If you’re looking to change your website to a new URL or otherwise want to transfer absolutely everything from one WordPress installation to another, the good news is that you’ve picked the easy option. WordPress’s own import and export tools will work perfectly for you so no need to do anything too complicated under the hood.

Here’s how to transfer all your WordPress content – pages, images and files, posts and everything else – to a new installation.

Incidentally, it is probably easiest to create a new installation on your new server (or even the new location within a server) and import/export than to change your files’ configurations. However, if you’d rather do it that way, the WordPress Codex can advise. Your installation should be up-to-date with the latest WordPress version so it won’t be a problem, but if it’s not, upgrade your old installation first. If you really can’t update for some reason – such as keeping a plugin that doesn’t work with new versions – your new installation can be an old version. This is far from recommended because many old versions of WordPress have critical security flaws.

WordPress Import Content From Other Site - Migration
WordPress Import Content From Other Site – Migration

How to import to new site? How to migrate?

1. Export From Your Old Installation

WordPress’s own Export Tool.

Go to your WordPress dashboard and select the Export item from theTools section.

Because you’re exporting everything, it’s easy: keep the All content option selected and hit Download Export File.

An XML file will be created. Keep it in a safe place and go across to the installation to which you’re migrating.

2. Install the Importer

The WordPress importers screen.
WordPress importer plugin

 

On the new WordPress installation, go once again to Tools, but this time select Import.

You will be shown a list of importers, from which you should select the WordPress option.

Click Install Now and wait for the importer plugin to download and install.

If it all works, you can click Activate Plugin & Run Importer on the next screen.

At this point, you’re all ready to import and the XML file you generated earlier comes into play.

3. Upload Your Content

Upload the WordPress eXtended RSS (WXR) XML file you created earlier.

Click Choose File on the screen that follows and select the XML file you created on the old site.

Next, click Upload file and import.

4. Assign the Content

You can import or add new author accounts, or attribute content to existing authors. Ensure you import and download attachments.

You’ll be given an option to assign content to existing users on the new site (if you have an account on both, you can assign your old posts to your new account), or create new users either with their old usernames or with a new one you select. This ensures all the content is attributed to an author account that exists on the new site.

If you have any images or files to move to the new site, make absolutely sure that you tick Download and import file attachments – it’s not selected by default.

Hit the Submit button and you’re done! The page may take a little longer than usual to load because it’s creating all the new rows on the database, but it will get through it. Just wait patiently for it to be processed and all of your content should be imported onto the new site ready for its life there.

Partial Content Movement

So that’s the easy bit out of the way. However, if you’re looking to export only some of your content, I’m afraid to say that WordPress’s tools probably won’t cater for your needs on their own.

Selecting All content is the only way to export your attachments (files that appear under the Media section). Therefore, if you want to transfer specific parts of the content and your images, you’ll either need to move everything across then delete it (time consuming for larger sites) or poke around in your files and database – which I shall show you how to do now.

The exporting and changing SQL that I’m about to show you will be demonstrated for moving attachments, but you can also use a similar methodology to transfer the whole database across. This is useful if you want to transfer everything but your XML file is too large to upload through the importer.

Select the Content You Want to Export

Venture once more to the Tools > Export screen to begin with.

Here I have chosen to export only posts after mid-2010 from a certain author. You can also choose to export by status (eg. Published, Pending, Draft) or their Category. Other content types like pages (or Feedback, Portfolio, etc. if enabled) can be selected.

Once you’ve selected which content you’d like to export, click Download Export File as before. If there are multiple selections you’d like to make (eg. two authors’ posts in a date range, or someone’s posts and all pages), it’s entirely possible to go back and create multiple export files for each selection.

Import as Before

After you have all the WXR XML files you want, go to the new site and install the WordPress Importer as previously shown. You can upload your files (one at a time) as before and they’ll install the specific posts/pages/other content onto the site.

All Visualmodo WordPress themes comes with the theme demo content .xml files and a 1-click demo content import option build-in.