What Is a WordPress Importer And How to Use It

What Is a WordPress Importer And How to Use It

Have you ever needed to move content from one WordPress blog to another? On a first glance, this might seem to be a chore to do. But in reality, you just need something called WordPress importer to do all the work for you.

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What Is a WordPress Importer?

An importer is a WordPress tool, used to migrate content from an already existing WordPress site to another. You can also use this tool to move a site from your localhost to an online server.

You can migrate different data with the WordPress importer. For example:

  • Posts, pages, and other custom post types
  • Comments
  • Custom fields and post meta
  • Categories, tags, and terms from custom taxonomies
  • Authors

We should also note that WordPress importer also allows you to import from other blogging platforms as well. This will come in handy if you decide to change to WordPress because other platforms don’t suit your purpose anymore.

How to Use a WordPress Importer

Now you know what a WordPress Importer is, but how do you use it? It’s not as hard as you might think.

Instead of moving the data manually, you’re using a tool to do it all for you. Neat, isn’t it?

To help you understand our instructions a little bit better, we will refer to the old site that you want to import the content from as Site A. The new home for your old content will be referred to as Site B.

Step 1: In Site A, Decide Which Content you Want to Move, and Export the File

One great thing about using the integrated WordPress importer tool is that you can pick and choose which data to transfer. You can move the whole page, or just individual pieces of content, pages, etc.

In your Site A’s WordPress dashboard, go to Tools -> Export.

WordPress export page

In this page, you can choose what to export. If you want to export everything, then leave the “All content” checked.

However, if you only want to export some parts of your old content, here is how you choose what to move:

A section of export page where you get to choose what to move.

There are various options for you to choose from. For example, if you want to move posts, you can choose to only export posts under a specific category, posts that were only written by a particular author, posts created under a specific date range, etc.

When you are happy with your choices, go ahead and click “Download Export File” and save the XML file to your computer.

This concludes what you need to do in Site A. To get to the next step, go the WordPress dashboard of Site B.

Step 2: In Site B, Install the WordPress importer

To successfully import data from Site A, first you need to prepare the tool in Site B. On your dashboard, go to Tools -> Import to get to the import page.

WordPress import page

Click Install Now under WordPress if you haven’t installed the WordPress importer. After installing, click Run Importer.

Pro Tip

The WordPress importer allows you to import from other blogging platforms as well.

Step 3: Import the Exported XML File

Import WordPress, choosing XML file to upload

Find the exported XML file and upload it to your new site.

To do so, first, click on Choose file and pick the XML file that you saved earlier. Second, click on Upload file, click Import and wait for the process to finish.

The upload time may vary depending on the size of your file.

Pro Tip

If your exported XML file is bigger than 128 MB, refer to our other guide to learn how to increase the maximum file upload size in WordPress.

Step 4: Assign the Authors

Your new WordPress site may not have the same authors as the old one. That’s why you need to assign them.

WordPress import page showing a section where you assign authors.

Then, click on Import Attachments if you want to download the image attachments.

Click submit when you’re done and wait until the process ends. You will then be redirected to the following page.

Successful WordPress import process

Congratulations, you successfully imported your old content to a new home. However, this will only work for importing blog content. If you are looking for moving things besides content, you may want to refer to third-party tools.

There are great tools to work with, to make the transfer easy and stress-free.

WordPress Importer Plugins

As a bonus, we will also include a list of various WordPress importer plugins that go beyond importing content. Each plugin is different, and we suggest you take a quick but good look to each overview and find out what works best for you.

  • Widget Importer & Exporter (used to import and export widgets)
  • Export WordPress data to XML/CSV (allows you to edit WordPress data in Excel, drag-and-drop interface)
  • Ultimate CSV Importer (able to import images from external URLs)
  • Import users from CSV with meta (import users along with their meta data)

These plugins are useful for those who look for more advanced features in importing and exporting WordPress data. Some of them may seem intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, they will highly improve your workflow.

1. Widget Importer & Exporter

Don’t fret over the integrated WordPress importer tool’s inability to import and export widgets, because this plugin will do the job for you.

Apart from creating an export file in JSON format instead of XML, the exporting and importing process is the same. Say good-bye to re-entering widgets manually!

2. Export WordPress Data to XML/CSV

For some of you who love the idea of editing data with Excel, this plugin is a must-have.

What is more, it allows you to export specific parts of your posts, using a drag-and-drop interface. It simplifies the otherwise complicated process.

Export WordPress data to XML/CSV drag-and-drop feature

Even though you’re not planning to move your content to another site, you still can make use of the freedom the plugin gives you in editing and rearranging your data.

3. Ultimate CSV Importer

The Ultimate CSV Importer gives you the option to export data in a CSV format. What is more, it has excellent features that will help you save time in managing import data.

You can directly import images from external URLs in the CSV files, which would be a real time-saver for bloggers with content full of large photos, videos, etc.

4. Import Users From CSV With Meta

This CSV-importing plugin allows you to import users along with the user metadata easily. You may find this helpful if you’re an owner of an online store with many registered customers.

This will enable you to change site without having to re-entry your user database.

This plugin works the same as any other importer tool. You can export the user data to a CSV file and import it to your new site just in the blink of an eye.


Moving content from one site to another is a simple yet rewarding task.

The WordPress Importer tool saves you time when migrating data – it takes away all the unnecessarily steps and makes the moving process easy and stress-free.

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The author

Domantas G.

Domantas leads the content and SEO teams forward with fresh ideas and out of the box approaches. Armed with extensive SEO and marketing knowledge, he aims to spread the word of Hostinger to every corner of the world. During his free time, Domantas likes to hone his web development skills and travel to exotic places.