Blogger to WordPress in 13 Not-so-Easy steps
*** Updated May 06 2006 ***
Numerous changes have been made to the WordPress blogging software since I first made this post more than a year ago, but this post still gets quite a few hits from search engine results for blogger vs WordPress. I am updating this post to reflect the changes since then.
Although it has become easier to switch from blogger to WordPress, some aspects of it have also become more complicated, so I will make another post with pointers to tutorials for those of you who need a bit of help.
A couple of my blogging friends have asked me how I made the switch from Blogger to WordPress. My answer: “It wasn’t easy.” Even though I was web-savvy I had doubts of whether the move was all that necessary. After all, I had created accounts in numerous free blogging sites in my search for the most painless way to blog, and concluded that Blogger was the most user-friendly. As I told one friend, “Blogger + Hello/Picasa = the ulitmate blogging package you can get for free.” I’ve encountered only one night when Blogger seemed to have reset its servers all over the world which is why I couldn’t get anything in edgewise, but other than that I think it’s been well-behaved. At least since I started blogging on it October last year (2004).
WordPress, on the other hand, requires you to have basic webmaster skills. This means knowing how to FTP files to your server. FTP means File Transfer Protocol, and FTP programs allow you to move files from the hard disk on your computer to the server that hosts your webspace. You will have to know how to chmod with your ftp program, so that the folders on the server that hosts your files will be writeable by WP, which is important for the whole thing to work.
You also need to know how to use the Administration Control Panel that your hosting provider gives you, so that you can setup the MySQL database that is the backbone of WordPress. What is MySQL? Think of it as MS Access (that database thing that comes with MS Office, along with MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint) on steroids.
WordPress also demands that you know basic html coding, otherwise you will not get any photos into your blog, without the help of other third-party software. I am not aware of anything other than WordPress’s upload utility, which you have to activate after you have setup WP sucessfully.
A caveat to FREE Haloscan users: You will not be able to import your existing comments into WordPress. No such utility exists. You will have to copy them one by one into the respective posts, taking note of the dates and times they were posted. You can use haloscan in WordPress but it will be a clean slate, and comments will only appear in your new posts, which are posts that you made while you are already using WordPress. If you have adequate coding experience you may want to try out the suggestions from Justinsomnia.
If at this point your eyebrows have knit and you’re starting to see dark circles floating between your eyes, stop right now. Stick to Blogger. The next steps are not for the faint of heart.
You still with me? You sure? Let’s move on…
Here are your 13 steps towards having a WordPress blog:
1. Get a domain and a hosting account. BayanHosting will do that for you for the incredibly low price of US$ 24 (thereabouts, depends where you are) a year. Bayanhosting allows you to pay them through deposits to their bank accounts (very convenient for credit-cardless-in-the-boondocks me), among other means.
2. Fool around with the Control Panel that Bayanhosting (or your chosen provider) gives you access to. Find the MySQL icon and create a database. It’s fairly easy once you’re there. Don’t think so? There’s one way around it. Get an web-savvy friend, promise him/her a week, maybe two, of free coffee and sweets at Starbucks or some such place, and have him/her proceed for you. But stick around, it gets better.
3. Once you’ve setup the database, get the following info for later use:
Database Name =
User Name =
Write this info down, making sure you have underscores and cases correct.
4. Download the WordPress installer from their website. Get the zip format if you’re running on Windows, the tar.gz. if you’re on a Mac.
5. Create a new folder on your hard disk, on the root directory so that it’s easy to find. So you might end up with a folder structure that reads something C:\wordpress .
6. Unzip the latest.zip (or latest.tar.gz) file into that new folder.
7. Now, navigate to that new folder and find the readme.html file. Read it. Very carefully. Twice. Read it again with the friend you promised Starbucks heaven to.
8. With the info from #3 at hand, do Step 2 of the “Famous 5-minute install”.
9. Follow the rest of the steps in that readme. This is where your FTP skills are most needed. Follow everything conscientiously. If you’ve been a good boy/girl, you should be rewarded with a spanking new online installation of WordPress.
10. But wait! No piÃ±a coladas yet! Your WP installation is empty! You need to IMPORT your years and years of blogging on Blogger into WordPress. But take heart, you’ve made it this far, there’s just a few more things to do.
11. In your running installation of WordPress, locate the import-blogger.php and run it. The URL should be something like (but not necessarily be) http://www.yourdomain.com/wordpress/wp-admin/import-blogger.php. Somewhere along the way it will tell you to login to your Blogger account.
Updated! 11. WordPress 2.0 and later versions have an “Import” link on the Menu (Dashboard | Write | Manage | Links | Presentation | Plugins | Users | Options | Import). Follow the instructions you see on the screen.
12. While you’re there back up your current Blogger template (just copy the template text and paste it into Windows Notepad or Editplus). You will want to bring it back especially if you’re a Haloscan user. Follow the import-blogger instructions to the letter. To the letter. The first time I did this was when I was moving Sam’s blog from blogger to WordPress (yes, I used his blog as a guinea pig because he had fewer posts than I did at the time). I did not follow instructions to the letter. I ended up having to edit all his publish dates after I had imported his Blogger stuff.
13. Ah, now we’re almost (almost!) done. Now that you have moved house, you might want to do a little redecorating. There’s loads and loads of templates online, the best of which are on Alex King’s Website. There is also the WordPress Themes Gallery. There are instructions there on how to download, unzip, upload and install your new look. A comprehensive list of wordpress themes can also be found on Emily Robbins’ How to Blog.
There you go! Your spanking new WordPress home and blog. Now that wasn’t so painful, was it?
Before you think this is all too complicated, some webhosts offer 1-2-3 click installations of WordPress with a control panel script called Fantastico. Fantastico will allow you to install WordPress on your server without any need for downloading the WordPress install files and uploading them to your server. You will however, still need a bit of FTP expertise, to chmod the folders where your images will be saved when you post them, and also to upload the various themes and plugins you may decide to use.