How I Moved from Free WordPress to a Self-hosted Site
When I started blogging years ago, I didn’t think of getting a self-hosted site. I used the free versions of Blogger and WordPress because, well, they were free. 🙂 And they also were easy to customize, especially Blogger, since that had a lot of themes and stuff.
I stuck with WordPress for the longest time, though, because it was very user-friendly for me. The dashboard interface was clean and easy to look at, too. That’s why, for eight long years, it was the home of Hits and Mrs.
My blog started out as a personal online journal. After a few years, I got invites to certain events. And then I received some posting opportunities as well. I liked the path my blogging was going. But then, I also realized the limitations of having a free WordPress. I couldn’t monetize it. Sometimes, I miss some opportunities because I don’t have a self-hosted site.
I then decided to invest in getting my own domain and paying for web hosting. The challenge then for me was finding the package that fits my budget. It took a while before I found Pangalan.com, after they invited me to an Affiliate Night. Yep, they invited me even if I haven’t subscribed with them yet. 😉
While there were so many possible plans to get, I went with Pangalan.com because 1) it’s a company based in the Philippines, 2) it is the Filipino counterpart of the Onamae.com, Japan’s largest domain registrar, and is also a subsidiary of GMO Internet Group, and 3) I promised Julie, Pangalan.com’s bizdev specialist, that I’m going to subscribe with them once I can (true, haha!).
When December came, Pangalan.com offered a discount on their domains. I told myself, this is it! It’s my big chance to have a self-hosted blog! So I egged my hubby to buy me the discounted domain (Php 299 for the .com) and the PN Sakto hosting that comes at Php 2,910 annually as his Christmas gift to me.
[NOTE: As of this writing, Pangalan.com has a PN Sakto for Bloggers that’s at Php 116.67/month or Php 1,400/year. Should I have waited for this? :P]
It was a pretty fast transaction — after how many days, I have my own domain and hosting! Woot!
The tricky part came after that: installing WordPress and migrating the old blog on the free WordPress.
To be honest, I got confused because that time I was trying to install WordPress, I got a bit lost. Good thing I found some PDFs that were pretty helpful in installing the WordPress app.
Suffice to say I winged it. Haha! But not before emailing Pangalan.com’s support for a bit of help. 🙂 In fairness to them, they replied as soon as they can (unfortunately I couldn’t call them during their operating hours because I was at work in the morning and they don’t have support on weekends).
The next challenge was migrating over 400 posts from my WordPress.com blog to the self-hosted site. I’ll put this in detail on the next post, but it’s basically:
- Exporting my old content to an XML file (in my case, I had 2 XML files)
- Splitting the downloaded XML files using the WXR File Splitter (more on this on the next post)
- Importing the XML files on this self-hosted blog.
Then it was all about tweaking and voila! My self-hosted blog www.hitsandmrsph.com is alive!
I’m so happy to make this move. I’m still doing baby steps but I look forward to exploring the flexibility and the many possibilities my self-hosted blog offers. 🙂
UPDATE: As of February 26, 2019
I’ve written before that my hosting provider, Pangalan.com, already closed down by the end of 2018. They recommended that I get hosting from Z.com which is the global hosting brand of Japan-based GMO Internet Group. It’s been just a few months and so far, the service has been good. They were very responsive when I had questions with migration (being the noob that I am). So if you plan on getting a self-hosted blog or website, consider Z.com for your web hosting needs.