by Tony Gamble
WordPress is a finely tuned machine with plenty of moving parts, but it all ties into a single central database. All of your Posts and Pages, your plugins settings and theme settings, everything is carefully organized into tables and fields which can be queried from any part of the WordPress engine. This is a fantastic construct which makes it easy to backup or move your website to another host. Say, for example, you want to create a duplicate of your website on your own computer for development and testing purposes. All you need is a copy of the files on your host and an export of the database. Ordinarily, you would need to login to your host’s CPanel and find its MySQL database manager or PHPMyAdmin, then find the right database name, then export. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could take care of this from within the WordPress admin screen?
The plugin SQL Export is a streamlined, simple tool that allows you to do just that. When installed, it shows up under the Tools menu as ‘Export SQL File’. There are no complicated settings to manage. It simply displays an overview of your database stats followed by a single button to Export SQL File. What you end up with is a zipped text-based file which you can import into any other empty database. Before you do that, though, you’ll need to use your favourite text editor to do a Search & Replace on all instances of your website’s URL so that this copy of the website will operate on the new host.
WP Migrate DB goes one step further by eliminating the need to unzip and scour the resulting SQL file for URL paths. This plugin, which also shows up under the Tools menu, offers Search & Replace functionality before exporting the database file. You can even trim up the size of the database by excluding spam comments and post revisions.
Both of these plugins are available for free. WP Migrate DB also offers a Pro version which takes the process a leap forward by offering a 1-click migration option.
Do you have a favourite WordPress plugin you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below.