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Migration Guide: Transfer Weebly Site to Another Host

July 15, 2022

A Guide: Transfer Weebly Site to Another Host

Why Nexcess is an Excellent Alternative to Weebly

Weebly is a great way to get started quickly, but part of what makes them so fast is abstracting away a lot of the complexities of creating a website. Unfortunately, the abstractions mean a lot of restrictions on what you can do with your website. WordPress or Magento allow you to dig in as much or as little as you'd like into coding or customizing different parts of your website. At Nexcess, we not only offer Managed WordPress and Managed Magento but also Managed WooCommerce and StoreBuilder, both built specifically for WordPress. Managed WooCommerce comes with WordPress and WooCommerce installed for you. At the same time, the StoreBuilder Plan also comes with WordPress installed, allowing you to customize your store how you like with no code required and no extraneous fees to pay on top of your server bill. Each option has multiple plan size ranges fitting the smallest company with one site, to a massive company with up to 30 sites, a flexible Weebly alternative.

Is Weebly Hard to Use?

- The content editor is pretty restrictive.
- The design templates are somewhat outdated.
- The Weebly authoring environment and resulting website may hinder creativity.

What are the Primary Disadvantages of Using Weebly?

- There are limited blogging tools, features, and functionality.
- There are limited photo editing capabilities.
- There are limited support options without paying more fees.

Coming to Nexcess: Overview of the Weebly Site Move Process

Export Your Weebly Site

Like other proprietary sites, Weebly doesn't want you to be able to take very much with you. But, by transferring Weebly to another host, you'll own all of your data moving forward. We will walk through the Weebly export process in a moment, but it will be a better experience for you if you use a third-party export tool to get the information you need. So, let's review both options!

Export with a Third-Party Tool

Because the third-party export file contains so much more content and will make importing easier, we will start with that process. For this example, we will be using the Weebly to WP tool. This tool is completely free, with several options for you to select.

First, go to the website linked above. Depending on the size of your browser, you will see something like this:

Weebly Site to WordPress

Scroll down so that you can see the complete form to fill out. Fill out the form fields. If you are using a free Weebly domain, don't forget that your URL is a subdomain, and instead of https://www.example.com/, your URL will be https://www.example.weebly.com, with the example being replaced with your actual domain.

WXR is the default format and the best for ensuring you capture the most data to import. It is WordPress' extended RSS format that is specific for importing to WordPress. You may use RSS, but you won't get the same information. Therefore, we recommend that you use the WRX format. By default, the export will select to include pages. Unless you specifically want to leave the pages behind, leave this selected:

Export My Weebly Site

After you've filled out the form, click on Export my Weebly Website. Depending on the size of your Weebly site, this may take some time. So be patient while the tool works:

Export My Weebly Website with Green Arrow

While it is working, you should see something like this:

Generating Export File

Once the export is complete, you will see a green button with a link that says Download Your Weebly Export File. You'll need to right-click on the link and select Save Link As. Remember where you save this export file (export.xml) as you will need it for import to WordPress in a moment:

Download Your Weebly Export File

Exporting within Weebly

It is certainly possible if you would still like to export from Weebly directly. However, Weebly sends you a .zip file that is not easily imported to WordPress because Weebly doesn't want you to transfer to another host. You will still be doing much manual input work with this direct export method. We recommend using a third-party tool as described above.

Log in to your Weebly Dashboard. On the left-hand menu, you will see a Website dropdown below Overview, click on it:

Overview Menu Option

In the dropdown, select the Edit Site option:

Edit Site Menu Option

When the page loads, you will see an Edit button on the right upper corner — click it:

Edit Button in Upper Right

In the editor, you will see a menu across the top with a Settings option — select it:

Menu Across the Top

Enter your email in the text box, then select Email Archive to send the zip file to your email:

Email Zip Archive File Name

Once you receive the zip file, you are free to begin entering the data exported to WordPress. Unfortunately, this will be a long process, as Weebly does not send you an easily importable file to WordPress.

Importing to Nexcess with WordPress

After you sign up for an account with Nexcess and your WordPress site is installed, you can import your export file from Weebly, obtained via Weebly to WP. So let's get started importing!

