The Big Drupal to WordPress Move: Any Suggestions?

The great Performancing redesign is underway, and as I’ve been telling the team, it’s not only the redesign that will take much time and thought, but rather also the big move from Drupal to WordPress. I’ve been doing research on how this can be done. Unlike most other blogging platforms, the migration would not be a simple export-import operation, but rather, it would require some playing around with the database.

Sure, that can be learned and there’s nothing that cannot be accomplished with a bit of trial and error (of course, not on the live installation). But then I would like things to be as painless as possible, so if you have done a Drupal-to-WordPress migration yourself, I’d love to hear from you.

Also, one big question I’m facing is what to do with the existing content. For one, curently hosts thousands of blog posts and forum discussions, and this includes member-written blog posts. The team has decided to focus on importing into WordPress only the content written by the core Performancing editors and team members (past and present). The blog posts written by the community members would then have to be moved elsewhere. This is to make sure we don’t have an unwieldy amount of articles, which would definitely be against our intent of making the site more manageable.

Even then, this would require some discretion on our part. Firstly, importing articles would mean we have to preserve permalink structures (including paths) of these posts. Or would we rather just start fresh? One thing we could do is just keep just the more popular or the feature articles in their original path/permalink structures, and keep all the others under an archive. This might mean broken links and missing articles, which would be a pain for users who come across Performancing from the search engines.

Again, there are tradeoffs in this case. My question is whether we are willing to sacrifice some traffic for a faster, leaner site. And to what extent?

I think it will all boil down to user expectations. On the team’s part, the reason we’re doing a reboot is because we think Perf is due for some shakeups. We need fresh perspectives. We need something new. It ain’t broken, per se, and that’s why we’re breaking it, so to speak.

And so on your part, how do you think we can best handle the big move?

12 thoughts on “The Big Drupal to WordPress Move: Any Suggestions?

  1. Drupal is powerful. But on my local computer it takes ages to load a simple Hello World page. It seems that to really harness the power of Drupal, one would need a team of rocket scientist to manage the server. Perhaps Drupal is something like the Large Hadron Collider. It has big power but also serious headaches.

  2. …and they asked for our help, not arguments as to which platform is better so let’s give them the help they asked for, yes?

    J. Angelo,

    I’ve been a member of Performancing (albeit a quiet one) almost since the beginning so I have a good idea of the huge amount of data you’re going to have to migrate over to a WordPress platform(s) and I would strongly advise that you and yours at Performancing get in touch with the folks at directly for the best advice on how to effectively and efficiently perform this migration. In fact I’d contact Matt Mullenweg himself who would most likely be glad to recommend the folks who could provide you with all the help and advice you’ll need. I know they’ve helped other sites, some rather well known, that had large amounts of data in moving from one platform to WordPress.

    Considering the huge amount of data Performancing will have to migrate it’s a bit beyond my scope of experience since I’ve only worked on moving single sites from one platform to another but for what it’s worth…

    A single installation of WordPress MU might actually cover all your needs except for the forum but Performancing and associated blogs should be kept separate from a forum installation anyway. That way one cannot slow down the other.

    It’s also possible that the actual Performancing site might want it’s own single installation of WordPress using a multi-author setup. This allows for a 3 way separation between the main site, the multi blog setup (WordPress MU) and the forums so the chances of “if one goes out they all go out” type of thing happening is almost nil. I’m of course, assuming that Pmetrics will be hosted separately from all this.

    You’re hardly the first site to migrate from Drupal (or any other CMS/blog/static HTML platform) to WordPress so give the folks at WordPress a holler first.

  3. Google loves my Drupal sites the exact same Way as my WordPress Site. A little benefit out of the Box in the one or other Software I would not care so much for the long run of a website.

    I use both Worlds but it would never come into my Mind to change from Drupal to WordPress – The other Way round manybe but not that direction. Too many of Drupals modular Sturcure and Data can not be done with WordPress. Both Softwares have their own Domain and both are pretty popular so you can guess why Webmasters decide for the one or other but not both at once.

    The Arguments to decide which Software to use have already been mostly given. What is left to say? I am missing the Motivation of the Poster Why he wants to change the underlying Software.

  4. To WordPress?- you forgot to mention the single most important why he should switch over! Google loves wordpress blogs..and what is better than google love? not to mention all the other SEO you can easily do to make your site shoot to the top of the SERP’s..did you also forget to mention the thousands of plugins to choose from to fully customize your blog? so cool. oh and about the multi sites..there are a few platforms that make having multiple blogs simple and easy to manage all in one area and to promote as well everything in one simple dashboard. Firepow is my choice and there is another goo one called I think dx-manager? anyways drupal doesnt even compare to the BIG WP and probably wont even exist in a few years so might as well switch over now to avoid any disastrous situations later!

  5. Why would you want to move to WordPress?

    Anything WordPress does can be easily duplicated in Drupal, NOT the other way around. If Federal Government uses Drupal ( ) for one of their most important websites, then it should be good enough for you as well 😉

    WordPress is a GREAT blogging platform, but not so good at handling multi-user websites. You would potentially have to move your user contributed articles to a Third Party FORUM platform. Having to manage two different systems will not make your work any easier.

    It seems to me the only reason you would want to change is the readily available themes for WordPress which would potentially allow your site to look nicer. Then again, there are many Drupal sites with great “look” ( , , )

    Drupal Advantages:
    – More Secure
    – Faster
    – Multi-User at it’s core
    – Much better integrated Forum
    – User based Permissions

    WordPress Advantages:
    – Much better third party themes
    – More modules
    – Available designers to tweak your themes

    >> Scott;
    In fact Drupal is MUCH easier to manage when you have few sites! Look into Multi-Site capabilities of Drupal. In that environment many sites can share the Drupal Core (hence easier to update / upgrade) with each having their own THEME, User Databases and Content Databases. Take a look at . All the Xprize sites (space, auto, genomics,…) are based on a Drupal-Multisite system.

  6. And why are you thinking of moving from Drupal to WordPress? IMO, one of the best reasons to stick with Drupal is because of it’s ability to organize vast amounts of content… and involve a large community of users.

  7. Wow, we’re thinking of doing this exact same thing at the university I work for.

    Although it’s pretty, Drupal is much too complicated a setup for someone to manage — especially for six+ websites at a time.

    WordPress is definitely the way to go, but as far as how to do a smooth transition, I’m at a loss.

    So far, I’ve just done it manually. If you find something, please let me know!


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