I finally made the decision to move my blog to my own hosting after a few years of hosting on wordpress.com. There are a lot of good reasons to use wordpress.com such as the fantastic “googleability” of wordpress.com – it seems like search engines are excellent at searching through blogs hosted there. The disadvantage is that you are heavily restricted as to what you can do and you have to pay extra for a lot of features that I think should come standard.
First I downloaded wordpress, set up my database and ran the install to set up a wordpress.org installation on my own server. Then I went in to the admin panel in my wordpress.com site and went to “Store” then “Site Redirect”. It cost $13 for a year of redirection and I pointed the existing jamesrossiter.wordpress.com site at my new site blog.jamesrossiter.co.uk. This is a permanent redirect (302) so Google should pick up on this and update the listings for my site.
I then exported my site from wordpress.com by going to “Tools” -> “Export” and imported into my new site at blog.jamesrossiter.co.uk using “Tools” -> “Import” which included all the comments on the blog..
Finally, in order to make sure all my posts were correctly forwarded to the right URL I set the permalinks at blog.jamesrossiter.co.uk to be the same format as those used by blogs at wordpress.com which is “Day and name” and is set in “Settings” -> “Permalinks”.
This blog is currently hosted for free on wordpress.com, which means it is always up to date and doesn’t rely on my own hosting, unlike my website at jamesrossiter.co.uk. Although there are several advantages to hosting on wordpress.com the main disadvantage is that you can’t load plugins or write your own. One of the plugins I miss most is the WordPress Tweeter plugin, which allows WordPress to integrate nicely with Twitter by posting to Twitter when new posts are written and even when posts are updated.
One workaround for this is to use the built in Publicize feature under Settings – Sharing on your wordpress.com blog. Unfortunately, it’s terrible.. It doesn’t add #hashtags or allow you to customise anything. The alternative is to add your RSS feed to Feedburner.
Once you have signed up to Feedburner and added your RSS feed (http://yourblogname.wordpress.com/feed) open it on the Feedburner dashboard and click on the “Publicize” tab at the top. Now click on the “Add a Twitter Account” and allow Twitter access. Now whenever you create a new post, your RSS feed will be updated and Feedburner will push a link to your new blog post (based on the title) to Twitter.
When you run wordpress on IIS your permalinks have to include the prefix /index.php/ which looks ugly and is totally unnecessary. To easily fix this you need to add an ISAPI filter called “wp_url_rewriting.dll” from Dean Lee. You just install the filter in IIS and then go into your wordpress settings and delete the /index.php/ from your custom permalink. Easy!