Before I buy Xenforo...


New member
I have a few concerns. Obvioiusly there is the legal battle hanging over XF that kind of worries me a little. What will happen to my forum and investment IF either XF runs out of money to continue the battle or (god forbid) VB actually win. Would I then have a defunct forum that is useless and all the content would then be inaccessable?
Another worry of mine is my incompetence. I have a forum that has been pottering along steadily for 5 years. Initially it was with Forumotion which was easy to administrate, the updates were automatic and it was easy to modify the template to suit my preferences. I am currently with PHPbb which is a whole new world. I have yet to be able to do one of their updates, once I tried and crashed the whole forum for two days, something I can ill afford to do. Are the updates (as infrequent as they are) easier than PHPbb's? Also, when I went to install a modification on PHPbb, it went horribly wrong. I want the best for my forum members and XF seems to be it, I don't want the panic that racks my body when I see "Your board is out of date" coming up on my admin CP and I don't want to lose 5 years hard work because XF might be in trouble.
Is this a nice forum platform for numpties to manage?

Any advice or input would be great as I don't want to bite off more than I can chew!



Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
On your first point, yes this is a valid concern. XF is widely expected to win, but obviously there are currently many strains upon the developers which has meant development has slowed to a halt.

However, if the XenForo team were to announce tomorrow that their doors were closed you wouldn't have an inaccessible forum. In fact you'd have an incredibly stable forum platform, but there'd be no guarantees of further development or support.

I haven't ever done a PHP BB update, but I will explain the process.

1) You download the files
2) You extract them to your computer
3) You upload the contents of the upload folder that you have extracted to the root of your installation via FTP.
4) You navigate to

The process is almost identical for a clean install and add-on installing isn't too dissimilar either. The only difference with add-on installs is at step 4, you log on to your Admin CP and instead browse your computer for an XML file which completes the install.

I'll be honest, there have been people who have had problems with add-on installs. However, it can't get much easier than it already is. Despite this, I released an add-on that actually automatically installs add-ons simply by browsing your computer for an add-on ZIP file. It doesn't work with all add-ons, but it is a huge time saver.

Last point "I don't want to lose 5 years hard work"... Right now XF is the best forum software (opinion shared by many), it's just not in the best development state. It's used by forum professionals and newbies alike and overall, it will do you proud. There is, of course, risk associated with the current state of affairs. Would you lose 5 years hardwork? No way. If worst came to the worst (I highly doubt that will happen) there are import scripts back to PHPBB, probably SMF, probably IPB, probably vBulletin so you'll never really lose anything other than your time and investment.

If that's too much of a risk, I suggest waiting.


Well-known member
The lawsuit is still a large uncertainty but it looks like it'll drag on for a while yet. We finally decided to bite the bullet and go ahead anyway 6 months ago and it's definitely been the right decision. If the worst happened then there's enough people on here to help move to something else (but god knows what, VB5 is awful and IPB is too resource intensive for big boards).

As for upgrading, the upgrade process is very simple. Upload the files and click a button and let it update itself. The only complicated bit is if you have heavily customised styles that need a bit of care updating.


Well-known member
From what I remember, the updates of phpBB are about the same as xF, you upload the update files and navigate to the install directory and press install. However, you don't have to do the template updates, but you might have to revert some of the template files and that process loose all your customization to that file.

As for the import, it is fairly easy to do, you just config it with your phpBB specific settings, such as db etc, and press import.


New member
So at worst, I'd lose the $140 of investment. That's something I can live with!
I still get a bit worried about many things but it might just be me worrying too much. I am confident enough doing the switch from PHPbb, just worried about the updates there after. The way it is described on PHPbb just confuses the hell out of me. I am not brilliant with script etc so when they start using words I don't understand, I retire to my shell.

PHPbb said:
  • From the download page go to the stable release section and get the changed filesversion.
  • Decompress that file.
  • Inside it you will see a folder called install and zip files for several of the previous versions to the current version. eg (at the time of writing)
  • Decompress the zip file relating to the version you want to update from.
  • Upload those files to your phpBB folder, overwriting the files on the server.
  • Upload the install folder from the original download you got.
  • Go to
  • Let that run and then delete the install folder.
  • You are now up to date.
I get how to download the file.
I reckon I can uncompress it.
I am confident I'll find the right file.

From there on, I get all screwed up. Am I going to the forum ACP or into the file manager on my host? I have asked many times on there about where to download the file and will I need to use filezilla etc but the answers are either rude or refer to the original instructions where I have no idea. I have lost faith in the 'support forum' there and haven't bothered to do their latest update as I always end up having to get someone else to do it.
Anyway, That's my story. I love the concept of a great flashy forum but I shy away from the killing it with my inability to actually be able to use it.

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
From what I can tell, the process you documented above is no different to how you'd originally install the forum in the first place. Did you do that yourself?

It's basically a case of putting the files into exactly the same place you put them when you first installed the thing, and then running the install script.

Anyway, even if you get stuck, you'd never get a rude response here. People bend over backwards here to help others, sometimes falling over each other in the process. You often ask a simple question and get more than one answer within a minute or so of each other :p We call it "ninja'ing" :D

The process is similar in XF, but it's difficult to get it wrong. People have done... but you back up every day anyway, right? Right?! :eek:


New member
I did the install myself using a converter from Forumotion. It took about 16 hours and a copiuos amount of coffee. I did it a couple of years ago and have lost faith in my abilities ever since. If I have support, from people who actually understand that I haven't got a clue what I am doing then I will eventually succeed.
Back up? Hmm... What's that :confused: Is it something else I should do form the ACP that never gets done. I think I did it once, before trying to put the 'thanks for posts' mod on. It all went pear shaped and I gave up, again. Thankfully, XF has all the extra's I want already installed so I won't have to mess about too much :whistle:


Well-known member
If you are stuck you can ask here or you can use one the many install/upgrade services, either from Xenforo itself or from a forum member.

Regarding migration: the same.

(but please take backups serious or one day all your hard work will be gone)


New member
Fair play. Thanks for your confidence boosting and reassurance. I'll have a final discussion with my team and see how they feel. I very much doubt they will support the opposition (VB and IPB) so I would imagine you will be hearing my cries of woe soon!
Top banana's :D


Well-known member
All I can add to this is if I managed to get our forums over from VBTitanic when XF first came on the scene then I'm sure you'll have no problems with the people here that will help you.

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
Right, I have bought and installed XF. RE-registered on here with the email I used to create the forum and now it is time to get it set up. I will be launching it on 1st October so have a bit of time to get it formatted the way I'd like it. Here goes...

(Formerly SDF_Mart)
Hope all goes well. Let us know if you need assistance!