Upgrading from vbulletin 4.2 to xenforo


New member
I have a vbulletin 4.1.2 that's been suspended because it's sending out spam. I was told to upgrade since that version is suspectible to hacking bots. It's a small forum but because I can't upgrade to the vbulletin 4.5 or to 5 without paying $169 I'd rather switch to xenforo. My question is do I have to upload all my vbulletin files in my forum directory to my new shared host server and transfer the database? Or can I just transfer the database and install xenforo and upgrade my old posts from the mysql database?


Yes, If you have VB database, You can do migration to XF.
No need of VB files except images folder (containing attachments, avatars, smilies, thumbnails, signature pics and so forth) .
Last edited:


Well-known member
Basically all you need to do an upgrade is to have your vBulketin database and your images folder (containing attachments, avatars, smilies, thumbnails, signature pics and so forth) on your server, and accessible to the importer. The vBulletin importer will do the rest.
For best results you will need everything on the same server (vBulletin and XenForo).

there are numerous threads documenting people’s experiences with vB to XF migrations, so you should search here for them and learn from what people say before you start a migration.


New member
Thanks to you both. I had ran the pre-install script and my old host had some php items disabled and they won't enable it. My new host passed the php test script. So basically, I will read before I try to install and transfer, and will save the database on the new host and create a folder for the images, attachments, etc. Thanks! Last question: xenforo doesn't have a black friday special do they?

Oh, can someone point me to a link for detailed instructions on upgrading from vbulletin 4 to xenforo so I can study it.


Well-known member
XenForo has extensive instructions in their documentation area about upgrading, specifically from vB 4.x. You can find those here:

The greater XF manual is located here -- worth bookmarking. Your table of contents will be on the left side, to assist with topics. I printed out entire sections of this manual before I did my import:

There are a number of members here who are very helpful along these lines. @Brogan is one of them.

There are plenty of threads on the forum here about migrating from vB4 to XF. Do a search for them.

Here are a couple:

I see that the @Broganator has already replied before I hit the "Post" button.

Seriously though, 99% of any questions you could ask about migration, have already been asked (and answered) here on this forum.


Well-known member
I migrated from 4.0.6 to XenForo 8 years ago. Best decision regarding the forum, ever! :)

Just in case this helps:



New member
One more question after reading. At what point do I use the importer script? Let's say I run the installation, do I upload the importer files, and how do I start the importing when it's doing the installation? Or is the importing done after the clean install? Thanks


Well-known member
You create a virgin / new installation of XenForo. You add the "importer" add-on as part of that installation process (add-ons are installed after the forum software is installed and confirmed to be working OK).

Then you run the importer after the forum is initially set up (normally you don't want the forum to have any posts or user activity -- so it would be left "turned off" after the installation).

It's a sequential process. Get the forum installed, then any add-ons (i.e. the vBulletin importer, XenForo Media Gallery or Resource Manger if you have purchased them, XenForo Enhanced Search (if you've purchased it), or XenForo Redirects for vBulletin (highly recommended, and free).

Then proceed with the import.

Again, do a test XenForo install + import or three before you do it "for real." Delete your test installs after you've completed them. This is mainly to get the process down and to get a sense on how much time it will take to do the import/migration.

You will find that after the import is complete, it will take much MORE time to tweak the settings, permissions, and so forth. And you'll probably want to find other add-ons so that you can approximate the functionality / add-ons from your vBulletin installation. These types of add-ons can be done days, weeks, months after the fact.