Moving from movable type to WordPress

The Codex MT import Guide now contains detailed directions, with links.

Mena says It’s about time, and I can’t agree more. It’s about time Movable Type users moved to WordPress.

A lot of MT users might want to move to WordPress, but may have a lot of questions and doubts regarding the move, and about WordPress. I thought a short post with essential resources, tips and answers will come in handy to at least a few people, so here goes.

Downloading and Installing WordPress:
WordPress 1.2 “Mingus” is now ready, get it from The sourceforge download page.

Importing MT entries:
You can import all your MT entries into WordPress using the import-mt.php script that ships with WordPress, which can be found in the wp-admin folder.

  1. MT exports the entries with the dates set wrong. The dates do not carry AM/PM or 24 hour information. There is a Fix for the date problem at the MT support forums.
  2. WordPress uses UTF-8 as the default encoding. So if your MT blog uses ISO 8859-1 or Latin – 1 to encode posts, convert the posts to UTF-8 before importing, to ensure that all characters display properly. Optionally you could also set an Option (Option -> Reading -> Character Encoding) in WordPress to set the Charset for the WP weblog to ISO 8859-1.
  3. The import-mt.php that ships with 1.2 had a couple of bugs, which I fixed. The new import-mt.php is available for use. Read the post at scriptygoddess. Use this to ensure the backslashes in your posts are treated properly, and the “——–” strings in your posts do not break anything.

The MT import tutorial is there if you need help, and be sure to read the notes at the end to see how you can refer visitors to your new WP powered blog from the old MT urls, and other such bits and pieces. :)
Edit: If you are having trouble importing all the entries at once, getting timed out on the import etc, this thread has some pointers regarding how to work around it.

Modifying your template, stylesheets:
1. LaughingLizard’s Well commented index.php should be helpful in understanding the wordpress index.php file/template.
2. The template tags are explained at the template tags wiki page, and Gregory Auld has written a nice article comparing the MT and WP “template tags”, which should also be of help.
3. NuclearMoose’s Annotated default CSS and podz’ Graphical CSS are excellent guides to the default css stylesheet that ships with WordPress.

Growing wings:
A few very useful wordpress links:
1. The WordPress Wiki – I find myself here at the beginning of a search for a hack/plugin/technique all the time.
2. The Support Forums – search and you shall find :)
3. WP styles competition – for awesome ready-to-use stylesheets (…and how to use them).
4. – The blog with loads of tips and useful links.

A few answers:
Multiple blogs using WordPress:
From the trackbacks to Mena’s post above, it seems like a lot of people think it impossible to use WordPress to run multiple weblogs. It is possible to use wordpress to run multiple weblogs off of the same server, with just one MySQL database. I have 7 WP weblogs running on one server! All it takes is to install wordpress multiple times. Each blog would have a different MySQL table prefix. Installing a wordpress blog takes less than five minutes (I agree it could take longer to get the template and stylesheet modified), and so, it’s not only possible, but really easy to have more than one blog powered by wordpress on your server.

Rebuilds and pages:
WordPress does not have to rebuild any pages each time you update your blog. It uses PHP to dynamically create pages on the fly, and is real quick, too. (You can see how much time it took to create and display this page at the bottom of this page)
This also means that all you need to have is one template – index.php. The individual entry “pages”, the archives and everything else is created by WordPress depending on the parameters passed to the index.php file.

Keeping your MovableType links:Last Edited July 10th, 2004
You can redirect visitors to pages on your old Movable Type blog to the correct ones on your new WordPress blog using some readily available solutions. If you are only concerned about search engines, most of them will catch up with the changes in the URLs within a certain amount of time. The following solutions work for both kinds of urls, ones that use the ‘post_id’, like so —, and the ones that are ‘dirified’, like so — . For some solutions for the former type, you may need to keep your MT installation around until the search engines are updated to reflect the changes in your blog. This is because of the fact that the MT export file does not provide the ‘post_id’ s for the posts. For dirified urls, there should be no problem.
Update: If your MT permalinks had the post ids in them, then with a little code-fu, you can get wordpress to use the same post ids as MT, and the detailed directions, complete with required changes is available at Dr. Bacchus’ Journal.

