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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. Converting to SMF from almost any forum software can be done in four fast and simple steps:

Download the conversion tools

The latest SMF converters can be found on the converters downloads page of the official Simple Machines website.

Download the latest version of your required converter from the official Simple Machines website. Listed will be all the forum softwares and versions currently supported by Simple Machines, feel free to ask for another converter in the Converting to SMF board if your forum software is not listed. 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 convert tool can be run. There are two possible methods for this step. The method used will depend on the tools available with the control panel supplied by the hosting service provided. Please ensure you upload in Binary if using an FTP client. The convert.php file and the associated SQL file for the forum software must be uploaded to the same folder a the blank SMF install.

Uploading Before Extracting

Some control panels have the ability to extract an archive, such as cPanel. This allows for 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. Ensure that overwrite files is selected to have the newer files replace the old ones.

Extracting Before Uploading

If extracting abilities are not available inside the control panel, the archive can be extracted before uploading. Generally right clicking the archive and selecting the extract all option will work. The directory structure should be retained when the upgrade archive is extracted, so all files and directories are in the correct places.

Backup the Database

Before starting the conversion process a backup of the live database should be taken, 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 so having a backup is crucial.

Backup 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 softwares' database, these are different based on 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 Backups 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, users can be added to the database through a hosting control panel.

Run the Convert Tool

The final step in converting to SMF is running the conversion tool. Navigate to the directory where SMF resides, and then open the convert.php file. For eg:

Converter Settings

Path to SMF
The path to the SMF install (eg. /home/user/SMF), the default information will usually be correct.
Path to forum software
The path to the existing forum software (eg. /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

Once all parts of the conversion have completed, check the box to remove the conversion files from the server. If this does not work they will need to be deleted via FTP. All conversion files should be removed from the server once the conversion process is complete as they are a major security risk if left on a server unattended.

Congratulations on converting to SMF successfully!