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Migrating vBulletin in to existing Invision Community?


jaeitee

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Looking for some ideas...

I would like to bring over an old vBulletin 3.x forum and merge all the members and content in to an existing Invision Community.  Essentially bringing over the existing forums, posts and members.  There will be cases where members on the target website already exist as they were members of both sites.

How would you suggest I approach this?

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Will reiterate that you'll want to test, test, test. When you're done that, test some more. I'd recommend creating a test install and inviting members that are in both communities and those that are only in one or or the other to be involved in the testing process to help find issues. We did a very large vBulletin 3.8.x to IPS conversion and in spite of many tests, we still were surprised by some issues when we moved the production site. Those issues have since been reported and presumably fixed by IPS, yet I can't overemphasize the importance of testing and of engaging your most passionate members in the process to help manage that change.

One of the things you'd want to test for something like this is how links from the existing vBulletin install are redirected by IPS, if this is a concern for you. Redirecting old URLs like example.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12345 is handled by the converter, yet if you are merging multiple vBulletin communities into a single IPS, I imagine that this will be trickery.

I'm not sure the URL redirection scheme considers thread 12345 from two installs and redirects to the right place. May not be an issue for you, but I'd test it first.

Consider firstvbulletininstallsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12345 vs. secondvbulletininstall.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12345. How would IPS know which converter to look at when trying to match old thread 12345 with whatever ID it ended up with in IPS?

If you only have one vBulletin instance to worry about ever, then this is not a problem for you.

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39 minutes ago, Rhett said:

When you run a conversion, it will use the email address to match up accounts and merge them if they are the same.

Thanks Rhett, appreciated.

 

Quote

One of the things you'd want to test for something like this is how links from the existing vBulletin install are redirected by IPS, if this is a concern for you. Redirecting old URLs like example.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12345 is handled by the converter, yet if you are merging multiple vBulletin communities into a single IPS, I imagine that this will be trickery.

I'm not sure the URL redirection scheme considers thread 12345 from two installs and redirects to the right place. May not be an issue for you, but I'd test it first.

Consider firstvbulletininstallsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12345 vs. secondvbulletininstall.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12345. How would IPS know which converter to look at when trying to match old thread 12345 with whatever ID it ended up with in IPS?

If you only have one vBulletin instance to worry about ever, then this is not a problem for you.

Thanks, I'll see what the import generates as both communities are just shy of 20 years old so preserving some of the inbound links is valuable.  
The import is going to consist of around 2M posts and 30,000 members so testing will be essential 🙂 

 

37 minutes ago, Miss_B said:

Thanks, looks like I'll need to upgrade the version of vBulletin first as it's still on an earlier version of 3.

 

Appreciate the replies, thank you to all.

Edited by N4H
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Just now, Paul E. said:

We were able to upgrade from the latest version of vBulletin 3.8. Not sure if there's a particular 3.x requirement, but we did not have to upgrade to 4 or 5 first.

From @Miss_B's link above it seems 3.8 is supported, it's currently on 3.6 so I'll upgrade to 3.8 and then import to the test site.

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Hi @jaeitee given that you have an existing Invision Community installation:

1.  Prepare the existing Invision Community installation by making sure it's on the latest version.  Same thing with your vBulletin installation.  You also want to create a test copy and a back-up copy at every major step.  

2.  You should make sure that your membergroups are set-up correctly for the 'combined' installation, since you will need to map those permissions during the import.  

3.  Run some test migrations if needed.

 

Some other notes:

1.  You can check out this blog post that I wrote with real experiences of vBulletin clients switching to IPS.  The members that I interviewed are actually all real and active members of the community. (One of them was active ... 18 min ago!)

 

2.  In terms of community strategy, you want to communicate, communicate, communicate.  Invite over your superusers in a private access test; send out blast emails, send out notifications, share screenshots, send instructions, etc.  Then repeat again as you get closer to the actual migration.  As Rhett mentioned above, any accounts that share the same email will be merged, so don't be afraid of inviting over members to preview and acclimate themselves to the new community.  

3.  This is totally up to you and how much of a hoarder you are 🙂, but you might want to think about cleaning out your vBulletin database.  Delete old topics, remove outdated instructions and how-tos, revert to vanilla, etc.  

4.  For the migration itself, you can ask IPS to do it as a paid service, a third-party provider do it as a paid service, or yourself.  For list of third-party providers (and then filter by Data Conversion): https://invisioncommunity.com/third-party/providers/

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Genuinely thankful to everyone for the advice.
Managed to convert from the old vB 1,700,000 posts, 160,000 discussions and 30,000 members.
It did take a while 😂

 

On 8/14/2020 at 4:49 AM, Joel R said:

2.  In terms of community strategy, you want to communicate, communicate, communicate.  Invite over your superusers in a private access test; send out blast emails, send out notifications, share screenshots, send instructions, etc.  Then repeat again as you get closer to the actual migration.  As Rhett mentioned above, any accounts that share the same email will be merged, so don't be afraid of inviting over members to preview and acclimate themselves to the new community.  

Something i'm trying to work out.  Communicating via social channels etc and on the existing community is easy, ideally I want to mail blast the whole community to let them know however I'm also aware the consequences of receiving a heap of bounce back emails etc due to the age of the accounts.  This is something that may have to be done on a throwaway VPS acting as a mail relay vs getting a sendgrid account suspended so I can initially clean up the userbase.

 

On 8/14/2020 at 4:49 AM, Joel R said:

3.  This is totally up to you and how much of a hoarder you are 🙂, but you might want to think about cleaning out your vBulletin database.  Delete old topics, remove outdated instructions and how-tos, revert to vanilla, etc.  

I reached out to the previous owners to acquire it so I could bring back 20 years of content and history as it had been offline for months.
 So hoarder is an understatement 😂

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