Restoring a MySQL Database From Online Manual
This document is specific to the MySQL database however SMF also supports other database types such as SQLite and PostgreSQL. Please feel free to help out and explain how one can restore databases when the forum is using PostgreSQL or SQLite.
What is an SQL Database?
SMF is not only run by PHP codes, it's also run by something called an SQL database. SMF uses an SQL database to store the majority of its information. This information includes things such as topics, posts, members, settings, etc. An SQL database is vital to running an SMF forum.
How Do I Restore or Import an SQL Database?
To import or restore an SQL database, one way of doing it, is through the use of PHPMyAdmin. If you have the program called cPanel provided by the host, you can access PHPMyAdmin by logging into cPanel, usually at an address like: mysite.com/cpanel or mysite.com:2083. Once logged in, click on the button that says "MySQL Databases" or whatever the hosting provider uses. Scroll to the bottom of that page and click on the link that says PHPMyAdmin. From there, click on the drop-down box on the left side of the page under Database and select the database name that corresponds to the database that your SMF Forum uses. Upon selecting your database, click on the tab near the top of the page that says "SQL" or whatever is used. From there, click on the Choose button under Location of the text file and browse for your database's SQL file on your local computer. Once that's completed, click on Go. If you encounter any errors upon uploading your database, consult the SMF support forum.
Newer versions of PHPMyAdmin contain an Import button which streamlines this process just a little bit. After selecting your database you can then proceed to select the Import button.