A few days ago, I received an email informing me that the WordPress importer plugin was having issues and was at the brink of receiving as many 1 star ratings as it had 5. It’s never a good sign when you see support forum stats like this: 0 of 10 support threads in the last two months have been resolved. But considering the topic creator has to mark the topic as resolved, this is not a fool-proof method of determining if a plugin is broken. From what I can tell, most of the issues surround partial imports and the importing of images.
I used the importer to move all the content from WPTavern.com to a local install of WordPress. I chose to do a full export/import. The WXR file was around 17 megs but WordPress seemed to take forever to process the file, even on my local machine. While all the images were imported properly, they were not attached to the proper posts. The images that were displayed on the local site were linked to the ones within the media library on WPTavern.com. After dropping all the tables from the database and starting over, I tried to import my files again with the same results. Just to see what would happen, I exported only my posts with attachments to see if both would be imported correctly. While the posts were imported correctly, none of the media attachments were brought over into the media library. As illustrated in the support forum post I linked above, the only way to move media attachments from one site to another is to export/import EVERYTHING. If I select attachments to be downloaded and exported, then that’s what should happen no matter which variety of ways I export the content.
It’s been a long time since I’ve exported/imported content from one WordPress site to another so I don’t remember how the process is suppose to play out but if the behavior I described above is considered normal, the import process is definitely not as painless as it should be. After all, exporting/importing from WordPress to WordPress should be as easy as counting 1,2,3. Unlike other plugins that have a specific author, this one is developed by the WordPressdotorg team so it’s not clear who to contact.
If you have used the WordPress export/import plugin within the past few weeks and have also run into problems, I’d love for you to chime in on the comments. I’d especially like to hear from those that export/import sites on a routine basis.