Easily Migrate Your Joomla Site To Drupal

joomla to drupal migration

After building an entire website complete with a custom theme, categories, user profiles, comments, media libraries, articles, and all sorts of other content, the task of migrating everything over into a new content management system (CMS) can seem daunting to even the most experienced webmaster.

Joomla to Drupal migration can be particularly intimidating because you’ll need to either learn how to use a number of Drupal modules to accomplish the mission completely, use a multi-CMS workaround (which we’ll explain below), or take the easy way out and spend your hard-earned funds on a streamlined site migration service.

Below we’ll show you how to take both the independent and outsourced approaches, to help you easily migrate your site from Joomla to Drupal with minimal hassle.

Using Drupal Modules to Perform the Migration Manually

Unfortunately, there’s no single module that can migrate every file from Joomla into Drupal while fully preserving and transferring the appearance and functionality of the original site. With that said, it is possible to perform a site-wide migration within the Drupal interface using a bit of ingenuity and two or more of the following 5 modules:

Migrate Module

If you have basic knowledge of PHP, and are willing to put in the time to explore and learn within the Migrate module, you’ll be able to use it to import your Joomla site’s content, categories, users, and even some of its plugins. If you’re confident in your technical abilities and are interested in learning more on the subject, see the Getting started with Migrate post on Drupal.org.

Joomla to Drupal Module

The Joomla to Drupal module is an older alternative to the Migrate module, created for migrating sites from Joomla 1.0.x. However, several webmasters have reported that it is also compatible with Joomla 1.5.x. The module allows you to import users, sections & categories (which are converted into Terms and Taxonomy Vocabularies within Drupal), and content pages (converted into nodes within Drupal).

This module should not be confused with the Joomla-to-Drupal Converter module, which was the module originally used to migrate Joomla sites into Drupal. While using the converter module may still work to migrate some sites, it is now considered obsolete due to the fact that the other two aforementioned modules can achieve the same results while providing more extensive feature sets.

Node Export Module

Migrating the backend of your site and keeping the content creation process similar is an important part of facilitating a swift and seamless migration. The node export module in Drupal lets you streamline the process of arranging important content construction kit (CCK) settings. Another advantage of the node export module is that it lets you export nodes from previous versions of Drupal into the most recent versions. Thus, if you find that using one of the older modules to migrate into an older version of Drupal is more convenient, you can take that route before using the node export module to migrate over to the newest version of Drupal.

Feeds Module

As far as transferring all of your written content (articles) and migrating into Drupal in a flexible manner, the best way to do this would be to learn how to use the Feeds module. This tool lets you aggregate content into various formats such as nodes, taxonomy terms, or basic database records.

If you’d like to dive deeper into the capabilities of the above modules and really understand the science behind Drupal migrations, the book Migrating to Drupal 7 is a great resource to look into.

Migrating through WordPress

This is a commonly overlooked workaround that is often easier than using the separate modules mentioned above. Simply migrate your Joomla site into WordPress, and then from WordPress migrate into Drupal. Why go through WordPress first? Because it is much easier to migrate an entire Joomla site into WordPress, and it’s easier to migrate a WordPress site into Drupal, than it is to perform a direct Joomla to Drupal migration. The easiest way to do this is to use the CMS2CMS WordPress plugin to convert your Joomla site to WordPress, then follow the Drupal.org’s guide to migrating from WordPress.

Using a Site Migration Service

Finally, the fastest and easiest option would be enlisting the assistance of a site migration service. A prime example of a popular service that facilitates Joomla to Drupal site conversion is CMS2CMS. The interface seems remarkably simple, and the company has published an infographic, slideshare, and video showing how to use the tool to migrate entire Joomla sites into Drupal. There are a number of good reviews about this service, and the prices are reasonable when compared to the cost of paying a developer to perform a custom migration.

Don’t Forget to Join the Discussion and Keep Researching

Once you start migrating your Joomla site over to Drupal, be sure to become a member of the forums at Drupal.org and share details about how you successfully migrated your entire Joomla site to Drupal. This will give you the opportunity to learn from other more experienced users, while also helping future newcomers surmount some of the obstacles you encountered during your first Joomla to Drupal site migration.

If you become proficient in performing Drupal site migrations, and establish yourself as an expert on forums, you may even be able to offer users site migration assistance/support as a paid service. Knowing how to successfully transfer a site from any CMS into Drupal is an increasingly valuable skill that can pay off in the long-term even after you’ve migrated your own site.