Migrating and Importing Content

WordPress.com VIP platform specific

This document is for sites running on WordPress.com VIP.

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Overview #

It’s important to start populating your site with real content as soon as possible.

For Small Migrations (less than 15MB)

We make it easy for you to import your blog content from your self-hosted WordPress site, as well as a variety of other blogging platforms, including: Movable Type, Blogger, Tumblr, Typepad, LiveJournal, Posterous, Yahoo! 360, Israblog, and Splinder. Simply log into your WordPress.com dashboard, then go to Tools -> Import, choose your previous platform and follow the instructions. The WordPress.com support site has more detailed instructions, or feel free to reach out with any questions.

Please note that this method only works for migrating standard post types. If your theme includes Custom Post Types, you will need to use the method outlined below.

For Large Migrations

In most cases, the most straightforward approach to migrating your content is to first get it into WordPress’s native import/export format: WXR. Once you have all of your content available in WXR format, WordPress can import that file. Please make sure your source site is publicly accessible as our importer fetches media files over the web. Here’s a rough outline of how most content migrations work on WordPress.com VIP.

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1. Preparing for Migration #

The first step in preparing for your content migration is informing the WordPress.com VIP team of what to expect. To do that, please fill out and submit this questionnaire via the VIP Support Portal:

  • How many posts, pages, images, and comments are in this migration?
  • What’s the combined file size of all your media assets? This helps us estimate approximate import time.
  • How many users are in this migration? How many of them require “real” WordPress.com accounts with login access, and how many of them require “guest” accounts with no login access?
  • Are there any custom post types that we should be aware of?
  • Are there any custom taxonomies we should be aware of?
  • Are there any special considerations or requirements for redirects that we should keep in mind?
  • Are there any special considerations for content segmentation (i.e. different languages)?
  • Is the site content ready to go live, or do you plan on doing edits and cleanup post-import?
  • By what date will you be able to get the full export to us?
  • By what date do you hope to have the full import completed?

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2. Staging content #

In preparing for the migration, your team will need to prepare, QA, and stage all the content. It’s very important that all content cleanup is done before the import is run, because running fixer scripts on WordPress.com VIP can be time consuming and delay launch.

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3. Get Your Authors Access #

In order for us to properly attribute your content, you will need to get your authors, editors and administrators WordPress.com logins to access your site. Here’s more information on how to do this.

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4. Mapping Bylines #

Once all the authors are created, we will need to make sure that the bylines from your old site will match on your new site. Here is more information on how to create a mapping document, and how to deal with bylines that don’t require logins.

When you submit your WXR export to us, we will use this mapping CSV to make sure that the bylines are properly attributed.

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5. Import QA #

To determine that your content is ready for import into production, please answer the following questions when you submit your WXR to us:

  • Have you verified that your author map is properly formatted? We need the CSV in old_user_login, wpcom_user_login.
  • Do all the users that need a wpcom login exist in your WordPress.com wp-admin?
  • Have you verified that your author map is correct? Are all authors listed, and properly mapped?
  • Is the author list complete? Will there be more users added later?
  • Who should the “fallback” or “default” user be, if the post does not have an author?
  • Is inline content correct (i.e. content inside the post_content column)?
  • Are shortcodes and embeds working properly?
  • Have you completed a find and replace for any old URLs?
  • Have you properly QA’d all your redirects and gathered any URLs that need redirecting?

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6. Running the Import #

Once the theme has been through code review and enabled on your WordPress.com site, we will be able to run the import. You can submit the WXR file to us via Dropbox or another download location via our Support Portal.

Please make sure that your source site is publicly accessible, as our importer fetches media files over the web, and if the site is password-protected we won’t be able to reach them and they will not be imported.

Importing to a live production site #

To ensure a smooth import when importing to a live production site, we first run the import to a temporary, private VIP-hosted instance running your theme. This makes it possible to proceed with Step 6, QA Content, in a private environment before pushing the data to production.

Once everything is completely QA’d, fixed, cleaned up and approved on the pre-production instance, we can safely run the import to production without the risk of breaking things on your public site.

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Importing in parallel with Theme Review #

If your project is moving quickly, we can begin the import in parallel to your code review. If the theme utilizes custom post types and taxonomies, we will ask you to submit an Import Theme.

How to create an import theme

The Import Theme should be a completely stripped down version of the theme slated for production and should include no more code than the following:

  • Loading vip-init.
  • Loading any necessary VIP plugins.
  • Registration of custom post types and taxonomies (including ones extracted from in-theme plugins).
  • Any import-related code.

Most import themes are no more than a few hundred lines of code, consisting primarily of “register_post_type” and “register_taxonomy” calls.

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7. QA Content #

Once the import is complete, we will notify your team. At this time, your team must check through the content carefully to ensure that nothing is missing. Things that should be included on your QA list:

  • Checking media files.
  • Ensuring that shortcodes and embeds work.
  • Making sure that authors are properly mapped.
  • Making sure that all download media links work.

We strongly recommend that your team include time for content QA in your launch timeline.

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8. Delta Import #

Shortly prior to launch, we will help you run the delta import, which will contain all the content between the last export up until launch day. Typically, site editors should expect to double post content on both old and new sites for one day.

Note: Delta imports don’t overwrite previously imported content, so any changes to old posts will also need to be mirrored to WordPress after the initial import.

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8. Launch! #

Migration Services

Migrating content from WordPress-to-WordPress is included in your per-site setup fee. We also provide content migration services, and can help you migrate from any other content management system—those projects are priced on scope, and typically range $25k-$75k. Get in touch if you are interested.

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No matter where you are in the planning process, we’re happy to help, and we’re actual humans here on the other side of the form. 👋 We’re here to discuss your challenges and plans, evaluate your existing resources or a potential partner, or even make some initial recommendations. And, of course, we’re here to help any time you’re in the market for some robust WordPress awesomeness.