If you’re looking to switch from Drupal to WordPress and you’re unsure how to go about it or whether to hand migration over to the pros, you’re in the right place.
We’re walking you through everything you need to know. So, by the end of this blog post, you’re better positioned to decide whether this is a DIY task or one for the experts.
Migrating From Drupal to WordPress: An Introduction
Drupal provides the back-end framework for at least 13% of the top 10,000 websites in the world. In addition, the content management software is used by tons of apps and offers lots of standard web building features.
Both Drupal and WordPress are reliable content management systems (CMS), with Drupal taking the lead on longevity, being created in January 2001, while WordPress followed in May 2003. However, WordPress is probably the better known of the two. After all, it’s the most popular CMS globally, powering over 40% of websites, which equates to nearly 15% of the web!
In the UK, Drupal’s used by household name organizations including the BBC, MTV and NBC, Amnesty International, and the University of Oxford. Other well-known organizations that run on Drupal include Lonely Planet, TopDeck Travel, Nasa, and The Economist.
Interestingly, The White House website, although built using Drupal, has since migrated to WordPress. As for WordPress, prestigious clients include Mercedes Benz, Ted blogs, and Microsoft blogs.
WordPress has a 60.8% market share of the CMS market. Astonishingly, more than 500 sites are built every day using this open-source framework!
Now that we’ve covered the introductions, it’s worth examining how Drupal and WordPress differ and whether there are any similarities. With this knowledge at hand, you can make a more informed decision about migrating your Drupal website to WordPress.
Drupal vs. WordPress: Their Key Differences and Similarities
Here’s how the two competitors differ:
- You don’t need to be an expert web designer to create and customize a professional-looking WordPress website. In contrast, with Drupal, a fair amount of customization and coding work is necessary to achieve your end result.
- Drupal’s best suited to enterprise-level organizations that need complex websites with lots of content, functionality, features, and integrations. On the other hand, WordPress works well for websites of all sizes – including small to medium-sized brands wanting to build a good-looking, agile website.
- WordPress is well-known for its user-friendliness, while Drupal comes with a steeper learning curve.
- Drupal has around 2,500 website themes and 46,000 modules (their version of plugins) to choose from. In contrast, WordPress boasts significantly more in this department – with 5,000+ WordPress themes and 53,000+ plugins.
- The figures we alluded to in the intro speak for themselves. Thanks to WordPress’s popularity and prevalence on the web, it’s easier to find developers with plenty of experience working with WordPress sites to a more advanced level.
That’s it for the differences; let’s take a peek at how the two are similar:
- They’re both open-source, free solutions you can develop to suit your business needs.
- Each enjoys a loyal fan base, with solid user communities supporting both Drupal and WordPress that you can become a part of.
- Both platforms can support high volumes of traffic for complex websites with swarms of content.
- WordPress and Drupal both offer lots in terms of self-help materials, including tutorials, user guides, documentation, and more.
- Drupal and WordPress are both SEO-friendly (search engine optimization) from their core installation.
- Both open-source platforms integrate with eCommerce solutions. In the case of WordPress, it’s WooCommerce and Shopify with Drupal.
As you can see from the differences above, there are a lot of reasons why an e-commerce store owner on Shopify may want to switch to WooCommerce. So, are you ready to migrate from Drupal to WordPress? If the answer’s “yes” and you feel experienced and knowledgeable enough to go it alone, here’s how you do it:
Drupal to WordPress: Pre-Migration Checklist
Before diving in, there’s a bit of prep work to do, which we’ll take you through step-by-step:
- First off, you need to sort out your web hosting. If you’re switching from Drupal to WordPress.org, you may want to change to a specialized WordPress hosting service, like Bluehost. Whatever you decide, ensure you have a web host ready to hit the ground running.
- Draft the structure of your WordPress site. Your new layout will be based on the mapping of your Drupal site. This means you need to label your Drupal content types ready for what they’ll appear like on WordPress. Remember that, unlike Drupal, on WordPress, you create the content first and menus later. This can lead to confusion if you’re accustomed to doing it the other way around. As you can see, this step is a bit technical, which is why website owners usually hand it over to expert WordPress specialist developers.
- Before you migrate, improve the URLs of your Drupal site if they aren’t already SEO-friendly. Remember to make them short and descriptive of whatever the related page is about. Alternatively, you can update your URLs once you’ve migrated to WordPress. Just make a list of all the URLs on your Drupal site. You can either do this manually page by page or copy and paste your Drupal sitemap instead. The same goes for all your SEO metadata.
- Install WordPress and set up the foundation of your future website
Now, it’s time to prepare for the migration process in full:
Before you download any plugins, back up and create a CSV export file with all your Drupal content; you’ll need this document later to import into WordPress using a WordPress plugin.
We recommend using a WordPress plugin called FG Drupal because it has all the features you need for a successful migration – even with the free version.
However, suppose you’re looking to migrate things like custom post types, Drupal users, comments, pictures, and taxonomies. In that case, it’s worth upgrading to the Premium version to unlock this extra functionality.
