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How to Move a Site From WordPress Multisite to Single Install

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, businesses and individuals often find themselves transitioning from a WordPress Multisite to a single install. However, this migration process requires meticulous planning and execution.

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on successfully moving a site from WordPress Multisite to a single install. Covering steps such as obtaining a domain name, exporting and importing the site, setting up redirects, and troubleshooting common issues, we aim to equip you with the knowledge and tools needed for a seamless transition.

Obtain a Domain Name for the Single Site

To obtain a domain name for the single site when moving from WordPress Multisite to a single install, begin by registering a new domain name or utilizing an existing one. When choosing a domain registrar, it is important to consider factors such as reliability, customer support, and pricing. Domain.com is a reputable option that offers a user-friendly interface and a wide range of domain extensions to choose from. Alternatively, you can purchase a separate hosting account and domain name from Bluehost, which is known for its reliable hosting services.

Using an existing domain name has its benefits, such as maintaining brand consistency and preserving search engine rankings. If you decide to go this route, you will need to follow the steps to install WordPress on the new domain. This involves setting up a hosting account, configuring DNS settings, and installing WordPress through the hosting provider’s control panel.

When exporting and importing a WordPress site, it is essential to follow best practices to ensure a smooth transition. This includes exporting all content from the existing site, saving the XML file, and importing it into the new site. It is crucial to select the option to import all users and enable the import of attachments to ensure a complete transfer.

Setting up redirection during site migration can be a common issue. To address this, you can use plugins like All in One SEO for WordPress or Redirection to simplify the redirection setup process. These plugins allow you to enter the new domain name and set up redirection for both subdomain and directory-based URL structures. It is important to review and test the redirection settings to ensure they are working correctly.

Register or Use an Existing Domain Name

Registering or use an existing domain name is a crucial step when moving a site from WordPress Multisite to a single install.

The domain registration process involves choosing a reliable domain registrar and selecting a relevant domain name.

There are benefits to using an existing domain name, such as maintaining brand consistency and avoiding the need to update links and promotional materials.

If you decide to use an existing domain name, you will need to transfer it to a new hosting provider. This process typically involves updating the domain’s DNS settings and ensuring a smooth transition of your website to the new hosting environment.

It is important to carefully consider the domain name you choose, as it should accurately reflect your website’s purpose and be memorable to your target audience.

Install WordPress on the New Domain

The first step in moving a site from WordPress Multisite to a single install is to install WordPress on the new domain. This involves obtaining a domain name for the single site and registering it, or using an existing domain.

To ensure security and trustworthiness, enabling SSL on the new domain is crucial.

Furthermore, updating the permalinks structure is necessary to maintain the site’s URL format.

Customizing the website theme adds a personal touch and enhances the overall user experience.

To cater to the growing number of mobile users, optimizing the site for mobile devices is essential.

Export and Import the Site

To export and import the site from WordPress Multisite to a single install, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by logging in to the dashboard of the site you wish to move.
  2. Exporting the site involves ensuring that all content is checked.
  3. Download the export file in XML format and save it on your computer.
  4. After installing WordPress on the new domain, log in to the WordPress admin area.
  5. Navigate to Tools » Import.
  6. Click on Install Now below WordPress and run the importer.
  7. Upload the exported file.
  8. Choose to import all users while enabling the import of attachments.
  9. Submit the import and wait for it to finish.
  10. During this process, it is crucial to handle custom post types.
  11. Import media files and ensure plugin and theme compatibility to avoid any conflicts in the database.

Set up Redirection

To set up redirection for the site after exporting and importing from WordPress Multisite to a single install, utilize a plugin or the WordPress admin panel. Here are some key points to consider:

Redirection best practices:

  • Use a 301 redirect for permanent URL changes.
  • Redirect individual pages to their corresponding new URLs.
  • Update internal links to reflect the new URL structure.

Common issues with setting up redirects:

  • Incorrectly configured redirects may lead to broken links.
  • Redirect loops can occur if not properly managed.
  • Some plugins may conflict with each other, causing redirect issues.

Alternative methods for setting up redirects:

  • Manually edit the .htaccess file to set up redirects.
  • Use server-level redirection rules in your hosting control panel.

Importance of testing redirects after migration:

  • Verify that all redirects are functioning correctly.
  • Check for any broken or missing redirects.
  • Test different types of URLs (e.g., pages, posts, categories) to ensure proper redirection.

Handling URL changes during site migration:

  • Maintain the same URL structure whenever possible.
  • Use 301 redirects to redirect old URLs to their new counterparts.
  • Update internal links and external references to reflect the new URLs.

Following these best practices and thoroughly testing your redirects will help ensure a smooth transition from WordPress Multisite to a single install.

Set up Redirects Using the WordPress Admin Panel

When setting up redirects using the WordPress admin panel to move a site from WordPress Multisite to a single install, it is important to follow these steps.

First, access the WordPress admin panel and navigate to the Tools section.

Click on the Export option and select the content you want to export. Once you have chosen the content, click on the Download Export File button to save the XML file on your computer. This file will be used for the site migration process.

Setting up redirects is crucial for managing site structure, SEO optimization strategies, and ensuring a smooth user experience during the domain migration process.

Troubleshooting issues such as a large export file, incorrect image imports, and non-functional redirects can be addressed by reviewing redirect settings and checking the permalink structure.

Troubleshoot the Migration

To address any issues that may arise during the migration process, troubleshooting techniques can be employed. Here are some common problems that may occur and their potential solutions:

  • Reviewing Export File: Double-check the exported XML file to ensure that all content has been properly exported and is intact.
  • Fixing Image Import Issues: If images are not importing correctly, verify that the file paths in the exported file match the file paths on the new site. Adjust the file paths if necessary.
  • Troubleshooting Broken Links: Check for broken links after the migration and update them accordingly. You can use a plugin like Broken Link Checker to help identify and fix broken links.
  • Resolving Plugin Compatibility Problems: If certain plugins are causing compatibility issues on the new site, try deactivating and reactivating them one by one to identify the problematic plugins. Consider finding alternative plugins if necessary.
  • Dealing with Database Connection Errors: If you encounter database connection errors, verify that the database credentials in the wp-config.php file are correct. If the credentials are correct, contact your hosting provider for further assistance.

Review Redirect Settings and Permalinks Structure

Continuing with the troubleshooting process, it is important to review the redirect settings and permalink structure for a successful migration from WordPress Multisite to a single install.

When moving a site from Multisite to a single site, there may be challenges with redirecting the URLs to the new domain. It is crucial to review the redirect settings and ensure that all the old URLs are redirected properly to the corresponding pages on the new domain. This can be done using a redirection plugin such as All in One SEO or Redirection.

Additionally, it is essential to check the permalink structure and make sure that it is set correctly on the new site to maintain the same URL structure as the old site.


In conclusion, successfully moving a site from WordPress Multisite to a single install requires careful planning and execution.

By following the steps outlined in this article, including obtaining a domain name, installing WordPress on the new domain, and exporting and importing the site, you can ensure a smooth and seamless transition.

Additionally, setting up redirects and troubleshooting any issues that may arise will help maintain the site’s functionality and user experience.

With the knowledge and tools provided in this guide, you can confidently migrate your site from WordPress Multisite to a single install.

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