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.
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 extremely 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.
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. For someone dealing with varied content and high security needs, the platform more than preforms.
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
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.
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 being 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.
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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 are 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
- Drupal Table Prefix
This part sounds much more complicated on paper than it is in practice. First, download an FTP program (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 into 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 what is 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 really that easy to go with CMSTOWP.
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 (even closer) to done.
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 import, are your menus. Menu structure is crucial to helping visitors navigate your site.
Though if you chose the automated/paid migration, they’ll create the menus so you can skip this step.
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.