How To Export 2 Sites to live in WPMU 2.8.4 to later be imported into a fresh install of WPMS 3.0.1


I currently have WPMU 2.8.4 and would like to do a fresh install of WPMS 3.0.1

We have 2 sites that have a lot of hours of work on them and would like to import them after the fresh install. Just need to know exactly what I have to do to export the sites, then to import into the fresh install.

This question was started in another thread that initially started with another topic and I think it must be a topic to be discussed in a separate thread for the benefit of others:

As masonjames kindly explained at said thread:

WordPress has this feature built in under Tools>Export.

Just export each site's database and a copy of your themes and blogs.dir to your computer. The export feature does not export any photos and since you'll be removing the old site, you won't be able to import them, so backing up the blogs.dir (and any other directory where you've stored photos or uploads) is important.

Do a fresh install of WordPress. Re-create the each site's name and add your themes back into place. Import the XML file you created earlier into each site. Add back the photos and you're done. Brand new install with all your old data.

Alternatively there are plugins available to do this, which are not normally recommended for network installs, but will work if you're only using a couple sites. Do a search for backup buddy and you should find one. It's not free, but should do the trick as well.

I just checked the link at:
and is quite confuse and lacks of detailed instructions.

@masonjames: First, thank you so much for trying to help.
When you said:

Just export each site's database
did you meant go to Cpanel and what ticks/options should I check in phpmyadmin to perform the sql backup?
Really don't know how to "export each site's database". Or when you said "export each site's database" you mean I just have to click on Tools>Export and save the XML and that's it? I just did the export and save the XML, save the blogs.dir and themes folders. Also I made a full backup in case something happens.

An Step By Step tutorial will be great. Or is this issue such a simple thing to do that with the Export instructions supplied at: everything should be ok?

Please note that English is not my first language so I hope I expressed myself clear.

Thanks again.

  • cbriere

    I also checked BackupBuddy as recommended but their site states:

    "Is WordPress MU or Multisite functionality supported? We do not officially support MU or multisite currently. However, it has been reported that in MU BackupBuddy can backup either the current site or all sites on the single WP installation and in WordPress 3.0’s multisite, it backs up the entire set of sites on the single WP installation."

    Since it is not officially supported for WPMS, have to think it twice before trying it.

    Also, I looked around in the Internet and I have not found any detailed tutorial to do the "export and import".

    Should anyone have any clues please post.

  • Mason

    Hiya cbriere!

    Sorry, about the delay. I'm happy to explain things in a bit more detail.

    When you do an "export" using Tools>export. You can choose to have all information put into one XML file that WordPress will understand and be able to recreate all the content of your site - this means users, posts, categories, pages, etc. All of this will be contained in the XML file. The only thing you may be missing is any images associated with your posts.

    Since you've got plenty of backups in place, you should be able to retrieve those images easily.

    There's no need to go into cPanel or phpMyAdmin for any of these kinds of exports/backups.

    All you need is an XML file for each of your sites. When you have your new site up and running, simply go to Tools>Import. You will be asked what kind of site you are importing from and you will select "WordPress". Most likely, it'll have you install a plugin to aid with the import process.

    Once this plugin has been installed and activated (just like any other WordPress plugins) you can select the import feature and choose the correct XML file for your site. Then, sit back and relax as WordPress handles the rest. Shouldn't take too long and you'll see notifications of the items being imported.

    Another way you could test this ahead of time would be to create a new site (on your own server or anywhere that's free - even one at and import an XML from one of your current sites and see what information is pulled over. It's not really necessary, but if you're extra curious/cautious you could do this to verify everything is there.

    Backupbuddy is not the greatest solution for multi-site. I have personally used it on smaller setups and had it work just fine. It's a nice, simple-automated solution, but definitely not a good idea once your databases start getting bigger.

    Hope this helps! If you need any clarification just let me know!

    Thanks! :smiley:

  • cbriere

    @ masonjames,

    Ok, this is what I did.

    Exported from my current WPMU 2.8.4 and saved the XML file.
    Saved the blogs.dir folder
    Saved the themes folder

    Then installed a new fresh install of WPMS 3.0.1 in another domain name.
    Activated the new install 3.0.1 to MS.
    Pasted the blogs.dir folder under wp-content folder.
    Pasted the theme folder under wp-content folder.
    Created the Sites in WPMS with the same names as in the old install.
    Imported the XML.

    But it doesnt work. In fact the new site doesnt seems to recognized the themes.

    Check this out:

    Were /mansionesdelsur/ was one of the imported sites.

    I think I will drop the Import/Export method and try to upgrade my old WPMU 2.8.4 and lets see what happens. I have a concern since when I did upgrade, before having to restore my backup, I noticed that images disappeared under WPMS 3.0.1. There is thread in of some people complaining about the same issue and in that thread I saw no solution to the problem.
    Here is the thread:

    Well this process is too complex for my little skills.
    This is not as easy as I thought.

    @masonjames: Thanks for your efforts. If you find a tutorial kindly let me know.

  • Mason


    Sorry you're having trouble, but this is almost definitely a problem with your htaccess rules or the mod_rewrite being enabled for apache. My hunch would be the htaccess file. Did you edit that according to the instructions during install?

    As long as you have all your data backed up. We're safe to play around a bit and see if we can get this fixed.

    If you'd like post a copy of your .htaccess file here and we can take a look for ya.


  • cbriere


    This is the .htaccess of the new WPMS 3.0.1 test site where I imported the XML:

    #Made Multi-Site with Multi-Site Enabler 1.4#
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]

    # uploaded files
    RewriteRule ^files/(.+) wp-includes/ms-files.php?file=$1 [L]

    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f [OR]
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
    RewriteRule ^ - [L]

    RewriteRule . index.php [L]

    This is the content of the .htaccess file of the old site WPMU 2.8.4 from where I created the XML export:

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /

    #uploaded files
    RewriteRule ^(.*/)?files/$ index.php [L]
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !.*wp-content/plugins.*
    RewriteRule ^(.*/)?files/(.*) wp-content/blogs.php?file=$2 [L]
    RewriteRule ^(.*/)?avatar/(.*) wp-content/avatar.php?file=$2 [L]

    # add a trailing slash to /wp-admin
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^.*/wp-admin$
    RewriteRule ^(.+)$ $1/ [R=301,L]

    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -f [OR]
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} -d
    RewriteRule . - [L]
    RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(wp-.*) $2 [L]
    RewriteRule ^([_0-9a-zA-Z-]+/)?(.*\.php)$ $2 [L]
    RewriteRule . index.php [L]

    <IfModule mod_security.c>
    <Files async-upload.php>
    SecFilterEngine Off
    SecFilterScanPOST Off

    Hope this answer your question.


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