MovableType To Wordpress

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For a start, why do you want to change from MovableType?

You can compare features on cms matrix.

I (cammy), personally, moved from MovableType to WordPress for a number of reasons:

  • Wordpress is Open Source The biggest reason is that Wordpress is Free and I can use it for what ever I want! The latest MovableType pricing is quite expensive and limited, I think. I run a site that has about five authors on it and the basic license wouldn’t cut it. Someday I hope to setup a site for a commerical product but I’d then have to get a commerical license.Because Wordpress is Open Source, it means no licensing issues, no restrictions on use and I get all the latest updates. My originally MovableType installation was starting to stagnate.
  • Wordpress has real subcategories Like MovableType but it also has subcategories properly implemented (not some hack). In my old MovableType installation I had to use multiple blogs to simulate subcategories. A ridiculas overhead.One critisim I would level at Wordpress is that it can only manage one site per installation while MovableType could handle multiple. But thats not really a huge issue as an installation is much, much, smaller than MovableType mainly because of the next reason…
  • Templates rather than static pages MovableType creates static pages which can fill up your webspace quote if you have a lot. Wordpress uses PHP to dynamically generate pages from an SQL database. Wordpress can even properly handle real future posts too.
  • The Code Itself I'm no PHP expert but it took me no longer than ten minutes to work my way around some of the code in Wordpress. It’s nicely arranged, I think and within a few days I was writing plugins and themes. With MovableType I never got a real handle on the massive Perl code, and on making plugins, I generally hacked others work.
  • Not another template language, because it uses PHP! With MovableType you have a whole new template language to learn and you have to build or install countless plugins to extend it. With Wordpress, it’s PHP so it’s a full computer language. I’ve found it very powerful.
  • Themes are bloodly brillant You can drop in “themes” and change the look and feel of your site with ease compared to MovableType. I’ve even created my own Theme from scratch and with PHP could do some funky stuff (just have a look around!).
  • Stronger comment spam protection Built in Blacklists, User Registeration and Moderation. I know the latest version of MovableType now has some (if not all) these issues but Wordpress is free!
  • Easier to fully backup At least I have found it is. Because the look and feel is stored in a “theme” and content in SQL, I could backup my entire site and move it to another installation with no problems. With MovableType, not so easy, particuarly if you were using a BerkleyDB (EndOfMovableTypeSaga) and you had to copy and paste each template out of the management UI… ug.
  • Some cool builtin little features like pages, paging entries, dictionary in the entry field, user levels, etc.

Okay, so you want to move. Start by creating a test site of Wordpress so you can see if it suits your needs. InstallingWordpress gives directions for installing Wordpress on Redbrick. You can set it up in a subdirectory of in your webspace (normally located at '/webtree/"letter"/"username"/').

Depending on the complexity of your original site, you'll need to do some thinking before. If you've just used Movable Type for a simple blog, it a minimal effort to convert it all over but, like myself, you used it for a picture gallery, software releases, etc. you'll need to do some thinking first:

  • Categories and subcategories You need to figure out how you want to use categories in your new Wordpress site. Do you want to have your seperate blogs as subcategories or do you need to have your different blogs seperate (which would require multiple installations of Wordpress)?
  • Styles and themes I'm afraid you can't just copy over your Movable Type look and feel to Wordpress. I made a new Wordpress theme that looked like my original Movable Type look and feel. Best advice is to use one of the many (and there is a lot) of free themes. The Wordpress Wiki has several you can try and many links to more resources. Themes do not affect your content so you can download and try as many as you like. And they are quite easy to modify if you know a little html, php and css.

Some effort on your part will always be required.

It is an easy enough process to export entries from Movable Type (in the admin interface, on the right there is the Export menu item) and then use the import-mt.php script to import them. Instructions are avaliable from the Wordpress setup script.

I'd recommend two plugins to use when importing your entires: batch categories (read through the comments because you'll need to fix it for Wordpress 1.5) and Search and Replace (which I wrote to help importing). These should help you arrange your content correctly in Wordpress.

The best approach for making this move is to create a Wordpress installation as a subdirectory. If your going to be creating themes and plugins, I'd actually recommend two installations. One will be a sandbox for playing around and the other will be your real site.

Export and import your entries and orgainse the data. Now you can start trying out themes and plugins etc. The import process does not necessarily include all the users from your Movable Type install so you may need to add or modify them yourself.

At this stage you now should have your Movable Type site working away and seperate from your Wordpress install. My best advice is get your Wordpress site exactly how you want it before doing anything to your original site. This could take awhile depending on how much you want to customise.

Once your ready, make sure to make a backup of your Movable Type site (in fact, make a backup of everything including the SQL database). Use the Movable Type interface to delete the blogs and then delete Movable Type. Now your ready to move or link your Wordpress site.

It is very, very easy to move your Wordpress directory. Make a copy of the Wordpress directory you want to move in the place you want to move it. Then open up the Site Admin and modify the URI of the site as required. Then just delete the old copy. Content is preserved in the SQL database.

You can also have Wordpress installed in the root of your webspace, no problem. I wouldn't recommend it myself, in case you want to have different or alternative "blogs" and sites.

The best approach is have Wordpress handle the site in a different directory, namely the root of your webspace. This article explains how to install WordPress files and blog in different directories.


The Wordpress forums and the Wordpress wiki are the best resources for Wordpress. Any questions, suggestions and thoughts, just modify this topic and leave a message.

Good Blogging!