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Moving your forum to a new site (comments from experts needed)

I recently moved my forum from one website to another, and it was very difficult to figure out how, from available information. In sympathy for those who, like me, are plug-and-play website managers, I will sketch out what I learned in the doing. Much of my learning was by making mistakes, so I am not the best to write the instructions. But maybe if I start, some who know better can refine them. I am writing what I did, but experts, please chime in if some of these instructions must be altered for other situations.

===Instructions===

Backup

Before you start, backup your old website and your new one.

Install Plugin

In your new website, install the Asgoras Forum plugin. Recreate the main forum or forums and make note of the ID assigned to each. (Will be in parentheses beside the forum name in the Structure tab of the Forum in your wp-admin dashboard.)

Copy Your Users to the New Website

Experts, I very much need your help here. When users are added to the new website, it decides what User ID they will have. I got lucky in mine, in that I did the forum's move before I combined several other sites in--each with its own set of users. Had I done the forum after the others, my User IDs would not have matched what was in the original database. Would the users match their associated posts, if their IDs had changed? And if not, what can be done?

Assuming we have an answer to the above or that you are bringing your users into an empty table, you can do this with a plugin. Because I was also bringing in a Woocommerce store from another site, I used WebToffee's "WordPress Users & WooCommerce Customers Import Export(BASIC)" plugin.

Find Your phpMyAdmin Records

You will now need to get into the guts of your website's database tables, so you need to find your access to phpMyAdmin. My server is BlueHost. I got to it on the dashboard, clicking Advanced, and it's below that menu item.

A nested view of websites and their tables can be found on the left.The names will not be intuitive, necessarily. If you have only two websites, it might be easy to figure out which database is yours, from the list you can expand on the left. If you have many sites, as I did, you might have to explore to find which of the items represents the website in question.

Each website has a set of phpMyAdmin records, which share a prefix. The record named [prefix]_options will show you the name and URL of the website you're reviewing. Figure out which sets of tables belong to your old site and your new one and write down your prefix.

Export Selected Forum Tables from Old Site

The database tables for your forum in each site will have the term "forum" after a prefix. Click on the topmost item (the main one) for your old website. All of the tables within it will appear in the main window, each starting with the same prefix. Click to select these three tables:

[prefix]_forum_forums

[prefix]_forum_posts

[prefix]_forum_topics

Click on Export in the menu across the top of the view. Choose the Quick export in an SQL format. Save the export out to a place you can retrieve it.

Import Tables to New Site

Click on the top-most item in your new site's database. Click Import from the toolbar. Find the file you exported, make sure you've chosen SQL, and click Go.

Rename Tables, if Necessary

If the imported files have the old prefix, click on each one and do the following:

Click on Operations from the toolbar.

Under Table options, fix the prefix in the field after Rename Table To.

Click Go in the corner of the current section.

Reassign Parent ID to Forum Items

Click on [prefix]_forum_forums.

The parent_id field will have the ID number from your old website, which probably will not be the one from your new site. In each item displayed, change the parent_id to the one you noted when you created your main forums. You should be able to click into the parent_id field and type the new number.

Move any graphics to the new site's file system

Any screenshots or other images your forum users posted now need to be moved to the new website's file system. Use your server host's method of getting into your website's file manager. For Bluehost customers, it's in the same place as the link to phpMyAdmin.

Click on the public_html folder and open your old website's subfolder, then find:

wp-content/uploads/asgarosforum

Select all of the content and chose "Copy" from the main toolbar.

It will display a field, seeking the path to which it should copy the files. In the displayed path, replace your old website's name with your new one. Click "Copy File(s)."

Repair the old URLs

It would be a good idea to back up your site again before you do this. Your posts will still be pointing to the URLs of the graphics still in your old website. You will need to alter the URLs throughout your website. A plugin can do this. I used "Better Search Replace" by Delicious Brains. It placed a utility in my Tools. You can specify what you want it to find and replace and which tables you care about. You can isolate this to the forum tables, if there is a chance that changing the paths throughout your new website will break something you wanted to keep pointing to the old place.

Check your site

Look through your forum on the new site and see if it looks correct. Are posts assigned to the right people? Are the graphics there? If anything is broken, come back here and ask the experts for help.

Asgaros has reacted to this post.
Asgaros

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