Finally, my 4th installation!

I have been meaning to update one of my communities to xenForo ever since I saw it come out. Unfortunately the lack of an importer from FusionBB made the task a bit challenging but it could be done using different importers.

The community is that of 100 or so people, all know each other and all talk about motor sports. Surprisingly enough, they have managed to post 180000+ messages in a period of 8 years :D

So my plan was to import everything using vBulletin, do some cleaning and then import everything to xenForo.

I started with the vBulletin import. First of all some of my forums were not being imported properly. I noticed that the importer goes through the forums one after another sorting by forum_id (I think) and if you have moved a forum to a category that was created after the forum was created (i.e. child forum_id < parent_forum_id) it would not import it since it would not match it properly. After a lot of troubleshooting I finally managed to get it working by moving some forums around.

Everything went OK until the posts started importing. The system would import around 32000 of them and then stop. Apache would be locked at 100% (on one core). Using nginx I would get bad gateway, so something was really wrong.

I tried as much to troubleshoot the issue using different configurations. I have used nginx/php-fpm, apache, mysql 5.1/5.5, Ubuntu/CentOS/Windows.... nothing worked. It would always break at that point.

I contacted vBulletin support and basically they pointed me to some optimization settings (which did not work) and also pointed out that the database server has to be on the same box as the web server for the import to work. So to cater for all the suggestions, I created a new VPS with 4GB of RAM and run everything there. Same problem.

In the end vBulletin support pointed me to the server optimization forum. I did not believe that the server was the cause of the problem since I tried a lot of different server configurations and the only constant was the same point of failure.

In the end I decided to check every single post that it would halt on. Lo and behold I found the issue.

FusionBB has two fields that keeps the post body. post_raw_body and post_body. post_raw_body contains only markup code and the other contains HTML. For some reason (through upgrades I guess) several records contained HTML in post_raw_body. This was something that the importer could not handle, (possibly a preg_match function or something?) and it would kill itself and Apache as well.

The offending code was:

<img src="" />
and it should have been (again for the post_raw_body field):

So, once that was corrected the import went on without any problems. After some reshuffling of the forums and the installation of xenForo, I run the importer and voila! My forum is now live for my users and although they did say that it is 'different' they all welcomed the change.
Loads of work to be done, sorting out attachments, avatars of users and playing with the style but the difficult part is already over.
Notable is the fact that the xenForo importer did it's job without any problems or errors.
Good job guys!
One thing I forgot to mention was that xenForo imported everything using a dual server configuration i.e. db server on a different box than the web server without any problems. Once again good job guys!


Well-known member
I wonder how gracious vB would have been in giving support, if they knew you were just using vB as a gateway for importing your forums to XF. :D
Yay! Another motorsport fan.

Which flavour?
Or is it a general motorsport site?
It is a Ferrari Fans site. Way back in 2002, Ferrari created this club where if you paid 100 EUR you would have access to a forum, access to events, a monthly newspaper and many more. None of it happened unfortunately, and the forum was just the free installation of wwwthreads. The forum was poor and the administrator was not inclined to offer the members more value for money.

In the end some friends of mine and myself started a contest where people would guess who the 1-6 would be for the race of the following week. If you got one right (or more) you would get the points allocated for that place i.e. 10 for 1st, 6 for 2nd etc. Nowadays the points system has changed but the idea is the same. If you ended up guessing everything right for the week, people would send you something from their city/country - a postcard a trinket etc.

The admin did not want us to continue this game so we left and created our own forum. The best part is that I most probably know and have met around 80% of the people in the forum. Regular meetings, phone calls etc. so it is more of a family than anything else :)
I wonder how gracious vB would have been in giving support, if they knew you were just using vB as a gateway for importing your forums to XF. :D
No matter what they would have thought, they are obliged to give support since the license is paid for (and it was the vb4 license after the fiasco with the prices).