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Migration Heaven – How to Migrate Without an Uploaded Backup File

Squeezing a Quart into a Pint Pot

So you’re sitting there with a 1GB Full Backup zip file, deadline approaching,  and you’ve just found out that your host will not allow files over 200MB to be uploaded – do you panic? Well you might, but there’s no need if you know the magic.

Give Me The Gory Details

Hang on, you say, what magic? I know I can unzip the actual backup zip file locally on my desktop machine and then upload the unzipped files by FTP into my new site root; but don’t I still have to have the actual backup zip file in my new site root as well so I can select it at the first step of the migration? This isn’t going to be some down-and-dirty database stuff is it?

Well no, in fact you do not have to have the actual backup zip file in your new site root; and, apart from setting up a new database like you have to anyway, there’s no database trickery that you have to perform.

So how do we go about making this happen?

Well, you know the first bit, unzip the actual backup zip file on your desktop machine and upload the content of the folder that the unzip produces into the new site root using your FTP client – it’s a big site, time to make a cup of tea.


Now the magic. You know that enormous actual backup zip file sitting on your desktop machine, well, create an empty file, or even take a copy of some small file you already have, and rename the file to have exactly the same name as the actual backup zip file. Now upload this “dummy” backup zip file into the site root. Told you it was simple.

Getting it Done

Now just start up importbuddy.php as you would normally by visiting http://mynewdomain.com/importbuddy.php, use the advanced options to skip the initial unzipping of the backup file (you already did that operation on your desktop) and then select the empty “backup” zip file that you just uploaded and away you go.

Caveat: this unofficial workaround method applies to the current version of importbuddy.php but may not apply to future versions which may provide a similar capability by other means.





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