Upgrading from Vbulletin V4.2.3 to XenForo

TransAmDan

New member
I havn't purchased XenForo yet, just wanted to check a few things first. The layout is very nice and clean, and looks to have all the benefits we are after.

I have PHP 7.3.9 and MySQL 5.5.62, so meet the min requirements. The forum has CMS, Blogs, Calender, Photo Gallery, and Forum posts.

I guess the forum posts would be a fairly straight forward import. What about images that are embedded in the posts, do they import okay?
CMS and Blogs, do they get imported into a forum category?
Photo Gallery, can I import these too? have over 10k photos from various cars shows from many members, so wont be easy to get people to re-upload.
Calender, I see there is a plugin available for this, I can manually add entries, not too concerned about an import for that.

Many Thanks
Dan.
 

gerryvz

Active member
I did a vB 4.2.4 import earlier this year to XF 2.1, and it went quite well. Images were preserved and included in the posts. The posts came across wonderfully. XF has an excellent redirect add-on, which allows the old vB forum URLs to redirect to the new XF forum URLs (given the different formats of the URLs of the two forums). There is an import table in the XF database that supports this.

There is an importer for the vB 4.x photo gallery to the XF Media Gallery add-on, which works pretty well.

I'm not so sure about the CMS and blogs. I had the CMS on vB but didn't really use it.
 

frankdavis

Member
I used the importer for the forum as well just a few weeks ago and everything came over very nicely and it was easy.
I now bought the media addon so Im interested to know if I can run the importer to pull all the user albums over as well?
 

stevenavery

New member
And I am considering pretty much the same. My forum has been used as a research blog.
www.purebibleforum.com vBulletin 4.2.5

When my vBulletin was on Liquid Web, it had a couple of real gltiches, especially one that could lose a whole thread and make it into a nothing white. This could happen with threads with a lot of pics. I never tried really intensive troubleshooting as it was rare and I had some "Save" methods that limited the damage.

And I moved to Siteground and now it has some sort of PHP discordance, 7.1 does not work at all and 5.6 gets into a rendering problem with codes showing in edit mode. All very strange. I was thinking of spending $$ on a vBulletin professional to try to sort it out, but if Xenforo does a nice forum import, I should go that route first. I would have zero plans for going to vBulletin 5 or expanding the forum anyway. As far as I can tell, all the database is structurally sound on the vBulletin. We did add the Cloudflare firewall to stop some bot-hacker 10s of thousands of visits.

Presumably I might have to rig-a-jig some stuff? Do secret forums (mostly just personal notes and communications) lose their settings?

Once I get on Xenforo I might greatly expand the forum!
Also a separate biz account on Word-Press Woo-Commerce might want to have a separate forum. (Rather than rinky-dink WordPress plugin forums.)

And I know some tech stuff, can do the FTP stuff, should I hire a couple of hours help or just try first? Presumably I will not be touching the vBulletin during the import, just copying files. .

And I do like Siteground, are they held in decent esteem in Xenforo world? I will check this forum for some sense on web hosts. To be clear, Siteground did do a free import successfully from Liquid Web and has been very helpful in troubleshooting, however there is just so far they can go, for now it is just a shared server account. They are Bulgarians with fine Ticket support and good English on voice discussions. (Liquid Web does not have any inexpensive shared server accounts, I respect them also and my biz account is there.)

vBulletin was a bit frustrating on the whole thing about allowing moderated new members, and not getting either a ton of bogus spam members, or a ton of bogus first posts, or even a ton of posts in the moderation queue. I know this is a common forum problem, I hope Xenforo is a bit cleaner and clearer in this realm.

======

And I do not mind USA and Canada individual forum-savvy pro folks (not agencies) contacting me here (if that works) or on my Facebook Messenger, if you think you might be a good fit. While I might need you only for an hour or two, as we know, good help is hard to find and one thing leads to another!

Steven
 
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gerryvz

Active member
I did my XFMG import from my vBulletin 4.2.4 a couple of months after I did the main forum import, and it was fine. I know that XF has made some improvements to the XFMG importer this year, but after I did mine, to make it even better.

There are a number of threads here on this forum about how folks did their imports from vB. I did mine probably the most radical way possible -- from one domain on a hosted site to a VPS with a new domain with another, different provider.

The most important thing you can do is the planning, up front. The planning, and 2-3 "test" imports, will be invaluable in working out the bugs and kinks in the process. The XF importer from vBulletin 4.X handles the actual import very nicely and accurately, as long as it is set up correctly. Doing a couple of "test" imports is imperative !!

I found the biggest issue was post-migration -- going methodically through the new forum's settings and tweaking them so that they were essentially the same as the old forum. This takes some doing, as the settings are different than vB, and found in different places. In some ways, vB was better in this regard, and in other ways, XF is better. It's more a matter of familiarity with vB and how it is set up and does things, and then having to "re-learn" a lot of things with XF. Generally XF is more flexible, but there is a learning curve with the admin control panel and settings.

Again, I found that XF brought over most of the user groups and settings and permissions pretty well from vB, but I still definitely had to go through things after the migration, sometimes multiple times.

Another thing is that you will want to research and add some "add-ons" to add functionality that was previously found "stock" in vBulletin. Things like "who visited this thread" "who visited this forum today" "most users who visited ever" and that type of thing.

