Bring Your Tumblr Content to WordPress With Ease

Commercial WordPress theme shop WooThemes launched Thursday a new exporter that makes it easy for Tumblr users to transfer their blog content and media to a self-hosted website.

Thanks to the new Post Formats feature in WordPress 3.1, it’s easier than ever to create a Tumblr-like experience in WordPress. That means post types such as images, links or quotes can be styled and organized in the way that makes Tumblr such a popular tool for bloggers and businesses.

Tumblr is a great service, but downtime issues can be a cause for concern — especially for users who rely on the service to power multiple parts of their website or blog.

It’s true that Tumblr offers a good backup utility for Mac users, but migrating that content to another blog platform — like WordPress — takes a lot more work. Or, at least, it did. is a new free service that will quickly generate an XML file that contains all of your Tumblr posts, post types and other important meta data. That content can then be imported to WordPress using the import function on the site.

c to help complement their existing collection of Tumblr-like themes, the WooTumblog plugin and the special (and nifty) iPhone app, Express.

Tumblr2WP works out of the box with the latest versions of the tumblog themes from WooThemes. Users can also add tumblog functionality to their own themes with the WooTumblog plugin.

Getting Set Up

Using the tool is an uncomplicated affair. Just enter the address to your Tumblr domain and choose your export options. Most users can just leave the default options as they are, but Woo also includes the ability to customize permalinks and to determine if comments are enabled or disabled, or if posts should be imported as published posts or as drafts.

The draft option might be a good choice for users who are importing content to a website that already has a significant amount of web content, or for users who want to test how things look before hitting the publish button.

After completing the wizard, the XML file is downloaded from the web browser.

In WordPress 3.1, users just need to go to Tools, then Import and then select “WordPress.” Select the XML file that was downloaded in the web browser. You can choose to assign the posts to an existing post author or assign a new author for Tumblr posts.

Configuring Images

When testing the exporter tool, I ran into a problem with image posts. The fine folks at WooThemes were able to help me sort out the trouble, and here is the next step that most users will need to take in order for images to properly display in posts.

The key is to disable dynamic image resizing.

If you are using the WooTumblog plugin, uncheck the “Enable Dynamic Image Resizer” box in the WooTumblog option panel.

For WooThemes users, uncheck the “Enable Dynamic Image Resizer” box from the “Dynamic Images” menu in the WooThemes option panel.

WooThemes users can also select whether they want to use Post Formats or a simple taxonomy declaration for their tumbled content. The default is to use Post Formats.

The Results

I tested Tumblr2WP on a few WordPress instances on my local server and at, a website I previously configured for use with the WooTumblog plugin and Express app.

The results, after turning off the dynamic image resizer, are stellar. Posts are displayed correctly and in the right format, and elements have carried over correctly from one service to the next.

Tumblr doesn’t have a built-in commenting system, which means that transferring comments from Disqus or another tool will take additional work. For most users, preserving comments from those posts may be more trouble than it is worth. Posts created using WordPress moving forward can use comments in the normal way.

What Tumblr Users Will Lose

For users who are considering moving from Tumblr to WordPress (or any other publishing platform), there are some very cool Tumblr features that just can’t be replicated elsewhere.

This includes:

  • The re-blog button — The ability to easily and seamlessly re-blog content. Tumblr’s “re-blog” button is good enough that other hosted publishing tools (including have tried to replicate the feature.
  • The bookmarklet — WordPress has a “Press This” bookmarklet but it still doesn’t work as well or as cleanly as the famed Tumblr bookmarklet.
  • The Dashboard — Tumblr’s dashboard is a great way to see posts from users you follow and to get notified when someone hearts or re-blogs your own content.
  • The community — The Tumblr community is special and moving to a self-hosted blog platform, to a certain extent, means giving up that community.

At the end of the day, users need to weigh the pros and cons of controlling their own data and having more backend configuration options with the ease of use and communal spirit of Tumblr. This is a problem I personally still struggle with — which is why I maintain a WordPress blog and a Tumblr account.

Have you contemplated moving from Tumblr to WordPress? What platform do you prefer? Let us know.

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