Move Your Blogger Blog to WordPress: Getting Content on a New Host

If you’ve been with Blogger for a while, have your own domain name and are ready to move to something bigger and better, keep reading. This is the second part of a three-part series that will help you move your blog to WordPress.

Recap of the tutorial

In the first part of this tutorial, we discussed the strategy for transferring content from your Google Blogger-hosted blogs to WordPress using your own custom domain name. If you have not read the first part, it is highly recommended that you read that first, before reading this part, as it contains information you need  to understand this article.

The overall strategy focuses on registering your own custom domain and then pointing the CNAME to Blogger. This will allow Blogger to 301 redirect the old blog post URLS (those with .blogspot.com URLs) to new URLs that include your preferred domain name.

After maturity of the 301 redirection (this means that Google is passing all link juices/page rank and has updated all URLs in the Google index), we will export all Blogger posts to your WordPress XAMPP local host at which the onsite work is to be done.

After completion of the onsite work at the WordPress XAMPP local host, we will then select a web host to which these files and the database are to be uploaded. After this, we will point the name servers of the domain to your new web host.

After installation of the default WordPress, empty all the database tables used by the default installation and then import the WordPress database containing all of your Blogger blog posts.

We also need to check the consistency of your URLs before and after the transfer in order to avoid 404 errors (read part one of this tutorial for some background).

In this article, we will discuss the best practices for moving Blogger to WordPress. The following techniques below are vital to ensure that moving content to your WordPress web host will not affect both website traffic and current rankings in Google. These include:

  1. Exporting Blogger content to your computer WordPress XAMPP local host.
  2. Preparing the WordPress local host files to be uploaded to FTP.
  3. Preparing the MySQL WordPress local host database to be exported to your new web host.
  4. Installation of WordPress on your new web host.
  5. Importing the MySQL WordPress database and replacing the default installation database. 
  6. Correcting possible 404 errors due to some changes in the URL before and after the blog transfer. This is safely done using 301 redirection with Apache .htaccess file.
  7. Completing the finishing touches of the transfer. This includes updating your Google Webmaster tools account and Google Analytics for that website.

If you are ready to proceed and have read part one in detail, keep reading this article.

If you do not know what XAMPP is, please read this article. This section of the tutorial does not discuss techniques in detail; it outlines ways to properly arrange the file structure during the export process.

Step 1. In your XAMPP htdocs folder, create a folder and name it the same thing as your domain name, say "coolalieninthesky."

Step 2. Download and install WordPress inside that folder. To make sure you have installed WordPress in the correct file path, type this in the browser: http://localhost/coolalieninthesky. It should take you to the front page of your installed WordPress theme. You can download the latest WordPress version.

Step 3: If you have some images hosted in Blogger or other files such as Mp3s, etc. make a folder inside the WordPress folder and name it as you wish. For our example, let say we will name it "myfiles."

Step 4: Inside the "myfiles" folder, download all image files used by Blogger posts to that folder from Google (currently they are using Picasa).

Step 5: To ensure that this is correctly done, say you have an image file called "mypic.jpg" inside myfiles. Type this in the browser, and you should see your picture image without an error:

http://localhost/coolalieninthesky/myfiles/mypic.jpg

If not, you have incorrectly set the file path of your image.

Step 6. Lastly, you need to open each post (assuming you have exported all Blogger content) in the WordPress dashboard and edit those image SRC tags using the specific image file:

<img src="/myfiles/mypic.jpg" alt="mypic" width="214" height="320" />

Make this an important part of your onsite work.

Before you prepare the MySQL database and files to be uploaded to your new web host, make sure all of the following items check out:

  • All posts are working as you planned.
  • You have selected a final theme with all changes made to it.
  • All images are working.
  • All onsite work (including SEO work) is done.
  • All plugins needed by WordPress work as you wish them to and all of your desired site features are activated.

When all of the above things are done, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to http://localhost/phpmyadmin.
  2. Select the WordPress database containing your post and settings.
  3. Go to wp_options table and click the browse button.
  4. Look for the following "option name" and change its value:

"Site URL" and "Home": Change from http://localhost/coolalieninthesky to http://www.coolalieninthesky.com/

Upload path: C:xampphtdocscoolalieninthesky/wp-content/uploads to /home/www/coolalieninthesky.com/wp-content/uploads

The part highlighted in red varies from one hosting company to another; this is the root path. To learn it, upload a PHP script to the root directory of your website, name it rootpath.php and make sure it contains this code:

<?php

echo $_SERVER['SCRIPT_FILENAME'];

?>

Open it in your browser: http://www.coolalieninthesky.com/rootpath.php, and then you should see the path of your root directory.

Now that we have prepared all the files for uploading, you can upload all the files using the procedure below:

Step 1. Log in to your website FTP account.

Step 2. Go to the root directory. This also varies vary from one web host to another. However, you can learn it by checking the results on rootpath.php file.

Step 3. Using an FTP client, in your local side (at the left), navigate to XAMPP/htdocs/coolalieninthesky. You should see the files inside this folder which are the WordPress files (wp-content, wp-admin, etc)

Select them all by pressing Control-A, and then drag all of those files to the right (the FTP website root directory). An example screen shot is below. On the left are the files to be uploaded (highlighted), while on the right side are the FTP files at the root directory.

Step 4. Log in to your hosting MySQL database, create a database and make sure you have the following information (which will be needed in your wp-config.php file):

  • Database name — This is the name of the database you have just created. 
  • Database username –  This is your username; you can create this or the hosting company will provide it to you.
  • Database password — This is your password; you can also create this or the hosting company will provide it to you.
  • Database hostname — Ask for this from your hosting company.

Step 5. Edit the lines in the wp-config.php (or if you cannot find this, look for wp-config-sample.php):

// ** MySQL settings – You can get this info from your web host ** //

/** The name of the database for WordPress */

define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘database name here’);

/** MySQL database username */

define(‘DB_USER’, ‘database username here’);

/** MySQL database password */

define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘database password here’);

/** MySQL hostname */

define(‘DB_HOST’, ‘database hostname here’);

Replace those items in red with your own settings/data, and then save it as wp-config.php; finally, upload it to the root directory of your website.

Step 6. When everything has been uploaded and is okay, then we are ready to install WordPress in your new web host, which will be the new home for your Blogger posts. Type this into the browser:

http://www.coolalieninthesky.com/wp-admin/install.php

Of course, replace it with your own domain name. After that, type a temporary blog name, email address and follow the rest of the installation procedures. Do not forget to check "Allow my blog to be indexed by search engines."

Take note of the username and password given, though this is just temporary. It is because after importing the WordPress local host MySQL database to your web host (that contains the Blogger posts), you will use the WordPress local host login username and password to enter dashboard panel, NOT the one given by the default installation.

Please come back next week for part three, the conclusion to this article.

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