Many WordPress users have encountered—at least once or twice—the tedious process of moving content from one server to another. A recent post by web developer Eric Mann shed light on this issue when he emphasized how WordPress drastically lacks portability.
To export, import, and backup content, WordPress uses a particular format called WXR. The fallacy of this feature lies in its inability to import enough content to effectively recreate your site on a new server.
Meta information, media attachments, and site settings are just a few important elements that are lost in the transfer.
Additionally, as your website becomes larger and more complex, your WXR file grows as well. So, when you’re finally ready to move to a new server the WXR file is simply too big to be imported.
In an effort to address this issue, WordPress developers created WXR File Splitter. This software enables you to break apart your gigantic WXR file into smaller files so they can be safely imported to your new site.
While WXR file splitter does alleviate the pain of transporting large WXR files, it still doesn’t speak to the inefficiency of WXR as a whole.
As an alternative to WXR, Mann suggests using MySQL.
MySQL provides a more efficient file-import method, and helps retain your website’s important information that WXR would lose in the import. Still, Mann went on to explain that MySQL is very rigid because you can only map MySQL to MySQL.
As a solution to this issue, Mann indicated:
In an ideal world, WordPress would be decoupled from its data store—allowing me to swap out MySQL for, say, flat-file YAML documents for data storage. Being able to work with multiple data systems would enable site administrators to dump their content from one format to another and back again losslessly.
The problem with portability seems to be a hot topic in the WordPress space, and it will be interesting to see what solutions the future holds.
What steps do you take to recreate your WordPress site on a new server?
Marie Dodson is an editorial assistant at Torque. She graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Biology and Society. She enjoys wine, good books, and travel.