Converting From Online Manual

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Converting to an SMF forum has never been easier! A fully installed SMF forum must be present before converting. Converting will wipe out any existing SMF data, but it will not change the forum you are converting from.

If you run into problems, you can get start a topic on the Converting to SMF board at our official support forum. Converting to SMF from almost any forum software can be done in five fast and simple steps.

Check the Server Requirements

Your server must meet a few requirements to be able to run SMF. If you are not sure that your webserver meets these requirements, please try the installation and conversion process anyway - this should detect any problems.

Download the Conversion Tools

The latest SMF converters can be found on the converter downloads page of our website. if your forum software is not listed, feel free to ask for another converter in the Converting to SMF board. Commonly, .zip files are the preferred download type. Most operating systems have the tools available to extract .zip archives already installed.

Extract and Upload the Conversion Tools

Once the conversion archive has been downloaded, it will need to be uploaded and extracted before the conversion tool can be used. There are two methods for this step. The method used will depend on the tools available with the control panel supplied by your hosting service. Please ensure you upload in binary if you are using an FTP client. The convert.php file and the associated SQL file for the forum software must be uploaded to the same directory as the blank SMF install.

Uploading Before Extracting

Some control panels have the ability to extract an archive, such as cPanel. This allows hassle-free uploading and extraction of the archive. Once the archive is uploaded, select the "Extract" option to extract the archive to the desired location. Make sure that Overwrite Files is selected so that the newer files replace the old ones.

Extracting Before Uploading

If extraction tools are not available inside the control panel, the archive can be extracted before uploading. Generally, selecting the archive with the right mouse button and selecting the Extract all option will work. The directory structure should be retained when the upgrade archive is extracted, so that all the files and directories are in the correct places.

Back up the Database

Before starting the conversion process, a backup of the live database should be made. This protects the forum from accidental damage and any issues from converting. Although all steps are taken, and extensive testing carried out, sometimes issues develop. Therefore, having a backup is crucial.

Back up a Database Using PHPMyAdmin

PHPMyAdmin allows the option to export a database. From the initial page select the export option and follow the instructions and select your forum software's database. These options are different, depending on the host.

Backup a Database Using a Control Panel

If the hosting service provides a control panel interface, this can be used to backup a database. Selecting the "Backups" or "Backup Wizard" option should take you to prompts for backing up a database. With different hosts these options may have different names.

Database Access

The conversion tools will access all your existing forum software data through the database. For this to work correctly, SMF will require access to read the existing database. On most hosts this will not be an issue, considering the fact that user accounts can be added to the database through a hosting control panel.

If you get the error message "SELECT command denied to user", this means that SMF and Software X are in separate databases and the SMF database user does not have access to Software X's database. Access to both databases must be provided to the user for the SMF database, or reinstall SMF in the same database as the forum that is being converted.

Run the Conversion Tool

The final step in converting to SMF is to run the conversion tool. Navigate to the directory where SMF has been placed, and open the convert.php file. For example:

Converter Settings

Path to SMF
The path to the SMF install (for example, /home/user/SMF). The default information will usually be correct.
Path to forum software
The path to the existing forum software (for example, /home/user/forum).
SMF Database Password
As a security measure, SMF requires the SMF database password to be entered to stop unauthorized conversions.
Set SMF's default character set to
Select a character set for the SMF install to use. Usually the default will be acceptable. If in doubt, select UTF-8.

Finishing the Conversion Process

To avoid time-outs during the conversion process, the SMF upgrade utility uses several separate steps. Once the first step has finished, you will see a summary of what has been done. Most things should report as "Successful", but if there are any error messages, make a note and please report them on the SMF Community forum. If not, everything has finished, and if you have JavaScript disabled click the continue button, again only click it once. Continue this procedure until the upgrade utility is finished and you have a link to return to your forum.

Your forum should now be successfully converted to SMF. Before you start using it, you must delete the upgrade.php file from the server as leaving it there can be a major security risk (for example, anyone could put your forum into maintenance mode!). To do so, return to your FTP program and in the directory you installed SMF, locate upgrade.php and delete it. You may also be able to check the box Delete the upgrade file, without having to delete it through an FTP program, but this will not work on all servers.

List of Conversion Tools

Below is a list to the community boards containing topics about the converters created by the community, with downloads: