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I'm about to start a new blog. I'm hesitating between using a paid version of Wordpress.com, or just install the open-source version on a VPS.

I am a web developer, and have all the knowledge necessary to provision a server, install Wordpress, handle updates, backups, and whatnot.

It's just that I already have to maintain a number of apps/servers, and for just a Wordpress blog, I'm not against paying to have it all maintained for me. One less hassle.

That being said, if I go this route, I want to be sure that I can change my mind later on; should issues arise (performance, availability of themes, plugins, etc.) I need to be able to grab a full backup of the website, and install it effortlessly on my server.

So the main question is: can I get a full backup of a wordpress.com hosted blog? And are there any differences in the database schema / application code in the commercial and open-source versions, that would complicate the migration?

Are there any other considerations I should take into account, before buying a wordpress.com plan?

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You certainly can backup a whole Wordpress site. Its done by using a plugin. There are plenty to choose from and some are favorites of people, some are not. I always used to think 'Duplicator' was great. Now I changed my mind and think WP Clone is the one. No sooner do I think like this and along comes an update for Duplicator!

Go to your wp-admin folder and in the menu you'll find 'Plugins' that's where you install your backup software. Both of the plugins I mentioned are capable of moving your site to a different host or creating a duplicate on wamp server that you get from Bitnami to create a webserver on your (Windows) workstation. You don't need a WAMP on your local PC if you only want a backup in case there is a need to restore your site.

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    Are we talking about a wordpress.com hosted website here? I know that there are plugins to handle backups, but I'm not sure if these plugins can be specifically installed on the hosted, commercial version of WordPress, and if this version is the same as the open-source version. – Benjamin Mar 9 '17 at 23:06
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    You can't add arbitrary plugins on wordpress.com. – ale Mar 10 '17 at 15:26

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