Tech Help Tuesday #3
Welcome back for the 3rd instalment of Tech Help Tuesday. It’s been a hectic month for me since the last edition with my sister’s wedding, a night away on the Welsh coast (filled with childhood memories) and lots of time helping bloggers with their tech woes. So enough about me, lets get stuck into helping you straight away.
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Switching from WordPress.com to WordPress.org (free WordPress to self-hosted)
First up is Siobhan who asked:
I’m a complete technophobe so tips on how to go from a free blog to a self hosted blog would be amazing!
Choose Your Host
So the first thing you need to do to go from a free WordPress blog to being self-hosted is to choose your host. I use Siteground to host both my blogs, and actually noticed a big difference in my site loading speeds once I switched.
Once you’ve decided on a host you’ll need to buy your domain name and choose a hosting plan. When your host is set up you’ll need to install WordPress (it’s usually a one click install).
Copy your content from your old site to the new one
Now you need to copy all your posts and pages to your new self-hosted site. To do this, go to the tools menu on the left side of your wordpress dashboard and click export. Make sure that the All Content radio button is selected at the top of the screen and click download export file.
To copy your content to your new self-hosted blog, go to the Tools menu on the left side of your new WordPress dashboard and click Import. Then scroll down to the WordPress option and click install now. Once it’s installed the WordPress Importer plugin activate and run it. You’ll be asked to choose a file from your computer (choose the one that you downloaded in the last step) and then click Upload File and Import.
To redirect, or not to redirect? That is the question
You’re on the home stretch now, well done for making it this far.
You need to decide whether you want to set your old site to private or whether you want to redirect it to your new one. If your old blog doesn’t have much of a following and/or domain authority you might as well set it to private. However, if it’s been around for a while and has a good domain authority you should think about redirecting. The only issue with redirecting is that you’ll likely be charged for the redirect to be in place.
How can I redirect a post if I want to change the url or delete the post?
Depending on how confident you are you could do this two ways either install a plugin which is the least risky way. The plugin I use is called Redirection but there are a couple of others that *look* like decent alternatives (I’ve not tried them myself so don’t know how good they are) which are Simple 301 Redirects and 404 to 301.
The other option is to edit your .htaccess file.
*** Before you make any changes to your .htaccess file, make sure you back it up. Even the smallest of mistakes can break your site ***
To redirect from one URL to another using your .htaccess file add the following code to the end of the file.
RewriteEngine On Redirect 301 /url-of-your-old-post/ https://url-of-your-new-post/
Finding your .htaccess file
By default .htaccess is a hidden file. So when you go to the file manager on your host, you’ll need to make sure that you show hidden files. Siteground asks when you go to the file explorer if you want to see hidden files.
Switching your blog from WordPress.com to self-hosted using WordPress.org is quite straightforward, and something you could manage in an afternoon. The most difficult thing to decide is whether your old blog should redirect to your new one.
Redirecting from one URL to another is also a simple job. You can either use a plugin or have a go at changing your .htaccess file. Make sure you take a backup first if you decide to change the .htaccess file.
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