How to Migrate a phpBB Forum to WordPress and bbPress

Need to migrate a whole bunch of users and forum topics from phpBB to WordPress? Not a problem! Although the bbPress plugin for WordPress is still in beta, it’s approaching 20,000 downloads and is rapidly becoming one of the most popular ways to implement a forum on your WordPress site. If you’re coming over from phpBB, then migrating to WordPress + bbPress will deliver the same powerful forum experience that you’re used to, as well as complete flexibility in theming.

Migrate forum posts and users with the help of ForumConverter

The ForumConverter plugin was written to take your phpBB installation and migrate all of the data to the bbPress plugin. It handles all of the little details that made your forum community unique.

Features of the ForumConverter:

  • Reproducing the same forum tree structure for bbPress
  • Reproducing forum post using the same same user, timestamps, sticky flag
  • Allowing converted users to sign on using their existing phpBB password.
  • Converting between BBCode or native bbPress HTML markup
  • Supporting inline attachment conversion and whole topic/reply attachment conversion.
  • Migrating of instant messenger info, global moderator membership, and emails.
  • Password protected forums migration using the same phpBB password

The plugin has an admin page where you can easily enter the settings from your source forum and set your destination forum.

How to Use the ForumConverter plugin:

This is a plugin that is very powerful, but you’ll need to be careful with it. Part of the process includes destructive conversion to your existing WordPress/bbPress installation. This means that it deletes existing bbPress 2.0 posts, replies, and post meta and possibly users if it encounters an already existing WordPress user.

Step 1: Make a Complete Backup.
Just in case you don’t like how the conversion turns out or some data gets erased, you need to have a backup.

Step 2: Test the Conversion in a local development environment.
This step is highly recommended so that you know what you’re getting into and to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Step 3: Upgrade to the latest versions of both phpBB and the bbPress plugin.
Before you can take advantage of the ForumConverter plugin you must be running phpBB version 3.0.9 and bbPress 2.0 Beta 3.

Step 4: Install and Activate the ForumConverter plugin.
Configure the settings information for the source forum and then start the conversion. Refer to the plugin’s FAQ page if something is unclear. At the end of the process, you will delete the source forum username/password.

At this point you may be wondering whether or not you can safely deactivate the plugin when the process is complete. If you are using password protected forums or phpBB password features, you should not deactivate the ForumConverter. It needs to be active in order to ensure that phpBB password protected forums and phpBB login passwords work properly.

If you have a phpBB forum and you’re considering moving it over to WordPress, now is a great time. This plugin will help you to keep all of your data and users intact without inconveniencing your community. Download the ForumConverter plugin for free from the WordPress plugin repository.

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Comments (4)

  1. Thanks for this insightful article, Sarah!

    So here’s a question:
    Are there tools that allow forum migration beyond just these two (bbPress and phpBB?)

    I’m evaluating forum options for several clients.
    And it strikes me that it’s next to impossible to KNOW the best forum choice for oneself, at the outset.

    In the event that one wants to move forums, how can that be made possible?

    Thanks, Sarah!

    Bolaji.

    • The tool I personally used to migrate from Kunena to bbPress is called CMS2CMS – pretty easy and quick. However, to migrate you need both forums installed, so need to make your decision before the start.

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