August 7, 2013

Independent domain name and good website host are needed for any website's growth. That includes migration of existing blog...

This post is part of a series on web hosting and domain names. We keep updating these posts. This posts tries to practically show how website owners (especially bloggers on free platforms) can benefit from professional website hosting. The term 'website' includes all types of sites including blogs.

Should I have an independent identity or place my blog on a separate web host or both?

We’ll settle the hosting issue first. Blogger and Wordpress – also supported by third-party themes, plugins and widgets - provide enough design and hosting functionalities on blogs hosted on their servers. So, we will advise you to keep hosting your blog on their servers, unless you want to do one or more of these on your blog:

    • maintain the blog on a long term and build a brand around it;
    • promote yourself as a budding or established celebrity or expert;
    • sell products or services through it;
    • give it a very customized look and want to keep changing it;
    • add a lot of matter that will consume many gigabytes of web space;
    • add content that conflicts with present web host's terms and conditions;
    • convert the blog into a big site with functionalities beyond those offered by the free-hosting site;
    • make this blog a part of a main website for your business / NGO.

Let’s now talk domain name. We’d propose that you shift to your independent domain as soon as possible. You will need to pay a few dollars a year but that small expenditure will pay you back manifold, especially if you want to run the blog for a long time. It will literally pay you back if you decide to monetize the blog. Why not?

But why 'as soon as possible'?

It is because your existing blog's all goodwill etc that you earn over years may be lost if you delay. In many cases, the Google PageRank sinks after a migration. The chances of an independent blog getting approved for AdSense also increase. Search engines also give more importance to independent websites / blogs.

That does not mean, you be impatient with the present blog. No. Keep blogging and learning why, how and when you should migrate. Migrate when your thoughts on the subject have matured.

Change the domain name: your blog’s first baby-step towards standing on its own feet

You have two options here. First, to purchase domain name from a registrar and then ‘map’ the new domain to your existing blog. Second, to purchase domain name through Wordpress / Google or other domain name providers. In both these cases, all your data will be safe and a viewer can visit your blog through both the URLs: [existing one] and [the new one]. If you do not renew the independent domain name, the old URL will still take you to your blog!

[If you have a website and want to make your .wordpress or .blogspot blog as part of that website, you can do that with nearly the same steps as given below, but we'll skip that.] 

On Wordpress: 

---A. To register through Wordpress itself:
  1. Login. Go to STORE. Select DOMAINS.
  2. Under ADD A DOMAIN, give the new domain name  in the box. Click on ADD DOMAIN TO BLOG. Decide whether you want to keep your personal information private and click on REGISTER DOMAIN. Follow the payment procedure.
  3. For the mapping to take place, go again to STORE>DOMAINS. Click on the radio button PRIMARY next to the two domain names listed there. The primary domain name will be the one shown on the address bar of the visitor’s browser.
  4. If you register a domain name with them, you need to pay $18 for one year [as of October 2015].
---B. To map to a domain registered with another registrar:
  1. It starts with going to your admin panel on the new registrar’s site. This particular step is slightly technical and Wordpress has given very detailed and clear instructions about it. Instead of copy-pasting that all here, let’s take you to the link: domain mapping on Wordpress.
  2. After you have done that, come to Worpress site, login, go to MY SITES>CONFIGURE>DOMAINS and follow the simple instructions. You need to pay $13 to map the domain.
On Blogger:

---A. To register through Blogger itself:
  1. Blogger provides this service through  ‘Google Apps’.  For that, go to
  2. Click GET STARTED. 
  3. Enter your information through new windows that appear.
  4. Go to BUY A NEW DOMAIN NOW. It will take you through signup and payment process. The current charge is $10.
---B. To map to a domain registered with another registrar:
  1. It starts with going to your admin panel on your registrar’s site. This particular step is technical as in the case of Wordpress, and detailed instructions are there about it on the Blogger site: How do I use custom domain name on my blogs?
  2. After you have done that, go to Blogger and login. 
  3. Go to SETTINGS. 
  4. In the BASIC settings, go to PUBLISHING section. 
  5. Next to BLOG ADDRESS, click on +SETUP A 3RD PARTY URL..., put the full new domain address, SAVE and it is done. itself acts as a web host and offers many packages. Its premium and business bundles offer hassle-free domain registration and hosting. But it is a costly affair, starting $99 per year.

Comparing the options

There are various permutations and combinations about domain registration and hosting, which are of slightly more technical nature, and allow us to skip them. 
Yet, let’s sort out some points of confusion.

What a free blog’s name looks like?
Can I change its name to right from Wordpress/ Blogger?
Yes. You need to pay for that.
Or you get this domain from a registrar and pay annual charges. Then map the new blog to the old one as given in the next point.
No. You need to get this domain from a registrar and pay annual charges. Then map the new blog to the old one as given in the next point.
After step 2, will the blog assets of  xyz.[wordpress/blogspot].com migrate to, and will my data, links etc work in
The blog will still be hosted on their servers.
The blog will still be hosted on their servers.
You mean, my blog xyz.[wordpress/blogspot].com is still on their servers?
Yes. Wordpress servers
Yes. Blogger servers
Will these servers continue to host if I just change the blog’s name from   xyz.[wordpress/blogspot].com to
Yes, the ‘paid upgrade’ for which Wordpress charges you $18 includes hosting for one year.

Yes, and free of charge as of now, for ever.

Am I bound by Wordpress / Blogger terms and conditions if I carry out the above changes?
If I registered the domain from a registrar, will Wordpress / Blogger charge me for mapping it with xyz.[wordpress/blogspot].com? 
Yes. The current charge is $13 per year.
No. It is free.

Can you recommend some registrars / hosts?

We'll just give links to some well-known names, but won't be able to give specific  recommendations. Go to their websites, compare packages, do a bit of research on the web and you will not go wrong. 

GoDaddy * Bigrock * eNom * Bluehost * MadDog * Google apps * HostGator * network solutions * * Yahoo! small business     

Finally, we advise you to register a domain for your blog if you are serious about blogging. Choose domain name carefully. Before deciding whether you upgrade through Wordpress or Blogger OR go to a different domain registrar, look at their packages. 

A MUST caution: Please save the entire website or blog to your computer before any big experimentation.

All the best!
PS: and xyz.[wordpress/blogspot].com have been used as examples to illustrate certain points and do not refer to a particular website with this name.

All posts in this series:
First post: domain names
Second post: web hosting 
Third post: Selecting blog host and domain registrar; and upgrading a free blog (present one)