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How to migrate Gravity Forms?

  1. I have scoured the forums here and have found plenty of threads where folks tried to migrate their WP site to another server/domain and their forms stopped working....and the response is always:

    "Did you use PHPMyAdmin to export and import the SQL? If so some tools, PHPMyAdmin included, do not handle serialized array data properly. This means when you use PHPMyAdmin to export and import Gravity Forms form meta data... it corrupts the serialized data that makes up the form settings information."

    ...which is great to know but doesn't tell me what the preferred way is.

    So, my question is, how should I go about migrating a WP site that has GF setup to a new server/domain without screwing up my forms? I normally would export the database via PHPMyAdmin and import it into the new database...which works for everything but GF. What do I do then?

    Thanks so much.

    Posted 8 years ago on Saturday December 3, 2011 | Permalink
  2. I have forward this post to our lead developer who will respond with details.

    It's currently after hours and it's the weekend so he may not reply very quickly to this post. But he will get to it and provide more details on how you can do this.

    Posted 8 years ago on Saturday December 3, 2011 | Permalink
  3. No problem. I appreciate it, Carl.

    Posted 8 years ago on Sunday December 4, 2011 | Permalink
  4. Unfortunately I don't have an easy answer for you. I still haven't got to the bottom of why phpMyAdmin has issues with serialized data (sometimes). However, I will be glad to help you through this migration, and maybe come up with a more bullet proof way of doing an export/import of sites that use Gravity Forms.

    Have you changed anything (URLs, etc..) from the exported file before re-importing it?
    That is usually the root of the problem with migration issues. If so, there is a plugin we developed that might be able to solve your problem. Email me to and I can send it your way

    Posted 8 years ago on Monday December 5, 2011 | Permalink
  5. I create a lot of demo or test sites, then dump the database, reimport it into a new domain with a new URL and then use a script I found online to find and replace text AND take care of the serialized data at the same time. The process I use is sort of involved, so I'm not certain it's for everyone, and I'm sure there is a better way. I'm happy to describe how I do it if it will be helpful to someone. This is the plugin that takes care of find and replace and serialized data AFTER the database is imported into the new site (i.e. after the table prefixes are changed but NOT the permissions in the usermeta table, which also uses the table prefix, but is serialized): (free. Could be dangerous - BACK UP FIRST.)

    I understand the BackupBuddy plugin (paid, not affiliated with Gravity Forms) will do this as well, allowing you to move a database from one site to another.

    Posted 8 years ago on Monday December 5, 2011 | Permalink
  6. Also, I use phpMyAdmin to dump the database. Then I edit the table prefix, but NOT in the serialized data (usermeta) (so, in the CREATE, DROP, ALTER, LOCK statements). Then I use the searchreplacedb2.php script to replace the domain name, filesystem path and table prefix, all in the database, and it takes care of the serialized values. I've never had a problem with it.

    Posted 8 years ago on Monday December 5, 2011 | Permalink
  7. Thank you Alex and Chris. This is for a USC project I was hired to develop and I have forwarded Josh, one of the folks I've been working with, this thread.

    He needs to export all the GF info from his test site to the site that we just made live on the USC server. We've already imported the posts and images. If he requires help I'm sure you'll hear from him soon.

    Thanks again.

    Posted 8 years ago on Wednesday December 7, 2011 | Permalink