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I set up a WordPress.com blog account around the beginning of January because I had heard increasingly more about WordPress since I began my job in the Search Engine Optimization industry. I wanted to create a personal portfolio website that I could use my developing SEO skills on, as well as publishing my writing about SEO, Social Media, and Book Publishing.

I quickly realized that WordPress.com was not for me, because you had to pay for every upgrade, to edit the CSS, to use a custom domain name (that I had already bought elsewhere), and to add plugins and widgets. It was not to be.

I decided to migrate my website to WordPress.org. Here’s what happened, and also how you can solve the problems.

Migrating to WordPress.com when your domain name is already assigned to WordPress.com

First, WordPress offers a great 5-minute Installation Guide that is pretty accurate and helpful. I suggest reading it first and reading the rest of this post if it does not help you.

After I signed up with Bluehost as my hosting provider and installed WordPress using SimpleScripts, I changed the nameservers over at my domain host (GoDaddy) to point to the WordPress nameservers (note: if you have multiple domains, make sure that you change the correct one. My first mistake.) When I went to load my new site, however, I was still accessing my old WordPress.com site instead of the new WordPress.org installation.

Here are the steps I took to solve the issue

First, I deleted the domain name from my WordPress.com account. I had already set it up to forward to my WordPress.com URL. Even after I deleted the domain from WordPress.com, it still took about 30 minutes to propogate. I chose to take a shower.

Second, I uninstalled and reinstalled WordPress on Bluehost using SimpleScripts. They actually make it very easy. One note: Unless you want them to automatically generate you an account access username and password combination, click “Advanced Settings” and set your own.

Third, I set my GoDaddy nameservers back to the default. Once that change took effect, I was able to change them to the Bluehost default nameservers (ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com).

What I Learned

Don’t skip steps. Pay attention to what you are doing. No seriously. If your changes are not taking effect, backtrack everything you have done, short of paying for your host and domain name again, and start over. If your domain name is assigned to a WordPress.com account, delete it from your WordPress.com account without forwarding it before you change nameservers

Questions: Have you encountered these issues before? What did you do to correct? What advice would you offer to someone self-hosting a website for the first time?