WiscWeb - Migrating a site from WiscWeb to Web Hosting

This document will walk you through the steps required to migrate your WiscWeb site over to DoIT Web Hosting. It includes instructions for creating an export of your site, importing that into the new environment, and basic setup tips for things like Shibboleth.

Important considerations

We ask that you please consider the following before migrating your site into the DoIT Web Hosting environment: 

  • This is a provided platform for hosting applications. You will have tools to publish and manage the site via an administrative control panel and Secure FTP access to a filesystem. Unlike in WiscWeb, updates to things like plugins, WordPress Core, and the UW Theme will all need to be maintained/performed by you/your team. More information can be found here: 
  • While you do have the flexibility to add more plugins and themes to this environment (as well as hosting other applications), we would caution against taking on too many. Plugins can easily become unwieldy and cause conflicts on your site if not well-maintained or developed by untrustworthy sources. 
  • There is a fee associated with hosting a WordPress site in Web Hosting. Most groups go with the Nickel account, which is outlined on their it.wisc.edu services page
  • The plugins that came standard with WiscWeb will not be available in your Web Hosting account. If you decide to use any plugins, they will have to be purchased by your department.
  • By default, DoIT Web Hosting provides NetID login integration services and your site will already be NetID Login capable: Web Hosting - Using NetID or Wisconsin Federated login 
  • We recommend downloading and installing the WordFence plugin, to offer more security for your Web Hosting site. 
  • Using a Shibboleth plugin for NetID login is optional. Configuration information can be found at: Web Hosting - WordPress NetID Login via Shibboleth

Requesting a new site from DoIT Web Hosting

To request a new WordPress site with DoIT Web Hosting, you will need to fill out their Account Request Form. If you already have an existing account with them, you can add an additional domain here

Make sure to do the following before you request your account: 

  • Review the Terms of use 
  • Decide on a Domain name (You may already have one and that is ok. You can use the same domain on your Web Hosting site). 
  • Obtain a DoIT billing number from your department’s billing/accounting office (For covering the monthly fee).

Installing WordPress on your new site

Wordpress is a PHP web application built on a MySQL database. Each Web Hosting customer is provided tools to upload files via Secure FTP and to create their own MySQL database. You can perform one-click installs of WordPress and manage other functions of the account through the Administrative Control Panel (known as Plesk). 

For more information, please reference the following KnowledgeBase articles: 

Adding the UW Theme to your new Web Hosting site

The UW Theme will need to be downloaded and added to your new Web Hosting site. You will also be responsible for ongoing maintenance of this theme, which primarily involves keeping it updated with the latest version

  1. Navigate to the UW Theme website 
  2. Click the Download UW Theme button 
  3. Review the guidelines for using the UW Theme 
  4. Fill out the form (Name, Email, URLs this theme will be used for) and press Submit 
  5. A .zip download of the UW Theme should begin shortly 
  6. In your new project, navigate to Appearance > Themes > Add New 
  7. Upload your UW Theme .zip file Navigate to Appearance > Themes and hover over the newly installed UW Theme. 
  8. Click Activate

Updating your version of the UW Theme

The UW Theme is updated roughly every other month. It is important that you keep your new site up-to-date with the latest version to avoid potential bugs/conflicts and to ensure you have the most recent styles and functionality. 

Keeping your version of the UW Theme up-to-date is as simple as fetching the most recent version from the UW Theme website and following the instructions above to re-upload it to your project. WordPress will automatically recognize that this file is meant to replace the existing version and therefore, no deactivation of the old version is required.

Setting your site to do auto-updates

We highly recommend that you set your site to do auto-updates. This will take some of the work of maintaining your site off of your hands. 

The easiest way to set this is by using the WordPress Toolkit within Web Hosting's Plesk configuration. 

Use Plesk's documentation to walk through how to set up auto-updates using the WordPress Toolkit.

Adding new users to your Web Hosting site

Adding users to your new Web Hosting site is similar to how it worked in WiscWeb. We recommend completing this step before importing the contents of your site so that you can attribute posts and pages to specific content creators/users. 

