Feb 21, 2021
How to Migrate Your Website from Joomla to WordPress (In 5 Steps)
Joomla is a powerful platform in its own right. However, many people prefer WordPress for their applications, in large part due to its ease of use and flexibility. The problem is that migrating a website from one platform to another can be a little confusing. That’s why we’re going to guide you through the process.
Overall, migrating from Joomla to WordPress would include:
- Setting up the FG Joomla to WordPress plugin.
- Finding your Joomla database parameters.
- Migrating your Joomla content to WordPress.
- Replacing your internal links in WordPress.
- Pointing your domain towards your new WordPress site.
By the time we’re done, your website should be up and running in WordPress without a hitch. Before we get started, however, let’s discuss why you might want to move from one platform to the other in the first place!
Why Migrate From Joomla to WordPress?
Let’s kick things off by saying that Joomla is a fantastic platform. It offers built-in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) options, robust security, and lots of useful features. Migrating from one platform to the other is not about choosing which one is superior, but understanding which is best for your particular needs.
WordPress, by comparison, is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) out there. It also offers a number of advantages over Joomla. For example:
- WordPress is more beginner-friendly. If you’re new to building and managing websites, it’ll probably take you a lot less time to get acquainted with WordPress than it would with Joomla.
- You have more customization options. The sheer number of plugins and themes available for WordPress users is staggering. No matter what type of website you want to build, you can get there a lot faster using these dedicated tools.
- The WordPress community is a lot more active. More users mean you get access to a better support community. If you ever run into any problems using WordPress, you’ll find tons of guides and tutorials online to help you solve them.
In our experience, WordPress is by far the best choice if you don’t have a background in web development. With this CMS, you can build professional-looking websites that boast advanced features, without touching a single line of code. On the other hand, if you do have experience with web development, you’ll be able to get even more out of the platform. So there are very few downsides to using WordPress.
At this stage, you should know if you’re ready to migrate Joomla to WordPress, so we won’t spend any more time selling you on it. Instead, we’ll teach you how to get the job done, so you can get back to work on improving your website.
Preparing to Migrate Joomla to WordPress
Before you start the migration process, you’ll need three things:
- A web host to power your new website. If you’re not sure which one to use, you can check out what we have to offer. The choice is up to you, though!
- A clean WordPress installation, set up and ready to go. If you don’t know how to install WordPress, here’s all the information you’ll need.
- Access to the domain you’re currently using on your Joomla website. Once you migrate your site, you’ll need to update this domain so that it points towards your WordPress setup instead.
It’s important to stress that your choice of web host is critical to your website’s health. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a provider that offers you fair prices, great performance, and WordPress-specific features. For example, we optimize our Premium and Business plans to provide you with top-notch performance if you’re using WordPress.
In any case, once you have both a hosting plan and a WordPress installation set up, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
How to Migrate Your Website from Joomla to WordPress (In 5 Steps)
We have a lot of ground to cover here, so let’s jump right in. Don’t worry – the process is more straightforward than you might imagine.
Step 1: Set Up the FG Joomla to WordPress Plugin
Out of the box, WordPress enables you to import content from multiple other platforms. However, Joomla is not among the list of CMSs it supports natively. Let’s not panic, though – you can easily add Joomla support to WordPress using the right plugin. In this case, that’s FG Joomla to WordPress.
To get started, access your WordPress dashboard and go to the Plugins › Add New tab. You’ll see a search bar to the right, where you can type in FG Joomla to WordPress to pull up the plugin:
Go ahead and click on the Install Now button next to the plugin’s name. WordPress will set everything up, and when it’s done, a new Activate button will show up in the same place. Click on that, and the plugin will be ready to go.
Before you can actually use the plugin, however, you’ll need some credentials that will enable WordPress to pull in your Joomla content. Let’s talk about how to do that.
Step 2: Find Your Joomla Database Parameters
For the next step, we’re going to need your Joomla database credentials. These will enable the WordPress plugin to import your Joomla content. Without them, the platform won’t allow the plugin to copy your files.
To find these credentials, go to your Joomla control panel and select the System tab at the top of the screen. Choose the Global Configuration option, and look for the Server tab on the next screen:
If you look to the right, you’ll see a section called Database Settings. The fields we care about are Host, Database Username, Database Name, and Database Tables Prefix:
If your Joomla database is located on a different server or web host than the WordPress site, you may need to use the Remote MySQL hostname instead. An easy workaround is to make a backup of your Joomla database, upload it to the current hosting account, and use it instead of the original one during the migration.
You can either keep this tab open for now or copy the contents of these fields somewhere safe. You’re going to need them shortly.
