I use WordPress for the majority of my client work. I develop locally with MAMP and then move the sites to the remote server when its time to go live or show the client the progress. I just migrate the files via FTP and export/import the database with phpMyAdmin, tweak the url and wp-config.php settings, etc.

This flow has been working fine, but lately I am tiring of having dozens of different WordPress installs on my local machine, having to go through the motions of setting up a new one every time, etc., and would like to streamline things by switching to Multisite.

But I need to be able to export and move each site to its own separate remote server. I'm not ready to us Multisite for my live sites, though it is a tempting idea from a maintenance standpoint.

Is the WordPress export function the best way to do this? I realize that I still have to move all of my media files if I do it this way. Does anyone know how Backup Buddy handles this? I've been thinking about throwing down for that service.


  • 1
    Are you developing Themes, site content, or both? May 3, 2012 at 15:33
  • BackupBuddy works really well for this. I've used it quite a few times for migrating a site within a multisite install to its own separate install.
    – Pippin
    May 3, 2012 at 15:57
  • I'm generally doing theme development, but I am often also developing content. E-commerce sites, for example require a fair amount of local content/database development. I'll have to read up on Backup Buddy's support of Multisite to single site. That may be the thing that gets me to buy it. I've already been thinking about it for hassle-free backup management for the growing number of client sites out in the wild. May 3, 2012 at 16:04

2 Answers 2


Using multisite to develop then export to a single install is a bad idea. For one multisite behaves different than a single install and you want your dev to as close to the production as possible.

It's also a pain in the a** to manually export the right db tables then import them into a new database.

For developing locally I only use 2 or three WP installs. Your mainly working on theme files so just create a new theme for each project and you can even use one dev database and change the table prefix in wp-config.php so so you don't have to create a new database each time.

See this answer for complete details on a nice streamlined local dev system to use.

  • It's actually a piece of cake to do this when using BackupBuddy.
    – Pippin
    May 3, 2012 at 15:56

I agree with Pippin, BackupBuddy is awesome. I've never tried to export a multi-site to single installs, so I can't speak for that - but overall, I'm more than happy I bought the license for that sucker. Saved my life many times.

However, I used to develop under Multi-Site, and I stopped doing it - mainly because Multi-Site does behave differently than a single installation. Some of the plugins you'd use for a single install will not work with Multi-Site, and vice-versa (although vice-vers is not as often as trying to use a single-install plugin in a multi-site environment). It just got too difficult to keep track, so I switched back to doing single installs.

  • 1
    This really isn't an answer. It would fit better as a comment to to OP or to @Chris_O's answer. May 3, 2012 at 19:05
  • ...which I would have done, but the comment link doesn't show for either one.
    – Shelly
    Jun 4, 2012 at 21:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.