my posts for the daily prompts. My last two posts have been included in your wall along other bloggers. I have submitted my links thrice but not got confirmation for ping backs. PLEASE SUGGEST ME how my posts can be available for reading to others through daily post.

    Like

    1. Hello! We’re sorry to hear about the trouble you’re having with pingbacks. There’s a small subset of users who have reported similar issues, and we’re investigating what might be causing this issue. Thanks for your patience in the meantime.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for the really useful tips. I started out blogging on MySpace about a million years ago and it would be great to move that old content to my new platform.

    Like

    1. Wow! MySpace, that’s a blast from the past. 🙂 We don’t have a specific importer for MySpace content — if you can export your content from there and convert it into Moveable Type or a similar format, then you can use an importer.

      Otherwise, you might have to resort to ye olde copy/paste.

      Like

  11. Elizabeth, thank you for so clearly sharing the steps for consolidating multiple blogs while maintaining traffic. As a new blogger it has given me insight and some things to considered as I start posting.

    Like

  12. This is really useful – thanks so much. One question you maybe able to help me with. I want to share my blog with my 86 year old Mum. She hasn’t even got a mobile phone, and no internet at home. You might even say she has an aversion to digital. Does anyone know if it is possible to produce a printer friendly version of my entire blog? Even making it look and feel more like a book or magazine than a website? Thank you for your help!

    Like

    1. I like WordPress a lot and I’m not tech-savvy, but one of my biggest issues with them is the fact that they do not have an 800 number, or any number for support. If you find one, let me know!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi all – We cannot provide phone support, but if your site is hosted on WordPress.com, you can contact us via email here:
      http://en.support.wordpress.com/contact/

      We are also expanding live chat support.

      Note that if you have any kind of upgrade through our service, you’ll be able to email staff privately through the contact form above; otherwise, you can post a message on our forums which are actively monitored by staff and volunteers.

      For more detail on getting support with WordPress and WordPress.com, check out this article:
      http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/getting-wordpress-support/

      Like