How to avoid 500 Internal Server Errors when using the WordPress Importer

wordpress-iconI’ve used the WordPress Importer on many occasions – most of which gave me more grief than results. Usually I end up with a white screen telling me that there was an “Internal Server Error”. It basically means that something went wrong, but nobody knows what it was – and there is no way to find out.

While entertaining ideas of finding another hobby, I searched the web one last time to sift through the hundreds of posts by other users sharing the same woes – until I came across this forum post by Anon who had the same problem:

Anon did not give up so easily and found a solution which WORKS GREAT – even though it doesn’t make sense, or is in any way documented:

Rather than simply importing the XML file you receive from Tools – Export, turn this file into a GZIP file, and then import it.

I have no idea why this works, but I’ve just tried it with WordPress 3.9.1 and it works like a charm. On a Mac, simply

  • open Terminal
  • type “gzip ” (with a space)
  • then drag the file in question into the Terminal session
  • this will paste the full path of that file

Hit return and you have a .gz file. The original file is deleted automatically.

You can also do this from the command line like this:

Anon suggests that if you’re a Windows user you can use 7zip to create a .gz file.

About Jay Versluis

Jay is a medical miracle known as a Super Survivor. He runs two YouTube channels, five websites and several podcast feeds. To see what else he's up to, and to support him on his mission to make the world a better place, check out his Patreon Campaign.

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