How to Import a WordPress Site into Local

Local is pretty flexible about being able to import a WordPress site from a zip archive.

There are two required things that Local needs for the import to be successful:

  1. The wp-content folder (containing plugins, themes, and uploads)
  2. A database dump as a sql file

If you manually download a backup from Flywheel’s servers or export a backup from a different host using a tool like BackWPup, then the zip archive will probably look something like this:


Note that in this case, the database dump is next to a files folder, which contains the wp-content folder.

All you need to do is import this zip file by dragging and dropping it over Local or selecting “Import” from Local’s menu.

Local will ask you a few questions about the site, such as the Site Domain as well as the folder you want to use to hold the site. Depending on the size of the archive, the import can take a few seconds for smaller sites, or much longer if the zip file is quite large.

Options screen when importing a site into Local.

Restoring From Only Local Site files

There are some cases where you might need to re-import a site into Local using only the files contained within the site folder. Power failure or breaking changes caused by a system update can force you to restore a backup of your Local WordPress sites.

If you can get the Local site folder from a system restore point or a time-machine backup and it has both the WordPress files as well as the sql files, then you have everything you need to re-import the site!

To give some context, you would want to zip the whole site folder, including the app and logs folders. Using the following screenshots as an example, you would zip up the wordpress-import folder, and then use the file to import into Local by dragging and dropping the archive over Local.

Local site App folder
Local site sql folder