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Best practice for going from v2.1 to v3.3?

It's been a very long time, the forum in question has been pretty much unmaintained since it has been setup in 2013, though it's still working properly and likely just needs a template and database cleanup (I guess a lot of cruft has been added to the database because of many deleted users = spammers).

Ideally I would want to setup a new site and import settings, users, posts and attachments, but it doesn't seem to be possible in any easy way, or is it?

So what would be the recommended way to bring such an old version to the year 2020?

Simply trying to upgrade with the latest version or incremental upgrades from one subversion to the next?

If going the upgrade route instead of a new installation, what would be the recommended steps to clean up crufty files and database entries?

In hope that that forum can be saved and brought back up-to-date instead of moving on to a different forum software (as some members of that forum suggested).


  • @Kaspar, that looks like a plan.

    The OP of that mentioned thread mentions "migration guides". Any idea which guides that would be?

    Other than that I guess I will just have to make a copy of the original database and start playing around with it. I'll report back if I should hit a wall.

    Any further suggestions are nevertheless highly appreciated.

  • R_JR_J Ex-Fanboy Munich Admin

    I think this is the guide referenced: https://success.vanillaforums.com/kb/articles/158-upgrading

    I have updated several installations and always updated directly to the most current version without installing any intermediate versions. That always worked flawless.

    The big advantage with that approach is that you do not have to shut down your live forum, experiment with it as long as it might take and then "re-open" the forum. 1. You can take all the time you need to see if you can get the current Vanilla version up and running, 2. config pretty urls, 3. make sure you have installed all php extensions 4. copy the /uploads folder and then, when you feel comfortable, with a downtime of at max 15 minutes, you can switch your forum to the current version by a) changing db, b) run /utility/update and c) just to be sure: copy the /uploads folder again. BAM! You've got a sweet updated forum.

    There is one thing which was seen as a major inconvenience by some: your users will have to reset their password after that update, but personally I would consider that even as a minor annoyance.

    As to cleaning up the database: I don't believe that this is really needed. Even if you can delete 1000 "deleted" spam-accounts, that would make no difference to the database server.

    Crufty files? if they are outside of the /uploads folder, then they are gone after the update. If they are in the uploads folder, then it is not advisable to change anything. You might delete referenced files.

    Although I'm still a fan boy of Vanilla, I would advice to get in contact with the forum users. Are there only a few users who simply prefer other forum scripts? If not and there are many people who are not satisfied with the forum, why is that? Would an upgrade really solve their issues?

  • @R_J, thanks for all the info. I'll have a look and start playing around with the upgrade as soon as I find the time.

    I the upgrade to the latest version of Vanilla works out fine, I see no reason to move on to another forum software (it has just been mentioned by a few members who are still used to phpBB based forums, but Vanilla has always been a perfect fit for our niche subject).

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