I have been a member here since the early days of Xenforo. As an owner of VB since 2006, I discovered XF via twitter like many members here. Closely following the journey of Xenforo, moving to this platform is a foregone conclusion. However, I couldn't make the move until all the custom mods are made for my site, XF is tested with a new server that we planned to move into.
Fast forward to Feb. Several custom addons made, tested and gone through some testing on a XF beta installation on my live board (still running VB 3.8).
On D Day, Feb 13, around noon EST, I shut down my forum and made the migration to XF RC3. The whole thing took about 1 hour. The rest of the day, I have to dealt with an influx of email from my members who no longer have the proper permission. Though I did test permission, it does not prepare for all the kinks. I have about 2 dozen private forums and many users who have access to some of these. Once I figured out how to deal with the permission system, it's a quick ride back to normalcy. By the next day, everyone is back and happy.
About 3 weeks later, we moved our site to Rackspace running nginx which result in very noticeable speed improvement as confirmed by many of our users. The next step for us is a brand new style and design for our site with a branded mobile app by Forum Runner.
I also like to take this chance to thank Blandt, DarkImmortal, xfrocks, Brogan, Mike and Kier for helping me with the server, making custom mods for our site and helping with all questions I throw at them. They continue to play an incredible role in the success of our transition to a new platform.
About my site
Quantnet is a community by and for quantitative finance professionals who is responsible for creating and running trading models on Wall Street. In short, we are a very niche site for males and technical folks. My audience is mostly people with a graduate degree in technical fields and currently studying and working in finance.
We have been around since 2003 but only open to the public in mid 2006 and experience great growth since then.
Site link www.quantnet.com
Prior to the move, I purged our member list from 20+K members to 8K to get rid of users who have not visited for over a year and have 0 post.
As we stand, the site have about 9K members and close to 50K posts. We run Wordpress as our CMS.
And here are the stats that you have been waiting for. Remember the Feb 13 as the date we move to Xenforo.
Thanks to our spanking new servers, caching and modern software, our forum is now loaded in under 2 seconds
These are pictures taken directly from Google Analytics comparing the period after the move to Xenforo with the same duration prior. What jumps right out of this is that the bounce rate is down, time on site is up by almost 1 whole minute, the page views and visits are up considerably.
A lot of people have been asking: would my Google organic search traffic suffer? Look at this and the answer should be NO. I simply just use friendly URL, and the redirect script by Kier.
While I'm a number guy by profession and I love to watch the stats, the most important question I ask myself is : did the new software make people want to contribute more? Does the software make posting, finding information more fun and easier?
The answer is a sounding yes. Since XF does not have a builtin stats system yet, I have to run SQL queries to find that out (thanks to Jake Bunce). What I found is very interesting.
Our forum is very niche so it does not have lot of chit chat/general discussion and one word replies like "LOLz" are really frown upon. On average, the number of post per day is about 70-80 and 100 is on a good day. After we move to Xenforo, the number of post jumps dramatically, sometimes even 3 folds. Just look at this table. I would contribute this to many factors, but the Alert system and how fun it is to use Xenforo is very high on my list.
How well will Google index our site?
This is a picture taken from Google Webmasters. We use Jaxel's Xenutiles that generates a sitemap. You can see Google love the new sitemap and a week or two after the move, it crawled and index most of our content.
One problem I had with Vbulletin is that Google complained a lot about duplicate contents. You know, the dreaded showthread.php?t and showpst.php?p
I literally have thousands upon thousands of those complains in Google Webmasters HTML suggestion.
How about now in Xenforo? Much much better job, isn't it?
Page speed from Google Webmasters.
The latest snapshot is on March 16. Prior to this, Google took a snapshot on Feb 25 when we still on the old server. We move to the new server in early March.