If you opt to use FG Drupal, here are the steps you need to take:
Install the FG Drupal to WordPress Plugin and Activate It
- Log into your new WordPress site. Go to your WordPress dashboard and locate the ‘Plugins’ tab. Then, select ‘Add New.’
- Once there, type the following into your search bar, which you’ll find on the right-hand side of the screen: FG Drupal to WordPress.
- Once you’ve located the correct plugin, click the ‘Install Now’ button next to the plugin name.
- Once the plugin is installed, you’ll see an ‘Activate’ button. Click on that, and you’re done.
Get Your Drupal Database Details and Parameters
Before going ahead and using the FG Drupal to WordPress plugin, you need the following Drupal details:
- Your username
- Database name and prefix
If you’re unsure or have forgotten any of these details, use an FTP solution such as FileZilla.
First, access your Drupal files using FileZilla and head to Drupal’s site/default directory. There, you’ll locate a file called settings.php. Open it, and you’ll see all the above parameters/database details. Make a note of this info because you’ll need it in a sec.
Now, it’s time to do the more complex part that so many website owners find tricky. At this point, many novices opt to hire specialized expertise to lend them a hand:
Import Your Drupal Content Into WordPress
First, log into your WordPress dashboard once you’re here:
- Then, click on the ‘Tools’ tab. Then select ‘Import.’
- You’ll see a new Drupal option appear on the Import menu (as long as you’ve installed the FG Drupal plugin correctly).
- Click on ‘Run Importer.’ A new page should pop up with lots of settings you’ll need to configure. First, type in your database/parameters information.
- Choose ‘Import Summary’ > to the content.
Move to the ‘Media section’ to import your media content. If you don’t want to do this, simply tick the ‘Skip media’ option. At this point, it’s possible to also select the featured images you want for your pages and related posts.
When you’re ready, click the ‘Start/Resume the import’ button. The plugin will now start the migration process. Once it’s finished, you’ll see a message in the plugin’s log that migration has been successful.
The final step is to scroll to the end of the settings page, where you simply click ‘Modify Internal Links.’ Doing this updates any internal links on your site so they match your website’s new WordPress structure.
While this final step is optional, it’s worth doing because it’s the easiest way of checking all your links work correctly. When you migrate, you adjust your permalinks structure, and 301’s redirecting your URLs to their new WordPress home. Fortunately, the ‘Modify Internal Links’ button addresses this potential problem.
Once done, your links will work, and a modal will tell you they’re all fixed.
Drupal to WordPress: The Final Migration Steps
Now you’re ready to take the final steps towards a successful Drupal to WordPress migration.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Choose an attractive WordPress theme to ensure your new WordPress site looks fabulous. Remember, you can’t use the same template you had on Drupal. The only way to do this is to pay a developer to create a custom theme for your site. The alternative is to go with one of the many beautiful templates WordPress has to choose from.
- Boost your user experience by polishing your navigation menu so that it’s user-friendly: add images and widgets, set up your contact forms, and so on.
- Finally, take some time exploring WordPress’s capabilities. Consider downloading and trialing a few plugins. Some examples include Yoast SEO, W3 Total Cache for speed, Defender for security, Jetpack for marketing and analytics, and so on.
Taking these final steps is your way of customizing your site so that end-users enjoy a great visitor experience. WordPress is a rich, robust, and SEO-friendly open-source solution. So working with it to create a good-looking, high-functioning, and fast website is a great way to go.
What to do once you’ve migrated your Drupal site to WordPress
Now that the migration part is over, you need to do one last double-check to make sure that the migration of your Drupal site to WordPress remains a success. Some of the main things to keep an eye on post-migration are:
- Review your content and layout to check for any migration-related issues.
- Verify that internal and external links are functioning correctly, and address any broken links.
- Test the functionality of forms and interactive features.
- Pay attention to SEO considerations, including setting up 301 redirects and optimizing meta tags.
- Optimize your new WordPress site’s performance, enhance security with plugins, and customize your theme to maintain your website’s aesthetic.
- Additionally, install essential plugins to add functionality and features as needed, making the most of your new WordPress platform.
And lastly, now that your site is fully migrated to WordPress, don’t forget to take the time to browse all the capabilities and ensure you’re taking full advantage of all the functionalities.
Are You Ready to Migrate From Drupal to WordPress?
Migration isn’t necessarily tricky as long as you follow the above action points, from preparing to install your WordPress site to ensuring everything’s ready on Drupal’s end.
However, if it’s your first attempt and you’re keen to ensure there aren’t any glitches further down the line, consider calling an experienced WordPress developer who also has a working knowledge of Drupal.
Codeable experts are vetted and have all worked on similar tasks, so you can rest easy knowing your project’s in a safe pair of hands. With Codeable, you can expect to be connected with three to five pros who can provide a free no-obligation quote for migration services. So, what are you waiting for? Submit your project today – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!