Upgrading a forum for the nervous or doubtful...
I’ve posted this in response to a PM from @Smitty
Of course, if anyone notices glaring errors, or quicker steps I’ve missed, do please say.
So you want to upgrade Vanilla, but either:
you tried and something went wrong you are just too worried about breaking your forum
The following suggestions assume:
you can access phpMyAdmin can backup your forum database you can ftp files to your server
Always backup your live database before you try to make any changes.
Copy your forum folder Copy your forum database (in PHPMyadmin, go to your forum database, and choose Operations) In config.php in your copied forum folder, change the name of the database to your copied database name. Delete the ini files in the folder cache (don’t delete the Smarty folder)
This should give you a working copy of your forum.
Log in and make some dummy entries just to make sure.
In your copied forum folder, follow the upgrade instructions.
Once that is complete, check that it is working by logging in and making some dummy entries.
Use a plugin like http://vanillaforums.org/addon/maintenance-plugin to let your forum users know it will be offline for a bit.
Change the database name in the config.php file of your copied forum to the name of your live forum database, and clear the cache files.
Rename your active forum folder, and give your copied forum folder the name of the original active forum folder.
Your updated forum should now be your live forum, with the original database.
Download the version of Vanilla you want to use, extract it, and ftp it to a folder on your server. Follow the installation instructions. Check it is working; create a test user, make a test post etc. Add in any plugins you use, and any customised themes.
Once it looks just like you want,
change the database in config.php to match your live database. Delete the ini files in your cache folder.
Check that it shows your live forum properly.
Rename your active forum folder, and give your new forum folder the name of the original active forum folder.
Bam. You’re done.