Before transferring a site to a new engine, consider whether it is possible to resolve the issue differently. Perhaps it will be easier for you:
- Invent a time machine, go back in time and immediately select the appropriate engine.
- Catch the one who vparl you a terrible samopis, chained to the battery and not let go until he himself fixes everything or transfers the site to a normal CMS.
If the time machine does not work, and the developer of the recorder runs fast, there is no choice. In this guide, you will learn how to move a site to another engine.
- HTML static site no longer meets your needs
- Samopisny engine became irrelevant
- Opportunities designer you are no longer satisfied
- What problems need to be solved when transferring the site
- Loss of content
- Changing the site structure and URL structure
- The complexity of setting up redirects
- Mismatch of the functionality of the old and the new engine
- Design issues
- How to move the site: step by step instructions
- 1. Record the current effectiveness of the site
- 2. Make a URL mapping table
- 3. Set up a new CMS on the test domain or local server
- 4. Transfer content from the old site to the new one.
- 5. Set up redirects
- 6. Check the correctness of the site
- 7. Add external service codes to the site and reconfigure analytics systems.
- 8. Generate the current sitemap and report it to search engines.
- 9. Track site performance after moving.
- Features of the transfer site in popular destinations
- How to transfer a static HTML website to WordPress
- How to move from Wix to WordPress
- How to transfer a site from Joomla! on wordpress
- How to move a website from WordPress to Drupal
- Website transfer: possible, but risky and troublesome
In what cases is it appropriate to transfer a site to a new engine?
Changing the engine is a laborious, expensive and risky task. We will talk more about risks, but for now, rate the story from my colleague Olga Kochkina.
A few years ago I had the likeness of an online store. Then they decided not to shell out the site and ordered it for 5 thousand rubles. The engine turned out to be samopisny, but I did not attach any importance to this. And in vain.
After a couple of months I read a book about usability and decided to introduce some chips on my site. I couldn’t do anything on my own. The developer agreed to help for free, but was able to fix just a couple of points. The rest is additional development.
A year later, the site is morally obsolete, and there was no longer any strength to suffer with a curve admin. We decided to transfer to OpenCart - a smart and functional engine for online stores. They wrote to the developer. Transfer to another engine site, which cost 5 thousand rubles, we were offered over 70 thousand rubles. Moral, I think, is clear.
The creation of the site cost Olga 5 thousand rubles, and the transfer of the site from the samopis to a normal CMS cost 70 thousand rubles. Here is the conclusion: you need to change the engine as a last resort, when you can't do without it. Variants like "Drupal cooler Joomla", "more beautiful free themes on WordPress", "open source engine can be hacked," you need to switch to a commercial CMS "is not a reason to transfer the site. This step is inevitable in more serious situations.
HTML static site no longer meets your needs
You can do without the engine, if you need a small static site with two, three or even ten pages. For example, to make a business card site with a list of services and contact information easier without CMS and designers. But if you want to publish something regularly, for example, to turn your online business card into a blog, it will be easier to work with the engine.
Samopisny engine became irrelevant
Samopisny engine is not bad and not good. For example, the online store Ozon works on a steep recorder. But there are engines for 5 thousand rubles, one of which Olga Kochkina mentioned above. Various troubles happen to them:
- The engine is outdated, and the developer has disappeared.
- A third-party developer asks for updating someone else's code more than for creating a website from scratch.
- For any extension of functionality you need to pay the developer. For example, you wanted to connect AMP - pay. And for popular engines there are ready-made free or cheap solutions.
If you are stuck in the functional limitations of a self-written CMS, and extending the functionality is expensive, think about changing the engine.
Opportunities designer you are no longer satisfied
Designers do not provide opportunities that have full-fledged engines. You do not have access to the backend, and therefore you have to rely on the professionalism and efficiency of the designer’s developer. The site on the engine can be developed independently or involve third-party developers in solving problems.
You can think about transferring a commercial site from the SaaS platform to a CMS in such cases:
- The functionality of the designer does not match your needs.
- You do not want to pay for the use of the platform.
- You are not satisfied with the template site design, and the designer does not support third-party templates.
- Designer servers are located abroad. This can be a problem for a business site.
- You want to completely control the site.
Separate attention deserves the situation of moving from one full-fledged engine to another. There are few absolute reasons for the transfer of the site.
