How to Go Self-Hosted: WordPress.com to WordPress.org

As many of you will know, I finally made the decision to go self-hosted a few months ago.  I ummed and ahhed about it for AGES! I knew I’d probably need to at some point, but I was being a bit of a wuss about it.  There were a few things that were holding me back:

  • I had NO idea what I was doing. Absolutely none
  • I didn’t know if my blog was worth paying for
  • I had just learnt how to use WordPress, I didn’t want to have to learn a whole new system
  • I didn’t have time to recreate my entire blog
  • I didn’t want to interrupt my writing time as I had so many ideas

I kept putting it off until one day I thought – you know what, just DO IT!! So I set myself a deadline at the beginning of July.  I was going to be self-hosted by the end of August, and I would start the process on 31st July.  First, I had to do my research in to how to actually go self-hosted.

After consulting Mr.Google, and looking back at articles I had bookmarked in the past, I found a few brilliant posts that helped me to go self-hosted.

Firstly, this post by Naptime Natter.  This was like a bible for me as I was going through the process. I referred to it about a million times in the run up to, and during the migration!  Although Wendy went from Blogger to WordPress, the process was pretty much the same.

I also liked this post by Midwife and Life. I found it really useful for a general overview of what I needed to do and some great plugin info.

This post by Motherhood The Real Deal was brilliant for useful plugins.  You can look around and see what works for you, but these essential 10 really were a great start!

A Mum Track Mind also did a great post on essential plugins to use – have a look here.

Once I’d done my research, I began the process.

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What do I need to do?

It goes without saying before you do ANYTHING – back up your blog!  Mine was really easy to do as there is an export button on WordPress.  Thankfully, I didn’t need to use it, but it’s great to know it’s there in case anything went wrong.

Step 1 – Chose and register with your hosting site

The first thing you need to do to start your self hosted journey is decide who is going to host your website.  I went with Tsohost, because this is who lots of bloggers seem to use.  They offer a very reasonable package, and have great feedback, so it wasn’t too hard to make the decision.

Once you have decided on your hosting site, you need to pick your package.  I decided to go for the standard package and paid for the year up front (£34.99).  Many bloggers opt to pay a monthly fee instead though (£2.99).

After you have signed up and paid your fee, you will be sent an email by Tsohost with details of what to do next.

Step 2 – Creating your domain name

Now, this is where things got a little confusing for me.  I had already paid for a domain name when I started my blog last year.  It was registered with another site, so I had to transfer it to Tsohost.  I don’t know if I did it the correct way, but I requested a domain name transfer.  I was then sent an email with a guide as to how to change the IPS tag and nameservers. I think I may have done this wrong, and should have done this once my site had already migrated (but it didn’t seem to have any interference with my site).

I think it may be easier if you don’t already have a domain name, as you can just select in the setting up process and Tsohost can migrate your site directly to the new domain.

Step 3 – Add your site to the Cloud Dashboard

Once you have registered and set up your account, you will be directed to your own Cloud Dashboard.  This is your control panel, and where you will do everything you need to set up your website.

First thing you need to do is add your website.  You do this by selecting “Add New Website”

Step 4 – Migrate your website

Then you need to migrate your website. You select this in your control panel, fill in some details about your blog, and the rest is done for you!  After reading other articles on this, it seemed sometimes you can lose a lot of details from your blog.  Sometimes the formatting goes awry, or your lose your photos or media.  I can happily say this didn’t happen to me, and my blog looked exactly the same under the new hosting site as it did under the old one.  This may be because I was moving from WordPress to WordPress.

The migration process was pretty easy although I did have a few problems.  For example, my old wordpress blog was registered to a different email.  They had to export my blog and the content was sent to my old email address, and I wasn’t able to forward it to the host servers to deal with.  We eventually sorted it out!

I requested the migration on 2 August, and it was all done by 5 August.  I was really impressed with the quick turnaround.  The support was great as well – I sent quite a few emails to the support team as I had no idea what I was doing, and they were extremely helpful!

Step 5 – Log in to your new site

You’ll be sent a link to log in to your new website – make a note of this link!!  I thought I could just log in to WordPress.com as I always did, but you can’t.  You need to log into your admin site (which is usually [website address/wp-admin]. Change your password straight away and then I added a new user, so my posts come up with my blog name rather than “admin”.

Spend some time getting to grips with your new site – look at new templates, install plugins, check everything has been migrated properly.

I found it really easy to use.  Even though I had used WordPress before, the self-hosted version is definitely different, and 2 months later I’m still trying to figure it out.  The good thing is I can go about my day to day blogging routine and then learn about the extra stuff as and when I have time.

I don’t have a redirect on my old site to my new site – honestly? I don’t know how to.  I did however do a “goodbye” post with a link to my new site, so hopefully that has sent my old readers to my new site.

I would highly recommend going self-hosted.  I can’t say it’s changed my blogging life yet, but I think it has made me take the blog a bit more seriously.  I like that I have more options on layouts of the blog (although it so tempting to change my template every week as there is so much choice!) and the plugins are amazing!  You do have to update your own site now, but that’s really no bother.

I wouldn’t say going self-hosted is necessarily easy – I was definintely quite stressed out in the process, but this was because I was soooo far out of my depth.  But even a technophobe like me managed to figure it all out, so if I can you definitely can!  One thing I still can’t figure out is how to access my email accounts, so if anyone can enlighten me, I’d be very grateful (I currently have them on redirect to my gmail account, but it’s a bit annoying!)

Thanks again to the wonderful bloggers who unknowingly helped me with this process with their fabulous blog posts.

