Lately, I’ve been working with clients to move their website from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. With this request, I use the Import/Export tools to move the content from one site to the other. This tool bundles the content on the site into a .zip file which you can then move to another location. Disclaimer: It isn’t perfect, you only get the content of the site, so things like posts, pages, and settings on the site. The plugins and themes aren’t included. So, if your site has a ton of plugins, this tool might not work for you. Media works for the most part, though it is a separate download/upload and isn’t always perfect.
As I’m writing to the clients with instructions on how to set up their site using these tools, I started looking for a tutorial that would walk them through the process. And can you believe it, there are no tutorials that show the process from start to finish? So I wanted to take the time to write the process down. This article will showcase the import/export tools within WordPress (.com and .org) the process is essentially the same for both, they just look a little different.
But wait, there are two versions of WordPress? Yes, there are, but they are run in different ways. WordPress, in a nutshell, is an open-source content management software (if you want to look at a more in-depth explanation you can read about it here). Automattic Inc. helps develop and maintain this software. We offer this software at Reclaim and users can install an instance on their domain, in fact, you’re reading this post on a WordPress installation.
WordPress.com is Automattic Inc.'s hosting company that runs the WordPress software explicitly. They offer free accounts with subdomains like meredithfierro.wordpress.com for free or users can purchase a domain. Then users can opt-in to pay a monthly fee to get full use of the software, like you would if you installed WordPress on your domain through your hosting company.
The first thing you’ll want to do is export all of the content. Also, take note of the plugins and theme the site is using (this will save time on the other side).
Log in to WordPress.com and click ‘My Sites’. In the menu on the left find ‘Tools’ and click ‘Export’.
From here you can choose the amount of content you’d like to export, or you can export the entire content on the website. When you’ve decided what to export, click ‘Export All’:
WordPress begins to package the content together. When it finishes, a banner should appear at the top of the screen. Click ‘Download’:
Navigate to the ‘Tools’ section (steps 1 of the Export section). Click ‘Import.’
Click ‘WordPress’ when selecting where to import your content from.
Upload the exported content file you downloaded (you may have to unzip the file first). Once the file is uploaded, click ‘Continue’ to start the import.
You’ll be asked to import the authors of the site, but if you’re the only user on the site click ‘Start Import.’
You should see a progress bar like this:
From here you don’t have to stay in the window to keep it going, WordPress.com will send you a notification when the import finishes. Once the import completes, the content on the site is ready to go!
WordPress.org (Software version)
This process is similar to WordPress.com but I thought it'd be worth going through separately.
- Within the dashboard of your site, Navigate to 'Tools' and click 'Export.'
- From there, you’ll choose what content you’d like to export. Also, take note of the themes and plugins you use. When you’re ready to export click ‘Download Export File.’
Easy as that!
- Within the dashboard of your site, Navigate to 'Tools' and click 'Import.'
- You'll need to install the WordPress Importer plugin. Click 'Install Now.' Once the install completes, click 'Activate or 'Run Importer.'
Click ‘Choose File’ or ‘Browse’ to select the export file you’d like to import. Then click ‘Upload file and import.’
- When the import is complete, you should see something along the lines of “All done. Have fun!” at the bottom of the screen.
That’s it! The Import/Export tools are super easy to use. They’re a great tool to use when you’re trying to move a small amount of content. Another great tool is UpdraftPlus–which requires the download of a plugin so will work with wordpress.org but not wordpress.com.