Migrating existing site to WordPress.com

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  • #535650

    Hi there,

    I am looking for some advice for migrating an existing blog to WordPress.com – and I think it’s a bit of a complicated situation, so any of your help would be appreciated.

    Basically, I am working with a non-profit organization (let’s call them nonprofitx.com) that has a blog, with a few podcasts, and it’s hosted on a dedicated Linux server with Movable Type Version 3.2, PHP 4.x, MySQL 3.x … so basically all outdated stuff.

    The nonprofit received this dedicated server space as a donation due to their podcasts’ size and bandwidth requirements, so while they have the server, they don’t have a technical person to help them administer it from day-to-day.

    This is where I came in as a volunteer.

    Recently, Non-Profit X started looking at updating their web design – and as part of the same exercise I took a look at the server and realized how outdated everything is. So the obvious first idea would be to back everything up, upgrade Linux, php, mysql, movable type, and bring the content back in. However, that’s a major operation beyond my skill level and time.

    I also looked at their requirements and realized that they don’t really need to use self-hosting for their blog. They don’t really use any advanced features, except for the need to still ftp audio files to their server and link to them…

    So with all of that background, here are my thoughts/questions.

    1) WordPress.com ?
    If they use WordPress.com, then going forward they will never have to manage their blog server again (for years). To customize their web design, we can activate a simple theme, buy the Custom CSS upgrade, and put our own CSS over the HTML. The only headache in this case is blog content migration. Plus, I don’t think there is a “hosted” Movable Type that is similar to WordPress.com. (Correct me if I’m wrong)

    2) What about the domain?
    I know that if I buy the Domain Name upgrade, I can point http://www.nonprofitx.com to my new wordpress.com site and have it look like everything is under nonprofitx.com , but is that the best way? Should I consider blog.nonprofitx.com or something instead, because….

    3) What about the existing podcast content? What about the feeds?
    The existing podcast feeds are located at http://www.nonprofitx.com/feeds/podcast/blah , so if I mapped http://www.nonprofitx.com to WordPress, will these feeds be broken? Secondly, the mp3 files themselves are located in http://www.nonprofitx.com/…/audio/ as well, will they have the same issue?

    Ultimately, it would be best if everything – wordpress.com content and audio content, or even customized, ftp’ed content is all under “www.nonprofitx.com” – but is that possible?

    What are your thoughts and experiences? What is the best migration path that I should be taking here?

    Thank you.



    They don’t really use any advanced features, except for the need to still ftp audio files to their server and link to them…

    There is no FTP access to free hosted wordpress.com blogs.



    Sorry, could’ve worded that better.

    They can’t upload through wordpress.com, but they can still upload to their server.


    Oops, posted with my other account. Mods, can you help with deleting the post above?


    Sorry, could’ve worded that better.

    They can’t upload through wordpress.com, but they can still upload to their server.



    Depending on the file type, files can be uploaded:


    But they can’t be uploaded using ftp – the files can be part of a post or uploaded into the Media Library and then inserted in a Post or Page and linked to, visitors can also download files, I have several files on my site that can be downloaded.


    I can’t link to mp3 files that have been uploaded elsewhere?
    Suppose I set up blog.nonprofitx.com, would I not be able to FTP the mp3 to http://www.nonprofitx.com and then link to it?


    Yes you would be able to do that, link to files on the old server.

    There is a simply audio player here that could be used to play the podcasts, and you could if you wished also include a link so that people could download them

    To upload the MP3 podcasts here, you would have to buy one of the space upgrades (which also allows you to upload more file types).

    WordPress has a movable type import script that can be used although you would have to check with staff to make sure that it will work with the version of MT that they are using.

    On the links issue. I expect that the permalink structure is not anywhere near the same, and this will be an issue. Any links that the search engines have, or any links on other sites will start returning 404 errors. If you go the subdomain route, blog.nonprofit.com, this will give you more options. What you would have to do is keep a .htaccess file on that server, in the main folder where MT is installed and then do 301 redirects for all existing pages, posts and attachments. Alternately, if MT provides a redirect module or capability, you could do the redirects through there. I just moved a site and had to write nearly 200 redirects so that there would not be any 404 errors from the search engines.

    You would have to do that with the podcast feeds as well. It would be best to put those under their own “category” and then the feed URL would be something like this



    I hit the submit button too early.

    If there are lots of pages/posts, etc., then doing 301 redirects via the .htaccess file is a problem. With lots of redirects it will really slow things down on the existing server end of things, but then again if there is nothing else on the server, and the main load, the MT site is now on wordpress.COM, then perhaps it would not be much of an issue.

    You would have to talk with a server geek about that. I don’t have enough experience on the hardware end of things to know for sure.



    Here’s the link so you can run this by Staff and get their advice. > http://en.support.wordpress.com/contact/


    Thanks for the great responses!
    I’ll definitely set up a test blog and try importing the MT blog entries first, and if i run into any issues I’ll send support an email.

    I’m leaning towards the subdomain solution right now.
    Regarding the .htaccess and redirects, I’m guessing that there should be a *.html rule that I can set to redirect to blog.nonprofit.com, and whereas since the Podcast RSS file was not generated by MT, it should be untouched.

    I’ll have to run a few tests to make sure that the .html, .xml, and .mp3 behavior is all different. Thanks.


    Yeah, you can do a wildcard redirect with .htaccess and then redirect all links to the main page here. It will probably make a dent in your traffic for a while, but anyone serious would poke around your site and find what they were looking for.

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