From test site to live installation.


Active member
I'm getting ready to make the switch to xenforo from vbulletin 3.8.2, but I'm a bit confused about starting with a test site and then taking it live.

Let me start by saying I'm not a computer person. I have a vbulletin forum I started 5 years ago, and I've had all my upgrades handled by third parties, so the installation procedure is shrouded in the mists of antiquity. Translation: I don't have a clue how I did it in 2006.

What I want to do is install a test forum first, get it cofigured the way I want, then take it live. So what's the best way to proceed? My forum is very active, so I want to make sure all my data makes it in to the live site. Can I work on the xenforo test site while I'm still running my site on vbulletin? And if I import data to the xenforo test site -- just to make sure it's running properly, etc. -- will it still exist in the vbulletin site? Then what do I do to keep a test site (for testing things) but take the actual xenforo site live, with up to date data? Also, I have someone who's going to redesign the xenforo site so it fits in with the rest of my web site. But if they do this on the test site, how can I make sure everything transfers to the real site?

Hope this isn't too confusing. Thanks for your help.


XenForo moderator
Staff member
Import guidelines are here:

Ultimately, prior to going live you will need to import the latest data from your vB site, into a clean/empty XenForo database.

Importing data has no effect on the source site or database, your existing installation will continue to operate normally.

Styles can be exported and imported, so you can work on it on the test site and export/import it to your live installation.


Well-known member
Right before you do the actual upgrade, you should close your vB installation, which will ensure that you have a full copy of the database at that time (as opposed to keeping it live when you start importing, and thus missing things that were added to the vB forum during the import).

Once your XenForo installation is live, you could create a backup of the new XF database, create a new folder to hold your test site in, password protect it, and set up a new database for that, based on the backup you created just before.

If you need any additional help, there are third parties offering all kinds of services who might be able to help you out. You can find those services offered here: