Oct 08, 2021
Will M. & Maisha R.
How to Migrate Your Website From Joomla to WordPress in 5 Steps
With WordPress website import tools, users of other platforms can migrate to this content management system (CMS) and build a new site without starting from scratch.
Unfortunately, this built-in feature doesn’t support Joomla, making it a hassle for Joomla’s users to make the move.
But don’t worry – there is a quick and easy solution. This article will show you a five-step process for migrating an existing Joomla website to self-hosted WordPress. Plus, we’ve included some tips and tricks on what to do with your WordPress site once it’s up and running.
Why Migrate From Joomla to WordPress?
Both Joomla and WordPress are content management systems for building websites. However, each has benefits and features that make them more suitable for certain users.
Joomla was originally intended for making web portals, with native user management and control features. That said, many users have built other types of sites with it thanks to its 5,900+ extensions.
However, many criticize Joomla for its interface that is difficult to navigate, especially for beginners.
On the other hand, WordPress is the most popular CMS, powering over 40% of all websites. This is not surprising, and we will explain why later. For comparison, Joomla’s market share is around 1.9% and has been gradually declining.
Below are some advantages WordPress has over Joomla:
- Beginner-friendliness. Compared to Joomla, the admin dashboard is easier to navigate. Building a website on WordPress doesn’t require web development skills, although learning the basics can definitely help.
- Tons of customization options. WordPress has over 58,800+ WordPress plugins users can install from the official library. Plus, many more are available on third-party marketplaces.
- Blogging capabilities. Although Joomla comes with content management features, they’re not the most robust for blogs. For instance, it doesn’t have a separate page type for blog posts, and there is no taxonomy system to categorize or tag content.
- Active community. There are many websites and communities dedicated to WordPress-related topics. You can also consult thousands of experts in the official forums.
If the advantages above sound beneficial to you, consider moving your Joomla site to WordPress. The tutorial below will explain the migration process.
Preparing to Migrate From Joomla to WordPress
Prepare the following three things for the migration from Joomla to WordPress:
- Web hosting. It’s the service responsible for powering a website. Choose a hosting provider with high uptime, reliable performance, a great value for the price, and a user-friendly control panel.
- WordPress installation. Make sure the web host offers a one-click button to install WordPress. That way, you won’t have to upload the software to the server manually. Our WordPress hosting plans include this feature and many other WordPress-optimized tools.
- Access to the domain you’re using on the Joomla website. Log in to your domain registrar account and locate the page for managing your domain’s settings. You will have to configure them later so that the domain points to the new WordPress site.
Having set up a web hosting account and installed WordPress, let’s proceed with the migration.
How to Migrate Your Joomla Site to WordPress in 5 Steps
Follow these five steps to move from Joomla to WordPress:
1. Set Up the FG Joomla to WordPress Plugin
Since WordPress doesn’t support Joomla migration natively, a plugin is necessary to enable this feature.
FG Joomla to WordPress is a popular freemium option for this. The free version supports Joomla 1.5 up to 3.9, while the premium one is compatible with Joomla 1.0. Make sure to check your current Joomla version to ensure a successful migration.
To install the plugin, open the WordPress dashboard and go to the Plugins tab -> Add New. Then type in FG Joomla to WordPress in the search bar on the right.
Click Install Now, then Activate it.
If the installation doesn’t work, check out our WordPress plugin installation guide for alternative methods.
Keep the WordPress tab open while continuing with the next step.
2. Find Joomla Database Parameters
Now, we’re going to locate the Joomla database parameters. Without them, the CMS won’t allow the FG Joomla to WordPress plugin to launch the import process.
To find the Joomla database details, log in to the Joomla dashboard and click System on the topmost menu. Select Global Configuration.
Navigate to the Server tab. On the right is a section called Database Settings, which is where the Joomla database details are. Take note of the Host, Database Username, Database Password, Database Name, and Database Tables Prefix.
Keep the Joomla tab open for now, or copy-paste the content of these fields to somewhere else.
If your Joomla database is on a different web host than the WordPress site, you may need a remote MySQL database connection.
3. Migrate the Joomla Content to Your WordPress Website
The next step is to return to the WordPress dashboard tab and start the migration process.