Sign in to your WordPress Administration page:

WordPress Administration Page

Once you are logged in, you will see the main home page, with a menu on the left. On the bottom left, you will see a menu item called Tools:

Tools Menu Item

If you hover over Tools with your mouse, another menu will appear. Click on Import to go to the import page:

Import Menu Item

You will see a list of options to import from on the Import Page:

Other Options to Import From

Because you have an export file, you will want to install the WordPress Importer. Click on Install Now at the bottom of the page:

Once it's installed, click on Run Importer to move to the next step:

Run Importer Menu Option

On the Import page, click Choose File, and navigate through your filesystem to where you saved the export file:

Choose File Button

Select the file, and click Open, you will see your file's name to the right of the Choose File button, and Upload File and Import will turn blue. Click it to start the import process:

Upload File and Import

Clicking Upload File and Import will start the import process. WordPress recommends that you assign the incoming posts to one author as a part of the process. You can select an existing user from the dropdown or create a new user to assign them to. Of course, once the import is complete, you can always reassign the posts to the proper authors if you so choose. Once you have selected a user, click Submit to import your file:

Submit Button for Import WordPress

Once the import is complete, you should see a success message, and all of your content should be under posts. You'll want to carefully review your website to ensure everything you want is there before redirecting your Weebly site/account. Now is the time to manually move over anything you've noticed that was missed in the export. Depending on the size of your site, this could take some time.

Missing Images? No problem!

The first step is to find out if the import process successfully imported your images to your media library. Go to Media then Library — if you see your images, then all you need to do is update the URLs used for your images in your posts:

Media > Library

Before you do this update, back up your WordPress site as precaution in case something goes wrong. Making backups is an excellent habit to get into before making changes to your site.

After you've made a backup, install the Go Live Update URLs plugin and activate it. Then go to Tools and Go Live to get started:

Tools > Go Live

You will see a list of tables that are safe to update with the free version of the plugin, and a list of tables that are only safe to update with the Pro version. For our purposes, you can safely ignore what can only safely be edited by the Pro version and proceed with the free version:

WordPress Core Tables

Scroll to the bottom, fill out the old and new URLs, and click Update URLs. This step will go through and update the URLs in the selected tables with the new URL:

Update URLs

However, you may not see your images in the media library, and the previous steps won't help you. Fortunately, there is a (free!) plugin you can use for this, called Auto Upload Images, that, once installed, can help you fix your images without a long process of downloading and reuploading.

First, install the plugin. You can either download from the link above, install and activate it, or search for it in Add New on the Plugins page:

Plugins > Add New

Once the Auto Upload Images plugin is installed, you need to head over to the Posts section of your admin page:

Posts Menu Option

On the Posts page, make sure that you set your Posts per page to 999 so the next step will select all of your posts. Then, click the box in the upper left corner to select all the posts you just imported:

Posts Checkbox

After selecting all the posts, click on the Bulk Actions dropdown:

Bulk Actions Dropdown

Select Edit from the dropdown menu:

Edit Menu Option

Then select Apply — a new window will show up:

Post Apply Button

On the resulting window, click Update without changing any other settings:

Update Button

This action will automatically save the images still linked to the old source links to your WordPress Library and update the links in your posts.

Import Your Site to Nexcess with Magento

While Magento is a good Weebly alternative, as there are open source and paid options, there is no built-in import feature sponsored by Magento. There is a Weebly to Magento extension called Migrate From Weebly available in the Magento Marketplace. You can try it out for free, but the full migration can cost a bit of money. You can contact the creators, LitExtensions, to check pricing. Another (paid) option with a free demo is Next Cart. This can also be used to move Weebly to WordPress, but the more you have to move, the more expensive it is. For example, moving 100 entities is $20, but moving 1,000 entities is $69.

You may also go the longer route of manually moving your site bit by bit to Magento, but that would be rather tedious. Instead, we highly recommend you look for a similar migration tool, if either of these don't fit your needs. These tools allow you to port your Weebly site into Magento directly, and are a definite time saver.

Handle Your Domain

You may choose to rebrand when you move away from Weebly. If you are early in your site's days, it's easier to change your domain than if you've been there for a while and have brand recognition. If you have brand recognition, abandoning the previous domain and choosing a new one could result in losing customers if not marketed properly.

If you have a Weebly subdomain (for example https://sarahjanesmith.weebly.com) you will not be able to take that domain with you, and you will need to purchase a new domain (for https://sarahjanesmith.com) and set up your nameservers as a part of that transition.

