444 – My Favorite Plugin: WP Migrate DB Pro

Today we discuss the features of my favorite WordPress plugin, WP Migrate iDB Pro.

I like that I can:

  • Quickly clone my live site to my dev site, without any extra files downloaded on my computer
  • Find and replace content on my site
  • Use it to export my database without needing to log into my host’s cPanel

Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

On today’s episode, we are going to talk about my favorite WordPress plugin. Along with that, we’ll tell you a little bit about some new gear that I have. Right here on Your Website Engineer Podcast episode 444.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Your Website Engineer Podcast. My name is Dustin Hartzler. I’m excited to be here with you today for two reasons. Because one, we’re gonna talk about my favorite WordPress plugin. And the second reason is because I am trying out some, and using some brand new gear.

I am using the RodeCaster Pro. I believe is what it is called. And it is a new all in one mixer. It’s got a mixer, it’s got the ability for me to play my jingles and my music right from the mixer, and I can also record directly from this device. So, it’s got a big screen I can see exactly the audio levels. I can see how long I’ve been talking. I can make sure all of the channels are having the exact right volume for my show. So, I’m excited to be here and try this new thing out, and it may sound a little different as I’m getting used to tweaking all the settings and making sure that everything works right with this thing.

I’m also upstairs in a guest bedroom of my house. I’ve moved my office up there. I’m starting to build walls this week in my basement to finish off my office and the rec room downstairs, so we’ve got that going on. And also, since last week, my computer was broken. My computer wouldn’t charge anymore, so I sent it off to the Apple store. Apple store sent it to Texas, and Texas sent it back to me, all within two days. And I got it back, and it was in working, perfect order, but they had replaced the logic board, which also includes replacing the hard drive. And so, then I had to do a full time machine backup and restore. It took me a couple days to get all back up and running, but now I am good to go, and I shouldn’t have any more problems, hopefully, throughout the rest of the summer.

All right, let’s go ahead and dive in today to the content of the show. We’ve been talking this past summer, or when I’ve been on sabbatical, of going over different premium plugins that are useful, and showing how they work, and whatnot. And this week we’re gonna WP Migrate DB Pro. And is the plugin. It used to be Gravity Forms. Gravity Forms used to be my plugin that I wouldn’t even blink when it said, “Oh, it’s time to pay for another annual subscription.” I wouldn’t even blink, and I just upgraded. Now that has transferred over to WP Migrate DB Pro.

It could be because I’m trying to keep my podcast low budget and my website low budget just so that when people ask for recommendations, I can give them free alternatives. So, I’ve been using Ninja Forms for the last couple years, and I really like the way the Ninja Forms work, and it works very similar to how Gravity Forms did, but Ninja Forms is completely free. And so, I like using Ninja Forms.

So, this is the only plugin, I believe, or there might be a couple that I pay for, and this is WP Migrate DB Pro. It just came up for renewal in the last week or so, and I didn’t even blink. I said, “This is one that I have to have.” And we’ll talk about pricing here in just a little bit.

But WP Migrate DB Pro is one of the best plugins I’ve seen, both UI-wise, and with its functionality in its features. So, if you’ve ever had to migrate a site from, maybe, a hosting site to a live server. Or maybe, you want to get all the information from your live site and you want to pull it all down into your testing site. Whatever those things may be, it’s very painful and time consuming if you just do it the, quote unquote, WordPress way.

You go into phpMyAdmin, you export all the information, and then once you’ve exported all the information, you have a zip file. And then, you take that zip file to your other hosting, whether that be your live site or your demo site, or wherever, and then you’ve got to change your URL structure, and when you do that, it breaks all the widgets because that’s serialized data. This is kind of a big pain.

And so, the folks over at Delicious Brains, and that’s the name of their company, they came up with a solution, and they call it WP Migrate DB Pro. There’s also a free version. It’s called WP Migrate DB, and we’ll talk about that one first, and then we’ll talk about the Pro, and how that one works a little better and has some additional features in them.

So, the free version is found on the WordPress repository, and it allows you to export your database as a MySQL data dump. So, it doesn’t have the import and the push and pull functionality as the premium version, but it’s very handy for creating backups of your website. You’ll find the plugin under tools. It’s under the tools section in your WordPress dashboard.