First, go to Tools -> Import. With the WordPress plugin activated, the Joomla (FG) option should now be available. Select Run Importer.
You’ll arrive at the Migration section, where you can configure how the plugin will handle the Joomla content it imports.
At the top, users can choose whether to remove their WordPress content before migrating their Joomla site. They can also return to this section later to restart the import from scratch and remove their newly-transferred content.
We recommend deleting any existing content, even if the website is new. You may not want to use the sample pages created during WordPress installation.
To initiate the removal, press the Empty WordPress content button. If the process is successful, the WordPress database section will look like below:
Now, scroll down to the Joomla website parameters section. Here, enter the URL of the existing Joomla website and choose one of the three methods for transferring the data – HTTP, FTP, or File system.
For this tutorial, we will use HTTP – the default option.
If you want to use FTP, you will need the FTP parameters for the Joomla website. The File system offers a faster migration, but it’s only available if the WordPress and Joomla websites are on the same web host. For this method, make sure to find the Joomla base directory name.
Click Test the media connection to check for potential issues during the import process. If there are no problems, a success message will appear like below:
Move down to the Joomla database parameters section. This is where you’ll use the Host, Database Name, Database Username, Database Password, and Database Tables Prefix values from the previous step.
Paste the credentials from Joomla to the respective fields here, but leave the Port as it is.
Click Test the database connection to check if the parameters work. A message will appear saying Connection successful. If an error occurs, scroll down to the Log section to see what caused it.
The next section is called Behavior. Here, users choose the types of content and data to import to their new WordPress website. Below is a brief explanation of each setting:
- Import introtext. On Joomla, introtext is a short snippet that offers visitors a preview of an article, like you’d see on the blog category page. Choose whether to transfer it as an excerpt, combine it with the full content, or both.
- Import archived posts. Users can opt not to transfer them or move them as drafts or published posts.
- Media. Feel free to skip this section or choose certain files to speed up the migration process. Users can import featured image content or media files stored in external sources. It’s also possible to increase the media timeout if the files are large.
- Meta keywords. Choose whether to import meta keywords used for SEO as tags on the WordPress site.
- Create pages. Migrate the Joomla posts as WordPress pages instead of blog posts.
Once everything looks good, click Save settings, then Start / Resume the import.
How long the Joomla to WordPress migration will take depends on the website’s size. Make sure to wait until the message IMPORT COMPLETED appears and the progress bar is at 100%.
From there, take a look at the imported pages, posts, and media files. Make sure all the Joomla content has successfully made its way to the new WordPress site.
4. Modify Internal Links
At this stage, you may notice that the internal links within the pages or posts may not work. To fix this, return to Tools -> Import and select Run Importer below Joomla (FG).
Next, scroll down to the bottommost After the migration section and click the Modify internal links button. Once done, check the WordPress site pages or posts to see if the internal links now point to the correct URLs.
Now that the migration has finished, feel free to deactivate the FG Joomla to WordPress plugin.
5. Point the Domain to Your WordPress Site
The last step is to make the domain name of the previous Joomla site point to your new WordPress website.
It’s possible to purchase a different domain for the new site, but we don’t recommend it. If the website has been around for a while and has some traffic, changing the domain name can lead to SEO and user experience issues.
Thankfully, pointing a domain name to a new website is easy. Our guide will show you two different methods of accomplishing this – changing the domain’s nameservers and modifying its A records.
Keep in mind that the changes may take up to 24 hours to take effect due to DNS propagation.
Other than that, you may also have to change the domain name on your WordPress site in the General Settings.
What to Do After Migrating From Joomla to WordPress
Now that we have migrated the Joomla site to WordPress, we can start building the new website. We recommend starting with the following steps before doing anything else.
Choose a Permalink Structure
Picking the right permalink structure is one of the most essential steps of setting up a new WordPress website.
Permalinks are the permanent URLs that lead users and search engines to your web pages and posts. As their name suggests, they are meant to remain unchanged.
WordPress has six permalink structures to choose from, which you can see by going to Settings -> Permalinks from the dashboard.
