Drupal is one of the most popular CMSs in the world, known for its scalability and security. However, migrating from Drupal to WordPress is common, especially considering WordPress is much more user-friendly.
This article is a step-by-step guide for migrating from Drupal to WordPress, so you can find your website a new home and resume activities as soon as possible. Let’s get started.
Why migrate from Drupal to WordPress?
Drupal is a very powerful, secure, and scalable CMS that powers approximately 13% of the world’s top 10,000 websites. That’s impressive!
That said, Drupal is used mostly by professional developers rather than the large non-technical community of WordPress. There are many professional WordPress developers, but one of the platform’s selling points is its ease of use and beginner-friendliness. Drupal has made strides in becoming more user-friendly, but there’s still a considerable technical barrier to doing the same things WordPress can do.
For this reason, WordPress may be better suited for site owners who want a more straightforward managing experience. Some of the reasons site owners may want to switch to WordPress include the following:
WordPress has a larger community and plugin marketplace.
WordPress has many more theme options.
Drupal can be very involved in updating.
Drupal is better suited for large, enterprise-level websites, while WordPress is suited for all kinds of websites.
WordPress can do everything Drupal does.
It’s easier to find WordPress developer agencies than Drupal development agencies.
Migrating from Drupal to WordPress: step-by-step.
If you’ve already decided to migrate to WordPress, you don’t need us to list the reasons why. What you need to do boils down to the following:
Backing up your Drupal site before migrating.
Setting up the WordPress site where you’ll move all of your Drupal data.
Migrating the site.
Making post-migration adjustments.
Let’s get started with the migration guide.
Back up Drupal data
Backing up your site before making any significant decision is always a good practice. While the migration process does not modify any of your Drupal files, it’s always best to have a backup.
Drupal doesn’t have a native backup alternative, and the process is a bit more manual than most WordPress backup methods. Drupal officially recommends using the Backup and Migrate module (equivalent to WordPress plugins).
Once installed, follow these steps to enable it:
Go to Administer > Modules.
Select Backup and Migrate in the Other block.
Click on Save Configuration (you’ll have to scroll to the bottom of the page).
Now that the module is enabled, you must back up the database and core installation files.
Back up the database
Go to Administer > Configuration > System > Backup and Migrate.
To download a backup of your database, click on Backup now. You can do this every time you need a manual backup.
Save your backup on multiple locations. Drupal officially recommends storing it in at least three different locations with folders labeled by date.
Back up the core installation files
The best way to download core installation files is to connect your website via SFTP and download them to your computer. If you have not edited core files, you can always get them again from Drupal.org, but if you’ve made changes, you must have a copy of these edited files.
The core files contain a changelog which will help you identify edits. If you don’t back them, they’ll be lost forever.
Storing your core files in multiple locations is also a best practice.
Set up your WordPress site.
You need to set up a new WordPress site to host your migrated Drupal site. If your current web host allows you to manage multiple sites, you may migrate without signing up for a new web host.
Suppose you’re planning to change web hosts. In that case, you may want to move to one that offers extensive benefits for WordPress sites, such as SSL certificates, automated backups, content delivery networks, and malware scans.
Configure permalink structure
Once your site is installed and set up, you’ll want to configure your permalink structure. From your admin dashboard, go to Settings > Permalink. Select the Post Name option. You can also choose other structures, but Post Name is the best option for most.
The default permalink structure is different in WordPress and Drupal. Setting up the Post Name option will preserve Drupal’s permalink structure after migration.
Set up a migration plugin.
FG Drupal to WordPress is the most popular plugin for migrating Drupal sites to WordPress. The free version of the plugin migrates Drupal articles, Drupal 6 stories, basic pages, categories, tags, images, and more.
However, the premium version reserves some items you maybe want to migrate, like comments, authors, administrators, users, post types, taxonomies, custom fields, custom user fields, and more. Read the features of each version thoroughly before deciding which one to use.
Once you’ve decided on the version, install and activate it.
Set up the import
Now we’re going to set up the import parameters for the migration.
Remove WordPress content
Here, we’ll wipe the content off our newly set up WordPress site to import the data into a clean environment.
From the dashboard, go to Tools > Import. Under Drupal, click on Run Importer. Several options will appear in the next screen. You’ll need to wipe your current WordPress site on the Migration tab. Click on Remove all WordPress content if you’ve added any pages or any other kind of content to your WordPress site.
You shouldn’t need to wipe it clean if you haven’t added anything.
Configure FTP credentials
Now we’ll fill the Drupal website parameters and Drupal FTP parameters sections.
On Drupal website parameters, you’ll have to paste your Drupal website’s URL and choose how the website will be downloaded into the WordPress environment. The three choices are HTTP, FTP, and File system. HTTP is the default and simplest option, and File system is the fastest but requires that both websites be on the same server.
If your sites are not installed on the same server, and your Drupal site is fairly large, FTP is the best option. Fill in the FTP credentials for your original Drupal website, not the WordPress site you’re trying to import it to. Click on Test FTP connection to confirm your credentials are valid. The FTP credentials will be in your Drupal website’s hosting control panel, in case you don’t know them.
You won’t need to configure FTP credentials if you don’t choose the FTP option.
Now it’s time to configure the Drupal database parameters section. Choose whether your Drupal database uses MySQL, SQLite, or PostgreSQL, then enter your user details.
The details you need for this section will be in your root installation. Go to drupal > sites > default > settings.php. Do not make any changes to this file, or your Drupal site will become unstable.
Configure post and import settings
Go to the Behavior section and choose to the excerpt. It will ensure posts and pages are imported as excerpts, saving you the time to do it manually later.
Now on to the Media subsection. In Set featured image from, choose image field. The Timeout for each media option determines for how long the importer plugin will try to retrieve a media file. If a file is unavailable, it can halt the entire migration process. Set to 20 seconds.
Leave the rest of the options unchecked.
Perform the migration
With all configurations set, click on Start / Resume the import. When it’s done, you’ll receive a success message. Great, but we’re not done yet.
Keep reading to know what to configure after the migration is complete.
After the migration
“After the migration” section
Scroll down, and you’ll find the After the migration section. Click on Modify internal links to apply the permalink parameters we edited before in “Configure permalink structure.”
Redirect your domain
By now, you have a working, fully-migrated site. However, if you visit your site’s domain, you’ll still be directed to your Drupal site. You need to redirect it to your WordPress site. You have two options, depending on how you obtained your domain name.
Using your domain name registrar. If you registered your domain through a registrar, you’ll need to access your account in that registrar and modify the property’s DNS settings.
Using your web host. If you registered your domain through your web host, you’ll need to follow the appropriate steps for that web host.
Select the theme
Finally, the last step. Since your new website will be very different from how it was when it was built in Drupal, you’ll need to choose a theme. Get any of the free or premium themes in the WordPress marketplace.
The process has quite a few steps, so be sure to read them carefully, but the FG Drupal to WordPress plugin proved invaluable in making it as straightforward as possible. It would be extremely difficult to configure the migration otherwise.
When it’s all done, you’ll have a fully working website with a high-quality theme and can start adding plugins and making any other adjustments you need. Enjoy WordPress’s user-friendliness!