Site Migration – 2

In my prior post I explained why I started to migrate from WordPress.com to self-hosted sites. I left my readers hanging with a problem.

Let’s back up just a little bit.

WordPress provides tools for site migration. In the dashboard under Tools there is an Export option.

That provides this:

For site migration the option to use is “Export content” – by clicking “Export all“. It is neither necessary nor useful to “Export media library”.

The Export all process does not take very long. After a short while it shows this message:

Your export was successful! A download link has also been sent to your email.

For my GalleryLudwig.wordpress.com site the downloaded file was a zip file of just 288 KB. When unzipped, and it is necessary to do so, it was an XML file of size 3777 KB, that is less than 4 MB, a modest size file.

To make the migration to a self-hosted site requires setting up hosting and installing WordPress. Most hosting providers make that very easy. “Installing WordPress” means setting up a site with all the little details, domain name, site name etc, installing a theme – just like setting up a new site. Once that is done there is an Import option in the Tools section of the dashboard.

The Import tool ask for a WXR file – that means the extracted XML file. It allows a file size of 512 MB. My file was less that 4 MB, so no problem. Once selected and the “Upload file and import” button was clicked it took just a few seconds to get going.

As I told in my prior post (Site Migration – 1) I was happy, all seemed to be going fine. After five minutes I got this error message, Service Unavailable:

The XML file had been added to the Media Library and also some of the oldest images in the media library of the wordpress.com site. I scrubbed everything and started over. Same thing happened. I turned to my hosting service’s help chat.

I also decided to just do another import without scrubbing what was there. Every five minutes like clockwork I got the Service Unavailable error. But more images were added each time. I continued as I tried to explain the help assistant what I was trying to do and what was happening.

The help assistant did not seem to know how to solve the problem. I hung up and continued. I tried Help again. Another assistant got on chat but was equally unhelpful. I continued with repeating the import process. I lost track after about fifteen tries, it must have been around twenty when this appeared on the screen:

It had finished! It said All done. Have fun!

It had taken many hours. I had been online with help chat for over two hours – without getting any assistance.

I checked the site – IT WORKED! Hurray! The posts were there, the pages were there, the images in the Media Library were there.

The next day I decided to migrate over my next site. All went well until I clicked the “Upload file and import” button. Immediately this error message appeared:

A potentially unsafe operation has been detected in your request to this site

Well now, this was a problem of a different color. It repeated. Again I tried the hosting service help chat. The first assistant said to wait a moment and I was transferred to another assistant. This person seemed to understand the problem. He asked me to upload the XML file. He would run it via the command line interface which “was not time limited”. For the next three-quarters of an hour I watched the Media Library being populated. Then the posts and pages appeared. Finally the assistant reported All done. Have fun!

So my second site was successfully migrated – or so I thought. I did some checking and one page did not show the images. It came up ok in the editor. I could not understand what was wrong now. I looked at the HTML code of the page. I got a ghastly surprise. The image URLs all were to the wordpress.com site – the site that I had migrated!

I checked some posts – same problem. I went back to my first migrated site and checked the code for some posts. The media URLs all pointed to the old site.

Two days of effort. And what I got was garbage. Utter, unadulterated garbage. The new sites were totally dependent on the old sites. They sourced all media from there. Sure, the media files had been copied over to the new sites, but they were not being used!

It was an unmitigated disaster.

How this tale of woe continues will be the topic of a future post.

.:. © 2022 Ludwig Keck

About Ludwig

Lending a helping hand where I can. . . My motto: If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
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14 Responses to Site Migration – 2

  1. Prior... says:

    Best wishes Ludwig! When it is all done it will be worth it and you will also have some valuable lessons learned
    ☀️

  2. Hilary Tan says:

    Ugh. This sounds like such a headache. It’s funny how all the self-hosted sites claim to be reliable and easy to use, but turn out to be anything but easy.

  3. Sorry to see you’re still having headaches. In 2011 I took a class on WordPress and created my first WordPress site on the university server (and it’s still there). In 2012 I re-created the site on WordPress, and literally cut and paste the html from the UBC site to the WordPress site. It transferred like a dream although I see that my images are still linked to my UBC site. Here’s a post that’s linked: https://elizabatz.com/2012/11/19/thai-menu-from-northeast-thailand-issan/
    Another note: because I hate the block editor I have put up links to the old editor which allow me access to the html, etc. You’ve probably figured out how to do this as well, but if not, here’s the URL… https://SUBSTITUTENAMEOFYOURSITE.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit.php

    • Ludwig says:

      Thank you, Elizabeth. In days gone by WordPress operated on normal HTML code. My preferred way to get wysiwyg code was the Live Editor. The new WordPress way is “blocks” that require translation – and thus high compute power – prior to being sent to the browser. You can see the block-HTML, but changing it does not always work. The block editor is very temperamental.

  4. PS. I didn’t read all the way through to the end, and I now see you already have all the information in my previous comment. I am slowly migrating the images over to my WP site but I’m being selective about which posts to go over. Also, to keep my sites from getting too many MB I have been linking the images to my Flickr site which would transfer over without referencing my old WP site. However, I live in dread of Flickr going down permanently. And with over 1400 published posts and another 800 drafts I worry about when I’ll be forced to move them all over to the block editor permanently. (My theme is no longer available but it still works) Anyway, headaches all round no matter what you do…

    • Ludwig says:

      Flickr was very “annoyed” at being used as a media source and discouraged doing so. Years ago, I used what is now OneDrive as a source. Amazingly those links still work (not all of them, but most).

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