Learn How to Easily Migrate your WordPress Data Only

migrate wordpress data

If you operate a website that runs on WordPress, it’s almost always just a matter of time before you’re going to want to move the posts you’ve created to another place. There are a lot of reasons to migrate WordPress data. If you’ve moved your site to new hosting solution, it’s a given that you’ll need to do so. Over time, your site may fall behind in updates or become clogged with plug-ins to the point that cleaning up and starting over is the best option. There’s also the simply benefit of having the data saved locally within a backup copy. It’s important to learn the process ahead of time so you’re not in a jam trying to handle it when you really need to pull it off. Here are the key points you need to keep in mind.

Before Starting

There are multiple ways to export your data from your WordPress installation. There are low-level approaches using the MySQL database. There is also, however, a simpler approach that’s allowed through the main admin panel for WordPress. For the sake of sanity, we will assume that you’re using the simpler method.

It’s a bit of an understatement to call this approach simple. More accurately, it is the simplest of several potentially difficult approaches. It’s important to read up on other skills that you may need to handle the process, such as how to set the max_file_size for uploads in both PHP and MySQL. You also should be comfortable using FTP to move, and that especially includes understanding how to set folder permissions for various parts of your WordPress system.

Exporting the Information from the Admin

If you log into the WordPress admin panel, you’ll see the list of features on the left-hand side of the screen. One of these items is named “Tools,” and if you click on it, it will display a list of items marked “Import” and “Export.” Both will be necessary, but for now, let’s focus on the export side of the equation.

After clicking on “Export,” you will see a whole list of drop-down boxes that allow you to select the various types of information you’d like to export. Unless you have a compelling reason for not wanting everything, you can ignore these. Simply click the button that’s marked “Download Export File.” This will create an XML file that’s specifically designed for the purposes of transferring WordPress data from one installation to another.

Importing the Information

Presumably, at this point you will have a different WordPress installation where you’d like the data to now reside. You should log into this version’s admin panel and locate the “Export” option that you saw earlier during the import process. Once you’ve clicked on it, you will see a list of different import option. The one you want is labeled “WordPress,” and it’s typically situated at the bottom of the list.

It’s important to note that this feature typically requires an importer plug-in to be installed. Before you proceed, you will need to address the plug-in installation. It’s also important to use your FTP or server control panel system to set permissions on the installation folders to allow the files to be added. You should remember to disable these permissions once you’re done. Depending upon the size of the file, especially if you have a large website that you’re copying, you may have issues with the maximum allowed file size for uploads in your PHP and MySQL installations. That issue also needs to be handled before making the move.

Once you have all the prep work squared away, the process becomes much simpler. You’ll click the import link, and then you’ll need to select the XML file you wish to upload from the folder where you had previously saved it on your computer. After that, you can click the “Upload and Import File” button.

The next page you see will offer options for handling the process. You will be asked if you want to create new authors on the admin for the posts. Typically, you’ll want to enable this option. You’ll also be asked if you wish to have WordPress to fetch files that are linked to by the posts. If you’re moving the site to an entirely new URL and haven’t disabled the old one, this is a handy feature. However, it may be problematic if you’re still using the same URL for your site. In that case, you may need to manually download and upload the files via FTP to the new server. Once you’re ready, simply click the button that’s labeled “Submit.” WordPress should handle the rest of the process.


Due to the way the various parts of a WordPress install work, especially at the LAMP stack level, this process should not be taken lightly unless you’re a professional who has handled it numerous times. There are many potential hiccups along the way, so it’s important to make sure that you have some ability to retreat back to your original installation if the process fails. When in doubt, ask a professional for help or go onto a forum where there are knowledgeable professionals present to provide advice. With a few additional basic skills under your belt, however, the process to migrate WordPress data from one install to another isn’t unduly difficult to tackle by yourself.