Step 3: Migrate Your Joomla Content to WordPress
At this point, you have all the ingredients you need. It’s time for the FG Joomla to WordPress plugin to work its magic. To get started, return to your WordPress dashboard and go to the Tools › Import tab. Inside, you’ll see several options, including one that says Joomla (FG). Click on the Run Importer link right underneath:
The next screen is where you’ll configure how the plugin will handle the content it imports. First, choose whether you want WordPress to merge your Joomla content with your existing posts, or set everything up as a new site. We recommend the latter option, even if your WordPress website is brand-new:
Now, scroll down to the Joomla website parameters section. There, you’ll need to enter the URL of your existing Joomla website. This way, the plugin will know where to pull its media files from, which are needed unless you want your new site to look bare:
Move on to the Joomla database parameters section, which is where you’ll use the credentials you located in the previous step. Paste the values over from Joomla to their respective fields here, but leave the Port and Database options untouched:
Now, click on the Test the database connection button, so the plugin can check to see if the database parameters work (which they should).
We’re almost done, but there are still a few settings left to configure. If you scroll further down, you’ll see a section called Behavior. Here you can choose whether you want to import archived posts, select which media files the plugin should pull from Joomla, and decide what to do with your content’s meta keywords:
You’ll also notice that there’s an option to import your Joomla content as pages instead of posts. Whether you do this or not will depend on what type of site you were running on Joomla. If your site is a blog, for example, you’ll want to keep this option turned off.
Finally, you can go ahead and click on the Start / Resume the import button, and wait for the plugin to do its thing. This might take a while, depending on how large your Joomla website is, so go and get yourself a cup of coffee in the meantime.
If you want to know how the process is coming along, keep an eye on the log section, right within this page. There’s also a handy progress bar that shows you how far along you are:
In our experience, the migration usually goes off without a hitch. However, there are cases where WordPress might struggle to import some of your Joomla content, depending on your hosting provider. If you’re using a lightweight plan, the plugin may ‘time out’ while trying to pull your Joomla content, which can result in errors.
Just to be clear – this isn’t a common problem. However, it goes to show just how important choosing a solid hosting provider is. If you run into this issue, you’ll need to restart the process and give it another chance to run.
In any case, once the migration is over, you should see a success message appear within the log section. Now, go ahead and take a look at your WordPress site’s new pages and posts. What you want to do is check to make sure all your content made its way from Joomla to WordPress successfully.
At this stage, you may notice that if you click on an internal link within WordPress, it might not work as intended. That’s because these links are still pointing towards your Joomla site. Let’s go ahead and fix that now.
Step 4: Replace Your Internal Links in WordPress
Fortunately, the FG Joomla to WordPress plugin also includes a tool to help you fix your internal links. To use it, you’ll need to return to the Tools › Import tab and click on the Run Importer button beneath the Joomla option once more.
You’ll see the familiar importer screen now. Ignore all the settings you used in the last step, and scroll all the way down to the bottom. There’s a section called After the migration here, including a button that says Modify internal links. Click on that now:
This button will take care of all the internal links it finds within your WordPress content, and fix them so they don’t point to Joomla anymore. When the process is over, the plugin will tell you how many links it modified. It should work without a hitch, although you’ll want to check a few of your links afterward just to be sure.
Now, your new WordPress website is just about ready! There’s only one detail left to take care of – your domain.
Step 5: Point Your Domain Towards WordPress
You probably already have a registered domain name pointing towards your Joomla site. However, after the migration, you’ll want to make sure your domain is taking visitors to the right place.
If you want to register a new domain to use with WordPress, then you can go ahead and do that. However, we don’t recommend changing domains if your website has been around for a while. Fortunately, changing the site your existing domain points towards is quite simple.
There are several ways you can alter your domain’s settings, including switching its name servers and using ‘A records’. In our own guide to the process, we teach you how to use both methods to point your domain towards Hostinger, although the advice also applies to other web hosts.
When you’re done, remember that it can take a while for the changes to your domain to propagate. That means you don’t need to worry if it still leads to your Joomla site right after making the switch. Give it a few hours, or a couple of days at the most, and your domain will update to point towards your new site.
At this stage, there’s nothing left to do but to get working on your new WordPress website. You might also want to delete your Joomla site since you’re no longer going to be using it, but that’s up to you!
Moving from Joomla to WordPress is a big decision, but it’s not as complicated a process as you might imagine. If you’ve been putting the move off because you didn’t think it was possible, you’ll be glad to know that it only takes a few steps. You can simply use a plugin to enable WordPress to import your Joomla data, connect that plugin to your existing site, and then let it migrate Joomla to WordPress for you.
Do you have any questions about the Joomla to WordPress migration process? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!