By default, WordPress uses the Plain structure that includes the ID-based slug like example.com/?p=123. While it helps differentiate one page from another, it doesn’t tell potential visitors what information to expect, making it less enticing.
For this reason, it’s best to use the Post name permalink structure. When creating a new page or post, WordPress will generate a URL slug based on its title. It’s also possible to modify each page’s slug later on if it doesn’t sound right.
This structure is also the most SEO-friendly, as Google prefers short and simple URLs.
However, if you own a news website, it may be best to use a date-based permalink structure to show the publication date. You can also create a custom format to display the page or post’s category.
After choosing a permalink structure, scroll down and click Save Changes.
Check for Broken Links
Chances are some links will be broken after migrating from Joomla to WordPress and changing the permalink structure. To ensure visitors arrive at the right pages, it’s crucial to locate these links and fix them.
To get started, we recommend using a WordPress plugin like Broken Link Checker. This free plugin scans for dead links on the website and features a page for you to edit them on simultaneously.
Another method is to use an SEO audit tool like Google Search Console, which can reveal which pages are experiencing 404 Page Not Found errors.
Set Up Redirects
After locating the broken links, you may need to set up redirects to lead users to the new URLs. One way to do this is by using a WordPress plugin like Redirection, which can manage 301 redirects and monitor the website for any 404 errors.
For Hostinger users, it’s possible to create redirects on hPanel. On the Hosting Account dashboard, go to the Domains section and select Redirects.
Here, insert the original URL path in the Redirect field and the new URL or IP address in Redirect to. Click Create. Wait a few minutes for the changes to take effect.
Install a WordPress Theme
The official library has thousands of free WordPress themes for various types of websites, from blogs and online stores, to portfolios.
If you need help finding the right design, check out the best free WordPress themes. We’ve curated these selections based on their ratings, popularity, and standout features.
Alternatively, look for premium themes on marketplaces like Theme Forest and Template Monster. While they come with a price tag, they usually provide customer support through live chat, email, or phone and feature extensive documentation.
If you want a unique-looking website, consider hiring a developer to create a custom theme.
Install WordPress Plugins
The next step is to install plugins to enhance your WordPress website. Here are some of our best plugin recommendations:
- Yoast SEO. A popular plugin to optimize your on-page content for search engines.
- Visual Composer. A drag-and-drop page builder plugin that makes customizing the website much easier.
- WooCommerce. It’s great for people who want to start an online store or enable payments on their website.
- W3 Total Cache. A caching and lazy loading plugin to increase website speed.
- Contact Form 7. Use it to create contact forms for visitors to fill in.
- Sleeknote. A popup plugin to get people signing up for newsletters or marketing campaigns.
- MonsterInsights. It integrates your WordPress website with Google Analytics to measure website performance.
Customize the Web Design
Finally, don’t forget to focus on web design. A good-looking and user-friendly website can leave a solid first impression on visitors and potential customers.
Here are some tips on designing a website:
- Search for web design references. If you don’t know where to start, look for similar websites and use them as inspiration. Platforms like Awwwards can also offer tons of ideas.
- Focus on mobile-first design. Smartphone users now dominate internet traffic. Thus, failing to make your site mobile-friendly can lead to a significant loss of potential visitors.
- Keep it simple. Avoid cluttering the layout with too many elements. This will improve the readability of your website and make it load faster.
- Learn HTML and CSS. While this isn’t a must, knowing coding basics can help improve the design of your website.
This article has shown you how to migrate a site from Joomla to WordPress. Using the FG Joomla to WordPress plugin, importing files, and creating a new website should become a lot simpler.
Here is a recap of the steps of migrating a Joomla site to WordPress:
- Install the FG Joomla to WordPress plugin.
- Locate and make a copy of the Joomla database parameters.
- Initiate migration. Empty the existing WordPress content, choose a preferred import method, insert the database details, and pick which Joomla data to transfer.
- Modify the internal linking between pages.
- Point your domain from Joomla to WordPress.
After the migration, make sure to configure the permalink structure, check for broken links, set up redirects, install a WordPress theme, set up some plugins, and customize the website design.
If you have any questions about the Joomla to WordPress migration process, feel free to comment below.