  1. Alex King’s MovableType template to redirect visitors
  2. Matt’s Solution.
  3.’s solution

Licensing and other issues:
WordPress is distributed under the GPL, and will remain Free Software. Period.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions, or if you find a resource not listed here very useful in making the transition.

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96 Responses to Moving from movable type to WordPress

  1. Dave says:


    With regards to your comments about building the pages dynamically and hogging up resources is completely untrue. Well, at least in the case of the 5 linux servers I run all with a mixture of MT and WP blogs on them. Before, when I was completely MT on my blog servers, the CPU would consistently be at a 70-95% CPU usage when people were adding comments, building pages, rebuilding, etc. There was no way around the immense CPU usage that MT took with all of the perl scripts they ran. As a matter of fact, my last rebuild on my blog which isn’t very large at all (500 entries a couple of thousand of comments over some years) took a total of 30 minutes to rebuild. That and I pinned my CPU at 98% for this amount of time. Sure, serving the statically created pages barely made a dent on CPU usage, however you fail to take into consideration that adding an entry, adding comments and especially rebuilding all suck a good amount of CPU usage.

    However, the one server I run that only has WP blogs on them, CPU usage barely topples 7% even with everyone on it posting and running searches at around the same times. The initial import of my blog which would probably be the most CPU intensive task my blog would ever run took a mere 10% of the CPU for a grand total of 5 and a half seconds.

    Of course it all depends on how well you compile and install php, apache and mysql…

  2. Kevin says:

    Does WP offer the ability to manage authors across multiple blogs? What about searches across mulitple blogs? I run a multi-blog site ( in addition to my personal blog and that’s a deal breaker for me. Also, what about being able to load/share templates across multiple blogs? Can I link templates from one blog to the next?

    From what I understand, WP is perfect for the folks that don’t need the above. For my purposes – it wouldn’t work, unless the above have been addressed. Update?

  3. Kathy K says:

    One thing I have to admit I love about wordpress is that the users are very helpful.
    And they’ve got an IRC chatroom (I’m impressed) at #wordpress. It’s nice to be able to ask dumb questions in real time. 😉
    I’m working on an import-mt that will import with entry ids, when I get it done (probably a day or two to test), I’ll post a link over at the wordpress forums. I’ll have both the export needed (I’m going to do it via an index template rather than the mt-export function) and the hacked import-mt. I’ll try to post the link here too, so you can add it to the tuorial, but it will definitely be there if I forget to put it here.

  4. Matt says:

    I’m somewhat considering switching to wordpress now after reading this (since I’m not prepared to spend $200NZ on MT3). I remember from the b2 days that somebody wrote a Greymatter to b2 template converter and wonder if it’s possible to pull that off for MT and WordPress…

  5. david says:

    Kathy… I’ve noticed that too – the WP forums are far friendlier than the MT ones. You hardly ever hear anyone snarl at a newbie.

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  7. tai says:

    Thanks for the article.
    This is so useful that I translated into Japanese and put it on my blog.
    just in case you don’t like it, tell me so, I will delete it right away.

    Also, I’d like to translated “MT import tutorial” and put it on a site, is it OK?

  8. Mo says:

    Welcome to WP :mrgreen:

  9. Quadsk8 says:

    Thanks for this explanation!
    With this I could move two MT-blogs to my localhost testsite.
    Looking at a price-increase of $200 for a 0.339 version update of MT… (you heard it all before)

    I am “misusing” the chronological archive method of a MT blog for an events-page. It seems that the dynamic blog-tools as WP and TP are not usable for this. Although they allow to set an entry date to the future, they will not publish it today. Why? If I didn’t want to publish an entry I could use the publish status “draft” or “private”. My visitors do like to read about old events, but future events are far more interesting! Does anyone know a way to overcome this?

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  11. Chetan says:

    Regarding offline editors, there’s one coming up shortly: wbloggar ( Cheers.

  12. David Brake says:

    Just so I know – will importing into WordPress retain all the categories I have divided my posts into? And is the template importing automagical or will I need to edit a bunch of tags afterwards to ensure the result looks just like I had before?

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  14. Jim says:

    I just switched last night. Worked very well. The only problem I had was my MT entries had extra line breaks. Oh well. I’m working on cleaning them up with a Word macro. Not fun but doable.

    So Far MT is great. Installed in just a few minutes. Love the features!

