A Philosopher’s Blog began in March, 2007 and was hosted on WordPress.com. This free service served the needs of the blog quite well, mainly because it was free. However, I decided to move the blog to a new host so as to gain more control over such things as plug-ins, layout and advertising. My blog had been suspended once in the past, which stuck in the back of my mind. But, I still recommend WordPress.com for people starting blogs and who want to have a quality blogging site for free.
I spent the past few days exporting all of the original A Philosopher’s Blog and importing it. This process was…an ordeal. Here is a quick guide to exporting from WordPress.com.
In theory, the process should be simple. Go to your WordPress.com Tools and select the Export option. You have the option of doing the process yourself or paying WordPress.com to handle it for you. If you elect to pay WordPress.com, you will have a limited selection of hosts. If you elect to handle the export yourself, you can use any host you wish, provided that you can install WordPress.
The first thing to try is to export everything. You will get an email from WordPress.com with a link to your download. It will be a Zipped file containing one or more XML files containing all your WordPress data (posts, comments and such). Once you have WordPress set up on your new site, install the import tool for WordPress (if needed) and then go to Tools to import the file(s). Sites typically have a file size limit for imports; if your exported file(s) are too large, here is a guide on how to split them. In my case, the export files were already split and under the import limit of my new host.
If all goes well, everything will import into your new WordPress site and you can resume blogging. In my case, problems arose and only a fraction of the posts were imported. If this happens to you, then this is the start of the trouble shooting grind. If you are competent with editing XML files, you might be able to go into the files to find and fix what might be causing the problem. If not, there is the brute force method. Which is what I did.
My approach was to go to the Export tool and export the pages in 5 year groups. Then I tried to import these files. This worked in some cases, but in some cases there was only partial success. I suggest activating the Archives widget for your site, that way you can quickly see which months have imported. After determining what had not imported, I split the exports down to one year per export and then tried importing these files. Once again, this was a success for some years and a partial success for other years. After checking the archives again, I tried exporting the missing months and this met, once more, with varying degrees of success. For a few of the months I had to import each month individually. I never determined exactly what the problems were; but it seemed that everything eventually imported successfully.
Once you get your new site setup, you need to decide whether you want WordPress.com to redirect your site. If you do not want to abandon your readers, this is a good idea. WordPress.com, as of this writing, charges $13/year to provide this service. This redirect will, well, redirect visitors to your new site. It will also redirect search results and so on. To use an analogy, it is rather like forwarding your postal mail.
If you see that a post is missing, let me know and I’ll endeavor to rescue it.