Making the decision to shift my blog from the free bumblebeemum.wordpress.com site to this new domain has not been easy one. I know I will run out of storage space on the free WordPress.com site eventually. I had an option to pay WordPress.com for extra storage space, or pay for self-hosting. Some of the reasons I seriously considered simply paying for extra storage space was because:
1) Of the fear that I would lose my Followers. (WordPress.com had this neat +Follow function that I used a lot myself to follow other blogs. Shifting means my followers would not be able to read my blog via that function anymore.)
2) I didn’t know how to do it. (I was afraid if I meddled around, I may lose my entire blog content, or end up with a blog full of broken links and images that I would have to spend eternity fixing.)
So it was very tempting to just pay for extra storage space and remain status-quo. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt that if I wanted to pay for anything, I should just move to self-hosting because I could
monetize my blog traffic have absolute control over my blog. Now that I have done it, I thought I should just blog about the process, just in case any other blogger out there wants to do the same and you’re as clueless and tech-idiot as me. If I can do it, so can you!
STEP 1: RETAINING FOLLOWERS
Okay, the first point about losing the Followers. The best solution I could think of was to set up a Facebook Page (please like it if you haven’t already done so, thank you). Then I
begged invited my followers to like it so that they would receive updates via Facebook when I update my blog. Of course there was no guarantee that they would follow over, but that’s really all I could think of.
STEP 2: TRANSFERRING THE CONTENTS
I started reading up on how to shift my WordPress.com blog to self-hosting. Most of the stuff I found were techy instructions meant for techy people. Otherwise, it was WordPress.com touting their Guided Transfer for a whopping fee of USD129. I wasn’t prepared to pay USD129 to get someone to do it, so I decided just heck it, sign up for a web host and try to do it myself.
I googled for recommendations for WordPress web hosts and found some pretty good reviews for SiteGround. (Disclaimer: I am NOT affiliated and I don’t get paid by them for anything I am about the write. I may have been conned by the ‘reviews’ that may actually have been their affiliates advertising for them, I really don’t know. I have only been with them for less than a week as I’m writing this. So far it’s been very good, but I cannot vouch for how good they will be in the long run at this point in time.) I went to their website to read about their WordPress Hosting, and I saw this:
FREE transfer!! Exactly what I needed!! So I signed up for their cheapest plan which came with free domain registration (though you need to pay USD1.00/month for domain privacy). I believe you can register your domain with other domain registrars (wah, I suddenly sound so tech-savvy, I’ve been reading up a lot OKAY?) which may be cheaper, but I wanted everything to be easy breezy so I did everything through them.
By the time I completed the check-out process, MY was running super out of patience and screaming for my attention (did you forget for a moment that this is a parenting blog?) so I shut down my laptop to go and play with him.
Later on that day, I finally found time to check my email and their sales team actually emailed me this:
“Your account was successfully activated, but you have not yet started working on your new website. I tried to contact you to make sure you have all the needed information on how to proceed, however I was unable to find you over the phone. I can definitely provide you with useful hints and tips depending on the type of online project you have in mind. I would strongly encourage you to contact us if you have any questions.”
I whipped out my phone and indeed, there was a missed call from an overseas number! I NEVER would have expected such wonderful service, especially since I signed up for te cheapest plan!
So when MY finally went to take his nap, I quickly logged in to my Siteground user area. There was a wizard that allowed me to request for a free transfer.
Okay, I accidentally closed that wizard before completing the request, but no worries. I found the transfer request easily on the Home page.
I sent in a request, and within 10 minutes a tech support replied my support ticket. He told me that he could only transfer the contents of my blog, but there may be problems with web design and images. That was good enough for me, at least I wouldn’t have to set up everything from scratch! I told him to go ahead and start the transfer. So I had my lunch, surfed the net, and before I knew it (about an hour later), I received an email telling me that they were done!
Okay, they added a new post for me, but that was fine, I simply deleted it. I scrolled down and found all my contents were properly transferred over! My posts, my pages, my categories, my comments… Everything!
But one problem I noticed immediately: The alignment of my posts were off! I panicked for a while, but I figured it could be the theme. So I quickly went to my dashboard, changed the theme back to what I was using on my WordPress.com blog and voila! I fixed the problem!
So Siteground did everything for me while I was happily eating lunch and my blog was officially migrated!
