Can You Migrate from Joomla to Drupal?

The short answer is Yes!

It’s a bit of a complicated process depending on the complexity of your website, but don’t worry, it’s not impossible. We’ll be looking at a few plugins which can really help you out.

We’ll also be looking at the steps to do this manually as some plugins will not work on a website that has a lot of customization.

Why Migrate from Joomla to Drupal?

Both Joomla and Drupal are well-established CMS platforms. They are both open-source and offer a lot of community support. Both of them offer almost equal benefits in terms of security and performance. So why migrate? 

Joomla offers a simple interface and a good deal of plugins that can power-up your website. However, after a while, you may need to take your website to a higher level. Drupal is lightweight and scales well. It offers a lot of advanced site management options that you will not find on Joomla. This is especially true if you know your way around HTML.

But most importantly, it offers over 40,000 modules that can give your website that much-needed upgrade. Drupal’s module library is only second to the plugin directory of WordPress.

Things to consider before migrating

Before we start migrating, there are a few things that we need to know about Drupal.

  • Joomla provides an all-in-one interface where users can easily select and control modules, contents, and designs. However, in Drupal, everything is found in the control bar when the administrator is logged in.
  • In Drupal, all content is considered as Nodes and the menus and classifications are just on top of it. Whereas in Joomla, content and its hierarchy in the menu structure are interconnected.
  • In Drupal, it is advisable to create the content first and then choose the menu setting, or else you will have to manually type in the path for the content rather than selecting from a list.
  • In order to categorize content in Drupal, you need to set up the Taxonomy first. This is used to set up the vocabulary of each type of content and categorize it.
  • Drupal does not have a default WYSIWYG editor, so you will need a third-party tool.
  • You’ll need to setup a Drupal website to import your content. You may do this on a secondary domain on your existing website, or you may prefer to start from scratch. If the latter is the case, then Hosting Review can help you to find the best hosting deals with many other benefits.
  • The terms used in Joomla and Drupal can be quite different. The table below will give a better understanding of the differences.

Different methods of migrating from Joomla to Drupal

The migration process can be quite daunting if you don’t know where to start. If your website is not customized too much, the best option would be to use a plugin to migrate your website.

Migration through Drupal Modules

Drupal comes with several migration modules that support site-wide migration. With a little research, you will be able to find one or more modules that can be used to migrate your site preserving all content and appearance. Some of the essentials are:

  1. Joomla to Drupal Module
  2. Node Export Module
  3. Migrate Module
  4. Feeds Module

Another point to keep in mind when following this method is that the “Joomla to Drupal” plugin was catered for Joomla 1.0.x. While community testing has indicated that it also works fine for 1.5.x, this is something that you will need to verify for yourself at the time of migration.

Migrating through WordPress

Migrating through another CMS might seem like an additional hassle as it involves two migrations instead of one. But it can be more convenient and efficient because WordPress has better support for importing from Joomla and exporting to Drupal. The following plugins can be used for this purpose:

1. Import Joomla website to WordPress

WordPress provides a convenient method to import a Joomla website. Once you have set up a fresh WordPress website, install a plugin like “FG Joomla to WordPress”. Click “Run Importer” and follow the steps by entering the details of your Joomla website and database details. Certain aspects of your website may not be supported on the free versions of certain plugins, so it is advisable that you look for a suitable plugin, or opt for a premium version.

2. Once you have a temporary website set up on WordPress and you have verified that all your content has been imported correctly, go to the Tools menu and export your content via XML.

Follow the instructions on the wizard and click “All content” to ensure that everything is exported. Click download and obtain the XML file.

Then move to your Drupal website and install the following Drupal modules which complement the Drupal Core import module:

Then follow the on-screen steps to import the XML file and verify your content.

Migrating through a site migration service like CMS2CMS

Using a site migration service is probably one of the quickest and the most convenient ways for this task. It will also require much less technical knowledge. One of the most commonly used tools is CMS2CMS. It helps in smooth content migration without much loss and this method is more cost-effective than hiring a developer.

The migration process begins by creating an account. Once you have done so, select the origin and destination platforms, your website URL and a few other settings such as whether you will be importing directly or via a connection bridge. Follow the wizard and try the demo migration which is available for free. If this is successful, you will be able to proceed with the full migration.

Manual Migration

This method refers to manually migrating your website from Joomla to Drupal without any additional tools.

Connecting the Database

We start by connecting to the Joomla database from the Drupal host. Note that they must share the same engine driver which can be either MySQL or PostgreSQL.

Migrating Content/Items

Next, transfer all the classifications in Joomla to Drupal. This refers to transferring Joomla sections to the relevant Taxonomy vocabulary in Drupal and categories to the child taxonomy terms. Thereafter you can transfer the content/ items from jos_content table to drupal.node and drupal.node_revisions table.

Migrating IntroText

In order to convert the Joomla Introtext to Drupal Teaser, you have to copy it to drupal.node_revisions:teaser. To convert your Maintext to the body, copy the  Introtext+Maintext to drupal.node_revisions:body.

Why Introtext again? Drupal has the possibility of setting the teaser separately from the body so it is better to copy them both together.

Migrating Forum

Drupal has an in-built forum and can be enabled using the administrator module.  Assuming that you’re using the Joomlaboard forum in Joomla, you can transfer the Parent-Forum Category of Joomlaboard to Drupal-Forum Container and Child-Forum Category to Drupal-Forum Category.

Additional Tips

  • It is recommended that you edit your Drupal themes based on your requirement than directly converting Joomla templates.
  • In order to access both websites easily during migration, it is better to install Drupal in a folder like domainname.com/Drupal.
  • You will need to use a third-party editor TinyMCE or manually type in HTML tags to format your articles since Drupal does not have a default WYSIWYG editor.

Conclusion

That’s about it.

The main thing to keep in mind is how complex your Joomla website is. Some of your content and categories may not be directly supported by Drupal as well as by some of these migration plugins. So it is important to verify all of that before you proceed. The manual approach may be more suitable in such cases. To get a better view of how things work in Drupal check out their official site and join their forum to share your experiences.