  1. Navigate to Users 
  2. Select Add New 
  3. If the user that you wish to add already exists within a multisite, you can add them to this site by entering their email address or current username and selecting what role you wish to apply, and click Add Existing User
  4. If the user does not exist within the system yet, you can create their account for them by entering a username (which cannot be changed), an email address, and selecting what role you want to apply, and then click Add New User.

Creating an XML export of your WiscWeb site

When you are ready to migrate your site into your new WordPress environment, you can easily create an export using the native XML exporter function.

  1. Navigate to Tools > Export 
  2. Keep the All Content radio button selected (unless you only want to export certain pages, posts, etc.) 
  3. Choose the Download Export File button 
  4. Save the file somewhere locally for easy access

Importing the XML file into your Web Hosting site

To import your XML file into your new Web Hosting site, follow these steps: 

Installing the WordPress Importer plugin

  1. Navigate to Tools > Import in your new site 
  2. Click on the WordPress link in the list of importers 
  3. Click Install Now 
  4. Click Activate Plugin & Run Importer 

Running the Importer

  1. Select the Choose File button 
  2. Select your XML export file from where you saved it 
  3. Choose Upload File and Import button 
  4. You will be asked to re-attribute existing content to users on your site. Make sure you’ve already added your users using the steps above. Choose the existing user from the dropdown that you’d like to assign the content to (do this for each Import Author listed) 
  5. Select Download and Import File Attachments(this ensures that your post/page images come over with the import) 
  6. Click Submit

Re-creating Customizer and menu content on your site

It is important to note that there is a good chance that some content will not make it over to your new Web Hosting project and will need to be rebuilt. This could include full pages/posts, but primarily, these are the items that you will have to recreate: 


In the UW Theme, your home page is set in the Customizer. This data does not carry over and will need to be reset after import. For this, navigate to Appearance > Customize and choose the Homepage Settings option. Under the Homepage dropdown, choose the page you'd like to set as the homepage and click the Publish button. 

Customizer content

Any information set in the Customizer section of the UW Theme will not carry over. This content will need to be recreated by navigating to Appearance > Customize and retyping the info. This includes things like footer content, Google IDs for analytics and search, menus, homepage settings, and site-wide color settings. 


Most images/docs will likely carry over, but some may need to be re-saved to your Media Library. If you notice something is missing, you will need to save them from your old site (by downloading directly from the page and saving locally) and bulk upload them to your new site. 

You will also need to update the media on all pages as it is likely referencing an old URL. To do so, navigate to the page and remove the link or image. Go into the Media Library, find that file, and re-add it to your page. 


Your navigation menus will need to be recreated in your new Web Hosting site. Most pages should still exist but you will need to create a new Main Menu, the Utility Menu (if applicable), and any Group of Links or other menus.

Requesting custom development

If you require custom development for your project, please reach out to the WPS Client Engagement team to start a discussion of your needs. 


I want my new Web Hosting site locked to NetIDs/a Manifest Group. How do I request this? 
If you would like standard NetID protection added to your site, please send Web Hosting an email and include your site URL. 

If you would like to add Manifest Group to your site, please follow the steps detailed in Web Hosting - Manifest Group Protections

How do I integrate NetID login via Shibboleth? 
Instructions can be found in Web Hosting - WordPress NetID Login via Shibboleth. (Note: WiscWeb uses the CALS Shibboleth plugin

I’m interested in a multi-site instance of WordPress. How do I request that? 
This can be accomplished by requesting to have additional domains added to your account and specifying that you would like them resolved to the WordPress multi-site location. 

How do I secure my WordPress site? 
We ask that you please make use of the WordFence plugin for adding security/protection to your WordPress site in Web Hosting: KB link doc

Keywordsmigrate, export, import, web hosting, shibboleth, setup, wordpress, create, web hosting, users, shared hosting   Doc ID106442
OwnerJenna K.GroupWiscWeb
Created2020-10-07 08:10:07Updated2024-06-03 10:31:11
SitesDoIT Help Desk, WiscWeb, WPS Client Engagement
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