For example, you are not satisfied with the functionality of the engine. Submit a WordPress site to which the forum has been bolted. The forum has become popular and visited. You can consider the feasibility of transferring it to a specialized forum engine.
Another good reason to move: you can’t or don’t want to pay for a CMS. For example, keeping a forum on paid vBulletin is not profitable, and you are moving to free phpBB.
In other cases, you must carefully weigh the risks:
- Well know WordPress, why are you moving from Drupal? If the site is large enough and has been working for a long time, it is better to learn and love Drupal.
- For Joomla! there are not as many free templates and plugins as there are for WordPress? Moving can literally and figuratively cost you more than buying a paid plug-in or developing a template from scratch.
- WordPress site is irrelevant, your cool company needs a solid engine? This is frank nonsense. It is better to spend time and money on something useful.
- Open source engines can hack or copy? Any site can hack. Moreover, open source CMSs respond to threats faster than commercial engines. Above the same WordPress working community of developers.
That is the reason for the transfer of the site should be valid. Moving to a new engine is always associated with risks and costs, so decide on it as a last resort. Consider whether it would be easier and cheaper to leave the site on the old CMS and modify its functionality. Consult with professional developers and only after that make a decision.
What problems need to be solved when transferring the site
When moving to a new engine, you will encounter pitfalls. Some problems are easily solved, some can not be solved. In the second case, you need to minimize losses. The main issues below.
Loss of content
In order not to lose content, make a backup copy of the site before the move. A backup copy can be created using the old CMS. For example, in Drupal, this feature is implemented using a built-in module, and in WordPress using a plugin.
Without binding to the engine backup can be done through the server control panel. Access data to the control panel will provide a hoster.
In the control panel, go to the "Backup Manager", which is located in the "Files" section.
Archive and download up-to-date copies of website files and database.
Make sure the backup works. To do this, restore the site on a local server. If you cannot restore the site from the copy, make a backup again or contact your hosting provider. Do not start the move without a working backup copy of the resource.
Changing the site structure and URL structure
CMSs form human-readable URLs in different ways. Because of this, when changing the engine, the "urls" usually change. Also, the URL will change if you change the structure of the site.
For example, the address of the product page can change from //example/pages/catalog/tovar.html to //example/shop/tovar.html/. Due to the change of the URL structure, broken links, duplicates in search results, broken widgets and buttons appear. Search engines and live users react negatively to such problems.
Preserving a clear URL structure is one of the key tasks when transferring a site to a new engine.
The complexity of setting up redirects
This problem is a consequence of the previous one. If when changing the engine you have to change the URL, you need to work with redirects. Setting up page redirects for a site with several dozens of pages is not a problem. If the number of pages is in the hundreds or thousands, working with redirects will be perhaps the most labor-intensive step of the move.
For example, imagine that on the old engine all the phones, smartphones and phablets were available in the "Smartphones and Phones" section at the URL example-shop / catalog / phones /. Each phone is available at example-shop / catalog / phones / phone1.
If, when moving to a new CMS, you create separate sections of the catalog for phones, smartphones and phablets, the products will be available at a URL like example-shop / catalog / phablets / phablet1 and example-shop / catalog / smartphone / smartphone1. Here redirects will have to be done manually.
Mismatch of the functionality of the old and the new engine
Imagine a WordPress store that needs to be migrated to OpenCart. It is convenient to blog on WordPress, and the OpenCart section "Articles" does not pull on a full-fledged blog. When you move, you will have to solve this problem: expand the functionality of OpenCart using a module for blogging, “screw” a WordPress blog on a subdomain to OpenCart, and so on.
There are a lot of such examples, so when changing CMS you need to be ready to search or buy the necessary solutions.
If you use a design template, you will not be able to save the appearance when moving to a new engine. You can find a more or less similar template for a new CMS or spend money on designer services. The design change itself is not a problem. Just be prepared for the extra cost.
If the underwaters do not scare you, and you can no longer work with the old platform, proceed to the move. Below you will find a general algorithm of actions and information about the transfer of the site in specific directions.
How to move the site: step by step instructions
Each site has features that must be considered when moving. However, the owner of the resource or the marketer must understand and control the general algorithm for transferring the resource to the new engine.
So, you have chosen a new CMS and made a backup copy of the site. Act like this.
