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How To Convert Drupal Site To WordPress?

If you’ve made it to this post, chances are you’re currently using Drupal as the content management system for your website. And, you’re probably looking to make a change.

While the open-source platform does offer customization and content management features that go far beyond the average user, it falls short in some areas that WordPress excels.

You’re looking for something easier, something understandable that doesn’t take years to learn, but also doesn’t sacrifice Drupal’s scalability and features. Put another way, you’re looking for WordPress.

So today we’re breaking down an easy-to-follow and complete guide to converting your Drupal site to WordPress. Ready to get started? Let’s read on.

WordPress Overview

WordPress is the most popular website CMS on the internet.

The platform is available in managed hosting and self-hosting versions. The self-hosting option is by far the most prevalent. Notably, WordPress is technically built to be friendly to search engines.

Thankfully, WordPress allows website owners to quickly migrate from platforms like Wix, SquareSpace, Adobe Business Catalyst, etc.

If you want to convert a Drupal site to WordPress, you most likely will be using the self-hosting version.

WordPress comes with everything you’ll need to launch any type of website. In other words, no matter the type or size of the website you have on Drupal, you can convert it to WordPress and it’ll work just fine.

You can self-host your WordPress website on any third-party host provider you want. The platform works with every hosting provider, although the three recommended ones are BlueHost, DreamHost, and SiteGround.

As you’ll find out later in this guide post, getting started with WordPress is simple. You can start posting on your website the second after a successful installation. The interfaces to manage posts, pages, menus, themes, and others are super intuitive.

Furthermore, WordPress has mobile apps for Android and iOS, which is something Drupal lacks. As a result, when you switch from Drupal to WordPress, managing your website becomes a lot more convenient.

Another important thing to note is that you don’t need programming experience or Udemy courses for web development to use WordPress. However, if you can code, you can explore more on the platform by editing scripts.

When Functionality Goes Too Deep

Drupal is designed as an open-source platform, which means designers have access to every bit of the platform’s code. By nature, open-source software tends to attract the heavily invested and Drupal is no different.

The platform evolved as developers added features (called modules) and tweaked the code in different distributions.

What resulted is a platform with highly in-depth features, unrivaled content management, and relatively zero accessibility to anyone not well-versed in web design.

For all of the added options, Drupal just can’t compete with WordPress when it comes to ease of use.

Drupal is used by top brands and companies across the world. However, the average business owner or blogger doesn’t need Drupal’s deeper functionality and will probably feel hindered by the high learning curve.

It’s nothing against the Drupal platform. The platform performs more than performs for someone dealing with varied content and high-security needs.

However, in addition to the ease of use factor, there’s also market share to worry about.

WordPress is far more popular than Drupal and thus has far more updates and plugins for various tasks.

The plugin system isn’t as deep as Drupal’s modules, but the scope of plugins is far more varied. If you can think of a need, there’s probably a WordPress plugin.

The First Steps

Hosting

WordPress, like Drupal, requires third-party hosting. This is a good thing and makes the transition process much faster.

Hosts support all major CMS systems, and unless you’re using one of the very few (not likely) hosts that don’t support one-click WordPress installation, the process is simple.

Conversely, you can consider using managed WordPress hosting platforms like WP Engine or Kinsta.

Ensure your current host plays nice with WordPress and install the platform with one click.

Next, make a list of the URLs on your current website. The idea is that if you’re creating a near mirror image of your Drupal site, you’ll want to keep the same URLs and sitemap.

Speaking of which, if you already have a sitemap, just grab the URLs from there and save yourself the time of navigating to all of your pages.

If you don’t have a sitemap, now makes an excellent time to create one for SEO purposes.

Backup

Image by Miguel Á. Padriñán via Pexels

It’s ideal to always back up your website whenever you want to make serious changes. Converting your Drupal website to WordPress is an example of such serious change.

You won’t lose any of your data during the migration process. However, backing up your files is an important precaution step in case there are any abnormalities. With the internet, things can go wrong at any time.

If you’re accustomed to Drupal, you’ll know that the platform has no native backup tools like WordPress which has tons of backup plugins. In other words, you’ll need to perform a manual backup, which is relatively comprehensive.

Nevertheless, you can start by making a copy of your website’s database. Afterward, make a copy of the Drupal root directory.

In particular, you should use modules when backing up databases on Drupal. You can use the either backup and migrate option or simply backup database option.

It all sounds technical, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. You can perform the backup using SFTP – Secure File Transfer Protocol.

Use a dependable SFTP program and download the root directory to your computer. You can compress the download so it doesn’t take up much space if your site is large.

The Plugin Method

The first method we’re covering involves using WordPress plugins to largely automate the migration process.

There are some extra steps to take manually for full parity, but the migration plugin takes care of the heavy lifting.

The plugin you choose is largely up to you. There is a number on the WordPress marketplace, but we’ll mention FG Drupal to WordPress for the sake of this article.

It fits our preferred plugin instructions, but so do many other plugins. The choice is yours.

