I've been working on a local version of a WP multi-site. Since I have been doing this, some of the live sites have been updated with new content. I was wondering if there was a better process to syncing content changes to what I'm planning to do. Which is:

  • Download a WordPress XML Export file from each site on the live multi-site network.
  • Import the XML files locally
  • Push the dev version live.

Is there a plugin for example that allows you to Export and Import from all sites on the network automatically? I'm mainly just intrigued to see if anyone else has had this situation and find out what they did.

  • Yes but plugin recommendations are off topic here deliciousbrains.com/wp-migrate-db-pro/faq Jan 17, 2014 at 10:10
  • Hi Brad, sorry I meant a plugin that gets just the wordpress XML content and imports that. Nevermind though I'm going download a new copy of the live site and apply all the dev changes I did to that, instead.
    – patrickzdb
    Jan 17, 2014 at 13:50

1 Answer 1


It's always a bit tricky moving sites around between live and development servers - and personally I always prefer to have as few plugins running on sites as possible - so I'd not really advocate the 'plugin' route.

The solution I use to this is a simple one, but requires a-little manual process.

The steps I'd suggest are as follows:

  • Download via FTP all site files (including the core WordPress files if you like). Once downloaded once, I then use a synchronise command in my FTP application to just download any changed files in the future.

  • Create new database and configure wp-config.php - check this is hooked-up correctly.

  • Export MySQL database from live server.

  • Import this into your new local server based MySQL database.

  • Use the excellent Database Search and Replace script from InterconnectIT - http://interconnectit.com/products/search-and-replace-for-wordpress-databases/ on the database you have imported - this will replace all the live URL references with your local development URL settings.

  • You will probably need to refresh permalinks and maybe configure your local server a-little depending on your setup, but I've used this on very large, complex sites (multisite and BuddyPress) without any issues - it has always worked very well for me!

The advantage of using the search and replace script is that it will perfectly migrate all of your menus, widget settings and plugin settings - you will literally get a complete local version of the live site - which you won't get with a basic XML export ;)

  • 1
    Hey, you've just described my workflow process ;) I'm fine with getting the local dev version going, I was just wondering if people had any clever methods of syncing any live content changes. However, if it is just content added by the client that should all be carried over on a WordPress XML import. It's just I will have to do the Export/Import on 25 multisites, so I was hoping there might be a quicker way.
    – patrickzdb
    Jan 17, 2014 at 11:18
  • Ah - do you have separate databases then for each? I thought multisite usually has one core database... I can see how time consuming this would be if you have to export each - not ideal sir ;( I always get a bit nervous about automation myself, but with that sort of situation I can see the benefits ;)
    – Jonnyauk
    Jan 17, 2014 at 11:20
  • The way this one has been setup yes, each multisite install uses the same db but with a different prefix. Oh well I'll just do it manually.
    – patrickzdb
    Jan 17, 2014 at 11:35

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