1. Record the current effectiveness of the site
This step is needed to assess the consequences of transferring the resource to a new CMS and correct errors. Determine current performance by criteria that you normally use. It may be:
- Attendance for the selected period.
- Resource position in the issue of important requests.
- List of the most traffic pages.
- Behavioral metrics.
For small sites, it is enough to check manually and enter into the table 10-15 most important queries in Yandex and Google. For sites with the number of pages from a hundred or more, it is better to use services for monitoring positions, for example, Serpstat, Seolib, Rush Analytics, Topvisor and so on.
A list of the most traffic pages can be found in analytics systems. For example, in Google Analytics, select the "Behavior - Site Content - Login Pages" menu. Specify the optional Source or Channel parameter.
If data on traffic, positions and the most visited pages are needed to determine the response of search engines to the move, then behavioral metrics are needed to track user responses. Using analytics systems, record indicators that are usually monitored, for example, the length and depth of sessions, the failure rate, the conversion rate, and so on.
2. Make a URL mapping table
As noted above, this is the most time consuming phase of the move. The table is needed if the site structure and URL change.
Act like this:
- Make a table of existing website URLs with server response code
Use Netpeak Spider or similar tool for parsing the site. At this stage you need to get a list of all pages with server response codes. Add the received data to the table.
- Sort the URL by server response code
At this stage, there should be three tables or tabs: on the first available pages with the response code 200, on the second page with the redirection with code 301, on the third non-existent pages with code 404.
In some cases, codes 302, 303 and 307 are used to redirect. For more information, see our redirection guide.
- Make a table with new URLs
If the URL structure of the old site was logical, it would be relatively easy to make a match table. For example, if in the online store products were available at addresses such as example-site / catalog / phones / nokia1100 /, on the new URL structure could be: example-site / phones / nokia / nokia1100 /.
If the old site had illogical URLs like example-site / catalog / nokia1100 / and example-site / catalog / samsung-galaxy /, the complexity of the process and the likelihood of errors will increase.
Do not forget to set up redirection for pages with code 301. If this is not done, the new site will display the nonexistent pages of the old site.
Pay attention to the URL with the response code 404. If these are irrelevant addresses, do not include them in the correspondence table. Pages with such URLs can be not generated on the new engine. If the page is important, it has incoming external and internal links, include it in the table and set up the redirects correctly.
If the page has incoming external links, but there will not be a corresponding page on the new site, as the target address, specify the product category page, catalog, reference information or home page.
You can check incoming links with tools like Megaindex or Ahrefs.
3. Set up a new CMS on the test domain or local server
Start the site on the local server will help our guide. You can also deploy a new engine on a subdomain of the form test.example-site.com. Be sure to close the test subdomain from indexing. This can be done using CMS or through a robots.txt file. For example, in WordPress, you can close a site from indexing in the admin section "Settings - Reading".
At this stage, you need to install and configure the CMS: tighten the design, enable caching and data compression, install the necessary modules and plug-ins, connect accelerated pages, add micro-markup, and so on.
4. Transfer content from the old site to the new one.
If the site has 5-10 pages, the content can be transferred manually. Programmers will work with large site content transfer.
For typical pages, for example, a list of product categories, a list of products in a category, product pages in an online store, a list of rubrics, a list of publications in a rubric, or pages of publications in a content project, templates are created. After connecting the templates, the content is transferred through the admin panel.
Static pages are usually transferred manually without a template. For example, we are talking about the pages "About the company", "Terms of delivery", "Contacts", "Our team" and so on.
5. Set up redirects
Remember: you need a constant 301 redirect. That is, after specifying the redirects in the .htaccess file, the old URLs should return the response code 301, and the new ones - the code 200.
Redirect 301 tells search engines that the page has permanently moved to a new address. In this case, the entire SEO karma of the old URL, including incoming links and internal reference weight, is transmitted to the new URL.
Setting redirects depends on the specific site. You can contact the programmer or figure it out yourself. In the second case, study our guide on redirects and use the redirection code generators.
6. Check the correctness of the site
After transferring the content, check how the test resource works:
- Test the performance of forms, buttons, order page.
- Use the Broken Link Checker or similar tool to find broken links and correct errors.
- Pay attention to usability. For an objective assessment by the use of the service AskUsers.
- Rate internal optimization. Our checklist for express audit will help.
If the site works correctly, open access to it on the main URL. Immediately follow steps 7 and 8.
