How to migrate a WordPress installation from one site to another, including all images?

I need to move a WordPress site hosted on Dream Host to the companies servers. To do so I used the built in import and export feature that comes with WordPress (using a WordPress export file). However, it did not copy over images from the site, and didn’t preserve the featured images.

Using import/export, is it possible to copy over the images and featured images as well? If not, is there another method I could use?

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  1. Ensure that the NEW site is already running the same Theme, and all appropriate Plugins.
  2. Generate your export file from your OLD site, ensuring that you export “all content”.
  3. Import the file into the NEW site, ensuring that you enable/check the option to download/import all attachments. (It is on the same import step during which you assign Post authors.)


  1. If your NEW site isn’t running a Theme that has Post Thumbnail support enabled, you might not get your “featured image” post meta exactly as expected.
  2. (Likewise, if your OLD site has Custom Post Types, Custom Taxonomies, or Post Format support enabled, you will need to ensure that these features are enabled on the NEW site, in order to ensure a proper import of these data.)
  3. If you don’t enable the option (disabled by default) to download/import attachments, then attachments will be instead linked to the OLD site.

I’m using BackupBuddy plugin and it does the migration job very well. This is a commercial plugin. If you prefer free way to migrate WP, this is a great guide (you might want to read further resources at the end of the page, that may help).

There’s also a free plugin called XCloner which does a very thorough job of duplicating a full site (database, all supporting files, etc.). It’s a little involved and therefore overkill for small sites, but for sites where the out-of-the-box WordPress export/import isn’t enough, it does the trick.

Better to migrate the entire database and use a good plugin to search, find and replace url’s with the new server path before you export a copy of the database.

You will also need to migrate all your files which include all your uploads/images.

Here’s the best process to follow when migrating WordPress to a new domain or server.