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How to Move a Website from WordPress Multisite to Single Install

How to Move a Website from WordPress Multisite to Single Install

The WordPress multisite feature enables webmasters create a network of sites on a single install. That makes it possible to manage all sites on one WordPress platform. Since some users have tried out the multisite network and plan to isolate a site from such a complex network, we make this guide to deal with it. That leaves enough space for the child website with a sound momentum of development.

Before beginning, we strongly suggest you to backup the multisite installation in case of extraction failure. The backup sets the stage for website recovery in a critical moment. Since everything gets ready, go with this step-by-step and make a hit.

Step 1: Export the single site from the multisite network

Since WordPress enables an easy manner to export a website, there is no need to complete this step by means of any third-party methods. Log into the WP-admin of the site to be extracted and go to Tools > Export. Check “All content” option and that export all content including posts, pages, custom posts types, comments, etc.

Choose What to Export

Once clicking “Download Export File” button, an XML file is downloaded to your computer and that includes all web content of the export website. Put it aside for the time being and move to the following steps.

Step 2: Create a new WordPress installation

Remain the existing domain or register a new one on a WordPress hosting provider. If you are using a custom domain on the multisite install, you’d better remain the existing domain. Here, we plan to continue with the domain name now available. And then, log into cPanel and access to Software and Services > Softaculous. Set about installing WordPress on this extracted site and type all details as required.

Having the new WordPress installation completed, log into the website dashboard. Modify the permalink via Settings > Permalink and make it consistent with what on the multisite install.

Matters need attention: If you create a new domain for this single site or make a change to certain URLs, make sure that you have redirected the old URL to the newly generated one.

Step 3: Import XML file to the new single site

Go to Tools > Import and click “WordPress”. The download page for WordPress Importer plugin pops up and that requires you to install this plugin now.

Install WordPress Importer Plugin

Upon activation, choose the XML file you’ve downloaded just now and then upload it by clicking “Upload file and import” button.

Upload XML FIle Import

Make a decision on whether to import all authors and attachments to this new install. That depends. After that, submit all settings. It should take a few tens of seconds to import all data and files. The message “All done. Have fun!” indicates that you have completed the WordPress import successfully.

Assign Users & Import Attachments

That’s it!

Note that, if there is a failure to import the attachments, you’d better import them again with another method. The Import External Images plugin is recommended here.

Step 4: Copy or move themes and plugins to your new site

Since the XML file includes all web content exclusive of themes & plugins, you should copy themes and plugins from the multisite network if needed. That can be completed via an FTP client or a control panel FTP manager. Access to cPanel > Files > File Manager and expand /public_html/the-old-site/wp-content. Double click the themes (plugins) folder and move/copy target themes (plugins ) to your new site as needed.

Having all needed themes and plugins uploaded, you should log into your WP-admin and activate those themes and plugins in real time. Perhaps, if there is a need to enable a fresh look and many new functions to the new site, you can install new themes & plugins via dashboard > Plugins/Themes > Add New. Finally, run your new website and check if all web pages can be visited smoothly.


Lucy has been a very experienced SEOer, technical writer, web developer, c# developer since 2002. Now she owns a startup in San Francisco, CA, focusing on running a couple of blogs to share knowledge and experience with global readers and deliver exceptional results to global sponsors by leveraging the power of Internet.