The life and science of Aslak Grinsted

Migrating from Google Sites to WordPress

I recently migrated from google sites to wordpress. There is lots to like about google sites (high uptime, zero maintenance), and I have been quite happy there. The primary reasons for my move are: I have a server anyway, and I would like to allow comments on some of my posts. I could not find any tools that allowed me export & import google sites. I tried importing from the RSS feed, but eventually I found a much better option: python (I don’t do much programming in python, but it is really a pleasure to work in for these types of tasks).

First pass

  • Parse and traverse my google-sites pages (using beautifulsoup).
  • Clean the html of the main content using regexps.
  • Find all images in content. Download them to a local file.
  • Upload images to wordpress using python-wordpress-xmlrpc, and replace image urls in content html.
  • Create new posts using python-wordpress-xmlrpc . In this pass you should aim to set the content, the title, the date,  (I used dateutil.parser to set the date of the post)

Second pass

All the internal links on the new site are still pointing to the old site. I fixed this in a second pass.

  • Get a list of all posts using the XMLRPC. From that make a list of all the post titles.
  • Loop each post, and for each url pointing to the old site, try to see if the basename has a close match in the list of wordpress titles. For that I used difflib.get_close_matches.


I did not find a way to automatically download non-image google sites attachments (such as pdfs). Google appears to deliberately have made that difficult. I did not investigate further.

I’d love to share my code. Unfortunately I had to go through a learning process and my approach was not nearly as clean as outlined above. So you’ll have to make do with snippets to get you started. I am not a python programmer, so please excuse the style:

from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
import requests
import re
import shutil

from wordpress_xmlrpc import Client, WordPressPost
from wordpress_xmlrpc.compat import xmlrpc_client
from wordpress_xmlrpc.methods import media, posts
from urlparse import urlparse
from os.path import splitext, basename
from glob import glob
from difflib import get_close_matches
from dateutil import parser

import mimetypes

client = Client(wpUrl,wpUserName,wpPassword){'number':1000}))
posttitles=[post.title for post in allposts]

for post in allposts:
print "-------------------------"
print repr(post.title)
links=re.findall(r'href="[^>"]*[^>"]*/([^>"\?]*)', txt)
for link in links:
if titlematches:
matchingpost = next((i for i in allposts if i.title == titlematches[0]), None)
txt=re.sub(r'"[^>\n"]*' + re.escape(link) + r'[^>\n"]*"','"'+ +'"',txt)
print repr(link) + " -> " + repr(

print "NO MATCH FOR LINK:" + repr(link)

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1 Comment

  1. Oliver March 23, 2016

    Thank you … this was just what i needed to get started

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