Looking to make the switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org? We get a lot of clients who purchase our WordPress themes and find out they can’t use them since they are using WordPress.com and not WordPress.org. In short WordPress.com does not allow for premade custom themes that you can install yourself. This tutorial will walk you through switching platforms so that you can use a theme you purchased from us (or any other designers theme). If you have existing content (blog posts, images, etc.) on your WordPress.com site that you would also like to move this tutorial does not cover that in depth but we will point you in the right direction.
How to tell if you are using WordPress.com or WordPress.org
Before we get started moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org let’s make sure that you are indeed using wordpress.com! Here are a few ways to check:
- Are you paying for hosting? (not a domain web address but hosting)? If the answer is no, you are using WordPress.com
- Does you website end in wordpress.com for example yourwebname.wordpress.com? If so, you are using WordPress.com
- If you have purchased a domain name and arent really sure head over to to your website.
- Up in the address bar add this at the end: /wp-admin
- Hover over the WordPress logo
- In the left hand corner of your window see what url comes up. If you are using WordPress.org it will show up in the lower left corner when hovering hover
- The last way to really tell is if you bought a theme and you can not add it to your site following the directions. If you purchased a WordPress theme and you cant add it you are likly using WordPress.com
What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org anyways?
If you are confused about there being two platforms with the same name that do similar things with different rules, I totally understand! I mean who wouldn’t get confused! So there are a few differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, for me the biggest two differences are:
- WordPress.org is self-hosted which means you will need hosting whereas WordPress.com is a free platform in that they will host your site for you.
- The 2nd major difference is WordPress.org will allow you to use custom premade themes whereas WordPress.com will not.
When you see themes for sale at places around the web like Etsy and Creative Market and want to use something like that, you will need WordPress.org. Premade themes like these can not be used on WordPress.com, however WordPress.com does have a selection of themes to choose from.
To view all the differences and before making a decision you can take a look at this comparison chart on WordPress.org vs WordPress.com.
Why should you switch?
WordPress.com is a great free option for bloggers. If you plan to run a blog with no need for the bells and whistles then you should be fine to stick with the .com version of WordPress but if you like to change out your designs and want to be able to do so freely than WordPress.org will be the best option for you. Additionally, if you plan on running a more business based site WordPress.org might just be a better option in terms of what is available to you!
Let’s get started switching from WordPress.com to WordPress.org
If you have decided to make the move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org so that you can use a customized premade WordPress theme we will show you how to do so using SiteGround as it is the easiest, least expensive way to get things done while offering top of the line hosting.
- Purchase hosting. We highly recommend SiteGround. They offer WordPress managed hosting at only around $4.00 a month but the “GrowBig” plan is the best deal, it includes restore in case anything happens ! Want to know more about WordPress managed and why it’s your best hosting option? Read this post!
- Register or transfer a domain name. If you sign up for hosting on SiteGround they will ask you what you want your domain name to be and register it for you. If you already have a domain name that you purchased you can enter that and then after you purchase hosting you can get that domain transferred.
- Install WordPress.org. On SiteGround you can do this in just a few easy clicks – see the full (super easy) directions here.
If you registered a domain with WordPress.com see here to get your domain transferred to SiteGround
If you have content you wish to move from WordPress.com such as images or blog posts see how to transfer your content here.
In my honest opinion, if you have only a few posts it may be best to copy those over manually instead of doing a transfer.
Now that you have WordPress.org all set up you are ready to install a customized WordPress.theme. If you already have one of our themes you can start here to get that installed. If you still need to purchase a theme feel free to shop our WordPress themes here.
(Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links which means that if you make a purchase we may receive a commission. We are only affiliated with companies we use, trust, and honestly believe are the best fit for our readers. Please note this is not a paid post, these opinions are our own and we strive to bring you high quality information formed from our knowledge of, and experience with, various products and tools for bloggers and website owners.)