Making the Move From Self-Hosted WordPress to WordPress.com

Like many prospective clients, Lee contacted me about troubleshooting issues on her self-hosted WordPress site.

Her consulting website was set up years ago by a designer who was no longer involved with the site.

Lee paid the monthly hosting and annual domain registration fees for her site.

But she hadn’t added new content to the site in over a year.

Lee is a technical person, but not a designer or developer.

When she asked me to review her site, troubleshoot spam comments, and set up analytics, I asked questions about her business and website to learn about her goals.

Read on to learn why I moved Lee’s existing self-hosted WordPress site to hosted WordPress.com.

Clients With Existing Websites

green and blue puzzle pieces strewn across a wooden table.s

For my new clients who already have a self-hosted WordPress website, it feels like I’m solving puzzles.

Often my new client has no background on how the site was created, no documentation from the designer/developer, and in rare cases, no login credentials to access the site.

Over the years, I’ve developed strategies for learning about sites, conducting dozens of site reviews and providing recommendations on next steps.

I check the site setup with Sucuri Security online Site Check tool as well as other online tools to learn about the website.

What I’ve noticed over the years: many sites had the same issues in common:

  • Out-of-date plugins, theme, and WordPress core
  • Multiple users with admin access to the site, people who hadn’t worked on the site for years
  • No SSL certificate. Or if the SSL certificate is installed, it’s not installed correctly
  • No site backups
  • Outdated PHP version

In addition, many sites were hosted with providers who didn’t provide a free SSL certificate. Each year, site owners would pay an annual fee for an SSL certificate.

These aren’t sites with a lot of functionality. Most are brochure sites or blogs, without a lot of custom features or functionality.

Site Owners Focus on Their Organization

I’ve noticed many site owners aren’t aware of the underlying technologies needed to run a website.

Nor should they be, if they have someone who regularly maintains and updates their site.

But that’s not the case for most of my new clients.

They’re consultants, business owners, or nonprofits who understand the importance of a website.

My clients’ focus is on their business or organization, not on managing website infrastructure.

Which is why after I conduct a site review I suggest an alternative approach for their website.

Why Move a Self-Hosted WordPress Site to Hosted WordPress.com?

While self-hosted WordPress sites offer control over your site design and functionality, with that control comes a lot of responsibility.

To keep your WordPress site running in tip-top condition, you need to ensure the infrastructure is updated, your content is secure, and you have backups in case something goes wrong.

As the site owner, you need to invest your own time or pay someone on your staff (or a designer/developer) to maintain your site.

For clients with existing sites who don’t want the worry, moving to hosted WordPress.com is an excellent choice.

It takes away a lot of the headaches involved with maintaining and managing a website.

By moving your site to hosted WordPress.com, you no longer have to worry about the infrastructure for your site.

Hosted WordPress takes care of it for you.

No need to do any updates, it’s all automatically done for you.

And the SSL certificate is provided at no extra charge.

With the Premium plan (which is the plan I typically recommend for my clients), you can:

  • Use your own custom domain
  • Choose from dozens of premium themes, if your theme isn’t already offered in the Premium plan
  • No ads
  • Customize styles and colors
  • Accept one-time, monthly, or annual payments online
  • Provide subscriber-only content
  • Create paid newsletters
  • Set up Stripe, to provide another option for payments to you

Note: the Premium plan doesn’t offer the ability to install plugins.

Which isn’t an issue for the majority of my clients with existing sites, since functionality like online payments, contact form, etc, are features offered with the Premium plan.

For the dozen+ clients I’ve moved to WordPress.com, the annual cost of the Premium plan has been less than what my client was paying for web hosting and their SSL certificate.

What You Need to Know About WordPress.com

hosted wordpress.com home page.

When you move your site to hosted WordPress.com, you no longer have to worry about the technical infrastructure.

WordPress.com handles it all for you, along with providing spam protection and ensuring your site displays quickly for website visitors.

You’ll log into WordPress.com to access your site, make changes, update content.

For people with the Premium plan, customer support is live chat or email support, 24/7. There is no phone support for the Premium plan.

Sometimes I’ve noticed delays in support requests at the end of the week.

But overall, support is quick and helpful.

While WordPress.com offers a free domain for one year, I still recommend you keep your domain name registration and hosting at separate companies.

Summary

Depending on your personal/organization goals and requirements, moving your self-hosted WordPress site to hosted WordPress.com can remove the headache of constant maintaining and updating your WordPress site.

Which reduces your cost and investment in your website.

So you can focus on your organization/business as well as writing new content for your site.

After I moved Lee’s site to WordPress.com, she sent me a quick message saying how happy she was to no longer worry about spam comments and dealing with website technology.

That’s a win!

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About the Author

Deborah Edwards-Onoro helps small businesses, consultants, nonprofits, and higher ed with creative and distinctive websites. Deborah shares her expertise with web design, user experience, and accessibility on her blog, social media, and at meetup events. As organizer of Refresh Detroit, West Metro Detroit WordPress, and Metro Detroit WordPress, she encourages members to share their knowledge and experiences. In her free time, you'll find her birding, shooting photos, reading, or watching tennis.
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