To initiate the transfer process, you’ll need to find the following information about your current Drupal website:

  • Database name
  • Hostname
  • Port
  • Username
  • Password
  • Drupal Table Prefix

This part sounds much more complicated on paper than it is in practice. First, download an FTP program (which gives you access to “hidden” website files).

Use whichever FTP client you chose to access your “settings.php” file and thus the above-listed information specific to your website.

After you’ve copied down the info you can start with the actual migration. Open your WordPress backend (the default menu) and access the “Tools” tab. You’ll see the Drupal option and should now click “Import.”

There’s a button included to delete your current WordPress content, but so long as you haven’t added anything to your WordPress setup, you can ignore that button. If that’s the case you can jump right into migrating your content.

Simply follow the instructions on the installer and you’re on your way. Enter the URL of your Drupal site, hostname, database name, port, username, password, and Drupal table prefix. The importer will test the connection and if it checks out, let you proceed.

Next, you’ll see your options for media imports. You can import just feature images, all external media, etc. It’s best to run the installer and view the option based on your unique needs.

You can also skip media imports completely. Manually importing means taking every image from your Drupal site and uploading them to WordPress, and then placing them in their former place.

Manual importing media does take time, but also allows for adding HTML image tags to better optimize your website for SEO.

If you’re taking the time to migrate your site and start over, you might as well ensure you’re using optimal SEO practices.

Third-Party Paid Migration

At the beginning of this article, we talked about moving from Drupal to WordPress to keep things simple.

We’re also aware that we’ve just described a fairly straightforward process, though not one that some people might consider “easy.”

So, we’re also exploring another option. What we call the “fully automated” option. Services like CMSTOWP offer full migration where you don’t lift a finger. Just provide the company with your Drupal and hosting information.

From there, they’ll take care of the entire process and leave you with a fully migrated website complete with the same link structure, design, posts, etc.

And if you’re worried about privacy, CMSTOWP will sign a nondisclosure agreement to ensure your data is secure.

That’s it. Going with a third party will not only save you time but also ensure that your WordPress site looks exactly like your old Drupal site.

If this section seems short, that’s because it’s that easy to go with CMSTOWP.

Post Migration

After you’re done with the Drupal importer plugin and your media imports, the process is largely done. Likewise, after you’ve received your site information from the paid option you’re almost done.

Crucial Things

First, add a theme. WordPress offers an impressive array of themes to choose from, so it shouldn’t take too much work to find one that works for you. If you can’t, you can always code your own from scratch.

The second thing you’ll need to add after importing is the Drupal menus. Menu structure is crucial to helping visitors navigate your site. Though if you choose the automated/paid migration, they’ll create the menus, so you can skip this step.

After You Migrate From Drupal To WordPress, What Next?

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After you migrate from Drupal to WordPress, there are some precautionary steps to take to avoid issues. Typically, you would want to delete your Drupal website since everything is now on WordPress.

There’s nothing wrong with deleting your Drupal website, especially if it’s with a different host provider. Deleting the website will save you money on hosting fees.

However, you may host your Drupal and WordPress websites on the same database. In such a situation, you should wait a few days before deleting the Drupal website. That way, you can ensure everything is working properly, and that the previous website doesn’t affect the new one.

If you’re using a single web host for both websites, you don’t need to rush to delete the Drupal site. However, if you’re paying for two hosting plans, there’s no reason to keep spending that money.

If you run a service website – an eCommerce, for example – you should put up a notice informing your customers that the site is experiencing some upgrades. That way, they will understand if they notice some unfamiliar changes.

With WordPress, you need to be wary of the plugins and other tools you install at the initial stage. This is because some plugins may affect the structure of the imported Drupal website.

For example, installing the Yoast SEO plugin could lead to some permalink changes. You should allow the website to run for some days – or one day at least – to confirm it works properly.

After that, all that’s left is to enjoy your new website. Regardless of which process you choose, there’s no reason to delay your Drupal to WordPress migration. It’s time to take back control over your website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Drupal Outdated?

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Drupal may not be as popular or as extensible as WordPress, but it’s not an outdated platform. It’s still a highly dependable CMS for developers, agencies, and marketers.

You can build websites for different industries with Drupal, and the platform has some helpful features.

Since its initial launch, Drupal has continued to improve over the years.

The platform is currently in its ninth version, with premium features like easier tools, updates, and innovation. Not to mention the platform supports more integrations than ever.

Why Is WordPress More Popular Than Drupal?

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The primary reason why WordPress is more popular than Drupal is extensibility. In simpler terms, you can add almost any extra feature to your WordPress website without being a programmer.

WordPress has a large community of programmers and developers who create themes and plugins. Interestingly, most of these themes and plugins are available for free in the WordPress repository.

Drupal doesn’t come close to WordPress in terms of extensibility. With the internet constantly evolving, website owners need as much extensibility as they can get.

Furthermore, WordPress already has more users than Drupal, so its popularity will keep increasing.

Bottom Line

With the information in this post, converting your website from Drupal to WordPress should not be difficult.

Ensure you take all the precautionary steps before and after the conversion to protect your files.