There are two features of the free version. You can either export the file. You can save it as to your computer. That’s one option. Or you can save it. It just opens it up in the browser, and you can copy and paste all the data. And you can also compress the file with gzip. So, those are the two options when you export.

They also have a feature that’s in there for find and replace. So, it will do a sitewide find and replace. So, even if you don’t need the export ability, and you are looking for a good find and replace plugin, this one works perfectly for that.

What happens is, you go into the settings, there’s a few tabs across the top, and the migrate tab, you can select export file. And then the next section has the find and replace fields. This is where you would go, and would put whatever your current URL is, and then what your new URL is. So, if you are going from a live site to a demo site, maybe it’s yourwebsiteengineer.com, and you wanna replace that with ywe.test. And that’s what I call mine, we for Your Website Engineer. You can put the http version, and the https version, anywhere that you may think in your website, you may have your URL, you want to change that, you want to find and replace it, and put it there. You would put that into the find and replace section.

The migration tab also has a few other options, so you can replace your global, unique identifiers, GUIDs. And you can exclude content, such as spam comments, or transients, or post-revisions. So, you have those options as well. And then, you can also save the migration profile as well. So, if you wanted to save that, if you wanted to use this regularly, you could save that as part of the settings of WP Migrate DB.

And then you’re going to use the export and save button. What that will do then, it will run the WP Migrate DB in the background, and it’s going to create a file, if that’s what you specify, and you create that file, and it downloads it to your computer. Then what you can do, you can take that file, it’s just basically a database dump, and you would go over to your other site, and go into phpMyAdmin, and click import, and it would import all of that data. And that’s how you would do it with the free version.

The plugin works really well if you want to use the free version. It’s just a couple more steps because you have to download to your computer, and then you have to upload it to phpMyAdmin, and then you’ve gotta remove it from your computer, and there’s just an extra couple steps. That’s where WP Migrate DB Pro comes in.

Now let’s go ahead and look at the premium version, which has a couple different price points. The personal version works for one active site, and it’s $99 per year. The Side Hustle is for four active sites, and that’s $139 per year. The Developer has 30 active sites, and that’s $199 per year. And the Studio is $599 per year. A hundred active sites. Up to five people supported. It works for multi-site well, and then it includes all the add-ons. And we’ll talk about the add-ons here in just a second.

But the key defining feature that the WP Migrate DB Pro does, that the free version does not, is it allows you to completely replace your WordPress website remotely. And so, it allows you to export your database like normal, but then there are also features for import, push, and pull, as well as the find and replace.

The pull feature can be used to replace your website with a remote WordPress website database. The push feature can be used to replace the remote WordPress database with the one that one that you’re already logged into. But the connection information required to push or pull can be found in the settings page. Basically, there’s a URL that you put from the live site. You add the URL from the dev site, or from the dev site you put it on the live site. And the pushing and pulling of databases can save you tons of time as a website can be transferred painlessly from one location to another, and not amplify files all over your website that you’ve got to then go ahead and clean up.

And so, when I ran it this morning, it took a little while because my database is kind of big. And what’s really helpful with watching all of the database tables move from one place to another, it realizes that I’ve deactivated the Gravity Forms, I don’t have that anymore, but I still have five Gravity Forms tables in my WordPress database. So, I need to clean that out. It also showed Pretty Links, which is the plugins that I use to redirect to affiliate links and whatnot. That was 55 MBs.

It’s got all kinds of data in there that’s no longer needed. So, I’ve gotta clean that out. So, one of the reasons why I also like this plugin is, not only when you click a button it basically – this morning was sucking down all of the information. So, now I have the latest posts, the latest pages, all of my settings, all of my media, all that kind of stuff, pulls down from my live site onto my dev site, and now the two are completely in sync. They’ll be out of sync as soon as I add this episode 444 to the live site, but other than that, it’s going to be completely the same, which I really, really like.

And so, you transfer the whole database. You basically, can do all of the database. You can do partial files or partial template tables, if you will. So, if you wanted to – if you know you just worked on some poster pages, and that’s the only thing you need to import, you can go ahead and just use the WP_post, and the WP_post meta tables, and then you can only sync those, which is really nice.