If you do not have a subdomain of Weebly but did purchase a domain from them (example.com or sarahjanesmith.com), you can, in the same Website dropdown from earlier, click on Domains, then and Manage to unlock your domain and move it to another provider. There is a help thread with Weebly that can help you with your domain move.

Your Domain Move

Keep in mind that right after you purchase your domain, or if you have recently transferred it, your domain may be locked for 60 days. This lock is standard procedure, but can slow you down in your move. If you purchased your domain from a registrar like Namecheap, you don't have to transfer your domain, but don't forget to update all the domain records to the new server(s) you are setting up. The domain records, or nameservers, point people to your website when they put your URL into their browser.

This is similar to what you will be looking for. Since you already had nameservers at Weebly, you'll update them to your new nameservers, instead of filling them in from blank like in the below screenshot:

Add Nameserver

Once your nameservers are updated, it may take up to 24 hours for the change to be reflected when you go to your site's URL. You'll want to make sure you have everything moved over and your site is working how you want it to before you forward your Weebly site to your new site. Don't forget the MX Records for your email if you have a custom email with your domain!

Set Up Redirects & Update Your Permalink Structure

Redirect Your Weebly Subdomain

If you have a subdomain at Weebly, you can redirect it to your new non-subdomain site. Then, on the main dashboard, follow the steps to get to edit your website from earlier:

Redirect Your Weebly Subdomain

Edit Button

Settings Menu Option

On the left-hand menu on the settings page, click on SEO:

SEO Menu Option

Scroll down on the SEO Page until you see a text box labeled Header Code:

Header Code Text Box

In this box, copy the following line, but with your actual domain in place of exampledomain.com:

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;url=http://www.exampledomain.com/">

Don't forget to save!

Saved Header Code Text Box

It is recommended that you leave the redirect in place for two to three months to ensure that everyone knows that you made this change. It's crucial for SEO purposes, but after two to three months, it gets a little redundant and can harm your SEO.

Fix Your Permalinks

Weebly has a specific URL structure that they use. Usually, you will see http://sarahjane.com/blog/post-title/ for blog posts and http://sarahjane.com/page-title.html for pages. So let's take care of the blog posts first.

In your WordPress Admin area, on the left-hand menu, you will see Settings toward the bottom. Either click or hover over Settings then click on Permalinks:

Settings > Permalinks

From the Permalinks page, select Custom Structure and copy /blog/%postname% into the text box, like the example below:

Custom Structure Field

After making that update, scroll to the bottom, and click Save Changes to update your permalinks.

To fix your page links, you'll need a plugin that will allow you to add an extension to your pages. We suggest using Add Any Extension to Pages. You may download and install it from the link or search for it in the plugin section by clicking on Add New on the Plugins page. Once it is installed and activated, go to Settings then Add Any Extension to Pages:

Settings > Add Any Extension to Pages Menu Option

The resulting settings page will ask you to confirm that your permalink structure is how you want it to be before setting this up. Double-check to make sure the permalinks are set how you expect based on the above. After you've confirmed, add .html (make sure to include the period before html) to the text box, then click on Update Settings to save the change.

Update Settings Button

Wrapping It Up

Though this is a comprehensive guide, there are still links that could be missed, images that don't import correctly, and other issues you might see on your site. So thoroughly go through your site to ensure all the images, texts, and products (if you have them) show up how you are expecting. With most of the import handled automatically, you should only have a few tweaks here and there.

Consider Managed Hosting with Nexcess

Nexcess Managed Hosting offers you many benefits from security and performance scanning, automated maintenance, and updates to beautiful, customizable designs and 24/7/365 support. In addition, Nexcess Managed Hosting offers three managed platforms to choose from based on your unique requirements: WordPress with automatic plugin and platform updates; WooCommerce with built-in image compression, and a newer StoreBuilder interface; and Magento containing Elasticsearch, the ability to add on server clusters, and PCI compliance.

provides managed hosting plans that are prepackaged with the best solutions for the chosen content management system. Built-in caching and a CDN combined with an enterprise-level application stack ensure the best website performance and security. Nexcess will take care of all the technical aspects of hosting while you are building your online presence. Check out our Nexcess Managed Hosting Plans to start today.