7. Add external service codes to the site and reconfigure analytics systems.
Add a tag manager container to the new site if you use it. The remaining services can be connected via Tag Manager or directly to the site. It is necessary:
- Add verification codes Yandex.Webmaster, Google Search Console and other search engines.
- Add tracking codes "Metrics", Google Analytics, Liveinternet.ru and other analytics systems. Remember to reconfigure goals, e-commerce, and other parameters that may be affected by a URL change.
- Set the codes of advertising and partner blocks, commenting systems, callback, call tracking, pop-up windows, recommendations output and other services that provide the site functionality.
Check the functionality of external services and, if necessary, specify the correct settings.
8. Generate the current sitemap and report it to search engines.
You can create an actual site map using external services, for example, XML-Sitemaps, or using new engine tools.
- In WordPress, use the All in One SEO Pack or the Google XML Sitemaps.
- In Joomla! есть расширения Sitemap Generator и OSMap.
- В Drupal используйте модуль XML Sitemap.
- В OpenCart задача решается с помощью модуля Yandex Sitemap.
После создания и настройки карты сайта перейдите в Search Console Google. В разделе "Сканирование - Файлы Sitemap" отправьте новый файл на проверку. Это можно сделать с помощью кнопки "Добавление/Проверка файла Sitemap".
В "Вебмастере" отправить новую карту сайта на проверку можно в разделе "Индексирование - Файлы Sitemap".
9. Отслеживайте эффективность сайта после переезда
Перед переездом вы фиксировали эффективность старого сайта. После переезда на новую CMS отслеживайте ключевые показатели и сравнивайте метрики до и после переезда. Полученная информация будет руководством к действию.
В случае стабильного падения поискового трафика ищите причины. It can be:
- Technical problems, such as incorrectly configured redirects, duplicate content, slow page loading speed, and so on.
- The deterioration of usability and the negative reaction of users. Use the "Webvisor" to understand the behavior of visitors to the new site.
Correct implementation of the described algorithm allows you to transfer the site to a new CMS without a long drop in traffic and other efficiency metrics. And if the new engine is more convenient and functional, the efficiency of the resource after the move should increase.
Features of the transfer site in popular destinations
When transferring a site to a new engine, you need to take into account the features of specific CMS. The following are the tools and nuances of moving in several popular directions.
How to transfer a static HTML website to WordPress
Moving in this direction is advisable if you turn a business card from several pages into a full-fledged site and plan to regularly publish new pages. Thanks to the advanced infrastructure of WordPress, even a specialist without technical training can transfer a static site to this engine.
The transfer algorithm is as follows:
- Copy and save the files of the old site to HTML on a local disk
To do this, you can use an FTP client, for example, FileZilla. Take the data for access to the server from the provider. Download all folders and files from the root directory of the site to the local disk. The root directory is the site name.
Also, access to the site files can be obtained through the file manager of the hosting control panel. Access data is taken from the provider.
- Remove the old site from the server and install the engine
Our guide has a visual installation guide for WordPress. If instead of accessing the server using the FTP protocol, you prefer to work with cPanel or similar panels, use the engine installation instructions using the automatic script installer Softaculos.
- Convert site design to WordPress theme
This step makes sense if it is important to keep the design of the old site. Contact web developers or use automatic services:
- HTMLtoWordPress. Paid service. Within a minute, converts the design of an HTML site into a WordPress theme. The cost of conversion is 5 dollars.
- HTML to WordPress Converter. WordPress plugin that automatically transforms the design of an HTML site into a WordPress theme. It costs 20 dollars.
- CMS2CMS: Automated HTML To WordPress Content Migration. Conditionally free plugin that transfers HTML-site to WordPress.
- Install WordPress Theme
Use the theme created in the previous step or select any suitable template.
- Transfer content to new site
The content of a small site can be transferred manually. If the site is large, entrust the transfer of content to developers. Alternatively, pay attention to the CMS2CMS service. To automatically transfer an HTML site to WordPress, service creators suggest using a plugin.
After installing the plugin, the HTML to WordPress menu item appears in the corresponding section of the site admin panel. Log in and register.
Specify the site URL in HTML. If you plan to make a WordPress site at the same URL instead of an HTML site, first install WordPress on a local server.
