Handy WordPress plugins for site migrations

We usually migrate from WordPress to Drupal but sometimes we need to migrate in the opposite direction.

John Newton's picture
John Newton

In a previous post, I covered some useful (and less well known) modules to help you with importing content into your new Drupal 8 or Drupal 9 website. In this post, I want to cover moving content the opposite way - from Drupal into WordPress. I also touch on more generic content importing from other content management systems.

Let’s start with the easiest option! WordPress sites rely heavily on paid for plugins so the ecosystem, ethos and business approach is somewhat different to Drupal’s. Drupal is probably closer to a ‘true’ open source project where pretty much all contributions are free. There are pros and cons to both approaches - for example, the WordPress model creates a market where the needs of users are quickly met by individuals and companies who can create sustainable businesses based on charging users for their plugins. Arguably, this approach drives solutions because it is customer focused. The sheer number of WordPress plugins attests to its success in this regard. Drupal is reliant on the goodwill of its community to produce shareable solutions and this can limit the range of available modules you can use in your site. However, Drupal’s approach has its own strengths - rigid coding standards which can lead to longer-lasting and more secure modules and a well-structured and extensible framework for developers to write their own solutions. These days, Drupal core (the Drupal you get out of the box before adding third party modules) is so fully-featured that the need for extensions is greatly reduced. It’s also important to note that because all Drupal’s add-on modules are free this means clients and partner agencies do not have to worry about restrictive licensing and ongoing costs for updates, security and support.

Back to our first solution for importing Drupal content into WordPress. By far the most straightforward approach is to use the FG Drupal to WordPress plugin. For about £50 this plugin will help you get a long way in your Drupal to WordPress migration. That said, it isn’t (and doesn’t pretend to be) a complete solution. To begin with, it won’t handle your Drupal blocks. It copes well with basic content, but needs help with custom content types and Drupal views.

It’s worth noting that https://www.fredericgilles.net also offers custom tools for importing various CMS and eCommerce systems to WordPress - these are Joomla, Magento, PrestaShop and SPIP.

Another import option is to turn to site scraping plugins which can offer an effective if less structured approach to importing content from your old site. Just pulling in a lot of content without restructuring might be of limited use and I’ve not tried this approach myself. That said, for simple sites or blogs it could get the job done. However, generally speaking, importing data in a more controlled way by CSV  might be a better option. There are many CSV importers for WordPress and I’ve certainly not tried them all but https://www.wpallimport.com/wordpress-xml-csv-import/ does a good job of taking your CSV files and turning them into WordPress content. It’s drag and drop interface makes importing clear and easy. You can create your Drupal export CSV using https://www.drupal.org/project/content_export_csv.

As with all things data, the devil is in the detail. Whether you are moving Drupal to WordPress or WordPress to Drupal, the approaches and tools I’ve outlined here and in my previous blog post should help save you time. But there’s a wider lesson here. We have carried out many site conversions over the years, and you can get 80% of the way very quickly but the last 20% can be very time-consuming. Watch out for image formatting issues, CMS-specific media embed codes, custom fields formats and internal links built on an out of date site architecture. Be realistic, perform a site audit thoroughly first and then get your new site structure clear before starting your imports. This will help to minimise pain points and speed up your site conversions.

Image by skeeze from Pixabay