How to import data from Vbulletin to XenForo

import data from vbulletin to xenforo

Vbulletin ruled whole forum market for around a decade after its launch in 2000. But the technologies and software’s change with the passage of time and those who are lazy to upgrade or adopt the innovations are treated badly by the people who pay. Right after the launch of XenForo in 2011 same thing happened with Vb, We saw a rapid increase in people searching for ‘How to import data from vbulletin to Xenforo’. Vbulletin started receiving criticism for being slow and poor customer support, XenForo on the other hand introduced a secure software with amazing support and extensions. But if you have landed on this page, I am sure you are familiar with these things. Lets go straight to the correct way recommended to import data from Vbulletin to XenForo.

Steps to import data from Vbulletin to XenForo

Converting vbulletin seems to be straight forward process, But still at times you may find yourself in an unpredictable situation. Before i take you straight at the importers and stuff. I would like to show you what to plan before taking this decision.

  1. Do you have custom addons developed for your Vbulletin forum that you think are important for your community? They would not be imported to XenForo unless you find some addon already developed by XenForo developers. I would recommend search for such addons in XenForo resource manager. Otherwise you would have to go for custom development and custom importer to import data related to that addon. Also you should consider costs for custom development. This step is important when you plan to import data from Vbulletin to XenForo.

  2. Do you need a custom style? There are some awesome themes available in XenForo RM. You can also go for custom style development to adopt the existing color scheme that was used at your Vbulletin forum.

  3. What are your forum statistics? If you have a big forum you should have a good server to run and test the imports before actual transition. Fast servers help you to import data in less time. You can rent out a server for some days to run a test import if you think your current server is not fast enough.

  4. Directly import data at live site? NO. You should clone your live forum first at a dev url without messing up your live site. Take a backup and make clone. Run the import process there, note down total time and test the imported data to make sure you get what you expected.

  5. Do you like to miss some content? Once you have checked the imported data, and have got the necessary addons and style to be used at XenForo next step is to take your new software live in front of your users. Because the data that you used at test site would be some days old,and you have got new registrations at the forum,members are creating new content. You should discard the old import and take backup of your live site. Remember, We noted the total import time in step 4? Inform your members about this transition and turn off your live forum for that amount of time.

  6. How to go live? If you have turned off your site and have completed the import. Install the addons and style that you chose in step 1 and 2. Analyze the permissions, rebuild master data and test everything once again. Once tested, you are ready to surprise your members. The purpose of step 4 was to make sure your surprise your members and not your members surprising you :).

  7. Is everything done? NO, when you plan to import data from Vbulletin to XenForo you can never miss big G. Yes, google and link juice. You have to get appropriate url redirects prepared and upfront right after you go live. You would not afford to miss those links. Because XenForo’s url structure is different than that of Vbulletin you have to arrange redirects to be added in .htaccess. Also there are different types of redirects if you are using some SEO addons at vbulletin like Dbseo,Vbseo etc. Those redirects are written in xenforo community at different places. I am writing a new post very soon to arrange those redirects in a single page alongwith those that i have written for my clients.

These were some of the steps to be followed before you plan to import data from vbulletin to XenForo, Now lets go deep into technical things of import. If you are doing that import by yourself you should be able to handle pretty much everything.

Default importer to import data from Vb to Xf

XenForo 1 had built in importers that came with the default package. But for XenForo 2 you have download them from your customers area. After installation of the importer follow these steps:

  • Go to Admin->Tools->Import data. Here you will see different systems to import from.
import data from vbulletin to xenforo
  • Select your vbulletin version and press continue button. You will see this image on next page. Fill up the information, This is your vbulletin configuration details, like vb database credentials and table prefix etc. If you are not sure about table prefix, find that in your vbulletin config file includes/config.php. Search for table prefix. You will also need to add your attachments directory path. Add either absolute path or relative path like. “../vbulletin/attachments” OR “var/www/html/vbulletin/attachments’ depending upon your directory name. You should also retain content ids to use them later on. It is important.
import data from vbulletin to xenforo
  • Once the configuration details are correct. It will take you directly to the import steps. There are various steps that should be triggered. Some steps like Users and Threads etc would take time, But they would import everything for sure.
import data from vbulletin to xenforo
  • As mentioned in the above image, Once all the steps are triggered, you can press complete import button. Do not run that before running all the steps.
  • Finally, rebuild caches and search index. Search index can be rebuld using this url: Admin Panel -> Tools -> Rebuild Caches.

Thats all, if everything went smooth, you can see all your data imported from vbulletin to XenForo now. You can test the permissions and other things now.

Some important points related to Import

  • You should retain content ids of imported data to make sure you have a record of the import. That would be used by developers who code custom addons for you.

  • You can continue importing from the same step where you left if you accidentally close your browser tab.

  • Do not press complete import button before the necessary steps, Otherwise you will get a partial import and there is no way to restore that import.

  • For custom addons data import. Search for some importers that are already written by developers and use them. For example, i wrote these importers to import data from Vbulletin to xenforo: Dto Garage to XenForo Showcase addon

  • Final point is to test everything and take backups of your Vbulletin and XenForo forum after data import, so that you do not lose anything.

If you feel overwhelmed by the complete process and are completely new to such things. Consider hiring a developer to handle these things for you. You can also get in touch with me to handle your complete import. I develop custom addons and themes for XenForo you can read more about me as a xenforo developer.


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