How to move a blog to a self-hosted WordPress domain

Moving to
Self-hosted WordPress coming up!

If you’re looking for an easy guide on how to move a blog to a self-hosted domain of your own, you’re in the right place.

With a little preparation and this guide you can have your new WordPress site up and running in a few days.

And if you’ve already built up a strong following on, both your traffic, and your Google page rank will flow on to your new site.

How to move a blog to a self-hosted domain

1. First you need to purchase a domain for your new site.

2. Buy a good hosting package that meets the WordPress requirements.

Save yourself a lot of hassle and go with a reputable hosting company. Make sure they also use cPanel. It’s an easy to use control panel for your web server. I highly recommend Hostgator.

HostGator WordPress Hosting
Coupon Code: WORDPRESSTRIBE (25% off your order)

3. Set your Domain Name Servers (DNS) to point to your hosting account.

When you signed up for hosting you would have received, in your welcome email, what’s called your DNS settings.

You need to log-in to your domain control panel and change its settings to ‘point’ to the hosting account where your new WordPress website will be.

NOTE: If you’ve been using the domain for email accounts, making this change will interrupt them. Check your emails right before making these changes. You will need to create email accounts in cPanel that reflect your previous ones immediately after reassigning the DNS records, to minimize down time.

DNS settings cpanel
You can login to cPanel to see your DNS settings as well

On you need to go to the control panel for the new domain and click the Set Nameservers link.

DNS settings GoDaddy
DNS settings for GoDaddy

4. Create an Addon Domain in your hosting account.

Login to the cPanel account for your new hosting and go to the add-on domain section.

Addon domains

Paste in the domain only into the New Domain Name field and the form will fill out the other details. Create a password for the account and store it somewhere safe.

Addon domain cpanel wptrain

Click Add Domain.

5. Install WordPress from cPanel using the easy install option in Fantastico.

Click the Fantastico Deluxe button in the Software/Services section.

fantastico deluxe

Click the WordPress link in the left-hand sidebar.


Click the New Installation link.


Select your new domain from the drop-down list to install WordPress on and fill in the remaining fields.

Installing WordPress

Be sure not to enter ‘admin’ or some other generic term into the Administrator username as it is better for security.

Enter a site name and description that you can live with for the moment. Both can be changed later.

Click the Finish Installation button.

Cpanel will install WordPress and gives you the option of having all the details sent to you in an email.

6. Export your site and download the file to your computer.

Login to your free website and go to Tools >> Export. export XML
Click the Export link

On the next page, click the Download Export File button.


The WordPress export file will download to your computer.

7. Login to your self-hosted WordPress site and import the XML file.

Go to Tools >> Import and choose the WordPress import tool.

WordPress Import XML file

Install the WordPress Import plugin and activate when prompted.

Import to WordPress

Browse to the export file and click Upload file and import button.

Import XML File WordPress

Select a user, tick the Download and import file attachments box and click the Submit button.

WordPress will churn away for a little while and upload your pages, posts and images to your new server.

Review your new self-hosted site from Pages and Posts to see if all the previous content has been imported properly.

8. Setup your menus and find a theme.

Make sure your new site is ready for the public before going to the next step.

9. Purchase a site-redirect upgrade from the store.

Login to your free account, go to Store and purchase the Site Redirect service.

Site Redirect Upgrade -

When prompted, enter the URL of the new domain and press Save.

Now any traffic that goes to your free blog will be automatically sent to your new self-hosted site.

Alternatively you could post a final blog article with a clear invitation and a link to your new site.

10. Update all your social media URLs and emails with the new blog address.

Welcome to the brave new world of a self-hosted WordPress website!

Now you may want to create a content and marketing plan for your blog then read the beginners guide to publishing in WordPress.

How did you go with this transition?

Questions? Lets us know in the comments.

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  1. says

    What do you do when your file is too big for the “import all” option. I have tried importing everything separately, but for some reason, none of my comments have transferred nor has my last two months of content. :/ Help!

    • says

      You could try starting from the side again and exporting only the posts or pages for example. Then on the new self-hosted side import again. The importer won’t double up on posts and should be a smaller file size as well.

      That should get you out of trouble but if any of this does not make sense or you just need extra help, feel free to email us here.

  2. says

    Thanks for the helpful post! I just have one issue now. My content is only viewable when I am logged in except for the Headline, Bylines, and Comments. When I am logged out the content of the post is totally gone.

    • says

      A few things may be going on: 1. You may have made the post private in the post edit settings. or 2. Your theme has something wrong or is perhaps outdated.

      You could try using a different theme like Twenty Twelve to see if that is the issue.

      If you continue to have trouble with this you can get in touch here:

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