With Prime Mover, it includes support where you can export and import large sites.
If you think you have a large site, please follow these recommendations:
Upgrade to a fast hosting !
A world of difference if your site is hosted in a cheap hosting solution compared to a fast , more expensive hosting solutions. The amount of time save? Massive. For example in a fast host, you can get the export and import process done within 3 minutes compared to waiting hours in cheap hosting! (And that’s importing the same site or package size only hosting is changed).
Large sites should be on a fast hosting to matched up with the number of files and database sizes to be migrated.
Upgrading to fast hosting does not mean expensive hosting. There are tons of fast hosting today as compared before where the price is competitive and reasonable.
Stay away from shared hosting solutions if you can and adopt the modern VPS hosting solutions. This way, you have more dedicated resources to your site that you can use to export and import sites.
Linux hosting appears to perform better than Windows (IIS host)
Prime Mover is designed to work platform independent. So it will work with Microsoft IIS servers using PHP/WordPress. However in our experience, performance is not the same as it was in Linux host. The reason is that Prime Mover uses tar ball archiving which is not native to Windows OS. This tar ball saves file attributes like permissions ,etc, which is handled more efficiently in Linux than in Windows. Also copying, file deleting, file handling operations appears faster in Linux with PHP.
If you have a choice between Linux and Windows, choose Linux. Otherwise if you have no choice but use Microsoft IIS, Prime Mover plugin and all it’s features would still work.
Upgrade your server PHP version to the latest version
Prime Mover supports latest version PHP 7.4 (latest as of May 2020). If you can upgrade PHP version, please do so and this is also recommended by WordPress core.
The latest versions of PHP should always be faster, memory efficient, stable and secure compared to older PHP versions.
Always use latest Prime Mover version
The latest version of the plugin should always be better than the previous version. It includes stability fixes, performance fixes and other new features that are not found in the old version.
And always use the same Prime Mover version in both source and target site.
Upload package using your favorite FTP to Prime Mover export directory to restore it
Starting version 1.1.3, it is possible to copy the package manually to Prime Mover export directory which you can see in Prime Mover -> Packages. This will bypass long browser uploading which is slower than FTP client.
You can also use your hosting file manager upload client to do this. You can use SSH or SCP via terminal to fetch files remotely if you know how to do this.
For example, this is your target site Prime Mover export directory:
You can upload or fetch the Prime Mover package to this path either via FTP, SCP or any other client (such as your hosting built-in file manager). Once the package is inside this path, you can refresh packages in the Prime Mover -> Packages and you should see the package and easily restore it.
Prime Mover Pro version
The last recommendation would be to upgrade to Prime Mover Pro version. It includes so many features that can support your large site backup and migration. For example, you can restore within your site server than using the default upload. You can also fetch large packages directly from the source server to your target site server.
It also includes settings you can tweak to maximize compatibility with your server.
In case you run into issues, Prime Mover has many tools that shows problems and potential issues.
- The default migration log is found in
wp-content/uploads/prime-mover-export-files/. Find log files with file names like
- If you are on a Pro versions, you can download log right immediately you see the problem by going to Prime Mover -> Advanced -> Download Log File. This log shows the details of the migration / backup process and should reveal issues to us.
- Also with Pro version, you can also download the server info details in Prime Mover -> Advanced -> Export site info. This log shows your site server info so we will know if something is incompatible with your server with the plugin. If you are on a free version, use the default WordPress site health check or just the output of
Now please share these logs to us by contacting directly in WordPress admin (Prime Mover 1.1.1 + ) in Prime Mover -> Contact Us.
You can also contact us via this contact page.
Prime Mover supports four export modes:
- Export database only
- Export database + media files
- Export debugging package.
- Complete export mode.
If you are cloning a big site for the first time, you should use complete export mode to clone everything (media, database and plugins/themes).
And then restore it to your target site.
Once the site is cloned, and you want to refresh the site to your target site. You don’t need the complete export mode if the plugins and media files are the same. You simply need to export database and restore database to your target site. This way the target site is refreshed with the source site changes.
If the source site only has database and images being updated, you can export database + media files only. This way , you don’t need to restore plugins in your target since its the same.
As of Prime Mover 1.1.1 , it does not yet support incremental image migration (meaning it will only import new images instead of migrating all images again). This will be added to our to-do list.
Available strategies on moving sites
If complete package is not possible due to very large sizes that your server cannot handle – you can try the following strategies below:
Solution #1: Migrate database only. Manually copy all uploads, plugins and themes.
Detailed Explanation: Prime Mover handles auto-replacement of URLs, paths ,etc. So if your site is very large, most likely you have a giant uploads directory or using too many plugins. What you can do is to export database only.
And then manually copy all plugins and media directory to the target site. You can do this quite easily using
sftp or even
rsync. Make sure to copy the media directory to correct paths. If you are migrating from single site to single site, it would be like
Or if you migrate from single site to multisite, it will be like
/targetmultisite/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/ (Assuming the sub-site blog ID is 7.)
Just like that and vice versa.
Solution #2: [PRO VERSION USERS ONLY] Exclude media directory and generate full / complete export mode.
Detailed Explanation: With this solution, you need PRO version. The technique is to exclude all media files using this feature.
This works especially if your uploads directory is too big to migrate using Prime Mover (you will time out error which you don’t want to fix).
In this solution, a complete package is generated by Prime Mover which you can migrate using remote URL feature. It’s a complete package as it includes databases and plugins/themes. There are no images on the package but on all images will be searched / replaced automatically during site restoration. As if the images were on your target site uploads directory.
After you completely restore the complete package with excluded media. You can then proceed to manually copy only the uploads files from the source site to target site using SFTP, SCP ,etc. Since the image paths and URL’s are already replaced at target site during migration restore, the images should be resolved correctly.
Solution #3: Migrate only database and media files.
Detailed Explanation: This solution is helpful when you feel its redundant to move plugins and themes since its the same or very similar between the source and target site. Plugins and themes can be very heavy and could be one of the reasons of having a big package to migrate.
This solution is supported both in the PRO and Free version. When migrating a package which does not include plugins and themes. Prime Mover checks for compatibility and needs your approval to proceed with the migration restore in case it founds some differences.
Solution 4: [PRO VERSION USERS ONLY] Upload the package to your WordPress root directory and use remote URL feature to restore it
This solution is helpful if you want to migrate a very large site from your computer to a remote server location (e.g .your host). Prime Mover supports browser upload restoration (free and pro versions) but can be very slow depending on your Internet connection speed and your server limits (e.g. your server does not want to receive continuous upload requests).
What you can do easily is just to upload that package using FTP to your WordPress root directory. Take note of the resulting path URL, e.g .
Now you have the URL to the package location inside your server, you can then migrate it using remote URL restore.