  15. Karen says:

    I too am very interested in switching from MT to WP, but would first like some user feedback on private entries/restricted posts? I understand WP has this capability and would like to know how well it works. This is the main reason for my wanting to switch, but I’m a bit of a PHP moron and can’t figure out how to do it in MT without pulling my hair out! And I’m not so much liking the pricing either. Thanks!

  16. Carthik says:

    Try it out at login using “Admin” and “password”
    In the new post interface, choose advanced options, and enter something in the Post password field and publish the post.
    Now the post will be visible only if you enter the password.

  17. Karen says:

    Perfect! That is awesome, thank you!

  18. Chetan-
    w.bloggar works now for WP. I’ve used it with MT and WP, and I love it. My only complaint is that it’s slower than posting directly from WP, probably because of the pinging.

    It’s really easy. When you’re writing a post in WP, just type a password in the password box, and it will be protected. Just use the same password each time, and you’ve got a private blog that only certain people (with the password) can read. No PHP required.

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  23. WordPress looks pretty good so far, but one thing I *really* want to do is in the category template, I want a list of entries with a brief description, linking to individual entries, as opposed to one long page listing all the entries, if that makes sense. Check out the category pages on to see what I mean.



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  25. will says:

    Great info on WP, however I do like how MT “builds” pages, that way google, and other seach engines can actually index my site. with word press index.php is multiple pages, but only gets indexed once. I’m sure there is a hack for “building” pages somewhere.

    just my 2 pennies.

  26. will says:

    ok, I was wrong about how google indexes WP pages. sorry

  27. How to setup Mt Blogs for my webspace. Currently im using Blogger.

  28. Does MT blogs are more useful then blogger? My webspace hosted on Linux. Will it works for PHP?

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  36. miscblogger says:

    some people may also find my article on keeping MT permalinks helpful.

    it involves an SQL Query and the substring function.

  37. Can Anyone help me that how can i add RSS in my blog pages and I am trying to get those to become links. Can any one guide me to be linked with RSS?

  38. Chris Fede says:

    Hi Carthik, My name is Chris and my friend Bill Lazar showed me your blog
    I read that you have a love for Internet technology and so am writing to you today to let you know about this new internet company I work for – Rawsugar. We have a new topic-based, hierarchical navigation that shows the most relevant topics in a blog at each level of search so your visitors can successively apply topics/tags to narrow results further, finding any post with just a few mouse clicks. It’s easy to use and integrates seamlessly with your site.

    Examples of sites which already use this capability include:

    – Bill’s Movie Reviews,, which also uses the ‘Save to RawSugar’ link right under each title. Example search:
    recommended family comedies.
    –,, which is an environmental damage photo blog; the embedded box is at the top right just under the flags. Example
    search: industrial disasters.
    – Soft-hard,, which is a mature software and digital media site based in Russia.The topics box in both Russian and English, as the person who manages the site uses the same tags in each language to better suit his audience. Example search:
    software security utilities.

    Incorporating this into a blog is quick and easy:
    – Create a free account
    – Run a script to make an XML file listing all the blog’s posts with categories used as topics and upload it to our service.
    – Go to the Publisher Dashboard, get the JavaScript–some aspects can be customized using options on this screen and for complete control of the appearance we use named CSS styles–and paste it into the blog template.
    – As new entries are posted, just tag them using our browser bookmarklet.

    Our initial offering is for WordPress blogs, support for MovableType is experimental and other platforms will be added soon.

    Try it and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. We love to help, so let us know if you have any questions or comments.

    Thanks for your time and consideration. Regards, Chris

  39. John Fish says:

    I’m working on an import-mt that will import with entry ids, when I get it done (probably a day or two to test), I’ll post a link over at the wordpress forums. I’ll have both the export needed (I’m going to do it via an index template rather than the mt-export function) and the hacked import-mt. I’ll try to post the link here too, so you can add it to the tuorial, but it will definitely be there if I forget to put it here.

  40. Paul says:

    Glad to read such a nice piece of information.

  41. Hi, I solved the task of preserving the links in MT format after moving the MT to WP. It means that you won’t lose any external references to your old posts, but the new posts will have WP’ish nice format. Here’s the post:

    The steps are really simple.


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  45. indrani says:

    Please can you tell me if there is a character limit for the “Comments” section of MT blogs?

  46. Please can you tell me if there is a character limit for the “Comments” section of MT blogs?