Importing guidelines

Not open for further replies.


XenForo moderator
Staff member
Importing, although relatively straightforward, sometimes requires a few test runs to become familiar with the process and iron out any issues.

This simple guide aims to outline the basic steps and explain how to do multiple imports in the same installation, without ending up with duplicate data, or having to manually delete content, or worse, doing a clean installation and starting from scratch.

The first step is to install XenForo; refer to this section of the manual:

Once installed, configure the software as required; whether that be importing a style or creating your own, installing any add-ons, setting the options in the ACP, configuring permissions, etc.

If you intend to retain the IDs of the imported forum, do not create any content at all: categories, forums, user groups, members, threads, etc.
If you do, you will not be able to retain IDs due to duplicate entry errors.

The next step is the most important; take a backup of the XF database.
This backup will then be the clean master database, which can be used over and over again until you're ready to do the import for the final time.

You are then ready to do the import, which is explained in the manual here:

As is redirection:

Note that both forums must be on the same server when importing.
If they are not, copy the database and any uploaded files (avatars, attachments, etc.) from the source forum server to the server where XF is installed.
The actual files related to the software (VB, IPB, phpBB, etc.) are not required.

When doing the test imports, if you are importing from an active site, it is recommended to make a duplicate of it which is closed to visitors, and import from that. When you are ready to do the final import, you can close the active site and import directly from it.

Once you have done the import, if you wish to redo it, simply drop all of the tables from the XenForo database and import the clean master backup.
Then delete the attachments and avatar directories from the data directory and the attachments directory from the internal_data directory.

Your installation will then be as it was prior to importing and the import process can be started again.

If you do not perform the tasks above and do another import, you will end up with duplicate content: forums, threads, posts, avatars, and attachments.

To summarise, the basic steps are as follows:
  • install XF in a temporary directory (do not create any content - members, forums, threads, etc., at all)
  • install add-ons
  • install styles
  • set up the options, configuration, and style
  • take a backup of XF (this will be the clean master backup)
  • perform the import
  • check it all works as expected
  • restore from the backup if you need to do it again (optional, repeat as necessary)
  • archive/move/delete the old (VB/IPB/PHPBB) installation and move the XF installation to the desired location (presumably where the old installation was)
  • update the Board URL in the options
  • implement redirection scripts as required
  • enjoy
Not open for further replies.
Top Bottom