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How I migrated my blog from WordPress.com to private hosting

2011 January 11

Photo: Burg Eltz by Erwin Kuhn (2009)

Last week, I migrated this blog from the free WordPress.com to private hosting on Godaddy.com. In this article, I attempt to recount the steps of that process. The presentation here is “how-to”, but beware of shameless inaccuracies.

Other sources on the net leave out some details. So do I, though not by intention. I tried to record every step, but I didn’t test them. I didn’t diligently try to repeat these steps myself. And I know I got tired toward the end and missed a few details.

Therefore, be warned, these steps probably aren’t exactly what you will encounter, especially since all documentation ages with time, and I have no intention of updating or correcting this. That I leave as an exercise for the reader, that is, for you, gentle reader.


Before proceeding further, obtain web hosting service. I’ve used Godaddy.com for years. I find them satisfactory, reliable and inexpensive. Their website navigation is complex, intricate and baffling. The system described in their help pages vaguely describes their website. The customer service on the 800 number is excellent. Godaddy offers WordPress software for free. I think most competing hosting services do so as well. The description that follows describes migrating to Godaddy.com.

If you previously set up some files or data on your domain, then make a full backup of the domain files before you proceed, because you might want to get them back sometime.

[ “->” = “Choose” ]

  1. login at wordpress.com
  2. -> My Blog -> Dashboard
  3. -> Tools -> Export -> Download Export File
  4. Save the file to your disk in a place where you can find it. The file is named wordpress.yyyy-mm-dd.xml
  5. login at godaddy.com
  6. -> My Account
  7. Ignoring the left sidebar, you may have to scroll down to a region of the page labelled “Products”
  8. -> Web Hosting
  9. Directly below the word “Products”, find the domain name of the hosting account where you want to install your blog. On the same line as the comain name and to the right of the domain name is a button labelled “Launch”.
  10. -> Launch
  11. You will see a new window. The rightmost column is labelled “Install Apps”. Find Wordpress in this column.
  12. -> WordPress
  13. On the menu bar, don’t click the tab labelled “Support & Community”. Look straight down from the “Support & Community” tab to find a button labelled “Install Now”.
  14. -> Install Now
  15. Installation can take a few minutes. Long enough to take a nap or a coffee break, if you want. Eventually, you will see the legal threats called “End User License Agreement”. Scroll down.
  16. -> I Agree
  17. Choose the hosted domain you wish to use.
  18. -> Next
  19. Type something in the database description. I wrote “myblogname blog”. Create a database password. Unless you are storing Swiss bank account numbers and/or national defense secrets on your blog, I recommend you use a simple password,like maybe the same one you use to subscribe to ezine sites.
  20. -> Next
  21. Name the install directory (folder). You might choose
    http://www.mydomainname.com/myblogname

    or

    http://www.mydomainname.com

    Your reader will use this name to read your blog.

  22. Choose Admin name (choose a simple name, like “Admin”, for instance), password (choose a simple password, like the same password you used for the database, for instance), email address (copy your old one from your old blog on WordPress.com), blog title (copy your old one from your old blog on WordPress.com).
  23. -> Finish
  24. Installation takes a few minutes. An email will arrive that announces its completion. You can also click link “Manage My Applications” to see the progress so far. Watch for the message “…Sucessfully Installed…”.
  25. Log out of Godaddy.com.
  26. Go to
    http://mydomainname/foldername/wp-admin

    or

    http://www.mydomainname.com/wp-admin
  27. Type in the Admin name and password.
  28. -> Tools -> Import -> Wordpress -> Install -> Actions: Activate
  29. -> Choose file wordpress.yyyy-mm-dd.xml that you downloaded previously.
  30. -> Upload
  31. -> Import Attachments (some people on the web reported trouble with this, but I had no trouble).
  32. Scroll Down. See “All Done”.
  33. -> Appearances -> Themes
  34. Login to your original blog and check the theme name.
  35. -> Install Themes
    Search for your theme by name. If you don’t find it in a search, then you may have to search the web for a zip file.
  36. -> Plugins -> Askimet -> Activate (I think this is some kind of spam preventer)
  37. -> Links -> Links
  38. Follow instructions given in the article “Exporting Links in WordPress – Transferring Links to a New Website” by Chris James Hill at http://bit.ly/dWi5cw (January 11, 2011).
  39. -> Tools -> Import -> Blogroll -> Actions:Activate and Run
  40. Specify OPML URL:
    http://oldblogname.wordpress.com/wp-links-opml.php
  41. -> category -> import -> Links
  42. Adjust widgets -> Appearance -> Widgets. Refer to how you configured your old blog.
  43. -> Posts. Delete the “Hello World” post.
  44. -> Set up feedburner using instructions at http://www.google.com/support/feedburner/bin/answer.py?answer=79493
  45. That’s it. You are finished. Your new blog is useable now. Probably, you will want to fix the things I didn’t tell you about.

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