Recently, I switched from a Weebly to a WordPress site. Since launching my site in 2010, I have personally changed the theme and site builder countless times. However, this was my first attempt at migrating my WordPress site. I do not recommend it. In fact, I would strongly suggest that unless you are a developer or are having a developer do it, that you NEVER migrate your WordPress site.
It started with a simple idea, and then the hell began…
After doing research on how to switch from one site builder to another (because I was certain many things had changed since the last time I did it), I found a simple article on common things that WordPress users do to build their new website without interrupting their live site. And then how to migrate the WordPress site into your public_html file, utilizing your web host files.
It’s frightening how many articles exist on how to switch from Weebly to WordPress, and how easy it is to do, including how to set up a temporary domain (sub domain in a sub folder ie. sandyappleyard.com/subdomain). However, the one that I unfortunately read stated to simply call your web host provider once your new site is complete. My web host provider, while very apt and helpful, could not get my website up and running immediately….
It took a day and a half
Yes, folks. A day and a half to migrate my Weebly site to WordPress. Countless conversations and tests later, it is finally working. I still don’t know if it is running 100% correctly though. Only time will tell.
Yes, you can migrate your WordPress site into your public_html file by copying it from your subdirectory, as many articles, including the one that my web host provider sent to me said, but it is certainly not a cut and dry operation. The best advice I can give you is to utilize the ‘Coming Soon’ feature, and have your website down temporarily while you build it. DO NOT use a temporary subdomain. Yes, it’s still down time, but it will save you a lot of frustration and fear in the long run.
‘A’ for Effort
Please do not misunderstand. My web host provider, Bluehost, is wonderful, and I highly recommend them. But they are not entirely equipped to deal with web site development, which an operation like this can possibly call for. So many things can go wrong.
For example, here is a list of some of the things that went wrong:
- site files would not copy to the public_html file
- old (Weebly) home page was still appearing in the new WordPress set up (locked out)
- 404 error for entire site
- 404 error for all but home page
- permalinks mismatched; could not share any pages to social media
- site kept flip-flopping from old home page to new, with 404 errors on all other pages
- could not view site unless in incognito window (ctrl+shift+n)
This is just to give you a taste of the hell that can be created. Whether this was a theme issue, or something else, I don’t know. I know that the theme I’m using (Nectar) is compatible with up to WordPress version 4.8 and the version I’m working on is 4.9. But if it’s an out of date theme, why is it still available and with so many sales? And it comes with regular updates? Also, there is a message that says the PHP language for this theme is out of date, but Bluehost said not to worry about it. Who knows….
Last, please be wary of all the articles that say how easy and common it is to perform the above. It may be easy and common for web developers, but not for average people like myself. Perhaps it’s a ploy to get website owners to try and do crazy things themselves so they’ll spend more money undoing all the wrong; I don’t know. But I learned my lesson the hard way, and I sure don’t want anyone else to have to experience this. Hence this long-winded post that I hope was at least somewhat helpful to someone out there who is simply trying to make their site look better, like me.