We recently moved two self-hosted WordPress.org powered websites over to WordPress.com. One of which was our main website! We wanted to comment on why we made the migration, what was involved, and when others might consider following suit.
- It’s a super fast and highly available host. There are very few web hosts that truly fit into that category. The platform is so efficient because it essentially processes only your content.
- It’s secure, up to date, backed up, and works to prevent SPAM. Other than having a strong password on the accounts, the platform handles all of the monitoring and backups for you.
- It’s quite affordable. For example; we’re paying $13/yr for domain mapping plus $30/yr for no ads. You cannot beat those rates!
- WordPress.com treats all contributors as individuals with their own accounts having their own invited websites. This is a forward-looking concept.
- See how Automattic describes the two platforms.
Interesting differences between these two platforms
- Your main website cannot feature custom functionality, but you can still have an auxiliary site on the side.
- Your Theme choices are much more limited. However, the reasons for this limitation make it worth choosing from their subset of some 200 pre-approved Themes offered. You can decide whether to purchase a premium Theme or the ability to modify the CSS on any Theme.
- Exporting your WordPress.org posts, pages, and media using Tools → Export can be tricky!
- Any links within pages or posts that point to internal site pages, if applicable, and posts must be changed to the new URL. Posts contain the /YEAR/MONTH/ in their permalinks.
- If your media isn’t already in the Media Library, it must be put there before running the export.
- Media URLs will change to the format: http://SUBDOMAIN.files.wordpress.com/YEAR/MONTH/
- If you are mass importing media that wasn’t previously in the Media Library, the month and year in the URLs will be changed to the present time. Fix any media dates before exporting.
- Importing into WordPress.com using Tools → Import, and mapping usernames accordingly.
- You can only import the same media files by month one time, because deleting them will make the subdomain.files.wordpress.com address for them unusable in the future, and a 1 or 2 could be appended to filenames. You must get this right the first time, or else you will be moving media to a different month!
- There is a subprocess that changes the links to media within the blog, which may take hours to complete, even after the import is done.
- Launching the domain involved purchasing the Domain Mapping product for a small fee.
- You then have to change your name servers to ns1.wordpress.com, etc. If you accept email to your domain, you must add MX records within the Domain Mapping DNS area to forward email to your email hosting service, such as Google Apps or Rackspace Apps.
- You also have to add CNAME (host) records or A (address) records for any subdomains that you want to point to other hosting platforms.
When to consider using or moving to WordPress.com
Being that beAutomated is not a design shop, the design constraints of WordPress.com were not a problem for us. Even if we were a design shop, they offer CSS customization capabilities for a small fee. Second, since the beAutomated.com website doesn’t sport custom functionality directly on the pages/posts, we weren’t concerned with not being able to use any Plugins on the main site. The features of WordPress.com, mainly the feedback forms, sharing, and their Writing Helper feature were enough for our purposes.
Subdomain powered by WordPress.org
beAutomated has a labs.beautomated.com hosting account with all of our WordPress.org development sites and services, including automation jobs that tie in with our email accounts to process submissions from our new WordPress.com site. You can concurrently take advantage of WordPress.org for back office processes using a subdomain or an alternate domain name. We like the idea of putting the heavier traffic on a fast, secure, highly available platform, while the custom functionality is delegated to a subdomain.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Note that we really appreciate feedback about what we’ve written as well as what topics you’d like us to discuss in future posts so please do let us know.