With Prime Mover, you can easily migrate sites inside WordPress admin GUI and eliminate the need to use any CLI solutions which can be complicated.

There are a few challenges involved especially doing this inside WordPress admin as you are subject to browser/server side limitations. Let’s examine all possible scenarios involved and their corresponding recommended solution.

Scenario #1: Site is very large and you are on VPS / dedicated server willing to adjust server settings

  • Generate export or restore a big site and see if Prime Mover pops up any error or completes the process. If it completes, congratulations – no issue.
  • If there is a timeout error, please read this documentation to disable or increase server timeout.
  • You should be able to resolve this timeout error issue if you are on a VPS or dedicated server hosting as you have full control of your server. You can require assistance from your hosting support if you are unable to increase the timeout.

If you pursue this solution, Prime Mover handles everything including migrating databases and files automatically. There is no manual work needed in your end.

Scenario #2: Site is very large but I don’t want to adjust server settings or its impossible to change (on shared server)

Just like the first scenario, go ahead and do export / restore. See if Prime Mover is able to complete with no errors. If it succeed, congratulations there is no other adjustments needed.

If you are having issues. There are several ways of dealing this. It depends on what you feel comfortable to proceed and what works with your site.

Solution #1: Migrate database only. Manually copy all uploads and plugins.

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 scp or 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 /sourcesite/wp-content/uploads/ to /targetsite/wp-content/uploads.

Or if you migrate from single site to multisite, it will be like /sourcesite/wp-content/uploads/ to /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 zip 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 zip path URL, e.g .

Now you have the URL to the zip location inside your server, you can then migrate it using remote URL restore.

Scenario #3: Site has large uploads directory, I only want to clone site for debugging/troubleshooting, nothing else

Then you should generate an export as a debug package. This does not include media files in the package, saving bandwidth and processing time.

WARNING : Do not use debug package package with intention to migrate fully working WordPress sites (with full functionality and fully-working images). This package is only good for debugging and troubleshooting.

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