Or, if you’re working on a particular plugin. Maybe, Gravity Forms. We’ll just keep using that as the example. If you know there’s been changes made to Gravity Forms, you can just sync those two things together, which is nice. You could also exclude post types. So, if you don’t want specific post types. Maybe you’re working on a store, or different things, you can exclude those, and you don’t have to import those as well.

And so, it’s awesome. It’s really, really cool. You can do a ton of things. And then you save your Migration Pro file. So, I have one called Live to Dev. Basically, all I have to do is go in, it establishes the connection, I click Live to Dev, and then it sucks down all the information from my live site. It’s super handy. There’s a feature in there that you can backup your database beforehand, which is handy. If you are making some sort of migration, it’s always nice to have an extra copy of your database.

And so, it’s really as simple as that. And that’s one of the key features that I like. And I know that they have been working very, very hard on the UI. They’ve got a really nice set of tables. There’s a pop-up overlay that when you click that import button, or pull button, or push, it basically will come up and will show you the first table. And then it’s got a little green progress bar that’s goes all the way across. And okay, that’s done, and then that item, the first table, moves all the way down to the bottom of the list. And then, it just continues to work through all of those. And it’s just kind of a cool UI, so I really like it.

Again, it is worth the cost of the plug in itself. And if you were going to spend anything, I definitely recommend doing that. I know that the one that I paid for was – I use the Side Hustle, and I use it for four active sites. And there’s a new customer offer right now. You can, if you’re going for the Developer, you can actually get 20% off right now. So, there’s a 60 day money back guarantee. It basically does a world of help. It’s a huge asset to your development workflow.

The other thing is there are a few WP Migrate DB Pro addons. So, if you have a Developer license or above, you’ll see the option to install a few of these. And so, the few things that are in there are the media files, so it allows you to push and pull your files in the media library between two WordPress installs. So, that could be very handy if you upload all of your data to your live site, but you also want all of those images down on your dev site. You can pull those down as well.

There is also an integration for WP-CLI. And so, that allows you to run some WP-CLI commands, and you can run that very, very quickly from your terminal. There are also multisite tools. That’s another plugin, or installation and addon that you can add. And there’s one for push and pull your theme and plugin files between the two WordPress installs. So, if you know that you added, maybe on your dev site, you’ve added two or three new plugins, and then you could push those to your live site with this plug in. So, that’s really helpful as well.

I don’t use any of those because I am just on the Side Hustle series, or the Side Hustle plan, so I don’t have the option to do those. But the main version of the plugin is just incredible. It is the worth the cost. It comes with, like I said, a 60 day money back guarantee. I’ve never had problems with it. I’ve probably had a license for, I don’t know, four, five, six years. I’s been a long time, and it’s part of my development workflow. It works really, really well to make sure the test sites are up-to-date. And that’s the main thing I use it for.

I’m not moving things from server to server. But I can see if I was building a website for a client, maybe what I would do is, I would build it locally, so it’s all on my computer. And then, if I wanted them to see it, maybe I would push that to a dev or a staging serving somewhere, so then they could have access, and then they could check a few things out. And then once they were all done, I would make the fixes on the live site, or the dev site, on my computer. Then when I was happy with it, then I could push it to their live site.

And so, you can move things around, and it just makes it so easy to move the data around, and without the costly steps of – you don’t have to log in to your client’s hosting portal, and then find where phpMyAdmin is, and then export things, and import, and it just saves a lot of time, headache, and hassle.

So, that’s my review of WP Migrate DB Pro. Again, it’s one of those plugins I install on every single website. It just makes my life so much easier. And by every website, I mean the websites that I create for myself because those are the only ones that I’m managing. But if I was a fulltime WordPress developer, I would be getting the Developer package for sure. Unless I needed more than 30 active sites.

That’s what I wanted to share with you today. Next week we’re going to be talking about more WordPress stuff. Obviously we’re going to diving into new plugins. We’re going to spend some time this week just playing with a few different things that have been on my to-do list now that I don’t have a computer to mess with, and now that don’t have a new podcasting rig to play with, I’m all set to go with spending some more time in WordPress this week. And so, that’s what I want to share with you. Take care, and we’ll talk again soon. Bye-bye.