How To Upgrade From Free to Self Hosted

By: | Updated: May 14, 2021

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So you’ve had a account and are looking to now upgrade to your very own self-hosted WordPress installation on your own server.

This guide will show you just how to do that! First, here are a few reasons why you might want to consider making the upgrade:

Difference Between and

– does not allow you to modify the php source code. This is a huge issue if you plan on customizing your theme at all.

– Your domain name is (unless you upgrade to a custom domain).

– Links are placed on your site adversiting and cannot be removed, making it a little less personal and “custom”.

– You cannot utilize ads to earn money from your free WordPress blog if you receive under 25,000 pageviews/month as it is against the terms.

– You cannot use custom themes.

– Plugins are not allowed on the free version, whereas with the self-hosted version you can add as many as you like.

I strongly believe that a self-hosted version of WordPress is the way to go. You will have complete control over you blog and the theme possibilities and plugins are endless.

See Also:

How to Upgrade

First of all, you will need to get started by setting up a hosting account.

A hosting account is a paid subscription to your own “space” on the web and will allow you to install software, like WordPress, to it.

Lucky for you, I Can Build A Blog has a great partnership with Bluehost which gets you a premium hosting rate if you sign up through this site.

The cost is just $2.95/month paid annually, and if you’ve searched high and low for affordable and reliable web hosts (like I have!), I can assure you that this is the best deal you’ll find.

Setting up a hosting account is quick and easy. Just visit this page to select your package (you will get a totally free domain name with either a Plus or Business package) and follow the steps.

*NOTE* If you’ve already purchased a domain name through for your site, enter your URL in the “I Already Have A Domain” box when signing up! We will get to this a bit later.

1. Complete the signup forms to create your account. Once you have your login details, sign in to your BlueHost control panel and choose the “Install WordPress” option.

2. On the next page, choose Install.

3. Select the domain name you’d like to install WordPress to. You can install it into a directory if you like, such as, otherwise just leave the “directory” box blank:

4. Select Show Advanced Options and enter the name of your blog. You can also choose your own username and password instead of the default generated ones:

5. Select Install Now and your installation will be underway. When complete, choose View Credentials.

The View Credentials page will show you your WordPress dashboard URL, username, and password.

Whenever you want to create a new post and sign into the WordPress dashboard you will need to access it through this address.

If you have a domain name purchased through

To “link” your existing domain name to your new hosting account, you will need to follow these steps as well…

1. Login to your account in a different browser tab.

2. Go to Upgrades > My Domains and click Edit beside your domain name.

3. Click on NameServers and choose to use “custom NameServers”:

4. Delete the three lines in the text boxes and replace the first two with:



Save your changes. This process can take up to 48 hours to change over, but sometimes it is immediate.

You can check to see if your domain has linked up with your Bluehost account by simply visiting your blog URL. If it directs you to your new Bluehost WordPress blog, you are good to go!

Importing posts to your new WordPress blog

Now, if you’ve been active on your free blog, you’ll most likely want to transfer your content over to your new site.

1. From your dashboard, click on the WP Admin button in the menu

2. Go to Tools > Export. Under the “Free” option, choose Start Export. This will save your posts to an XML file.

3. In your NEW WordPress dashboard (located at, go to Tools > Import.

4. Choose WordPress and install the importer plugin.

5. When it is installed, click the Activate & Run link.

6. On the next page you will choose your saved .xml file and import it! Done!

You can now install any custom themes that you like and play around with your newly upgraded blog! You won’t need to use your account for anything (except for domain renewals if you purchased your domain through them).

I hope this guide was helpful, and if it was, please share!

by Brett Helling
Brett has been starting, growing, and monetizing websites since 2014. While in college, he began to learn about digital marketing. After graduating, he continued to build a diverse portfolio of websites while working a full time job. After years of building the portfolio on the side, he made the jump to run his websites full time.