Move to Self-Hosted WordPress


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Moving to Self-Hosted WordPress

If you have a site hosted with us at and are thinking of moving to a self-hosted WordPress site (, we’ve put together this guide to help you along the way.

With a hosted site on, we take care of a lot behind the scenes — like security, backups, and filtering comment spam. Even after you move to a self-hosted site, we can keep helping you out. (Jetpack was created for just this purpose!) This guide will help you set up and configure everything.

Here’s a list of the steps we’ll cover through this guide:

  • Purchasing web hosting
  • Installing WordPress
  • Transferring your site from to the new host
  • Registering a new domain name or transfer an existing domain
  • Installing the Jetpack plugin
  • Migrating your subscribers

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.

First Step: Find a new host

Extra Resources

While this guide is meant to get you started with, there’s still a ton more to explore. Here’s a curated list of places to visit next so you can get the most out of your site:

Move Subscribers / Stats

With Jetpack now installed, you can make sure your subscribers and stats follow you over to your new site as well.


Moving to a self-hosted site doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to all the followers you’ve built up on your site. With the Jetpack plugin you can migrate your subscribers to the new site with the click of a button. Now that you’ve installed Jetpack, just follow the instructions for the subscription migration tool.

Note: Social Media follower counts are a feature that’s only available on stats. Jetpack-connected self-hosted sites will only show followers and email subscribers.


With Jetpack you can also keep the stats you’ve built up on your site. While there is not an automated tool for this, you can contact us and we’ll gladly help get it done for you.

Note: and Facebook likes cannot be transferred at this time.

Extra Resources

Connect A Domain Name

Next: Let’s make sure your domain name directs visitors to your new site.

Free Domain

If you have been using one of our free domains, such as, you will need to purchase a new custom domain name for your site. In many cases you can purchase this from your new hosting company at the same time you set up your account.

You can also set your domain to take people to your new site. We offer a Site Redirect upgrade which will do just that.

Custom Domain Name

If you already have a custom domain name, something like, there are a couple options when it comes to moving it to your new site. If your domain is registered here at, you can transfer your domain or update its name servers to point it to your new hosting platform.

Having a custom domain hosted with means that it is currently using https. Search engines and other links would be using this in the address they link to your site with. Find out more about avoiding security warnings when switching hosting providers.

If your domain is registered with another company, you’ll have the same options with them — either transfer the name or update the name servers.

In either case, to redirect your permalinks (including links indexed by Google), make sure you choose Day and name in Settings → Permalinks in the WP Admin area of your self-hosted WordPress site so they match the same as what was used here.

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Next Step: Add Jetpack

Themes and Widgets

Now that WordPress is installed, it’s time to set up your theme.

You can move all the content from your current site to your new self-hosted WordPress site, but themes and widgets cannot be moved, so you’ll want to set up a new theme on your site.

There are many places to find WordPress themes — one great option is to browse and download one from the theme directory.

If you’re happy with the theme you’re currently using on, you may be able to use it for your new site as well.

To search for your theme, use the action bar in the bottom right when visiting your site and click the Get Theme link. On the theme’s page, you can scroll down to the bottom of the Overview tab and download the theme to use with your self-hosted site.

If you are unfamiliar with how to install a theme in WordPress, the Using Themes page on has the instructions.

Once your theme is installed and activated you’ll need to setup the widgets for the site as well. You can find more information about working with them on the widgets page.

Next Step: Export / Import Content

Add Jetpack

Once you have your domain name pointing to your new site, let’s get it connected to Jetpack!

Even with a self-hosted WordPress site, you can still get all the cool features you enjoyed at by using Jetpack. This optional plugin offers analytics, site management tools, and it gives you access to our mobile and desktop apps. It’s one of our official plugins, and it’s supported by our fantastic Happiness Engineers.

You can get Jetpack for free through the plugins section of your WordPress Dashboard or by downloading it from Step-by-step installation instructions are available here.


Jetpack upgrades are an optional extra. If you’d like anti-spam, backups, and security features for your site then read on …

What upgrades are available?

To see the whole list of features and comparisons you can head to the Jetpack pricing page.

There are plans available, such as Security Daily, Security Real-time or the Complete plan, which include different add-ons bundled up together.

Alternatively, you can choose a single or multiple add-on subscriptions such as Backup (Daily or Real-time), Scan, Site Search, Anti-spam, and CRM.

All the plans and add-ons can be paid on a monthly or yearly basis. You can upgrade or downgrade from a plan or add-on (or viceversa!) at any time.

If you need more information and want to go through a detailed comparison between plans, this is the right page for you to check.

Next Step: Move Subscribers / Stats

Export / Import Content

Once you have your theme installed, it’s time for the next big step: exporting your content to your new site.

Export Content

In your dashboard, go to My Site → Tools → Export and select Export All to download an XML file of all of your content.  Click on the arrow next to the Export All button if you want to select specific content items to export.

Import Content

In the WP Admin area of your self-hosted WordPress site, go to Tools → Import → WordPress.

If it hasn’t been installed yet, you will be prompted to install the WordPress Importer plugin.

Choose your file, click Upload file and import, and select the option to Download & import file attachments and import your XML file.

The Importing Content page has more information about this process as well.

Next Step: Move Domain

Install WordPress

Once you’ve selected your new host, it’s time to install WordPress. Most hosts have a one-click install for WordPress, which means all you’ll need to do is click a button to get WordPress up and running with your new host. You can check with your new host’s support team to see if this option is available.

If the one-click install button is not available, you can also download WordPress for free at and install it yourself manually. Instructions for installing WordPress are available on the site.

Next Step: Customize Appearance

Find a New Host

The first step to getting a self-hosted ( site is choosing a new host. We are your host at, but when you move to self-hosted you’ll have to purchase an account with a new provider.

We have a list of recommended WordPress hosts at, but you are free to choose any host you like.

Next Step: Install WordPress

Avoid security warnings

Your site is protected through HTTPS encryption, improving both security and performance for your site. Visually the only change is an extra S in your browser address (https instead of http) and the green lock in your browser bar when visiting your site:


Unfortunately, not all hosting companies offer this option by default (yet). Depending on the hosting company you have chosen, you might be transferring your site from an HTTPS URL to a plain old HTTP one. Your site won’t be accessible any more through those HTTPS links.

Anyone who tries to access your site using one of the HTTPS URLS, will get a security warning. This affects mostly visitors coming through Google (the search engines need time to update their records to HTTP) and those who bookmarked your page.

There are several options to prevent these security warnings:

Option 1: Add an SSL certificate from your hosting company.
Your hosting company most likely offers information and documentation regarding SSL certificates on their website. Make sure to check which options are available for free and which are paid upgrades.

Option 2: Get a free SSL certificate
If your hosting company does not offer free SSL certificates, there are two alternatives you can choose from:

  • Get your own free SSL certificate, for example via Let’s Encrypt). You will have to install this on your hosting account yourself.
  • If you don’t want to install a SSL certificate, you can use a service like Cloudflare to route your DNS through their servers.

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