Lastly, I HIGHLY recommend, if you are using a VPS, buying and implementing the XenForo Enhanced Search add-on. This requires installing Java and the ElasticSearch engine on your VPS, but this is a really neat add-on that beats anything that vB ever had, hands down. I used Google Custom Search on my vB install, and I find ElasticSearch is better. There are a couple of add-ons from well-established developers (you can find them on this forum) that also provide additional enhancements to ElasticSearch, which are fully customizable and configurable and very nice additions.

I hope this was helpful. This forum's members and the XF moderators (such as @Brogan) and developers have always been super accessible, super helpful, and super fast at providing advice and support. Even technical questions!! I also find that 80% of the time, the questions that I have, have already been asked/answered. Most recently, I had a member in Australia, named @Sim, assist me with implementing a block storage volume to offload all of my file/image attachments off of my main VPS SSD drive. @Sim went out of his way, after giving me the pointers I needed based on his own experience, to write up a highly detailed and illustrated tutorial on the topic, and post it here.

So there is a LOT of information here that will answer just about any question you have. Here is one such thread, of many.

 
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gerryvz

Active member
One other thing to note for vB users migrating over to XF -- there are some important differences for a few key concepts.

For example, "PMs" (private messages) in vB do not exist the same way in XF. In XF they are "conversations" and in some ways are more flexible than the PM concept -- PMs can be considered more of an "e-mail" model, while conversations are more of a private discussion model that you drift in and out of, bring others into and out of, and so forth.
 

stevenavery

New member
I'm getting ready to move, working with trying a transport from Siteground to Siteground, or Linode or one of the others (RoseHosting, HostPapa, LiquidWeb, etc) which will be a VPS.

While Linode starts their VPS at $5 that is very lean, so it would probably be $20 or more, which is still reasonable. Plus maybe extra for backup (is there a good Xenforo plugin like there is in WordPress?) and firewall. On firewall I expect to pay $15-20 a month.

Any recommendations on where to find a vBulletin to Xenforo savvy pro?
USA or Canada, not an agency.

Appreciate all the comments above.
Since my forum has no plug-ins or auxiliary features, that should help keep it simple.

My hope is to totally can the old vBulletin forum, other than any backups made, just in case.

My preference is to do this in the next few days. I do have to buy the license, and also set up the hosting account, if not Siteground. On that my migration help person might have some input. For simplicity I would think my little Siteground account could be used for the initial migration on home-base, and then after awhile switch if the $$$ are a big savings over a Siteground VPS. From what I see on this forum, I should be VPS very quickly, to allow proper tweaking and plug-ins and such.
 
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gerryvz

Active member
I use the Linode VPS 80GB that is $20 a month, with a 75GB block volume attached. Plus $5 a month for backup. Why not just use the Linux firewall (I use ufw)? Linode is great and other folks are saying that Vultr is even better from a performance perspective.

You really can do this yourself, you don't need to hire anyone. Both Linode and Digital Ocean have great HOW-TO docs for starting up yourself. I used Linode's extensively and they worked well. I started from scratch.
 

stevenavery

New member
I use the Linode VPS 80GB that is $20 a month, with a 75GB block volume attached. Plus $5 a month for backup. Why not just use the Linux firewall (I use ufw)? Linode is great and other folks are saying that Vultr is even better from a performance perspective.
All good suggestions, thanks! I do want the firewall to easily say "no China" "no Singapore" and stuff like like. If I can save $200 a year with a more generic firewall, great! Or maybe do the fancy one for a month or two.

You really can do this yourself, you don't need to hire anyone. Both Linode and Digital Ocean have great HOW-TO docs for starting up yourself. I used Linode's extensively and they worked well. I started from scratch.
Did you migrate or start a new Xenforo?

It seems to me that some professional help gives peace-of-mind and consultation on a migration. Thus, I plan to contact shortly the two gentlemen referenced.

And I will add Vultriand Digital Ocean to my host potential list, although right now the Linode, as you have, looks fine.

The migration could be done all in Siteground first, if there is no need for OS tweaking. Then off to the VPS races.
 
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gerryvz

Active member
I migrated. My forum is pretty small (at the time of migration around 9,000 members, 12,500 threads and 175,000 posts total).

I have been super happy with Linode. Their support has been very fast and top-notch.
 

AndrewSimm

Active member
I migrated from vB 4.2.4 with VBCMS. I had a little over 3M posts and 13K members at the time. I used the XF importer and use LiquidWeb for hosting. I did tests imports and overall the process was pretty seamless. I created my own articles system and was able to migrate my articles over via a SQL script.
 

Dan Blather

Member
I converted from vBulletin 4, and the conversion process went smoothly. The only issue I had -- avatars that were in the database didn't convert over. I host my site in Liquid Web, and a lot of the performance and reliability issues I was having with vBulletin went away with XenForo.
 

stevenavery

New member
Yes, even with my small research forum, the occasional serious glitch like a white page replacing a thread really hurt my vBulletin confidence.

No avatars in mine, afaik, if there are from posters they can be gone. Most of the forum is my research.

So looking forward to Xenforo. This should bring forth an expansion in use, including inviting over the Facebook crew, where groups, which are like forums, have real visibility and formatting minuses.

We use Liquid Web for the biz company, www.privatebullion.com . :) WooCommerce with WordPress. It will likely be a month or two before considering a forum. LW is top-notch in tech support.
 
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