WordPress Migration, Part 2 – Setup

January 22, 2014 at 8:48 pm | Posted in Blogs, Internet, Software, Web Apps, Web Design | 5 Comments

< Part 1
Part 2 – Setup
4) Setup
This step will depend a little on your host. With easyPress, the blog is installed and secured for you when ordered so you can skip this step. With some cPanel sites, they have a one-click install. Molly runs through a BlueHost install here (see Part 1)*. Other hosts may require you to download the installer from WordPress.org and do the server install yourself – see WP.org for the Manual install. It’s not difficult.

*Another site recommends installing WP to a subdirectory. This separates the standard web site files of you and your host from the WordPress files making it a little tidier and easier to work with.

5) Theme
Time to install your new theme.
You can go to WP Dashboard, Appearance, Themes, Add New. Browse & select your chosen theme. (the zip file)

Some sites suggest you NOT activate your theme at this time. I did and it caused no problems but it can add  problem variables to the Import coming up. This would  depend on the theme.

6) Permalinks (article address format)
In Dashboard, Settings, Permalinks. I’d highly recommend you set them to the old WP.com style of “Day and Name” for ease of import. It’s better for SEO as well to have named posts, not numbers.

If you’re going to have your old WP.com blog forward to the new site (Step 10), matching URLs is required.

6) Export your old content
– On your old WP.com site, log in to the Dashboard.
– Clear out Spam comments and any blog posts you don’t want to migrate, including any unpublished. (Dashboard, Posts)
– Click on Tools, Export. Choose what you would like to migrate to the new site – Normally you want to choose All Content. This includes pages, posts, comments, and custom post types.
– Click Download to Export the XML File
– Save the file somewhere safe. This is all your prior hard work.

7) Import – migrate time!
– On your new site Dashboard, click Tools, Import
– Choose WordPress (if you’re importing something else, choose that platform)
– it will ask you to install and activate the WordPress Import Plug-in. Follow the prompts.
– click Browse and locate your Exported XML file.
– Upload – It will unpack the old content.
– When the uploading finishes, it will ask you to choose authors. You can create new ones based on the prior authors or retain the same authors (users) as the old blog. You have this choice for each author.
– Choose to import the attachments – this is your media library, like pictures, PDF files, etc. These were not exported in the XML but are instead migrated now. This may take quite some time.

When it’s done, you have migrated your .com blog! Congratulations!

I had 3 issues with the import.
a – All internal links still pointed back to the old blog. The fix for this required a search and replace script run from the database admin. Geeky but reliable. Just follow the instructions carefully as you’re editing data directly. Hundreds of links took seconds to fix. You’ll need your database admin login for this.

b – Embedded content partly broke due to the non-standard way WP handles it. In the new environment, a few things are different.

Embedded images lost their text wrap. Old images now display between paragraphs of the old posts rather than in-line. Not a concern and may be theme related.

Embedded videos such as YouTube now just show bracketed URLs that are not hyperlinked. Not a big deal as the URL is available. I didn’t notice this issue while Jetpack was installed, so if you use that, that may address this. (didn’t check)

8) Activate Theme
Next, activate your chosen theme.
– On your new WordPress Dashboard, go to Appearance, Themes. Select your uploaded theme and click Activate. Ta daa!

You’ll want to browse the Appearance sub-menu for options. They vary widely by theme but can include WP menu items, altered WP menu items and theme specific items. Widgets are ways to customize your sidebar column(s). Each widget has its own features.

And of course, take a look around your site – how’s it look?

9) Point the Domain
It’s time to point your domain to the new site. Follow the directions of your domain registrar and host. Your host will have given you your sites IP address. This will be entered into your Registrars domain A record.

Here are the steps for easyPress, for example. (other registrars will be different but somewhat similar)

Note that this change is then updated to the DNS servers which then update the DNS servers the world over. It may take a few hours for your local ISP to update. You can monitor progress on sites like this.

Under Construction
When you’re designing a standard website, leaving the domain parked while it’s under construction is common. But because Blogworld is so interconnected, the domain has to be in place for many features to be set up, including Jetpack. Thus you need a blog equivalent of an Under Construction page.

I can recommend the “Ultimate Coming Soon Page” Plug-in for this. You can mock-up an under construction page for visitors with a link back to your old site.

In the Dashboard, just go to Plug-ins, Add New and search for the above. Click Install, then Activate. In the Plug-ins Settings, you can lay out the page and colours and turn it on. Use your domain/wp-admin/ address to login in while it’s up. Your site will only be visible if you’re logged in. You’re free to browse your imported content, checking and tweaking and noting any issues. Everyone else gets the Coming Soon page.

Part 3 – Customizing >


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  1. […] < Part 2 – Setup One you have the site up, you’ll want to browse the dashboard and all the settings you have. Lots of little things to tweak. […]


  2. […] Part 1 – Prep < Part 2 – Setup < Part 3 – […]


  3. […] Part 2 – Setup > Part 3 – Customize > Part 4 – Final > […]


  4. I went back later and did a search and replace for Youtube links, converting them into standard links, and properly embedding the more important ones.


  5. […] When I migrated another site to a new domain a few years ago, I logged into the database, installed a special program, and ran a search and […]


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