Moving to WordPress with SQL Azure (Part 2)

In my earlier post I showed you how to configure a new WordPress site with SQL Azure. This post will show you how to move your data and your settings across.

Step 1 - Migrating your Data

Getting your data across to your new WordPress site is easy. WordPress has an Export/Import plugin that you can use. Open the administration site, choose Tools and then Export:

WordPress Export

Next, you can choose what to export – that will probably be “All Content”:

WordPress Export

Save the resulting XML file so we can import it into your new site via Tools, Import.

WordPress Export

During the import process the wizard will ask you to map the original author to an author on your new blog. That’s it - you’re done!

Step 2 - Install & Configure Plugins

After you’ve imported all your content take a note of all your plugins and install them on the new platform. The plugins I use are still the same as last year, except for the “BackWPUp” plugin because I’m now backing up my site via the Azure provided tools. Go through the settings of each plugin and make sure you configure them exactly as in your old environment. Some plugins offer export/import functionalities to make your life easier.

While you are there you might as well go through all of your WordPress configuration pages one by one to make sure everything is set like it should be. One warning though: don’t change the “WordPress Address” & “Site Address” in “General” yet because that will probably mess up things. We will change them later in the process.

WordPress Plugins

One of the most important settings you do have to check are the PermaLink settings. If you don’t configure them correctly all links to your pages in search engines and bookmarks will break. I don’t have to mention that’s not very good for your SEO performance 🙂 I’ve got mine set like this:

WordPress Plugins

Step 3 – Install & Configure Themes

Depending on the theme you use you can install it again via the built-in Themes configuration pages or you can just copy your existing folder structure to your new blog via FTP. That’s what I did, because I made some manual changes to my theme files.

Fire up your favorite FTP client (FileZilla in my case) and connect to your old blog. While you’re there, it might be a good idea to download your complete blog file and folder structure to your harddrive for backup purposes. Next, connect to your new blog and upload your theme folders to wp-content/themes:

WordPress Plugins

Next go to the Themes management pages and select the theme you just imported. With a little bit of luck your site now looks exactly the same as it did before.

You now might want to check if your custom Menus (if any) need to be configured.

Next be sure that you configure all your Widgets as on your old website. I opened both sites side by side to do so. This is a little bit of manual work…

WordPress Plugins

In the next post I’ll show you how I reconfigured Microsoft Azure to put my new site into production and how to flip the switch from a DNS perspective.