Wix is an easy and budget-friendly option for creating a website. It appeals to new website owners in particular because it takes care of the technical aspects of the site.
As the needs and goals of your site change, however, you might want to use a plugin to better manage and engage your contacts with forms, live chat, and email marketing. Or you might want to add custom CSS code to create a sticky navigation menu. In sum, you realize you need the functionality and flexibility of a content management system to continue to grow your business online.
The good news is you don’t have to start from scratch. You can move your site to your own self-hosted domain on WordPress.org in two different ways: using an RSS feed or using a plugin
In this post, we'll break down the migration process into the following three phases:
Before we begin walking through how to convert your site, let’s look at the benefits of hosting your site on WordPress.
Why Convert from Wix to WordPress
Both Wix and WordPress are excellent options for building a website. Offering built-in functionality, templates, and add-ons, both platforms enable users without technical knowledge to create and customize a site without needing to code or even knowing how to code.
When comparing Wix vs. WordPress, it’s important to note that one isn’t better than the other — it’s just that they present two very different approaches to creating and managing a website.
Wix is a website builder that offers the website building tools and hosting required to create and launch a site quickly. With Wix, you can purchase your own custom domain. You can modify over 800 pre-designed templates to quickly create your site, or start from scratch to completely customize it. You can even add video backgrounds, scroll effects, and animations to make these pages interactive and memorable.
Limitations of Using Wix and Other Website Builders
While Wix makes launching a new site relatively easy, the platform does have some limitations when it comes to customization.
- Can’t Add Forms to Blog Posts: Wix currently doesn’t have the option for forms on blog posts — an inconvenience if you’re looking to gather visitor information or get signups. Instead, they offer a workaround where you can create a new page, create a form on that, and then link to it from your blog post. Having to navigate to another page just to fill out a form creates unnecessary friction for users, making it a less effective way to gather information.
- Can’t switch templates once site is live: Choose your Wix template wisely as you won’t be able to change it once your site is live.
- You can only use Wix’s tools: Since Wix is a closed platform, you’re stuck with using their proprietary tools, which can be limiting if your site outgrows their selection of offered features.
- You can’t access or change the HTML of your site: Currently Wix users cannot access the HTML code on their site. However, using Velo by Wix, you can add a few more features like database collection to the Wix editor if you choose.
For users who don’t have the time to use or manage a robust number of out-of-the-box features, add-ons, and custom code, Wix is ideal for creating a basic site with lots of visual content.
A CMS Offers More Flexibility
Let’s say you started on Wix, but your site and audience has grown substantially. You’re looking to start blogging, install a tool to help you optimize your content for search engines, and completely rebrand your site.
For the freedom and flexibility to do all this, you need a CMS. WordPress has the advanced content management features and customization options you need to extend the functionality of your site. With this multi-purpose CMS...
- You can easily add pages and posts
- Install WordPress Plugins like the free and easy-to-use Elementor page builder and HubSpot WordPress plugin
- Customize the design of your site with hundreds of free and premium themes, and much more
In exchange for this flexibility, you will need to invest more time and effort into setting up your WordPress site. Unlike Wix, WordPress is a self-hosted platform, which means you’ll need to find your own hosting and download the software. You’ll also have to connect your domain (or purchase one if you were using a Wix subdomain). Most hosting providers simplify these processes — particularly with one-step installation of the WordPress software — so it’s a popular choice for site owners. We’ll explore these steps in detail below.
Now we understand a few reasons why you might want to convert your Wix site to WordPress. We'll briefly mention two different ways you can migrate your content, and then walk through the entire process step-by-step.
How to Convert Wix to Wordpress
There are two ways you can convert your Wix site to WordPress. You can use the RSS feed to quickly import all your posts and then manually migrate your pages and images, or you can use an automated migration plugin.
Since it's completely free, some site owners may opt to use the RSS feed method for budget reasons. While it will be more efficient than manually copying and pasting every single post and page into WordPress, it will still be time-consuming. That's because it only automates the migration process for your Wix posts. You'll still have to migrate your pages and images manually.
Site owners can also use an automated migration plugin by CMS2CMS instead. Not only does this plugin work for any Wix site no matter when it was built — it also allows for a full data transfer. Your posts, pages, media, and other web assets can all be migrated. That means admins who want to save time and avoid any copying and pasting of their Wix content to WordPress will prefer this option.
In the migration phase, we’ll take a closer look at both the semi-automated and fully automated option so you can pick the one that suits your needs best.
The other pre- and post-migration steps in the list are the same, no matter how you choose to migrate your content from Wix to WordPress. Let's get started.
Pre-migration Steps for Converting Wix to WordPress
Before you can begin exporting content from Wix, you need somewhere to import it. Below we’ll cover the steps you need to take pre-migration.
Step 1: Purchase web hosting.
