How to import Posterous to self-hosted WordPress

With the news that Posterous will be closing on April 30, 2013, many people are now looking to export their content and start to publish on a different platform. We tend to always recommend self-hosting if your site is important to you and your business, partly because third-party services can close or change, and partly because it gives you a lot more control over backups.

WordPress is particularly suited to self-hosting, as it’s so widely used and most hosting services will offer a simple one-click install to get you up and running. The complications tend to come with adjusting the look and functionality to exactly what you require, and that’s certainly something we can help with.

So assuming you don’t want to move from Posterous to another third party service like WordPress.com, Tumblr etc, what do you need to do?

 

Setting up self-hosted WordPress:

To set up your site, you need 2 things. The first is your domain name, if you don’t have one already. The second is your hosting account, and for most sites this can be organised quickly for a few pounds per month.

If that is already filling you with fear, give us a shout as we run hosting a number of websites, including installing WordPress, setting up themes and plugins, and organising regular backups.

Once that’s in place, you’ll need to wait for the hosting to be up and running to allow you to install WordPress. Once that’s done, you can then transfer your content across. When that’s complete, the final step will be to change any existing domain names to point to your new site.

You now have 2 options for getting your content into your new site – one doesn’t require a Posterous export, but we’ll cover it anyway as it’s good practice to always keep a secure backup on your computer or an external hard drive.

 

Exporting from Posterous:

Log into your Posterous account, and you’ll see a bright yellow ‘BackUp’ button in the top right of the dashboard. Clicking on that will arrange for a backup to be created for export (You’ll need to wait a little while for it to be ready). Once it’s prepared, you’ll see a green ‘Download’ option which will export your existing content.

BadgerGravlingPosterousBackUp

This will let you download a Zip file which contains contains your content.

 

Importing into self-hosted WordPress:

Option 1: Using a Plugin:

There’s a useful Posterous Importer plugin available which will import posts, comments, tags, and attachments directly via the Posterous API. Simply go to the Plugins section of your WordPress dashboard, select ‘Add New’ and search for Posterous Importer and you should see it as the first result (Authors include Automattic, the company which runs WordPress).

Once this is installed and activated, you’ll then be able to go to Tools in your WordPress dashboard, select Import, and Posterous will now be a listed option.

Click on Posterous, enter the url of your current Posterous site, along with your username and password, and the import will begin when you click submit.

PosterousImport

Hopefully that will work for you nice and easily. You’ll then need to go through and check each post, amending author details etc as required.

If it doesn’t work for any reason, there is a slightly more complicated alternative.

 

Option 2: Importing via WordPress.com

If that doesn’t work, the other option is to use the importer created for WordPress.com, and then export from that version to your self-hosted site.

So you just need to sign up at WordPress.com (Which is the hosted version of WordPress). Once that’s done, look in the Tool section of your new site, and then click on the Posterous import option.

This method will now ask you to upload the wordpress_export_1.xml file from your Posterous export earlier. This will then be uploaded to your WordPress.com site. There’s a more detailed tutorial on the WordPress.com site, so I won’t repeat their instructions.

Once that’s done, you can then choose to export from WordPress.com. And then go to your self-hosted site, select Tools and the WordPress importer. Choose the .xml file to upload from your WordPress.com export, and you should be all set.

Obviously this version does include a couple of extra steps which are a bit of a pain, but could be useful if the Posterous API stops working prior to April 30.

 

Finishing off the process:

Finally, once all your content is in your new site, spend some time checking the author names, embedded videos and anything else which may have changed during the import process. If you’ve got thousands of posts, then start with any that you know are particularly popular!

If you’re mapping an existing domain name across to your new site, now’s the time to do it. If you want to keep the same url structure and avoid losing any links, you’ll need to go to ‘Settings’ and select the ‘Permalinks’ option. The default setting for Posterous appears to be ‘Post Name’, which displays as http://danthornton.net/sample-post/ for example.

Finally you can play around with the look of your site, and the additional extensions that are available to WordPress users.

Comments

  1. Except no one can log into Posterous.

    • I’m working out the wordpress.com option right now. it allows you to import the xml file you downloaded from Posterous. I’ll update when I can confirm if it works.

      • The problem was not being able to sign into Posterous…stays down about half the time. No problem on the WP end.

  2. Hi Dan,

    Great to hear you made the switch without any hickups.

    I’m migrating a client’s blog from Posterous and so far I have one problem: URL not found on blog posts.

    I did as you suggest and mimicked the Posterou’s url structure but I’m still getting the error.

    Do you have any idea what else could it be?

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Jorge

  3. “Posterous importer” plugin did not work for me. On the contrary, “Posterous importer advanced” – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/posterous-importer-advanced/ – worked like a charm

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