Recently i opened an account with a WordPress only managed hosting provider named WPEngine. I wanted to try them out for a couple of months as they advertise they’re the fastest and most secure hosting provider for WordPress.
I also wanted to compare them to the previous web hosts i have used and have become motivated to do this after the company which owns WordPress, Automattic, became their partner and backed them with an investment of over $1 mil.
WPEngine offer a migration service which they charge $300 for. I wanted to learn more about migrating a WordPress site to their servers and write about the experience so i decided to complete the move myself.
There’s different ways to transfer your content to WPEngine.
In this tutorial i’ll show you how i used the WordPress export/import tool to move content to a new installation of WordPress on WPEngine’s severs. This export file contains all of your posts, pages, comments, custom fields, terms, navigation menus and custom posts.
Before you import your content into your new WordPress installation on the WPEngine server, it is advisable to upload your parent theme and child theme (if you use one) first.
WordPress Export Tool
If you have a large site with hundreds or thousands of posts, i suggest you export them one month at a time otherwise use another migration method. Another option is to export your posts by category or author.
The smaller the export file the better and its advisable to import a handful of posts and pages first so you can check them before you import more.
Go to Tools > Export in your WP Dashboard and select posts by month.
Download the export of each month to your desktop
You can do the same for your pages and custom post types if you have hundreds of them otherwise try exporting all of them at once.
The screenshot above shows custom post types including slides, feedback and portfolio which also need exporting.
The first step is to make sure your Permalink structure is the same as you used on your old site. Under Settings > Permalinks you find the different permalink settings to choose from.
If you have been using a custom structure in the past, simply copy it to your new site before you start importing your posts.
Login to WPEngine which is normally your username.wpengine.com/wp-login.php
This is the backend of your WPEngine account and your WordPress dashboard. Your account is managed from your Dashboard which already includes a fresh install of WordPress and the default theme.
Go to Tools > Import > WordPress and choose the xml file to import.
If your users, authors etc have already been setup in your new WordPress installation, you can simply assign the posts you are importing to them by selecting the correct author from the drop down menu like i have done in the screenshot below.
Other options are:
- Create new user with login name:
- Assign posts to an existing user
Once you have this sorted out, select Download and import file attachments and click Submit
You might also like to check all your posts to make sure everything has been imported properly and setup on your new installation of WordPress correctly before you import more content.
This is a good time to go through each month or category of posts and update them if needed.
WPEngine provide a free speed test and opt-out-any-time email course on improving your site’s performance.
More Import Options
Another option is to import your database into phpMyAdmin located in your WPEngine Users Portal.
In the next post i’ll show you how to import your contents folder – uploads (images, video), plugins, themes as well as all your files using SFTP.