You’ll need to sign up for a hosting service for your WordPress site. If you’re looking for a similar experience to Wix, then try managed hosting.
Managed hosting essentially means you partner with the hosting company to install and run your site on WordPress.org. The managed hosting provider will regularly cache your site, run malware scans and daily backups, and update your WordPress theme and plugins so you can focus on the non-technical aspects of running a site, like creating content and customizing the design.
There are dozens of hosting providers to choose from and plenty of other types of hosting available. If you need some suggestions to start, SiteGround, WP Engine,and WPMU Dev offer managed hosting as well as other types of plans and have a reputation for reliability and high performance.
Once you’ve selected a web hosting provider and type of hosting, you’ll have to choose a plan that has the bandwidth, storage, and security required for your site. Most providers offer three plans with more features available at a higher price tag at each tier. You can take a look at SiteGround’s hosting packages below.
Step 2: Set up a temporary domain.
After selecting a web hosting plan, you’ll be asked to either purchase or connect a domain. Since your Wix site is still live at this point, you can set up a temporary domain for your WordPress site.
For the sake of this tutorial, let’s say you selected one of the above hosting plans with SiteGround. You can see that SiteGround offers it as an option in its sign up process below.
We’ll discuss how you can transfer the custom one you purchased from Wix later.
Step 3: Install WordPress.
Now it’s time to install the WordPress software. Most hosting providers offer an automated installation process. Let’s walk through this process for SiteGround below.
- Once you’ve signed up for a plan and set up a temporary domain, log in to your new web hosting account. You’ll see a pop-up window asking if you want to set up your website now.
When the installation is complete, you'll receive a notification that your WordPress.org account is ready to use.
There are only a few more steps to complete before importing your Wix content to your new site.
Step 4: Change your new site’s permalink settings.
First, you need to change the permalink structure of your site in your WordPress dashboard to optimize it for search engines.
Log into your account of your chosen web host provider and navigate to your admin control panel. We'll use SiteGround for the sake of example.
To log into your dashboard, click Proceed to Customer Area and navigate to the My Accounts tab in your SiteGround account. Then click the Go to Admin Panel button.
You’ll be redirected to your WordPress admin dashboard. Navigate to Settings > Permalinks and select “Post Name.”
Step 5: Install a theme.
Last step before you begin importing content!
While your posts, pages, and media content can be exported from your Wix site and imported to your WordPress.org site, your template can’t be.
The good news is you can easily find and install a WordPress theme for your new site.
If you’re interested in selecting a free theme from the WordPress directory, just click Appearance > Themes in your WordPress dashboard. Then, click Add New. From there, you can look at different themes and install one with the click of a button.
If you’re interested in premium themes, then you can check out StudioPress, Themify, and other third-party marketplaces. Once you find a premium theme you like, download it and return to your WP dashboard.
You’ll follow the same steps but instead of clicking Add New, click Upload Theme. You’ll find the theme in a .zip file on your computer. Then click the Activate button.
Now it’s time to bring your content over.
Step 6: Migrate from Wix to WordPress.
Below we’ll walk through the two processes for exporting your Wix site. We’ll start with the RSS feed option, then cover the automated migration plugin option.
Option 1: Export Wix Site Using RSS Feed
Using your RSS feed is only a semi-automated process. Meaning, it will automate the process of importing your Wix posts, but you'll have to import your pages and images separately and manually.
Importing Wix Posts Using RSS Feed Method
To begin, you’ll have to locate your RSS Feed. You can do so by adding /feed.xml to the end of your URL. So if your site address is www.example.com, type in www.example.com/feed.xml.
Now that your RSS feed is open, right click anywhere on the page and select Save as. Make sure to change the file extension to .xml before saving it to your desktop.
Now head over to your WordPress dashboard. On the left side of the screen, click Tools > Import. Scroll down to the RSS importer and click Run Importer.
Click Choose File, then select the file from your desktop. Click the Upload file and import button.
Once the file has been successfully imported, you’ll want to ensure that all your posts are uploaded. Navigate to Posts > All Posts and scroll through the list. Besides some formatting issues you’ll need to clean up, all your posts should now be on your WordPress site.
Since the RSS migration only transfers your posts, you’ll have to import your pages and media separately. Let’s start with your pages.
Importing Wix Pages Using RSS Feed Method
You’ll have to add your Wix pages manually to WordPress. Most sites don’t have many pages beyond a homepage, “About Us” page, “Products/Services” page, “Contact Us” page, and blog homepage so this shouldn’t take too much time.
Just log in to your Wix dashboard, navigate to your pages, and begin copying. In your WordPress dashboard, click Pages > Add New and paste.
Repeat this process until all your pages are copied into WordPress. Now it’s time for your images.
