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How to Import/Export Widget Settings in WordPress

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Do you want to import/export your widget settings in WordPress?

Widgets allow you to easily add additional features to your WordPress sidebars, footers, and other widget-ready areas. If you like the widget settings on your website, then you can save and reuse them on another WordPress site.

In this tutorial, we will show you how to easily import and export widget settings in WordPress. You can also use it as a quick way to back up widget settings for your website.

Importing and exporting WordPress widget settings

When to Import/Export Widget Settings in WordPress

There are many scenarios when you may need to preserve and save the widget settings on your WordPress website.

For instance, let’s say you run a multisite WordPress network for your business using the same or similar theme for all sites.

For quick development, you may want to use the same widget settings across all your websites. Exporting and then importing widget settings is the quickest way to use the same widgets for all your sites.

Similarly, let’s say you are moving a WordPress site and want to save widget settings so they can be used easily later in your new theme.

Lastly, this method also comes in handy if you want to save your widget settings as a backup when changing WordPress themes or testing different widget layouts in your current theme.

That being said, let’s look at how to easily import/export widget settings in WordPress.

How to Import and Export Widget Settings in WordPress

WordPress doesn’t come with a default function to import/export widget settings. Instead, you will need to install the Widget Importer & Exporter plugin. For more details, see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit the Tools » Widget Importer & Exporter page in your WordPress admin dashboard and click on the ‘Export Widgets’ button.

Export widget settings

The plugin will then prepare a backup export file containing your widget settings, and they will be downloaded as a .wie file to your computer.

You can now switch back to the website where you want to import the widgets.

Again, you must install and activate the Widget Importer & Exporter plugin first. After that, head over to the Tools » Widget Importer & Exporter page to import your WordPress widgets.

Import widget settings

From here, you can click on the ‘Choose File’ button to select and upload the .wie file you downloaded earlier.

Alternatively, you can click on the ‘copy and paste’ link to manually copy and paste the contents of your .wie backup file.

Manually import widget settings

Once done, simply click on the ‘Import Widgets’ button to continue.

The plugin will then process your backup file data and import your WordPress widgets.

Widgets imported

If you are using the same WordPress theme on both websites, then your widgets will automatically be imported into the correct widget areas as active widgets.

However, if you are using a different theme on the import site with no matching widget areas, then the widgets will be imported as inactive widgets.

Imported inactive widgets

You can then drag and drop these widgets from inactive widgets to an available widget area.

The plugin works with both block-based widgets and the older classic widgets in WordPress.

Inactive widgets

Learn More About WordPress Widgets

Want to take your WordPress widgets to the next level? Check out more guides about using WordPress widgets:

We hope this article helped you learn how to easily import/export widget settings in WordPress. You may also want to see our list of essential WordPress plugins and our tips on improving WordPress SEO for all your websites.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

18 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
    Every month, our top blog commenters will win HUGE rewards, including premium WordPress plugin licenses and cash prizes.
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    • WPBeginner Support says

      Thank you for letting us know about the plugin, we will look to update the post when we are able :)


  2. Jacques Matike says

    Using plugin version and the import functionnality doesn’t work!
    It says that for security reasons, the file type is not authorize

  3. paul says

    It will only import 2 of 30 from one site to another … This tool is not effective for the claims it makes.

  4. Claude Corry says

    Hi all I have done this procedure but its on the same website. My widgets seemed to deactivate after I changed to another WP theme 2017 the newest one but in the customise interface for the new theme the widgets are still greyed out like they are inactive still. This is after I have used the Import/Export plugin. Can you use the plugin this way on the same site?

  5. Rebecca says

    When I try to import, I get a notice saying
    Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons.
    How do I get around this?

  6. Jason says

    The plugin doesn’t work for me . It doesn’t seem to identify all my widgets in my present activated theme

  7. Mahfooz says

    i took backup of my site yesterday every thing is ok but widget content is disappeared so my question is how can i get content with out copy and paste procedure in WordPress

  8. Amir Arif says

    Export Woocommer Product only with image?
    need very urgent help here, i want to know that how to export only woocomerce product only with their images?

    please reply, Thanks

  9. Mohit says

    Is there some plugin using which I can also replicate the plugins, i.e. at the click of a button, export all plugins and if possible their settings as well, and then import the same on another wordpress site?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      We doubt that, because there are thousands of WordPress plugins and many of them use different techniques to store their settings. It would be difficult to program a plugin that could guess the settings for all plugins.


  10. Richard says

    Great article, I’ve been wanting something similar but for plug-ins. Any suggestions?

    I have about 20 plug-ins and all of their associated settings, like amember, and I really don’t want to start from scratch

    • Hardeep Asrani says

      Nope, you can’t!

      Each plugin have your own type of configurations and only with a export and import of a mysql database can pass your settings from one site to another.

      WordPress saves all widget settings only in one table, so it’s more easy to download widget settings.

  11. Liz says

    Oh no! I wish this post had dropped in my email alerts yesterday! I just migrated a site live from the test url and lost ALL my widget setting and all my plugins- genesis ones with content were lost completely. Thankfully, it was a smallish site, and I’ve managed in a morning to re-do all the settings and craft any custom widget content again. But I’ve bookmarked this to make sure it doesn’t happen again as I’ve more complex sites to do soon.

    Thanks for this! I live and learn!

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