Scale Your WordPress/WooCommerce Solution with Nexcess

Managed WordPress and WooCommerce plans are scalable hosting plans that allocate 10 or more PHP workers per site. For static blogs or similar sites, that should be more than enough to have them work flawlessly, while other, more complicated websites will easily find their home within other Managed WordPress Hosting and Managed WooCommerce Hosting plans. These hosting plans also come with an excellent 24/7/365 support team ready to help with any glitches that might arise along the way!

See what industry insiders have to say about Nexcess and its use of PHP workers: 4 Best WordPress Hosting With Their “PHP Workers” Numbers.

Managed Hosting with Nexcess

Hosting optimized for the industry's leading platforms, including Managed WordPress Hosting, Managed WooCommerce Hosting, and Managed Magento Hosting:

Build Better Sites and Stores With Fully Managed Hosting from Nexcess

Faster Speeds, Stronger Security, Inherent Scalability and Trusted Support.

Our range of hosting plans caters to any business scale. We do all the heavy lifting for you to focus on growing your business. In addition, we automatically update ore components and plugins to the latest version and ensure your hosting environment is properly optimized, secured, and updated.

Nexcess infrastructure was specially designed to keep up the best speed and performance in the industry. No traffic surge can threaten your website to go down thanks to our autoscaling technology which adds more resources to your server to handle the load. In addition, we offer always-on security monitoring and support from web hosting experts 24/7/365 and a built-in CDN with 22 locations and advanced caching for ultra-fast loading.

All hosting plans include The Nexcess 30-Day Web Hosting Money Back Guarantee.

Need a No-Code Website Building Solution?

Are you on an accelerated schedule and already ready to move forward? If you need to get started with your Nexcess StoreBuilder Solution sooner rather than later, check out these resources:

Next Steps with a Nexcess Cloud Hosting Solution?

Read more about the Fully Managed Cloud Environment by Nexcess and its benefits for your business.

A Cloud Hosting Solution That Lets You Do Business Your Way

We believe in the promise of cloud: scalability, security, performance, and ease of use. Together with our team, clients, and partners, we’ve built something better.

Choose From Multiple Applications

Whether you’re a small business or a high-traffic eCommerce store, our cloud hosting solutions are designed around your needs: auto scaling, PCI compliance, and comprehensive development tools provide you with maximum dynamic flexibility in a fully managed cloud environment.

We make applications easy with environment optimizations for:

And there are many more!

We also have a variety of Nexcess support articles about how best to implement our product offerings housed in the Nexcess Knowledge Base, including how to get your site going with a number of different configuration options. These resources include a great article on setting this up for Migrating to Nexcess with managed WordPress and managed WooCommerce hosting.

Next Steps with Fully Managed WordPress Hosting?

Read more about the Fully Managed WordPress Hosting and its benefits for your business.

Build Better Websites with Fully Managed WordPress Hosting

It’s hosting optimized for WordPress. That means a faster, more secure and scalable website. Smart monitoring tools are built-in to help you keep it that way.

It’s why WordPress Users Trust Nexcess Hosting.

We also have a variety of Nexcess support articles about WordPress, including how to get your site going with a number of different configuration options. These resources include a great article on setting this up for Migrating to Nexcess with managed WordPress and managed WooCommerce hosting.

Considering Use of a CDN?

Many businesspeople wonder how a CDN speeds up your ecommerce site, but they will discover that the reasons are remarkably straightforward. Review the content, resources, and links in this article to learn more about those reasons in full detail.

24-Hour Assistance

If you need any assistance with the above-mentioned, don't hesitate to reach out. For 24-hour assistance any day of the year, Nexcess customers can contact our support team by email (support@nexcess.net) or through your Client Portal.

Useful YouTube > Nexcess Channel Links

Resources for More Information

Need more help? The Applications, WooCommerce, and WordPress sections within the Nexcess Knowledge Base are important resources for those seeking additional knowledge. Or, check out our related articles below.

The Applications section also contains valuable insights for those seeking additional knowledge about our other various hosted applications and platforms. Check out our related video playlists and articles below:

New Customers: Fully Managed Hosting Solutions

Not a Nexcess customer yet? Check out our fully managed hosting solutions. The option to chat with an expert is also available.

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Jenny Rasmussen