Thinking of moving from Wix to WordPress?
I had a Wix site and blog for five years before I finally decided it was time to switch to WordPress. I don’t regret that decision. While I never had any serious issues with Wix, I do enjoy having more freedom and flexibility in terms of website building and features. A WordPress blog is also much easier to manage.
So if it’s also time for you to transfer your Wix blog to WordPress, here’s a guide I put together to help you make this migration as simple as possible.
Oh, I’ve also included a checklist to guide you through the Wix-Wordpress migration. You can find it at the end of this post. Good luck!
Note: In this post I am referring to WordPress.org, not WordPress.com. With WordPress.org, you own your website and have full control over it. The WordPress.org software is free, but you will need to find a host for your website. Learn how to set up a WordPress.org site with my step-by-step guide.
1. Choose a website host for your site
When you sign up for a Wix account, you get your website builder, domain account and website hosting in one place. Wix host your website for you. With a WordPress site, however, you will need to sign up for an account with a website hosting company.
Shopping around for a good website hosting provider can be a bit daunting. Important factors to take into consideration when shopping for the right host for your website include speed, technical support and security.
What you need to know about web hosts
Many website hosting providers offer different packages for different purposes. For instance, the basic package would have limited features and would only allow you to create 1 website on your hosting account. Pricier packages come with more advanced features.
It is normally cheaper to buy a 3-year hosting subscription, rather than just taking out a subscription for one or two years. So, for instance, you would pay £8 per month for a 1-year basic package, or £5 per month for a 3-year basic package.
Many web hosts offer attractive prices for first-time costumers, but renewal fees can be quite pricey. In fact, many website owners and bloggers switch web hosts after their subscription expires to save money. It’s a good idea to choose web host providers that offer a migration service, just in case you decide to migrate your WordPress site from one web host to another later on.
My husband and I use A2 Hosting for our websites. We are on the SWIFT plan, which allows us to create multiple sites with advanced features at a very reasonable price. We ran into some issues when transferring our domain names from Wix to WordPress (my husband had a Wix site, too), but the A2 Hosting support team is great and we’ve always received prompt and helpful support.
2. Set up a temporary domain
Since you already have a domain name for your website (e.g. grumpycamel.com), you do not need to purchase a new domain name. Some web hosting providers even offer a ‘free’ domain name with their paid plans.
Do not transfer the domain name from Wix to your new web host just yet – this will be the last step in your Wix to WordPress migration process.
When you sign up with a web hosting provider, set up a temporary domain for your website. Some hosts will give you a temporary subdomain based on your username (e.g. danielafrendo.webhost.com/grumpycamel). This allows you to build your new WordPress site before launching it. In the meantime, keep your Wix site live.
3. Install WordPress
Many hosting companies offer a quick and simple 1-click WordPress installation when you sign up for an account. You can log into your WordPress dashboard to start building your site via your hosting account.
Once you’ve created a username and password for your WordPress site, you can also log into your dashboard by adding wp-login.php at the end of your site address in the address bar. Example: danielafrendo.webhost.com/grumpycamel/wp-login.php
4. Choose a theme & customise your website
Start designing your new WordPress site by choosing a theme. When you install WordPress, you will have a default theme set up. However, you can change this theme to one that suits your preferences.
There are hundreds of free WordPress themes available, which you can access via your dashboard by clicking on Appearance > Themes > Add New Theme. Once you install a theme that you like, you can change fonts, colours and other features by clicking on Appearance > Customize.
If you want to have a lot of freedom when it comes to website design, choose a highly customisable theme. I use (and recommend) Evolve by Theme4Press.
As a previous Wix user, I wanted to build my own pages and not rely solely on a theme. I installed Elementor, a WordPress page builder which is a bit similar to Wix and is quite easy to use. I started with the free basic package, then upgraded to Elementor Pro for added features, including the ability to create my own blog post template.
I highly recommend spending a day or two familiarising yourself with WordPress, trying out different themes and learning how to use Elementor.
5. Set your permalink structure
Another important step in your Wix to WordPress migration process is the setting up of your site’s permalink structure.
For instance, the address for my blog posts when I had a a Wix site was as follows: grumpycamel.com/post/blog-post-name.
Now it’s grumpycamel.com/blog-post-name. That is the permalink structure.
To set your permalink structure, go to your WordPress dashboard. Click on Settings > Permalinks. You will see a list of common settings for permalink structures. I highly recommend choosing Post name as this is the most SEO-friendly option. Avoid putting dates in your link structure.
6. Install the Redirection plugin
WordPress plugins are the equivalent of Wix apps. You can install new plugins via your WordPress dashboard. Go on Plugins then click Add New. Once you add a new plugin, you will need to activate it.
Before transferring your blog posts from Wix to WordPress, you will need to install the Redirection plugin and activate it. This plugin will redirect your old Wix permalinks (e.g. grumpycamel.com/post/edinburgh-guide) to your new ones (e.g grumpycamel.com/edinburgh-guide) once you complete the next step.
7. Migrate your blog posts with CMS2CMS
OK, it’s now time to transfer your blog posts over to WordPress. I had around 200 blog posts on my Wix site, so I wasn’t willing to copy and paste each one.
Thankfully, I came across this amazing tool, CMS2CMS, which transferred all of my published blog posts to my new WordPress sites. It also transferred the meta titles and descriptions of my posts and most of the images within the posts.
Start by creating an account and trying a free demo. The demo will also give you a cost estimate of the full migration, based on the number of posts on your Wix site. You will need to install and activate the CMS2CMS Connector plugin before initiating the migration process.
Once the demo is finished, go to Posts in your WordPress dashboard and check out the blog posts that got transferred. The formatting may look a bit messy (for instance, mine had no breaks between paragraphs), but you can fix that later. If you’re happy with the result, you can go ahead with the full migration.
Make sure to follow the instructions provided by CMS2CMS when doing the migration. You will be asked to whitelist some IP address on your hosting account for the migration to run smoothly (there are clear instructions provided on the migration page).
What you need to know about CMS2CMS
While this tool transferred all of my blog posts and saved me a lot of time, it is not perfect. You will need to do some work on your transferred posts, including:
Fixing the formatting: You posts may need some tweaking, such as adding breaks between paragraphs and changing the heading settings.
Re-adding images: While most of the images in my posts were transferred, they were not optimised. Optimised images make your website run faster. I highly suggest replacing the transferred images by uploading them to your WordPress site and using a plugin, such as EWWW Image Optimizer, to optimise your images.
Fixing broken links: Links in posts (such as affiliate links) will get transferred, but in my case some of them did not work. I recommend downloading the Broken Link Checker plugin to fix your links.
8. Transfer your domain from Wix
Is your new WordPress site ready to be launched? Great! You can finally transfer the domain from Wix to your hosting account.
First, you will need to let Wix know that you want them to release your domain name. An authorisation code will be sent to your inbox. Check out these instructions.
You will then need to follow the instructions on your web hosting account to re-direct your temporary domain (the one you used to build your new WordPress site) to the domain transferred from Wix.
This process takes about a week or so. Your website will be down until the transfer is completed.
IMP: Remember to cancel your Wix subscription if you’re on a paid plan that is automatically renewed.
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