Does WordPress export include theme, images, ​and database?

If you come access tutorials or step by step guide, you may find the WordPress export feature. It lets’ you export different types of data from your blog with a simple file in .xml format. The problem here is that lots of bloggers, especially beginners expect to find everything in that file that they can restore on any other site or web hosting. So, let’s talk about the WordPress export file and what it includes.

WordPress export file

Does WordPress export include the theme? The answer is simply no, the export file contains, all your pages, posts, categories, authors, and the post and pages meta like descriptions, meta title, and more. When you import the file into a new domain or server, you only get the 100% of your blog posts and pages if you choose to export all the content of course. This export helps a lot in fresh WordPress installs, but you’ll need to export other data for your site.

For your theme, you can use the control panel provided by your theme company, the majority of them offer an import and export tool for all the theme settings, customizations, and data.

What about the images and media?

When you import the .xml file in WordPress, the posts and pages contain the media attachment URLs, but not the image themselves, so, you need to import them. The tool allows you to import those images from other sources like your old domain. But sometimes, that doesn’t work for many reasons and even mistakes.

To solve that problem, you may use one of the external image import plugins. Or, if you have access to the cPanel file manager, you can just download your blog images and then upload them to the same directory on the new server or install them. You can find the images in the Uploads folder located under the wp-content directory.

WordPress Uploads folder

As you can see, the WordPress uploads folder contains the images, themes, plugins, and even backups sometimes.

In cPanel, there is a tool called File Manager, where you can download and upload or manage your Blog files, you can also use FTP software like FileZilla.

And what about the database

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The file you exported contains a small percentage of the WordPress database, it contains the blog posts in a table called posts in PHPMyAdmin and others for pages and meta. So, it doesn’t have all the databases and you should export it separately. Or, you can use an import and export plugin for backups and also migrations like BackupBuddy.

To export the database in a separate file, you need to generate a database backup file, and that can be done easily from cPanel. On the other hand, you can export your old database tables from your PHPMyAdmin tool.

Just click on the database name from the left area of the page, and then, click the export link like the following example.

export and import database

Keep in mind that your hosting provider may limit your file import size, so, when you want to import the file in WordPress, for example, you’ll see the upload limit configured by the company. If your file size exceeds that limit, you can increase that. Or, if that doesn’t solve the problem, you need to contact your hosting company or move to better hosting like InMotion Hosting.

I used their service and the migration for another site was fast, they provide a free site transfer, and in that case, there is nothing to do, you let a professional WordPress expert move your site content for free.

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About Fathi Arfaoui

Fathi Arfaoui is a Physicist, Blogger and the founder of He shares Business, WordPress and Blogging tips to build a better blog and succeed online.

Disclosure: The recommendations on this page are my own based on my tests and analysis. We may earn a small commission from web hosts and other partners if you use my referral link to make a purchase. That’s what helps us to maintain the site and add fresh content, Thanks for your support.

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