Recently I decided that I needed to be able to customize my blog and after some research decided I’d take the plunge to be hosted. Part of me thinks it’s silly because this blog is pretty small and I don’t get enough traction to justify it to myself. However, I wanted plugins. I needed plugins. So the journey began.
It seemed pretty self explanatory, I paid for wordpress hosting, walked through the steps which told me to input my blog information. If only I’d known what a hassle it would end up being I would have taken screenshots. All seemed well, I cracked my knuckles and logged into my wp-admin. Guess what I found, no plugins. I figure, maybe it takes a little bit so I wait around, play Diablo III come back to my wp-admin and still no plugins. Hence the Google searches began. I ran every search I could think of. I dug through the GoDaddy “how-to’s” and the same at WordPress. I like to do things for myself so I wasted a whole lot of time doing this before I broke down and called GoDaddy customer support. The first time.
Guy was nice, listened to me ramble which probably made him utterly flustered. Eventually after digging around a little he told me that it’s a problem with WordPress. He is terrified to change the nameservers because he thinks it’s going to utterly delete my blog (which freaked me out). So I agreed, “Don’t do anything!” I want to tell you – this is common. I have read blog after forum post of people saying that GoDaddy says it’s a problem with WordPress. They don’t know how to deal with it. I understand, they don’t work at WordPress, but seriously – once you see the steps you’d bang your head on the keyboard. This guy started talking databases so that’s the second thing I did when I got off the phone with him. What did I do before I started trying to find the databases? I looked at this page that he sent me, which I had seen long before I finally made the call.
So I’m searching and searching trying to figure out how to download my database, and I get all excited when I find the Export option under the Tools setting.
I read up, I do some more searches and even find a tutorial (FINALLY) find what I needed in the first place. This post about moving your blog to a hosting server. I have NO idea why this was so hard for me to find and it did not come up in any of the initial searches on my part. I was excited, and immediately downloaded my XML file. I wasn’t sure exactly where to put it – I know it talked about importing it, but assumed (silly me) that it was a feature in my GoDaddy FTP settings. It wasn’t easy to find, I called it a night and decided to take it up in the morning. I wasn’t having much luck so I opted to call GoDaddy again. This poor guy stayed with me for a really long time trying to figure it out. He was super nice, chatty, and kept trying to give me examples so that I’d understand. I did understand, but it was a nice gesture anyway. He eventually couldn’t figure out what to do, and kept talking about databases all over again. I explained to him that this how-to I found suggested the XML file was enough, but he couldn’t get past it. He linked me to the same post as the previous GoDaddy guy.
One thing he did before that though was show me how to preview what my .org site looked like. To access this feature you click on My Account, Launch the Web Hosting option and look for where it says “DNS.” Click on “View” and then make sure “Preview DNS” is enabled. To view your site, the URL will look something like this “http://sociallyamy.com.previewdns.com/” – basically your blogname.previewdns.com.
At this point I feel like I’m insane and I start my searches all over again. If you didn’t know already, if you can’t figure this out on your own, WordPress is only so happy to take $130 off your hands to do this for you. GoDaddy guy tells me that he hates to tell me this, but it’s such a detailed process that it’s worth every penny. I inform him that I’m happy to cancel my hosting until I know I can do this myself because there is no logical reason that I cannot do it. He tells me to give myself till Tuesday – I have no idea why he said it, but it made me smile and I thanked him for his time.
I start searching about databases, and decide to go back to my original XML theory. There is no reason that WordPress would have that how-to up if it was not possible. Somehow I come upon this blog post called Migrating from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. I watched the video, which, while not exactly compelling was EXACTLY what I needed. I could kiss the guy for making it. So how did I do it?
1) I called GoDaddy back (again) and told the guy to change the nameservers. They were pointing to the .com site which didn’t allow me to access the .org features. The guy happily complied.
2) I go back to the part of GoDaddy that allowed me to preview my website DNS. Neither it nor my website changed in the matter of about 4 hours, so I took a risk and clicked on “Make this site live”.
3) Not shockingly, the site went live the way it was suppose to and looked like a very standard brand new WordPress site.
4) Once this was done, I was able to log back into my wp-admin. One note – your .com information will no longer work. Your new log in is whatever your hosting account might have altered. This was a quick fix through an email reset password request.
5) From here, I was easily able to import the XML file that I exported. This file does NOT contain your theme, so if you like what you have, make sure to remember the name of it. I have read that sometimes it has trouble with adding your images back in, so be prepared. It altered mine a little on the blog, but they’re all in there.
So under Tools (where you found export), you choose the import option. You click on “WordPress”, you may have to install a plugin that shows up automatically (it’s shown in the video that I link to above), and then simply choose your XML file from your computer. Once this is done, you refresh your blog and all of your posts, comments, etc will be placed into the .org blog. The “HELLO WORLD” blog will still be live, so you’ll want to remove that I’m sure.
So WordPress staff – please find a way to make this easier to find. I know you want your $130, and I know that the bigger sites (with hosting especially) will have databases, but for average joes, this was so crazy simple IF I had only known from the beginning. GoDaddy staff – take a deep breath. You saw my site and saw it was a small blog that hasn’t even been live a year. An XML file did the trick even though I was told it wouldn’t.
This is a quick fix, and I truly hope that someone out there will benefit from this post the way I benefited from the other guys.