Importing Wix Images Using RSS Feed Method
You have two options for transferring your images from Wix to WordPress. Either way, you’ll have to download the images from your Wix site manually and save them to your computer.
You can then upload each one manually. To do so, click Media > Add New in your WordPress dashboard. Or you upload them in bulk via FTP.
For a simpler method that requires no copying and pasting or coding, try an automated migration service instead.
Option 2: Export Wix Site Using an Automated Migration Plugin
There are multiple automated migration services on the market, but we’re going to focus on one called CMS2CMS.
CMS2CMS can save you a lot of time without exceeding your budget. Before you commit, get a quote of your migration by entering the number of pages and taxonomies (tags and categories) your current site has into CMS2CMS’s price calculator.
Say your site is relatively small, with 100 pages organized into 20 tags and categories. CMS2CMS estimates it will likely cost less than $60 to convert your site from Wix to WordPress.
Now that we understand the benefits of using this service, let’s walk through the steps below.
Creating a CMS2CMS Account
You first need to create a CMS2CMS account.
This will prompt the CMS2CMS Migration Wizard. You’ll fill in the form with the following information:
- current platform (Wix).
- your current site address.
- your new platform (WordPress).
- your site address.
You’ll then be asked whether you want to use the Connector plugin or the Connector bridge file, which needs to be installed via FTP. Since the plugin is more beginner friendly, we’ll choose that method.
Check out CMS2CMS’s installation overview above, or follow along with the steps below.
Installing the CMS2CMS ConnectorPlugin
Once you click Download the Connector plugin, you’ll be redirected to the CMS2CMS Connector plugin page in WordPress’s official plugin directory.
Please note that this plugin is free to download, but you will have to enter in your payment information to complete the migration.
When downloaded, it will save as a zip file. You can upload it by navigating to Plugins in your WordPress dashboard and clicking Upload Plugin.
Click Activate Plugin.
Setting up the Migration
You should now see CMS2CMS Connector on the left hand menu of your dashboard. Click it.
Fill in your CMS2CMS account info and click Continue.
In the next window, you’ll select what assets you’d like to transfer from Wix to WordPress. Here are all the assets you can transfer.
If you’d like to preview the demo migration, click Start Free Demo Migration. Otherwise, you can skip this step by checking the box labelled “Skip demo migration and migrate all data to your website.”
Completing the Migration
To complete the migration, select any additional assets you want to migrate and migration insurance.
If you’re satisfied with your settings and final quote, click Complete Migration.
You’ll then be prompted to fill in your payment information. Your migration will begin as soon as your payment is processed.
Post-migration Steps for Converting Wix to WordPress
Once you’ve successfully imported your Wix content to your WordPress.org site using one of the methods above, there’s just one last step before you can launch your site.
Step 7: Transfer (or purchase) your custom domain.
If you were using a free subdomain for your Wix website, then you’ll just have to purchase a custom domain from your new hosting provider.
However, if you had purchased a custom domain name from Wix, then you can transfer and register it on your new web hosting account. This will replace the temporary domain you set up.
In your Wix account, just go to the Domains page. Scroll to your domain and click the Show More icon. Select Transfer Away from Wix.
Click Transfer Domain > I Still Want to Transfer. Wix will then email you a code which will authorize the domain transfer to your new registrar. Hold on to this.
You’ll now have to initiate the transfer process on your new web hosting account. Let’s take a look at the process on SiteGround below. Prices may vary depending on your hosting provider.
Log into your SiteGround hosting account. Go to the tab Add Services. Next to the box labelled “Domain Transfer,” click the Get button.
A pop-up window will appear. Enter your domain name in the empty fields and click Check Domain Status.
Once your domain status has been approved, you’ll be asked to type in the code that Wix emailed you.
Then confirm that you have access to the administrative email address of your SiteGround account, and update the domain owner info if necessary. Once you’re ready, complete your purchase and the transfer will be automatically initiated.
You will be notified when the transfer is completed in a welcome email from SiteGround.
Pro-Tips to Simplify Your Migration Process
Tackling these steps all at once can seem overwhelming when trying to migrate your Wix site to WordPress. Streamline this process with our tips below.
- Decide if you want to do it semi-automated or use a service: If you have a smaller blog, it may be easier and more cost-effective to go the RSS feed route. For larger sites with lots of images and pages, using a paid service will make more sense.
- Set up the accounts you need in advance: Create your WordPress and CMS2CMS accounts before you are ready to migrate.
- Gather and save images in advance: If you choose the RSS feed option, save time by saving and organizing all of your images ahead of time. That way you can jump right in to transferring them over to WordPress when you are ready to switch.
Upgrading to a CMS
If you created a site with a website builder like Wix, it might be time to upgrade to WordPress or a WordPress alternative. Converting from Wix to a content management system can provide the flexibility and power needed to grow your site, delight your visitors, and stand out from your competitors.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in April 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.