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How do I take a PHP site and import it into WordPress?

Posted on 2014-04-24
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Last Modified: 2014-04-30
I have a PHP website that is all done and I want to import it to WordPress. Can this be done and if so HOW??
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Question by:TinaMBarnard
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by:Ray Paseur
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What is the URL?
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by:Julian Hansen
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The short answer is no in the sense there is no easy way to simply take an existing PHP site and make it into a word press site.

Word Press works off a template specifically created for Word Press and a database.

To "import" an existing site into WordPress would require

a) Creating a Word Press theme that matches your existing site
b) Creating the various pages for your site through WP
c) Importing the data

Even this is a highly simplistic view - there are all sorts of considerations that would come into play - like specific web site functionality that would need to be implemented on the WP site (either by finding an existing plugin or by creating one).

The answer to your question - there is no quick and easy way to take an existing PHP site and implement it as a Word Press site.
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by:TinaMBarnard
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Ray Paseur ~ www.santamariadental.com

julianH ~ Thank you
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by:Ray Paseur
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It looks nice, but you might want to check the W3 validation.

Why do you want to use WordPress?  What's not working for the site now?
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by:Dave Baldwin
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It could take a year (or more) to put that into Wordpress... because you would have to rewrite all of it to fit into the format that Wordpress requires.
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by:TinaMBarnard
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Ray Paseur ~ I am not the one that coded this site. I am hired by the owner of Santa Maria Dental to update the site and make it so they can update it in house. I was given the FTP and have all the files for the current site, but I can't make any changes to the php pages. I am trying to make a WordPress site that looks and feels like the one they have. Any Ideas would be so helpful...

Tina
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by:TinaMBarnard
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Dave Baldwin ~ Thank You
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by:Ray Paseur
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Tina: Are you a WordPress developer?  If not, you have two paths.  You can hire a WordPress developer (and I can confidently recommend Jason C. Levine, my colleague on the Experts-Exchange Product Advisory Committee) -- or -- you can try to learn what a WordPress developer already knows, so you can figure out how to create the appropriate Themes and Pages.  

The client might want to consider whether "updating it themselves" is really a worthwhile option.  They are dentists, not bloggers or web publishers.  And besides, the site looks mostly static, with only the occasional changes needed to keep things fresh.  It might be more economical to hire you for the occasional web site update, rather than pay for a complete conversion into WordPress.
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by:Dave Baldwin
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If you can't make any changes to the PHP pages, there is literally Nothing that you can do for them.  Making it fit into a Wordpress site would take a long time, especially if you have never redone a Worpress theme before.  I myself would decline the job.
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by:Ray Paseur
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Good point, Dave.

Tina: regarding this, "I can't make any changes to the php pages."  Why not?
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by:TinaMBarnard
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Ray ~ I put the site in my wamp server and it won't open.
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by:Brandon Lyon
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Clients often want to be able to update something themselves without actually knowing what that means. I guarantee that 90% of clients, once they learn what it actually means to update a website on their own, will never want to do it again and will hire someone to do it for them or will drop the subject entirely and just keep their existing website to their detriment.

While Wordpress is one of the best CMS solutions it's often too complicated for people to update themselves. You'll still need to train people in how to use it. The first thing to do is setup a practice website and see if the client is willing to use Wordpress to update or if its too complex for them. There are many, many different CMS options out there.

The second thing to do is to analyze the existing website and find out EXACTLY what they want to be able to update. Explain to them that if they want to be able to update EVERYTHING it will cost more to convert. If they say they want everything, write down a large estimated cost. They will try to negotiate the rate. That's when you negotiate by saying if they want to lower the cost then they have to lower the amount of items you need to update.

There is no easy way to automatically import content from an existing website into Wordpress, unless the content also comes from a CMS with a clear hierarchy which you can write a script for. Even then its dicey if you need to keep existing URLs.

Note: I'm not trying to dissuade you, I'm just trying to give advice. Personally I love creating new sites using Wordpress based on content from existing sites.
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by:Jason C. Levine
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It could take a year (or more) to put that into Wordpress

!?

Maybe for some people it would take that long, but this is not a complex site and that's a bit of a FUDdy response.  What makes you think it would take that long?

I count a nine-page site, one contact form, something in Flash I can't see on an iPad, matching Spanish pages, and a bunch of PDFs.  Most of the content conversion would be of the copy/paste level of difficulty.  Images, PDF, and other media is one batch upload and images would be able to be compressed via a plugin during this process (they appear to be a little large right now).

Theme development aside*, the conversion is only a few days of work for a competent WordPress person.  

* The theme would be the sticking point.  If they want exactly what they have now then you would have to develop a theme from the ground up or modify an existing theme and that could take some time but nothing like a year.  Maybe a month or two, tops.  Modification is obviously faster but it never matches up pixel-perfect with a hand-coded site.  What I tend to do with small businesses that are in love with their design is get as close as I can with a good theme and modify minimally from there to match colors/banners/etc. and show the existing site and a demo site side-by-side.
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by:Dave Baldwin
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We would have to see the code for 'index.php' to figure out why it won't open.
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by:Dave Baldwin
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Theme development aside*
Really?  If Tina was already a Wordpress expert, she would be asking different questions.  I've modified a couple of Wordpress themes and as you well know, it is Not like writing a stand-alone PHP page.  You can call me "FUDdy" all you want but changing this site to a Wordpress is not going to be a simple copy and paste.
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by:TinaMBarnard
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bmlyon ~ They have a person in house...My charges  included the fee for 3 hours to show them how to update their text and images.

I was just trying to see if it would work to put it in wordpress, I understand it won't! I already had them pick a theme that I am going to setup with all the content from their current site.

Tina
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by:Jason C. Levine
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I've modified a couple of Wordpress themes and as you well know, it is Not like writing a stand-alone PHP page.

Which is why you use a theme that matches the existing layout as a jumping off point and customize a child theme from there.  I do this all the time, doesn't take a year.

If the answer was "It will take you a year or more to learn enough about WordPress theme development to replicate the HTML layout properly" well, I still think that's not realistic:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web_Development/Blogs/WordPress/A_4431-Create-Your-Own-Wordpress-Theme.html
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by:TinaMBarnard
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Dave ~ Here is the index.php file
index.php
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by:Dave Baldwin
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'BASE_URL' in 'includes/init_frontend.php' is probably preventing you from loading the page.
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by:TinaMBarnard
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Dave ~ Is there anything I can do?
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Dave Baldwin earned 500 total points
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Yes, change 'BASE_URL' to 'localhost' or the IP address of the machine.
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