Today we are reviewing WP All Import, a plugin that makes it easy to import CSV and XML files into WordPress.
The Pro version has these extra features:
- Import to Custom Post Types
- Cron Job/Recurring Imports
- Import data to Custom Fields
- Import images to the post media gallery
- Import files from a URL or FTP server
- Execution of Custom PHP Functions on data
Pro version customers also get access to the customer portal with documentation and tutorials, and e-mail technical support.
I’m sure most of you will have already taken a look at the plugin’s listing on WordPress.org, so before we continue I’d like to say a word about that. If you take a look at reviews section, you will find that there are a few negative opinions about the plugin, and it only as a 3 star rating.
Don’t let that discourage you though. The main reason of this lukewarm rating is that previous versions sometimes proved problematic when importing large amounts of data (solved in version 3), as well as the fact that no plugin support is offered through the WordPress.org plugin forums.
The WP All Import guys prefer it if users open a ticket via email, and while I still recommend that they offer support through the forum, this fact is clearly mentioned when one goes to the support forum, so it’s up to the users to read the instructions and contact support via email. Email support works fine, the developers respond in a timely way and most issues are swiftly resolved.
With that out of the way, lets get to the fun stuff and start looking at the features of WP All Import.
WP All Import can import any XML or CSV datafeed. I’ve been using the plugin successfully for quite some time now, but version 3 made a big step ahead, solving the one issue that kept recurring with older versions: the import of very large files.
With the release of WP All Import v3, the plugin can handle files of 100Mb and larger, with any 10,000+ records, on shared hosting. Obviously it’s well worth reading up upon performance considerations inherent to your server and WordPress itself, and the guys at WP All Import have done a good job at customer education on this topic on the How Big Can Files Be page on their site. WP All Import supports scheduled cron-based imports, so you don’t have to sit and watch the import take place for two days. WP All Import can do it in the background.
So let’s take a closer look at the features of WP All Import.
The main functionality of the plugin revolves around a wizard process that takes you through five steps for importing a new CSV or XML file into your WordPress website.
Step 1 – Select file
The first step is that of choosing the XML or CSV file you want to upload. I like to repeat one point about this plugin, it is very flexible. Take a look at the upload screen for example. You have four available sources from which the data can be imported:
- From your Computer
- From a URL
- From an FTP Server
- From an already uploaded file
Very straightforward and giving you all the options you need. And we’re off to a great start. WP All import will start its process and parse through the file…
Step 2 – Element Selection
WP All Import has parsed our file and gives us a breakdown of all the elements in the file. Do you want to take just a few elements, or all of them? It’s you choice! Did I mention how flexible this plugin is?
Step 3 – Template Designer
Things are starting to get interesting. The file is imported and you’ve got all the data available to play with. You will see the familiar post editor with a title and content area. You are now free to drop in tags from the right hand side into your title or content fields, as well as add your own content, which will then be used as the base template. You can save the template with a new for re-use at a later stage.
Step 4 – Options
You’re nearing the end, you can now choose from a myriad number of options, but the big ones are whether to import into a particular custom post type, whether you want to place some data in custom fields (e.g. price) and also automatic creation of tags and categories. Again, flexibility is the order of the day.
Did I say there were 5 steps? Well, not quite, on the last screen you just enjoy watching your data uploading, or go make yourself a cup of coffee if it’s a big file. So it’s 4 steps requiring your input, and one watching the fruits of your work. Really easy right?
That’s the basic usage of WP All Import, what you use the data for and what kind of data you import is up to your imagination, the bottom line is this plugin is a huge time saver and provides a ton of value for users and developers alike. We shouldn’t forget the scheduled import feature, which is essential to such plugins. Once you create a new import, you can then set a schedule and have the import repeat itself automatically without any user intervention necessary. Thus you can keep all the information on the site constantly updated.
Do you prefer seeing some tangible examples? Check out the demo page showing some sites built entirely using WP All Import and feeds from other websites such as Commission Junction.
I’ve also gone ahead and created a video walkthrough for you, in case you’ve done enough reading for the day and prefer something more passive:
What Can I Use This For?
WP All Import is maybe not that kind of plugin most WordPress users need on a daily basis, however there are a number of use-cases where it will turn out to be very useful, if not essential.
Here are some typical usage scenarios for WP All Import:
- Affiliate stores
- Content sites
- Local directories
- eCommerce sites
- Real estate portals
- Auto dealerships
On their website, the guys at WP All Import have uploaded a number of videos that show you how they created sites for each of these scenarios.
Cost & Licensing
Until March 31st, the Standard license is priced at $99 and the Developer license is priced at $199.
Beginning April 1st, the Standard license will be priced at $199 and the Developer license will be priced at $299. The difference with the two is that the Developer licence allows you to use the plugin to build a site for a client, then transfer ownership of that site + the plugin itself to your client. Both allow you unlimited usage and updates.
Considering the value provided by this plugin and the fact that it is quite unique, I believe the price is justified. If you’re interested in getting this plugin, I strongly suggest you take advantage of the current offer and save $100 on either the Standard or Developer licenses.
You can upgrade from the Standard licence to the Developer licence at any point in time by paying the difference.
A 30 day guarantee is also offered so you’re not risking anything, although truth be told you’re not likely to make use of this guarantee, as it’s a solid plugin indeed.
WP All Import can be used on an unlimited number of websites and you also get free lifetime updates. For those of you wondering what a lifetime update policy means, lifetime updates means that you will get free updates for the lifetime of the product.
Support & Documentation
If you have a problem while using the plugin, you can open a support ticket, which will be attended to by Louis Reingold (the main man behind this project) or his development team. Tickets are reviewed throughout the day so you’re likely to get a timely response to your support request.
There is also a new customer area which has been implemented in conjunction with the release of version 3 of the plugin. From the customer area users can download the plugin, access documentation & tutorials, and access the special resources section.
WP Mayor Verdict
This is the best plugin I’ve found for importing large CSV files, I’ve used it successfully for client sites and we’ve had no problems at all. I would prefer if the plugin developer would adhere more closely to the WordPress UI, but there’s nothing major there and functionality wise the plugin does the job its supposed to do.
Don’t take my word for it though, see what Brad Williams (a WordPress veteran) had to say about WP All Import:
At the end of the day, you should be the judge, so go ahead and download the free version of this plugin. If you like it and you need the Pro features, you’ll know what to expect when dropping coin for the $99 or $199 Pro versions.
If you’re looking for the best CSV import plugin for WordPress, WP All Import is currently your top choice.
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