I hope this post has been a little bit helpful – if you have any questions, please do ask and I’ll try and help!  Also, if you have any tips to pass on about the general use of WordPress, please do comment below and let me know!

Mummuddlingthrough
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17 Comments

  1. I believe you can get a plugin to redirect traffic from your old site, but don’t ask me what it’s called!! What I don’t get is how does TSOhost know that you want to use WordPress.org as your CMS?? Am I being totally thick here? I’m so clueless and want to get the ball rolling next week, the thought of it all is making me feel sick 😔 xxx
    Mrs Lighty recently posted…The FakeiversaryMy Profile

    • Ooo good question! You download it from your cloud hosting platform. There is a bit that says “install applications” so you install WordPress and add your website. The customer service from Tsohost is excellent, and they really can answer every question you have. I will admit it did stress me out quite a bit, as I just wanted to get it right, but once you get the ball rolling it is fairly simple. Just very nerve wracking! You’ll be fine, and I’m here to help as much as I can xx

  2. I wish I had read this before I did it! Still no idea really how I did it…I guess ‘muddled through’! I remember it being a pretty stressful week…loads of people are going to find this mega helpful – well done you!
    Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub
    MMT recently posted…#coolmumclub Linky week 39My Profile

    • I definitely wish I’d gone self hosted from the start, or at least not long after I’d started but I didn’t think I’d do this blogging this as more than a hobby so didn’t think I’d need to!

  3. I went from WordPress.com to .org just a couple of weeks ago. I also went with TSO and second their support team, they’re brilliant. I also transferred my domain and the wait for that to go through was agonising. Agree with your about finding out your email, it’s hard to find. I’ve booked marked mine and I *think* if you go to https://webmail.gridhost.co.uk/ you’ll be able to access yours too.
    #MarvMondays

    • They’re a fab hosting site aren’t they! The domain transfer was definitely the worst bit, especially as I didn’t know if I’d done it properly. Ooo great, I shall check that out and see if I can get into my emails….thanks for reading 🙂

  4. I’ve also recently made the switch to self-hosted…but I already thought I was self-hosted – just not properly. You guessed it, newbie blogger! I read that self-hosted was the way to go so I registered with eHost. Turns out, I should have selected the cPanel version and not the simple Website Builder (like I did). It meant I wasn’t self hosted at all! Anyway, a bit of research later and I’ve also just built my new blog and I love it. I’ve still got a bit of work to do yet and I’m going to check out your article on plugins right now! I just wish I’d known more about this before I started. Thanks for such a helpful post – a must for anyone new to blogging! #marvmondays

  5. Great post! I think it is so worth going self hosted. I followed pretty much the same process that you did and found it really straightforward and quick too. I think this is so helpful and will hopefully help lots of others contemplating it 🙂 Thanks for sharing it on #MarvMondays. Emily

    • Thank you, I hope others find it useful! I have to admit it was hard to write as I’d done it so quickly, and was so focused on getting it right, I wasn’t actually sure how I did it! Thanks for hosting 🙂

  6. I almost signed up with TSO last week and chickened out! As I haven’t a clue!! Did you schedule posts for while the migration was taking place? I normally post daily so I’m guessing that won’t be possible? Does it look anything like the old WordPress sight? I really want to do it but I’m basically scared lol! I own my domain name too and did t think it would need to change? As thus would affect DA? Urgh mine field!! Xx stopping by from #MarvMondays
    Mudpie Fridays recently posted…#RememberingTheseDays Week 13My Profile

    • I decided to take a blogging break whilst the site migrated, as I didn’t want the stress of scheduling posts if something went wrong…but I believe you can still do this if you want to. The layout of WordPress is exactly the same which is great, so you don’t need to learn anything new (apart from plugins). You won’t need to change your domain name, just transfer it to TSO. I’ll confess I’m not a DA expert at all so I don’t know how it would be affect – my domain name changed but I never paid attention to DA before so I don’t know how it was affected. Although I’m glad I’ve gone self-hosted, I still don’t think it’s vital – you are clearly very successful without it!! But if you do want to do it, it’s not that difficult. Good luck with whatever you decide! xx

  7. Hi, this is a great article. Im new to blogging and the self hosting thing is still new and confusing to me. is this something you should do? Im currently with wordpress and have my own domain name. What is the difference of being with word press and being self hosted? Sorry to bombard you, im just trying to understand, as i see alot of people say they are glad they went self hosted.

    • Hi, glad you found my post and I hope you found it useful! Personally for me, I went self hosted so I could have my own domain but obviously you already have that. There are lots more you can do once you’re self-hosted – for example you have a bigger choice of templates and can use plugins which mean you can do lots more. If you are new to blogging, I’d definitely recommend going self hosted sooner rather than later – I wish I had done it sooner! If you go with Tsohost then the platform you use is still wordpress, just a better version! If you any further questions, feel free to contact me directly (my email is on the work with me section or you can message me through Facebook or twitter) Good luck! Xx

  8. My blog is only three months old, and I really want to switch to self-hosted but I’m so scared for the same reasons you listed. I’ll bookmark this site and use it for reference when the time comes to make the switch. Thanks for putting this together

    • Hi Jennifer, I’m glad you came across this post and have found it useful! Going self hosted was relatively simple in the end, and I honestly think that if blogging is a serious thing for you, it’s better to go self hosted sooner rather than later. The smaller your blog is, the less time and effort it will take to go self hosted, honestly. It’s fairly cheap too, so I don’t think you lose anything once you’ve switched – but you gain so much! Good luck for when you do make the switch xx

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