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Converting from existing forum to Simple Machines SMF Forum Tutorial

Currently using other forum program and but Want to convert to SMF forum ? SMF encourage the use of it's forum program with a growing list of handy forum board converters, if you are currently using other popular open source forum board and want to convert your forum to SMF, likely there is already a converter available.

Preparing for the conversion

Before doing anything, backup your mysql database and current forum program folder, the conversion process is quite automated but we have to prepare for the worst, in case anything bad happen and you need a quick restore, you have your backups ready.

Install a new SMF forum board

Before converting your existing forum to SMF, we will have to first install a new empty SMF forum in a separate program folder (i.e. your current forum program folder is forum and SMF is in smf) but using the same database as your current existing forum (two sets of tables in one database, one set for your existing forum with data, a second new empty set will be created by SMF installation process, each set of tables with have it's unique table prefix, i.e. SMF uses 'smf_' for all it's tables by default), not to worry if this will corrupt your forum data, as SMF creates it's own tables with 'smf_' prefix by default, if it happens that your current forum board also uses 'smf_' as table prefix, you can manually change the SMF table prefix to a unique name during the installation.

Now, follow the manually install SMF forum guide to setup a new SMF forum in your hosting account.

NOTE: In the installation process, skip the create new database step and make sure when entering the MySQL Database information in the installation process, you are entering the mysql database name, user and password that your current forum board are using to connect to it's database.

Start conversion

After getting a new SMF forum created, you can proceed on to the actual conversion process :-

  1. Download the appropriate forum converter from official smf site
  2. extract and upload the file to the new SMF program folder smf
  3. in your web browser, enter the URL to the converter script http://www.yourdomain.com/smf/convert.php
  4. You will be presented with a form with path to your new SMF program folder, and the path to the old forum board (you must enter the correct path), and the password to connect to the mysql database, fill in and check all the values to ensure the are correctly entered, hit continue to proceed
  5. conversion script will check the values entered and if there is no error, the conversion will start
  6. The conversion process may take some time depending on the size of your database (basically it is dumping out data from your existing forum tables, change the data structure to suit SMF, and then import it back to the corresponding SMF tables), be patience and watch the status screen
  7. If there is no errors requiring manual attention, the conversion is done when the status bar reaches 100%

After conversion

After successfully converted the forum, be sure to remove the install.php and convert.php script from your SMF program folder, check through everything to ensure all are converted properly. If everything is ok, you can opt to remove the old forum program folder as well as the old forum database tables (be careful not to remove the wrong tables that is used by your SMF forum).