Realising the Complexities of Merging WordPress Blogs – Overcoming Challenges and Lessons Learned. Unraveling the Intricacies of Migrating and Consolidating WordPress Blogs – A Tale of Limitations, Unexpected Hiccups, and Manual Endeavors in Pursuit of Seamless Integration.
If you have an old WordPress blog that you no longer write on and want to move (merge) it to the main WordPress blog, you can read below what you need to do, as well as the problems you may encounter when exporting and importing in WordPress.
In theory, things should be simple when you want to move the database of a WordPress blog to another WordPress blog, but in reality, unforeseen things can happen due to various factors. Therefore, first and foremost, for safety purposes, you need to make a backup.
As I mentioned, in theory, everything is simple and easy when you want to merge two WordPress blogs, but it’s not quite like that.
To export everything you have on the old blog, log in to the WordPress admin interface, go to “Tools” – “Export” and select what you want to export, saving the XML file on your computer.
For importing into WordPress, go to “Tools” – “Import,” scroll down the list, install “WordPress,” click on “Run Importer,” upload the XML file from your computer, choose whether you want to import the database to an existing user or the one from the old blog, and that’s about it.
I won’t dwell on these things since there are plenty of tutorials on the internet. Instead, I want to write about how things work in practice and the problems that may arise, especially if you are on shared hosting, where there are various limitations.
Concrete case: The XML file was a little over 4 MB, containing around 350 articles and images from the old blog. The more articles you have, the larger the XML file will be, so everything will take longer, depending on your hosting as well.
The first issue I encountered was the 2 MB limit for uploaded files on my hosting, which I resolved by adding the following lines to the .htaccess file:
php_value upload_max_filesize 64M
php_value post_max_size 64M
php_value max_execution_time 300
php_value max_input_time 300
This increased the upload limit from 2 MB to 64 MB, allowing me to import the XML file into WordPress.
I left it running, and not much happened even after 24 hours. It only imported the categories of the old blog and about 40 images.
I noticed that the WordPress import process was being stopped by the server a few seconds after it started, so I contacted the hosting provider, who increased my limits. Shared hosting has various limitations like these.
Still, it didn’t work, so I decided to change my strategy on my own without seeking assistance. I like to figure things out by myself and not rely on technical support unless it’s necessary because I learn new things along the way.
The new strategy was to try moving things separately: first the articles and then the images. So I created two smaller XML files, each around 2 MB.
This time, when it came to the articles, it finished very quickly and completely within a few seconds. All of them were imported smoothly.
The same cannot be said for the images. Even though I received a message stating that the import was successful, some images were imported (about 70%), while others were not. WordPress also behaved unpredictably and in some cases added images from the main blog to the articles of the old blog.
It was a disaster. Not only were the new media files imported with the links from the old blog, requiring the use of a plugin like Velvet Blues Update URLs to automatically modify them on the new blog, but some images were not imported at all, while others were mixed up with the images from the main blog.
At this point, plugins or other solutions won’t help if you want to get everything right. So, I manually went through all 350 articles, modified the links of the existing images, added the missing ones, and corrected the mixed ones.
This whole process took me about 11 hours of non-stop clicking. It was a nightmare! If someone asked me to do it all over again, I wouldn’t. I would only import the articles and leave it at that, even though images play an important role in Google rankings.
After completing everything, I set up a redirect (301) on the new blog to inform Google that the old blog had moved, so I wouldn’t be penalized for duplicate content.
That’s the story of merging two WordPress blogs and how much work it can be at times. That’s why some people charge a lot of money if things don’t go smoothly and manual intervention is required, which can be incredibly time-consuming.
Have you ever experienced challenges when merging or migrating WordPress blogs? How did you overcome them, and what strategies did you find effective? Share your experiences and insights in the comments below!