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I have a Wordpress database which was installed in a development environment... thus, all references to the site itself have a fixed IP address (say Now, I have to migrate that database to a new Wordpress installation on a hosting. The problem is that the SQL dump contains a lot of references to the IP address, and I have to replace it with: my_domain.com.

I could use sed or some other command to change the that from the command line, the problem is that there are a lot of configuration data which uses JSON. So what? Well, as you know, JSON arrays uses things like: s:4: to know how many chars an element has, and thus, if I just replace the IP with the domain name, the configuration files will get corrupted.

I used an app for Windows some years ago that allows to change values in a database and takes care of the JSON arrays. Unfortunately, I forgot the name of the app... so the question is: do you know any app that allows me to do what I want?

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This isn't a complete answer, but might help you out in searching for one: the data you're looking at is not JSON formatted. JSON doesn't (normally) store value types and lengths like that. What you're looking at is SERIALIZED data. A google search for "mysql replace serialized" yields this page, which might help: davidcoveney.com/… –  MathSmath Dec 21 '10 at 23:10
Hey, your comment is the only answer that was useful for me... move it to an answer to mark it as correct. Thanks! –  Cristian Dec 22 '10 at 14:39
Glad it helped! I've posted it as an answer. –  MathSmath Dec 22 '10 at 20:16

8 Answers 8

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The data you're looking at is not JSON formatted. JSON doesn't (normally) store value types and lengths like that. What you're looking at is SERIALIZED data. A google search for "mysql replace serialized" yields this page, which might help: http://davidcoveney.com/mysql-database-search-replace-with-serialized-php/

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Thank you... I worked as PHP developer for 2 years. I can't believe I forgot the difference between something serialized and a JSON string. –  Cristian Dec 22 '10 at 20:56

This is an amazing resource i have bookmarked that I go back to time and time again http://www.onextrapixel.com/2010/01/30/13-useful-wordpress-sql-queries-you-wish-you-knew-earlier/

They state

UPDATE wp_options SET option_value = replace(option_value, 'http://www.oldsiteurl.com', 'http://www.newsiteurl.com') WHERE option_name = 'home' OR option_name = 'siteurl';
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Codex has decent guide - Changing Site URL.

Basically there are several places there URL matter or not so much (I may be missing some):

  • home and siteurl options that control where WP thinks site is;
  • post GUIDs, these look like links but really they aren't - only identifiers. I am not absolutely sure they are irrelevant, but I had URLs change on test stack a lot and never bothered to update these.
  • links in post bodies;
  • possibly links in plugin settings.
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As Rarst said above there's only two settings in the database that NEEDS changing. After importing the database I log into PHPMyAdmin and edit the database direct.

I use a development server on my PC all the time to import datafeeds and they have the URL attached to the Posts along the lines of http://localhost/testsite/post-name/ and it's never caused a problem.

I used to use an SQL search and replace until I realised it didn't matter. I've migrated a few sites from one domain to another and where I've had absolute URLs in the content I'll use the SQL search and replace option.

update wp_posts set post_content = replace(post_content,'http://www.olddomain/','http://www.newdomain/');


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There are some plugins, like ContactForm7, which also saves the domain name inside a serialized string, among with other configuration variables. When you modify a serialized string it can get corrupted if its length changes, so in fact, sometimes, there are more things to change than just two settings. –  Cristian Dec 23 '10 at 3:03

You cans et this values wiht a constant in the wp-config.php and ready; after this you can, when you will, change the entries in the database via plugin Adminer. Write this in the wp-config.php and the values in the DB is not relevant:

define('WP_HOME', 'http://doamin.com/to-wordpress');
define('WP_SITEURL', 'http://domain.com/to-blog');
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Hi @Cristian:

Take a look my answer to this question:

It addresses your issues with cleaning up data and can be customized for specific data migration needs by using using hooks, too.

Hope it helps.

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Simple SQL queries - no complicated REPLACE stuff required:

update wp_options set option_value = 'http://mynewdomain.com' where option_name = 'siteurl';

update wp_options set option_value = 'http://mynewdomain.com' where option_name = 'home';

Use those with PHPMyAdmin or any other way you prefer to access the database.

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This is a very old question, but since I came across it while looking for something else, I thought I would add this for future reference.

I think the simplest, most complete way to do this is using searchreplacedb2.php. It can be found here: http://interconnectit.com/products/search-and-replace-for-wordpress-databases/ along with an explanation of it's use.

It has definitely saved me a lot of time with migrating from dev to live environments on my wordpress sites.

Just make sure you delete it from a public server after you are done!

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