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How To Export WordPress Site (Easily!)

how to export wordpress site

Are you ready to learn how to export WordPress site with ease?

Exporting your site isn’t just about moving data.

It’s vital to safeguard your online presence and ensure you’re prepared for any situation.

Exporting your WordPress site allows you to keep a safe copy of all your hard work, including posts, pages, media and those precious comments.

Exporting is your best friend whether you’re switching hosts, updating your site, or just wanting peace of mind knowing you have a backup.

This post covers:

What To Do Before The Export

These little preparations can make a huge difference in making your exporting journey a walk in the park.

Backup Your Site

First things first, let’s talk about backing up your site. (You can use a WordPress backup plugin for this.)

Creating a full backup ensures that, no matter what happens, your digital masterpiece is safe and sound.

It’s essential for peace of mind!

Decide What Needs Exporting

Next up, let’s figure out what you’re taking on this journey.

Your WordPress site is a treasure trove of content, themes, plugins, and databases.

But do you need to take everything every time?

Deciding what needs exporting is like packing your suitcase; sometimes, you’ll pack everything, and other times, you just need your essentials.

Understanding the difference can save you time and ensure you only handle what’s necessary.

Tools & Access Required

You’ll need admin access to your WordPress dashboard and possibly some additional tools depending on your export method (like access to your hosting account’s cPanel or an FTP client).

Having these ready ensures you’re prepared to tackle the export process head-on, with no unexpected pit stops along the way.

How To Export WordPress Site

You may also want to check my other tutorial, which teaches you how to use the WordPress Export Tool.

Export WordPress Content Using Built-in Tools

Alrighty, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to the fun part: exporting your WordPress content using the built-in tools. You’ll see it’s as easy as pie; before you know it, you’ll have all your valuable content neatly packaged. Let’s break it down into simple steps, shall we?

Step 1: Access The WordPress Admin Dashboard

discover the wp export tool

Log in to your WordPress site’s dashboard to start with the export process.

Navigate to the left sidebar, find the “Tools” section, and click “Export.”

It’s like finding the secret passage that leads to treasure!

Step 2: Choose What To Export

how to use the wordpress export tool

You can export all content, including your posts, pages, comments, custom fields, terms, navigation menus, and custom posts.

Or, if you prefer, you can choose to export just specific content like posts, pages, or media.

Make your selection based on what you need for your next adventure.

Or, if your file is super large, you might want to export your WordPress site piece by piece.

Step 3: Download Export File

Once you’ve made your selections, it’s time to hit the “Download Export File” button.

Clicking this will create an XML file that contains all the content you’ve chosen to export.

Save the file to your computer, and voilĂ , you’ve successfully exported your WordPress content!

Export The WordPress Database

This time, we’re on a mission to export your WordPress database.

It might sound like we’re about to hack into the matrix, but I promise, it’s much simpler than that.

Step 1: Access phpMyAdmin Through Your Hosting Account

To start, log in to your hosting account’s control panel.

Look for the “phpMyAdmin” icon; it’s usually in the “Databases” section.

Give it a click, and you’re in!

Step 2: Select Your WordPress Database

Now, you might see a list of databases on the left side of your phpMyAdmin screen.

If you’re unsure which one it is, a little detective work might be needed.

The name often reflects your site in some way.

Still unsure?

Peek into your WordPress site’s wp-config.php file to see the database name.

Step 3: Export The Database

With the correct database selected, it’s time to package it up for export.

Look for the “Export” tab at the top of the phpMyAdmin page.

Clicking it brings you to a choice: how do you want to export your data?

For most, the “Quick” method and the “SQL” format will do just fine.

Once you’ve made your selection, hit the “Go” button, and phpMyAdmin will create a .sql file of your database.

Export Themes, Plugins & Media Files Manually

So, you’ve mastered exporting content and databases.

What’s next?

Themes, plugins, and media files.

This part of the journey requires a bit of manual effort, but I have no doubt you’re up for the task.

This is how to secure copies of your themes, plugins, and media files.

Exporting Themes & Plugins

1. Locating Theme and Plugin Files via FTP

To start, you’ll need an FTP client, your bridge to the files stored on your web server.

I use FileZilla.

Once connected, navigate to the “wp-content” folder.

Inside, you’ll find “themes” and “plugins” folders.

These contain all the code that makes your site look and operate as it does.

2. How to Download Files to Your Computer

Select the folders or specific files you wish to export, then drag and drop them into a folder on your computer.

Once the transfer is complete, you’ve successfully backed up your themes and plugins.

High five!

Exporting Media Files

1. Accessing the wp-content/uploads Folder via FTP

Next on our list are your media files – images, videos, and audio that bring life to your site.

Dive back into the “wp-content” folder using your trusty FTP client.

This time, our destination is the “uploads” folder.

Here lies a gallery of all the media you’ve ever added to your site, organized by year and month.

2. Copying Media Files to Your Local Storage

Ready to secure your media files?

It’s as simple as selecting the “uploads” folder (or specific files within it) and transferring them to your computer.

Once the transfer finishes, take a deep breath – you’ve backed up all your media files.

Use Plugins To Export Your Site

WordPress plugins make the export process as easy as pie.

Let’s get to know a few export superheroes: All-in-One WP Migration, UpdraftPlus, and Duplicator.

Each of these plugins has unique strengths, but they all share the same goal: to make your life easier.

3 Best Export Plugins

all-in-one wp migration

All-in-One WP Migration: Think of this plugin as your moving van, designed to transport your site to its new home without any heavy lifting on your part.

