I had the hardest time doing this conversion mostly because one thing was not made clear up front – if you want to convert from Invisionfree (using IPB 1.1.3) to new software like Simple Machines Forum, then you have to have access to both databases on the same server.
This is an impossibilty for IF. Since it is a free hosting solution, you can’t have access to the database. In fact, the only way you can get your data is by paying for it and getting a raw SQL dump.
So, what to do?
In this article, I will detail what you need to do to migrate your data from IF to SMF. Know this upfront – it can be done and it can be done relatively easy if you know what you are doing. Here we go.
You will need the following:
- Data dump from IF board – explained in a moment
- IPB 1.1.3
- SMF 1.1.8
- Converter for SMF 1.1.8 to IF – zip file or tar.gz file
- An FTP program to upload files [Filezilla]
- A hosting option in place
You need to make sure that you have installed on your host:
- Phpmyadmin – to interface with the MySQL database (You should really have a hosting option in place that has either Phpmyadmin already installed for you or you have some kind of access to your SQL database)
Once you have all of these essential pieces, you are ready to go.
Step One – Getting Old Data
First of all, get your SQL dump from IF (Invisionfree). You will need to log into your admin cp and create a support ticket. There, ask to get the data dump for a conversion – the price will vary depending on the size of your board but it is a worthy investment. You worked hard to build your board, now it is time to get all that data together.
Once you go through PayPal and make your payment, post in your support ticket your confirmation number of the payment and stay on top of them to make sure you get your data as quickly as possible. Once you do this, I recommend that you also put your board offline so as to not acquire any new posts (you can always put a message up there saying you are migrating, etc.).
You will receive a URL with a link where your data is located. Navigate to that site and the copy and paste everything there into a .txt file. Save it to your harddrive so you have a backup copy.
Step Two – Setting up a Local Network
This next step is somewhat complicated but also very easy if you look at it in basic steps. What you are trying to accomplish here is creating a local network of sorts on your computer. This is where Xampp comes in. You have to install it and run it and make sure all components are working. I am going to assume you know how to do this, if not check out their documentation for help and support.
Once you get Xampp running on your computer, you will need to go into the MySQL portion of it and activate 2 databases (one for your SMF and one for your IPB). Make sure you retain the pertinent information (database name, user ID – should be ‘root’ and password – which whould be left alone).
Next, you will need to install both SMF 1.1.8 and IPB 1.1.3 on your computer under the Xampp system (you will need to paste the files you need for a fresh install under a folder in the Xampp file – something like “htdoc”)
Connect your SMF and IPB boards to their SQL dbs and complete installations. (If you are having trouble installing the IPB 1.1.3 software it is probably due to the fact that it was written for PHP 4.x, not 5.x. You may notice problems with the sm_install.php file, for example. Check out these links: sm_install.php fixes and other file source fixes.)
That completes the hardest part!
Step Three – Conversion on Local Machine
First, take your SQL data dump (the .txt file or .sql file you saved it under) and import it to your new database for your IPB 1.1.3. Using Phpmyadmin, all you have to do is log in and look for the SQL button, click it, and navigate to “Import”. Once there, click on “Browse” and upload your data. Click “Go” and let your computer do its thing. This may take a while if you have a large board. Once it is done and everything is uploaded, check out your board and make sure everything is there – tables and all. Your skin (theme, look of board) will not look the same as your old board (you are migrating from) because you just did a fresh install of IPB without uploading all those modifications you may have made.
Now you want to convert your data from IPB (IF) to SMF. You will need to take the converter you downloaded and upload it to the root folder where you have your SMF software located (ex: something like http://localhost/SMF…whereever you placed your root folder).
Navigate to /convert.php and you will see the page to convert from IPB 1.1.3 to SMF 1.1.8. Enter in the appropriate information (the program should auto-detect your server paths for both the SMF upload and the IPB upload). Click on the button at the bottom right to proceed.
The php file (convert.php) will automatically convert your IPB data into SMF. Once it is done, check out your local copy of SMF to make sure everything is there. Try logging in, etc. All there? Good. On to the final step!
Step Four – Uploading Converted Data
Now, to upload your newly converted data, you have got to get it off of your SMF local program. Easy. Navigate to Admin > Maintenance > Forum Maintenance > Backup Database.
Once you are there, you will want to make two copies of backup – one without a check being placed in the “Save the table structure” and one with a check IN “Save the table structure”. Use the latter to upload.
Final step – so pay attention. Navigate to your hosted SMF’s SQL database. Log in. Look for the “SQL” button (assuming you are using Phpmyadmin here, too) and look for that “Import” feature again. Click “Browse” and upload the COMPLETE backup you made from your local SMF program. Click “Go” and let it fly.
This should give you a brand new SMF board with YOUR DATA uploaded and ready to go. Check out the system, make sure everything is there. Once it is, go LIVE and live the good life!
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them here in the comment section. I’d like to thank all the independent developers out there in the open source world that made this kind of thing possible and easier to learn that perhaps we can acknowledge. I had to hunt and peck for my solutions which I stated here step by step – but most of this stuff was out there waiting to be accessed.