XF 1.2 Partial import from vBulletin, possible?


Active member
We're getting ready to migrate over to XenForo from vBulletin 3.8.
I've succefully migrated over to a test install, and I'm formulating the 'bigswitch' plan.
(This is just a trial run)

Basically I plan to
Install XenForo in a new folder and import all from vBulletin as per the guides.
Set up XenForo as much as possible, permissions, addons, etc etc.

While I'm doing this setting up, obviously our forum is still going to be live. There will be no structural changes, just more posts and threads really (Any user customisation during this time will be negligable).

To overcome this are three possible solutions :

1. Import all, set the new forum up and get it open and switched as soon as possible, ditching any posts made in-between.
2. Import all, set the new forum up, take a backup of all the newly modified XenForo tables except those pertaining to posts and threads.
Drop all tables from XenForo
Reimport all from vBulletin again
Insert the modified XenForo table backups from above
3. Import all, set the new forum up, drop the posts and threads tables, then run the import script again, hoping there will be an option to just import just posts and threads.

Make sense? Waffled too much? :D

PS. We've got 60,000 users, 600,000 threads and 6m posts so all three options are looking to take a bit of time, hence my worry of offline time :)


Active member
Excellent, cheers (to both of you) :)
Im giving the plugin above a test, however if that doesn't work as well as I hope...

..Would step 2 or 3 be possible? Just manually reinserting the tables that have already been imported and worked fine.

Jake Bunce

XenForo moderator
Staff member
You are describing an incremental import. That is not supported.

The source forum should be turned off during the import to prevent new posts. Downtime is a reality of running an import.

With 6M posts the downtime will be quite a while. You might consider using this CLI importer to speed things up if downtime is a problem for you.


Though this CLI importer does require more effort and expertise to use.


Active member
Thanks, that's what I was looking at :)
I understand an actual incremental import per-se isn't supported.
How about a 2-stage import perhaps? Import all except users, threads and posts. Set the forum up, then import them.

I understand there's going to be some downtime with this. I'm just wondering how people like digitalpoint etc with massive forums have (or plan to) migrate over in this way. Surely there must be some sort of mid-point where they set up the new forum, permissions, usergroups, and everything else that isn't imported over 'as is'.
There's quite a bit of work to do even with importing from a relatively untouched default vb install, so I'd have thought they can't do *all* this customisation and checking during the downtime?

Cheers :)


Well-known member
I'm just wondering how people like digitalpoint etc with massive forums have (or plan to) migrate over in this way.
I built a custom importer for our migration that cut the time down from days to about an hour of downtime.

This is what we used (check the bottom of the CODE block to see how fast it exported everything from vBulletin): https://marketplace.digitalpoint.com/a-r-f-i-a-really-fast-vb4-importer.908/item

The "Big Board Importer" that Jake linked to is based on the one I made for migrating digitalpoint.com...

So yeah... that's how it's done with minimal downtime. :)
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Active member
Yeah I did read that (and actually briefly thought about upgrading to vb4 before porting over :D).
My worry is having a clean / proper set of permissions after import.
The builtin vb3 importer (as hooked into by Waindigo) imported all the data required, but there are some tweaks we need to make.

Firstly are usergroups. There's only one moderating usergroup on XenForo, two on vB (Mods & Supermods....we only use Supermods). That can be sorted by the group ID assignments in the config of course. (In the Big Board Importer).
Things like usergroup promotions. They didn't get carried over (we only have two so Im happy setting those up).
But the main thing is permissions. Obviously the set up is different at XenForo, so I've laboriously gone through and sorted all the usergroup permissions and the forum permissions for usergroups too. (Which took a while).
Smilies and all that extraneous stuff can be done by hand or plugin I suppose. Not that hard.

So did you customise and check *everything* during your downtime or was there any pre-work done?


Well-known member
I set up user groups in XF new and then the importer maps old to new user group ID. I wanted to set them up manually since there was a bunch of stuff that is completely different in vB vs. XF so it was also a good way to familiarize myself with the permissions system.


Active member
Ahhh, so you set up the new usergroup and their permissions before import?
Did the importer not bring any such usergroup permissions over? (Im hoping now).

Thanks for the replies, I'm learning a hell of alot doing this :)
(BTW I purchased the Big Board Importer earlier).


Well-known member
Right... User groups were set up manually beforehand and mapped old to new in the import. There are so many differences in the user groups between vB and XF that even if they were imported as much as possible, you still would want to go in and review each one and set the stuff that had no corresponding option in vB. At that point it just seemed easier to create them manually beforehand since you'd have to go in and manually edit each one regardless.


Active member
Excellent, that's what I was aiming for. I'm going through a test import now on my local server. Just editing Export.php
Done most values (I think), just looking through the custom profile fields bit. Wouldn't mind making use of that.