As explained in the previous post, I was considering moving back from a hosted version of WordPress to the free version. This blog is not-for-profit (ad trial is a technology test) and I’ve had more hassle resolving hosting issues, than benefits with the flexibility hosting your own blog brings.

There is surprisingly little information on how to move back from hosted to free WordPress on Google, so hopefully this will provide some guidance for those of us who are less technical.

Having gone through the process, ads on were just too obtrusive to continue, but hopefully the experience will serve others well considering the same path.

Pros summary

– It’s free
– WordPress’ reliable hosting to manage traffic spikes (thorn in my side on a cheap hosting deal)
– Many of the more popular widgets are still available (many aren’t…)
– Widgets are easier to setup on certain themes. Just use the edit box and drag and drop.
– Less hassle, just focus on the content

Cons summary

– You can’t include advertising. In fact, WordPress reserve the right to include ads on your own content. After switching back and then changing PCs and IP addresses I was able to see what the adds look like. Although WordPress claim they are infrequent, they were horribly obtrusive Google Adwords both at the top and the bottom of the article. Given part of my reason for moving back was having no need for advertising apart from a nice-to-have ad trial, this was unacceptable.
– Reduced number of extensions for those of us who like to test. The default stats in particular are basic.
– Reduced number of themes
– Reduced control of code
– WordPress have the final say over your blog

Moving back to summary

– Register with (if you didn’t originally)
– Check that you have a recent version of the WordPress software. Older versions do not include an ‘export’ option under manage. Instructions on this are here. Make sure you backup properly!
– Follow the instructions at ‘Manage’; ‘Export’
– Log into and follow instructions at ‘Manage’; ‘Import’.
– Go to ‘Upgrades’; ‘Domains’. Either purchase your domain or follow instructions to map it to WordPress.
– One common problem is confusion over how you purchase credits for the domain mapping. That’s because you can’t purchase credits, UNTIL you’ve mapped your domain. You are then prompted to purchase the 10 credits. Could be explained much more clearly. I was presented with the option to purchase the credits almost immediately after mapping my domain.
– Wait for the domain to propagate.
– The only problem was that I had to re-upload images.


On balance, the WordPress advertising was just not acceptable for me – for others the lack of hosting charge may outweight this. I would have considered paying a modest opt-out charge for avoiding ads on my blog, but WordPress have yet to make this available. At least the whole experience has got me to upgrade to the latest and much improved version of WordPress with working trackbacks and search…

Disclaimer: this is my personal experience and may not work for you. Do your research and always backup.