Migrating and Importing Content

VIP Go platform specific

This document is for sites running on VIP Go.

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Overview #

Overview #

To migrate content onto VIP Go, we need two assets:

  1. The database file as a SQL dump, and
  2. The media as a compressed archive.
Files to import can be attached to a Zendesk ticket — or files larger than 20 MB can be transferred via sending us a web-accessible link to the files (eg https://www.mysite.com/uploads.tar.gz). You may also use Amazon S3, Dropbox, Box, WeTransfer, or another similarly secure service.

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SQL dump #

This is the database dump of the WordPress migration source, typically from a development or staging environment where the site is being built and QA’d. (If exporting from a local environment, we recommend that the site is staged in a tool such as VVV instead of localhost.) The database can be exported from the command line using mysqldump, or via a third-party WordPress plugin such as WP Migrate DB Pro. The table prefix should be wp_, and the SQL file should include DROP TABLE IF EXISTS commands prior to each CREATE TABLE.

We recommend compressing the database file with gzip before it is provided to VIP.

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Media #

Also frequently referred to as uploads, media should be provided as a compressed archive of the uploads directory (typically /path/to/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/ or the directory in the UPLOADS constant). If possible, it is best to exclude intermediate images, as they are unnecessary (see Notes on media export). This folder can be submitted as a ZIP or compressed tarball archive.

We can start importing the media at any time. It’s best to supply the initial archive as soon as possible, to give ample time for troubleshooting. We can follow up with delta imports closer to launch if needed.

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Notes on media export #

If possible, we advise excluding intermediate images, as they are unnecessary on VIP Go. This can make the export much smaller (up to 95% of the size can be saved), and the import proportionally quicker.

Intermediate images are the different image sizes WordPress creates when uploading an image. For example, when uploading example.jpg, which is the full-size original version of the image, intermediate images filenames could be example-150x150.jpg, example-500x300.jpg, etc.

The only real action needed when migrating to VIP Go is to set the WPCOM_VIP_USE_JETPACK_PHOTON constant to true. The best way to achieve this is to add the following line in your vip-config/vip-config.php file:


This code will ensure old image filenames are handled correctly. Image tags such as

<img src="https://automattic.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/image-660x344.jpg" width="660" height="344" />

will be seamlessly rewritten to

<img src="https://automattic.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/image.jpg?resize=660,344" width="660" height="344" />

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Multisite #

Multisite migrations have a few additional considerations:

  • It’s best if the export includes only the sites to be migrated to VIP Go.
  • The VIP Go production environment does not need any special preparation for the import.
  • The subsites and their corresponding IDs will be created according to the IDs in the SQL dump that is provided for the import.
  • Remember that subsite #1’s media is found in the /wp-content/uploads folder — but all subsequent sites in the network will be in the /wp-content/uploads/sites/ folder, in their own subfolder based on the site number, designated by the database. This structure is a change from older versions of WordPress prior to 2013.

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Frequently asked questions #

Q: Are user accounts imported from SQL, or manually created?
They are created from SQL. Any users already in the VIP Go production environment will be dropped and replaced by the users in the imported database.

Q: Are there typically any data-cleaning scripts or processes that need to be run on the final SQL import?
Typically, the only cleanup we run is wp search-replace on the domain if necessary. The SQL provided for import should be ready to go as-is to make the switch over as fast as possible.

Q: How do delta imports work?
Delta imports are only supported for media. You can also provide an updated media archive, and by default we will add new files only without updating or deleting previously imported files.

For SQL, we’ll replace the VIP Go environment’s current database with an updated SQL export that you provide. This will update any older posts that have been modified and add all new posts.

After a delta import, the object cache is flushed, but we may not need to flush the page cache, as it will automatically expire in 30 minutes.

Q: Does the theme need to be complete before the migration is run?
No, we can process imports at any time during the launch process.

Ready to get started?

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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.