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Step 7: Consolidating my online strategy – Redirecting my WordPress.com blog to self-hosting

The time has come to redirect my WordPress.com blog

Pink eyes detour by Senor Codo via FlickrFinally, the time has come to redirect my two year old blog with its 740 posts from http://flowingmotion.wordpress.com to http://flowingmotion.jojordan.org.

To remind you of where I am

  • The original blog is on http://flowingmotion.wordpress.com
  • An exact replica (with some theme updates) is on http://flowingmotion.jojordan.org

When I imported a copy of the original (see earlier steps), I made sure that I adjusted the permalinks first so the post urls are exactly the same, except for the name of the domain (wordpress.com and jojordan.org).

Why do I want to redirect my WordPress.com blog?

The problem I need to solve now is this.  If someone linked to me on their blog post,, say 18 months ago, a reader would follow their link to the original blog but the last post there would be as of a few days ago.  The blog would look deserted and because it has no updates, it will slowly lose page-rank, or google-favour.

I can’t ask everyone who has ever linked to me to update their links.  That’s not feasible.  So how can I bring those visitors to my new blog and keep my standing with Google too?

How does the redirect from my WordPress.com blog work?

What I can do is to set up a permanent redirect – a 301 for geeks – from http://flowingmotion. wordpress.com to http://flowingmotion.jojordan.org.  Then when someone follows an old link, they will be taken through the magic paths of the internet to the WordPress computers, and their computer will redirect the reader to Dreamhost, who will serve up the version of the post on their computers.

The reader will barely notice the redirect.  They have what they want and they are on an active alive blog where they can interact with humans and leave comments (which link back to their work).

I, of course, can update my posts when necessary, provided I leave the  title intact.

How do I redirect my WordPress.com blog to a self-hosted version?

To accomplish this feat, I go through three steps.

Redirect my new blog temporarily to WordPress.com

On my new blog at Dreamhost, I log in to Dreamhost (not my blog), go t0 Manage Domains, and choose the line for my blog which happens to be a sub-domain in this case (http://flowingmotion.jojordan.org).

Now I am going to pick Full Hosting and remove it.  Scary, huh?  I am not going to delete it in the far right column.  I am going to remove the hosting in the middle column.  This will keep the copy on the Dreamhost intact and I will recover it shortly.

Now I am going to chose the DNS for the same record and go to the next window.  In the middle, there is provision for a Customized domain.  In there I see an A – that is for IP addresses.  I don’t need that.  But in the dropdown menu is CNAME  – I choose that.

Then under Value I insert the url for my old blog, which in my case was  http://flowingmotion.wordpress.com.  [Note well there is a fullstop (period) there.  Make sure you put it in.]

Update

Redirect my old blog to Dreamhost

Now I head off to the  WordPress computers and login as usual to my old blog http://flowingmotion.wordpress.com.  Under Dashboard, at the bottom of the left hand column, I choose domains, and add the domain name for my new blog which is http://flowingmotion.jojordan.org.

Worpress checks that is has access and that by definition I own the new blog.  That’s why I had to open it up temporarily.

When it sees everything is OK, it tells me to whip out my credit card and page $9.97 and reminds me that I must pay them every year to keep the redirect going.  So put this date in my diary!

(At some point, I set my new blog as the primary blog.  It is self-evident when you see it.)

Reclaim my new blog

Now I head back to the Dreamhost computers, log in to the “panel”  (not to my blog), choose My Domains, find the line with my blog (in my case a sub-domain http://flowingmotion.wordpress).  I chose DNS and go and delete the value for the CNAME, which you recall was http://flowingmotion.wordpress.com.  Update.

I go back to My Domains and chose my blog again and this time stay on that page, go to the middle column and select full hosting.  A new window comes up.  I check the settings and choose full hosting.

Done!

Now when I put http://flowingmotion.jojordan.org  in my browser, I should bring up my blog.  When I put my old http://flowingmotion.wordpress.com in the browser, it should send me at the speed of internet over to Dreamhost and show my blog in the browser.

Blunder

Of course, it didn’t go quite this easy for me.  My redirect got in perpetual loop and the advice from Dreamhost, unfortunately, was “Wait. These things take time.”   Fortunately, young Nick Cochiarella from Olney nudged me 12 hours later to tell me Dreamhost were wrong and I got back in touch with them to check my settings.

This is what happened.  Two steps back, before the One Click Install, when I set up the subdomain I had chosen the wrong combination of make http://wwww go to http://.  There are three choices and I left it on the default.

When I One Click Installed, my wordpress on Dreamhost was set up as http://www.flowingmotion.wordpress.com.  When I redirected from WordPress.com, it was to http://flowingmotion.jojordan.org because that was the only choice we have.

Once I had corrected the address of my new blog by logging onto the blog (not Dreamhost panel) and taking out the www in the address registered under Dashboard/Settings/General, everything worked fine.

I also went back to the Dreamhost panel, Manage Domains, the line with my blog and DNS, and fixed up the redirects there to send any traffic looking for http://www.flowingmotion.jojordan.org to http://flowingmotion.jojordan.org.

I’m still a bit confused by it all.  The point is to remember you have an address registered within your new WordPress blog.  You may not think of it as you are staring at an unfamiliar Dreamhost panel

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2 Comments

  1. hallo

    i wanna ask about PR, Last month my PR 2 but now down to 1
    can u tell where is the problem..?

    Thx

    • I don’t really know, ipangsan. It seems that Google has reassess your site. That happened to me once when I took down several blogs. The last remaining one then dropped from 5 to 4.

      I understand Google also penalizes for duplicate content but I have little experience with that.

      Do you check your Alexa Rankings? I find those more helpful.

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