It simplifies the process, allowing you to export your entire site, including the database, media files, plugins, and themes, with just a few clicks.

UpdraftPlus: This plugin is perfect for exporting your site and regular backups, giving you peace of mind.

I like UpdraftPlus’s ease of use and flexibility, supporting various cloud storage options for your exports.

Duplicator: If you’re looking for a plugin that doubles as a cloning expert, Duplicator is your go-to.

It’s ideal for moving your site or making a copy for development purposes.

Duplicator packages your site into a single zip file, making it super convenient to move or backup.

Step-by-Step Guide to Using an Export Plugin

step by step guide to using an export plugin

Step 1: Choose and Install Your Plugin

Head over to your WordPress dashboard, click on “Plugins” > “Add New,” and search for your chosen plugin.

Hit “Install Now” and then “Activate.”

Or see this guide to learn how to install a WordPress plugin.

Step 2: Initiate the Export Process

Once activated, navigate to the plugin’s section in your WordPress dashboard.

Look for an “Export” or “Backup” option.

Clicking this will typically start the export process.

Step 3: Configure Your Export Options

Most plugins will offer you a range of options for your export.

You might choose to export the entire site or select specific components.

If available, consider encryption for added security.

Step 4: Download or Store Your Export

After configuring your options, proceed with the export.

The plugin will do its magic, and once completed, you’ll either be prompted to download the export file or it will automatically be stored in a cloud location of your choosing.

Plugin-Specific Tips

  • All-in-One WP Migration: Look for extension options if you’re moving to a different server environment.
  • UpdraftPlus: Take advantage of its scheduling feature to regularly back up your site automatically.
  • Duplicator: Great for developers looking to clone sites for testing changes without affecting the live site.

Finally, if you want to import your WordPress site, check out this tutorial.

Troubleshoot Common WordPress Export Issues

Whether you’re dealing with a stubbornly large site, pesky timeout errors, or exports that just don’t seem to include everything, I’ve got some friendly advice to help you smooth out those troubles.

1. File Size Limitations

Sometimes, your site’s size can exceed the limits set by your hosting environment or export tools, but here’s how to handle that:

  • Increase file size limits: Dive into your site’s PHP settings to increase the “upload_max_filesize” and “post_max_size” values.
  • Use a plugin: Look for plugins specifically designed to handle large site exports, such as All-in-One WP Migration, which offers extensions to bypass standard limitations.
  • Split the export: Consider exporting your site in parts. For example, you might export your media files separately from your posts and pages.

2. Timeout Errors During Export

Timeout errors can be a real party pooper, stopping the export process in its tracks.

Here’s how to keep the export party going:

  • Adjust PHP time limits: Increase the “max_execution_time” in your site’s PHP settings, giving your export process more time to complete its journey.
  • Use a reliable plugin: Some export plugins are better equipped to handle long processes without timing out.
  • Export at Off-Peak Times: Try running your export when your website has lower traffic.

3. Incomplete Exports

Nothing’s more frustrating than realizing not all your site’s content made it through the export.

  • Verify export settings: Double-check your export plugin or tool settings to ensure you’ve selected all the content types you need.
  • Check for errors: Look out for any error messages during the export process and address them accordingly. Sometimes, a specific plugin or theme could be causing issues.
  • Test the export: After exporting, do a test import (perhaps on a local environment) to verify that all content is accounted for.

Conclusion: Master Exporting A WordPress Site

And there you have it – you know how to export your WordPress site and its content.

You can opt for built-in WP tools or benefit from plugins; there’s a solution for everyone.

Exporting your WordPress site isn’t just a one-time quest; it’s a crucial practice in the grand adventure of maintaining a healthy, secure, and happy website.

Whether it’s for backing up your precious content, preparing for a site migration, or simply ensuring you have a ready-to-go copy of your online presence, choosing the right method is key.

Remember, regular backups and exports prevent you from getting lost and protect you from unexpected twists and turns.

FAQs About Exporting A WordPress Site

Can I export my entire WordPress site?

Yes, you can export your entire WordPress site, including posts, pages, comments, custom fields, terms, navigation menus, and custom posts, using the built-in export tool. However, for a more comprehensive export that includes your themes, plugins, and database, you might need to use additional tools or plugins like All-in-One WP Migration, UpdraftPlus, or Duplicator.

How do I export my WordPress site to a new host?

You can use a plugin like All-in-One WP Migration or Duplicator to export your site to a new host. These plugins allow you to create a complete backup of your site, which you can then upload and restore on your new hosting environment.

What is the difference between exporting and backing up a WordPress site?

Exporting typically refers to downloading specific site elements, such as content, images, or a list of users, often in an XML file. Backing up involves creating a complete copy of your site, including the database, themes, plugins, and media files, usually stored as a zip file or on cloud storage.

Can I export my WordPress site without using a plugin?

Yes, you can export certain parts of your WordPress site without a plugin by using the built-in export tool under Tools > Export in your WordPress dashboard.

How often should I export or back up my WordPress site?

The frequency depends on how often you update your site. A daily or weekly backup is recommended for active sites with regular changes, while a monthly backup might suffice for sites with less frequent updates.

About Author

Rok decided to put his original approach and vision into action by starting ULTIDA, thanks to his extensive experience with web development and design since 2011. Working with 100s of clients made his subconscious mind think of nothing but themes, HTML, plugins, mockups, etc.