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SMF Conversions - To and From Various Forums

This article will try to help you make it easier to convert TO and/or FROM SMF to another forum such as phpBB, myBB, etc. Please remember that all forums are coded differently, have different mods/addons/extensions, different themes/styles/skins/, and different ways to install all of those. It may not work with all types of forums but should help you easy the process. These are things I've leared on my journey converting SMF 2.0.7 to phpBB 3.0.12. The things explained here are of general purpose and should be used with most (if not all) types of conversions. For the purpose of this tutorial, the following terms will be used:

1.  Themes = themes, skins, styles

2.  Mods = mods/addons/extensions

PLEASE SEE THE SUPPORT TOPICS ARE YOUR ORIGINAL FORUM'S SUPPORT SITE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON YOUR PARTICULAR FORUM THAT YOU WISH TO CONVERT FROM!!! I.E., if you wish to convert from myBB to SMF then read the support topics at myBB support forums FIRST and ask any questions there you may have as well as any issues that may arise! It would also be a good idea to read support topics of the forum you wish to convert to as well BEFORE you begin the conversion process! Checking at both places will alert you to any problems you may face and possibly how to deal with them.

Please know this... Any mods, themes, or custom or otherwise modified custom code will not work after the conversion and may cause problems with the conversion! You MUST remove all mods, themes, custom code modifications BEFORE you begin your forum conversion process!!!

Preliminary Precautions: Do these things first!!!

1.  BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP!!! Backup your database using phpmysql's export tool or another very reliable database export tool. - Note that you can make a cPanel backup which will backup your files and database IF you have cPanel installed on your server.

2.  BACKUP your files...all of them! - Note that you can make a cPanel backup which will backup your files and database IF you have cPanel installed on your server. Your config file is the most import file you need to back up since it contains all of the information to connect to your server and forum. You will need it later in this process!

3.  Switch to the default or original theme your forum is installed with originally...when you first installed it. For instance, for SMF it is Curves theme, for phpBB it is prosilver style, etc.

4.  Switch ALL users to use that theme.

5.  Check your folders and files to see if they have the correct folder and file permssions for your server! I cannot stress this enough as it will make removing/uninstalling your mods and themes much easier! You may have to do this each time you remove/unistall something as some servers are not configured properly and may give a blank screen or a 500 Internal Server Error. Resetting the permissions may fix this. However, you may have to contact your hosting and ask them to do this for you. If you find yourself doing that a lot then you need much better hosting!!!

6.  Uninstall or manually remove all mods, even if they give errors. You can fix this easily later when you upload all new files.

7.  Uninstall or manually remove all themes. You should now have a forum with no mods or themes except for the default theme(s) that the forum comes with.

8.  Delete all files to get rid of any left behind code and upload new forum files for your forum's current version. Make sure that you are uploading the same files for the version you are already using. Or if you are not using the latest forum version, now would be a good time to upgrade the forum unless it will not work with the conversion tools you will be using. You do want to use a version that will work with the conversion tools you will be using.

9.  Upload your forum's config files. For SMF, it is Settings.php. For others, it is usually config.php.

10.  Upload repair_settings.php for SMF and run it to make sure everything is set properly.

11.  Test your forum to make sure it is working properly and you get no errors except for server errors due to your hosting. If you do find any errors you will need to fix them before continuing. You should now have a clean forum with no mods or themes but with the same users, posts, pm's, etc.

12.  I do suggest that you drop any database tables that are not part of the original forum's database. The extra tables are usually from mods that were installed. It may not be necessary to remove them but you will see less errors during the conversion. Again, this part is optional.

You are now ready to use the conversion tools needed to convert your forum!

Enjoy!!!