Today we have WP Migrate DB Pro under review, a plugin squarely targeted at WordPress developers, with the aim of making our lives easier when moving databases between one WordPress installation and another.
There is a free version and a pro version as well. While the free version is perfectly capable of doing the core job, the pro version gives you support + extra goodies which you might need.
In this review, we will be taking a look at the pro version.
So what is WP Migrate DB Pro?
WP Migrate DB is a WordPress plugin that exports your database as a MySQL data dump (much like phpMyAdmin), does a find and replace on URLs and file paths, then allows you to save it to your computer. It is perfect for developers who need to update their local install with fresh data from the production site, or copy their locally developed site to a staging or production server.
It’s developed by Delicious Brains, a WordPress duo composed of Brad Touesnard and Chris Aprea.
The pro version has the following extra features when compared to the free version available on the WordPres.org repository:
- Select the tables you want to migrate
- Pull production db down and replace local db
- Push local db up and replace production/staging db
- Unlimited find & replaces (free is limited to 2)
- Multisite support
- Video walkthroughs and howtos
- More frequent bug fixes and improvements
At present, there is also one addon that serves the purpose of migrating media files. It is included with every license except Personal.
Features & Usage
Upon installation and activation, a new entry named ‘Migrate DB Pro’ can be found under the ‘Tools’ menu item in the WordPress dashboard.
When I first laid hands on WP Migrate DB Pro, I was in the middle of some site updates for client so I decided to give it a baptism of fire. Sure enough, 10 minutes later I already felt like I had mastered it. The user interface and logic is good enough that you won’t be needing any manuals.
So what about features? Well, in its most basic usage, the plugin allows pushing and pulling databases between the local and remote installations. Obviously you’ll have to install the plugin on both locations, following which the two plugin instances will connect to each other. The connection established between them will be encrypted via SSL, so you don’t have to worry about security, the plugin handles it all.
Instead of pulling and pushing you can also save a copy of the database to your computer, and also choose whether the file is to be compressed (in gzip).
When migrating a WordPress site, URLs in the content, widgets, menus, etc need to be updated to the new site’s URL. Doing this manually is annoying, time consuming, and can be very frustrating when dealing with serialized data (like widgets). WP Migrate DB Pro handles all of this for you. This is one of the best features of this plugin, as it was always the most tedious part of doing a DB before I started using WP Migrate Pro.
You can select which tables you want to migrate, and when you’re done with playing around with the settings, you can also save your settings profile to be reused later. You can of course have multiple profiles for added convenience.
WP Migrate DB Pro has been stress tested with huge databases, so before you ask it, yes it will also work fine on your installation. Worried about your so-and-so hosting provider? Keep calm, WP Migrate DB Pro monitors both remote and local environments to detect limitations and optimize performance. For example, it detects MySQL’s max_allowed_packet_size setting and adjusts how much SQL to execute at a time.
The user interface of the plugin is just beautiful in its simplicity and integration with the native WordPress UI.
An interesting point I noticed, purely from a technical aspect, is the way the developers made away with the ‘Save’ button commonly found on plugin settings pages. Instead of having to click a ‘Save’ button when changing a setting, the database is updated via AJAX (the plugin shows a quick animation beside the option being updated) . It’s just a usability improvement which I noticed and liked.
The plugin already has everything I could wish for feature wise, but I’m sure the developers at Delicious Brains will come up with some other updates and new features that will make this plugin even better in the future.
There are three price tiers with WP Migrate DB Pro, Personal at $40, Developer at $199 and Standard at $300, as can be seen below. The Developer version is the recommended version for most people.
To continue receiving updates and support 1 year after purchase, you will need to renew your license.
The renewal fee (a discount price is given compared to the purchase price) enables Delicious Brains to continue improving WP Migrate DB Pro and scale their support services. The renewal cost is the same but there are discounts if you renew early..
As a side note, I really like this little graphic that the developers put on the site just below the pricing table.
It quickly puts things in perspective, and is a nice marketing touch which I thought I’d point out. While not strictly related to the quality of the plugin itself, when I observe little things like this it gives me an idea of the way the people behind the plugin think, and I can therefore see how meticulous and detail oriented they are, plus a good dose of creativity. Makes me feel better about purchasing a plugin from them.
Documentation & Support
Documentation is complete and easily available on the WP Migrate DB Pro site.
Support is provided via email. Those who purchase the Developer & Standard licences enjoy priority support, which means that their emails will be answered first (or at least their average response time will be less).
Conclusion & Verdict
I’ve fallen in love with this plugin right away. The reason is that it ticks so many boxes for me. It’s a unique plugin in that there isn’t another plugin that does the specific job that this plugin does. Moreover, it is well-coded, efficient and easy to use. There really isn’t anything I can fault, the whole package is high quality, from the plugin’s code to the design of the WP Migrate DB Pro website itself.
WP Migrate DB Pro takes a potentially nightmarish process and transforms it into a beautiful and painless experience. It’s also a lesson in how to build plugins the right way.
I’m not surprised that so many other developers are singing its praises, since it has addressed a real problem that nobody had solved so elegantly before. I highly recommend it as a time and trouble saver to other fellow WordPress developers. This is definitely a must-have in our WordPress development arsenal.
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