Specify the appropriate settings and start the transfer. The following settings are available:
- Transformation of pages of an HTML site into pages or posts of a site on WP.
- In the advanced settings, you can select the status of the content: published or draft.
- For a fee, you can automatically set up redirects, transfer page meta data and images.
Life hacking: if you are not planning to save the design when migrating a site from HTML to WordPress, you can do without the free version of the CMS2CMS plugin. With it, you can quickly transfer the content of HTML-pages to a new site. It will be necessary only to issue pages and change links.
The animation below shows the original HTML page of the site and its clone after being transferred to WordPress.
CMS2CMS plug-ins can be used to port Wordpress sites from Joomla !, Drupal, Weebly, Wix and other popular engines and constructors.
How to move from Wix to WordPress
In the early summer of 2018, site owners on the popular Wix designer received an unpleasant surprise: Yandex had forgotten how to index resources on this SaaS platform. The representative of "Yandex" Mikhail Slivinsky promised to solve the problem. But this situation is a weighty argument in favor of moving from Wix to a full-fledged CMS.
When moving from Wix to WordPress, two situations are possible.
If you move from the constructor to the full engine and want to save the URL, you need to transfer the domain to the new registrar. To do this, in the "Site Management - Domains" section, select the required domain and in the "Advanced" section, select the "Transfer from Wix" option. You will receive the data required for domain transfer.
If you change the platform and URL when moving, it is enough to configure the 301 redirect from Wix to the new site. To do this, use the appropriate option in the section "Site Management - SEO". Please note that to set up a redirect, you must have a paid domain connected.
Wix does not support exporting sites to third-party servers. But you can transfer content manually or using software solutions, for example, Automated WiX To WordPress Migration Plugin.
How to transfer a site from Joomla! on wordpress
To automatically move with Joomla! WordPress has ready-made software solutions:
- FG Joomla to WordPress.
- Automated Joomla To WordPress Migration.
The FG Joomla to WordPress plugin allows you to transfer content to a new engine, as well as preserve the structure of the site: tags and categories. After installing the add-in, you can start the import in the WordPress admin section Tools - Import.
In the import settings, you can automatically remove content from the site on WordPress. To do this, check the option Remove all WordPress content. Enter the URL of the site on Joomla.
Specify the site database data on Joomla. They can be found in the section "System - System Information - Joomla Configuration File".
If the sites are on different hosts, allow remote access to the Joomla database. To do this, in cPanel, in the "Databases" section, select the "Remote MySQL" section.
Add an access node and save the changes.
Configure the import settings. Pay attention to the ability to transform publications on the Joomla! in posts or pages on WordPress. If you need pages, tick the Create Pages option. Start the import using the Start / Resume the import button.
How to move a website from WordPress to Drupal
Make a backup of the site on WordPress. Make sure it works. To do this, you can deploy the site on a local server.
Export your site with WordPress. In the admin panel, select the section "Tools - Export". Check the "All Content" option.
Remove WordPress from the server and install Drupal. Install and activate the following modules:
- Migrate. In Drupal 8, it is in the core, so it’s enough to activate it.
- WordPress Migrate. Need to import content from WordPress.
- Migrate Extras. Ensures the correct operation of Migrate.
- Pathauto. Required module for Drupal, forms convenient URLs.
After installing and activating the modules, go to the Content - Migrate section. Select the Import from WordPress tab. Specify the path to hidden files. To do this, follow the configured link (see illustration) and specify the parameters. Hidden files can be stored in the same directory as public.
Download the WordPress export file. You can also specify the URL of the old site. This option works if you change the URL with the change of the engine.
Create new accounts for authors of publications on WordPress.
Configure the import settings. For example, posts from the WordPress site can be converted into articles, and static pages can be left with static pages.
Specify the settings for converting taxonomies. Migration module can convert WordPress tags and categories into Drupal tags and categories.
Run the import. After the module is completed, check how the content is displayed. The illustration below shows how the content is displayed on the donor site (WP) and on the acceptor site (Drupal).
Website transfer: possible, but risky and troublesome
In theory, site transfer looks like a simple task. In fact, to move, you only need to set up a new site with the current structure, transfer content and register redirects. In practice, moving from one CMS to another is a time-consuming and risky undertaking. Therefore, consider changing the engine as an extreme step. And in order to avoid unnecessary hassle and expense, plan the site responsibly and choose the right CMS at the start.