STEP 3: UPDATING LINKS
The next problem I had to tackle was that all my links still pointed to http://bumblebeemum.wordpress.com/something-something. It would be insane to go through every single post to update every single link! But I remembered reading about a Plugin called ‘Velvet Blue’ to solve this problem. If you are panicking at the sound of Plugin, you are as un-savvy as I was. I always thought installing Plugin was something super high-tech. But I realized installing one was as easy as installing an App on my phone! Just click on ‘Plugins’ on the dashboard, search ‘Velvet Blue’, click on ‘Install’ and DONE!
I was amazed by how easy that was!! I quickly went to my site and moused over the links to see if they have been updated, but to my horror I realized only some of the links were updated! I did some detective work and realized the ones that weren’t changed started with ‘https’ instead of ‘http’. So I went back to the Update URLs tool, and under Old URL, I keyed in ‘https://bumblebeemum.wordpress.com’ and the same New URL. Problem solved!
I went to check my site again and now every single ‘bumblebeemum.wordpress.com’ had been changed to ‘bumblebeemum.net’. I was freaking pleased with myself, until I clicked on the links. NONE OF THEM WORKED. So I went from freaking pleased to freaking out! But suddenly it struck me: Permalink structure. (All that reading of techy-stuff didn’t go to waste afterall.) I felt like a genius for figuring this out without having to google for solutions. I went to Settings > Permalinks and chose the structure that I was using on my WordPress.com site used. Problem solved once again!
Then I had another problem. Shortlinks. I cursed myself for being so itchy-handed and using shortlinks for vanity sake from time to time instead of permalinks. (If you have no idea what Shortlinks are, it’s better you never find out. They are nothing but trouble imo.) To resolve this problem, I went to ‘All Posts’ and did a search for “wp.me”. (I was really starting to feel like a genius by then for thinking of that.)
Thank goodness only 27 posts were found, because it was painful going through each of them to find all the shortlinks and changing them to permalinks. When I was done going through all 27 posts, I did a search again and no posts were found anymore. *phew* After that, I did the same for all my Pages.
STEP 4: IMAGES
I still had one problem. All my images were still coming from “https://bumblebeemum.files.wordpress.com/something-something”.
I googled for a solution and found this. Followed their instructions, installed the ‘Import External Images’ Plugin, went to Media > Import Images and clicked ‘Import Images Now’.
I had to click ‘refresh the page’ and ‘Import Images Now’ from time to time because it seemed to hang every now and then. I had THOUSANDS of images (almost 2GB worth I think) to transfer mind you. But eventually they said it was done and there were no more images to import.
I went to my site to check but realized only some of the images were imported while some were still from wordpress.com!! I googled and googled and couldn’t find a solution. So I did it the hardcore way. I went to All Posts and did a search for bumblebeemum.files.wordpress.com. It found 72 posts containing this string of text. So one by one, I went to those 72 posts, checked which images were still from wordpress.com, saved those images to my computer and re-uploaded them into the post. I used Microsoft Word’s Find function to do it a bit more efficiently.
STEP 5: REDIRECTING MY OLD URL TO THE NEW URL
Last thing I had to do was to redirect all the traffic from bumblebeemum.wordpress.com to bumblebeemum.net. (i.e. when people keyed in ‘bumblebeemum.wordpress.com’, they would automatically get redirected to ‘bumblebeemum.net’.) I googled and reckoned that there was no other way than to pay for Site Redirect (which currently cost USD13.00 per year). So I went back to WordPress.com, logged in, went to ‘Store’ and found ‘Site Redirect’.
Paid for it and done! IMMEDIATELY, my old URL was redirected to this new one. I have officially completed the migration! Bye Bye bumblebeemum.wordpress.com!
It was a pretty tedious process transferring my blog to my own domain, but I am glad I did it at last! (I just cursed myself for not doing it earlier, then I would have a lot less links to change and images to re-upload.) It gives me immense joy to see bumblebeemum.net on my browser.. LOL! And while you are reading this, I am getting paid like 0.0001 cents! WooHooo!! (WordPress.com used to run advertisements on my blog anyway and I didn’t even receive 0.00000000001 cent for any of them. But they gave me free hosting, so no complaints.) I’m so happy and excited now and hope that doing this would bring my blogging to a whole new level!!
[Disclaimer: I am not a tech expert and I don’t pretend to be one. This post was written as a part of my Journal to document the pain I went through. There are probably tons more efficient ways of doing things compared to what I did, but this is what me, as layman with no computing knowledge, could come up with. I am not responsible if your blog goes haywire should you try any of the things I did and I won’t be able to save you if that happens as much as I would want to, because I wouldn’t know how to.]