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Introducing bbConverter – Convert your current forums for use with bbPress 2x

  • Anointed


    Thanks to AWJunkie we are proud to announce the official release of bbConverter, the only tool you will ever need to convert your current forums for use with bbPress 2x.

    Currently supported platforms:

    1. bbPress 1x

    2. Vbulletin 3x – 4x

    3. Invision Power Board

    Future platform support already in progress:

    1. PHPbb 3x

    2. Xenforo

    Platforms being considered

    1. myBB



    1. Upload the bbConverter folder to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory

    2. Activate bbConverter through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress

    3. Go into your WordPress admin under ‘Settings’ and choose ‘Converter’


    5. Choose the platform you want to convert from and fill in the database information. Click start

    6. Once the conversion has completed, visit the WordPress Admin ‘Tools’ section and click ‘Recount’

    7. Do NOT deactivate the plugin once it is finished as it is needed for user password management.


    Important Note:

    It is important to understand that this script is going to be modifying your wordpress database in order to bring over your forums/topics/replies/tags/ and users from your old forum setup. This means we are directly modifying your database which means backup is paramount.

    Ok, now that is out of the way, let’s get to the plugin itself.

    Each Forum sofware, whether bbPress 1x, vbulletin, or Invision Powerboard, has its own configuration file. For example vbulletin calls the file config.php

    This is the file which contains your database connection information and you need to save this information in order to fill out the plugin start screen.

    Required options:

    1. Platform you are converting from – dropdown

    2. Database server — usually localhost

    3. Database port — (example: vbulletin uses 3306)

    4. Database Username

    5. Database Password

    6. Database Name

    7. Database Table Prefix — If you installed your forum software using a prefix enter it here. ( example: vbulletin default uses vb_ ) If there is no prefix, then leave it blank.

    8. Rows Limit — This represents the number of database rows the plugin will convert during a single cycle. I would start this number at 50 or below at first. Keep in mind that forum conversion takes a huge load on the server mysql so if you are on a shared host, you may want to notify your host before running the script.

    If you are on a dedicated server with shell access, then I would suggest opening up a terminal window and monitoring the resources. You can change the ‘Rows Limit’ at any time while the script is running. I have gone as high as 2500 instead of 50 on my servers. ( don’t click stop/start as it is not needed to change the limits )

    9. Delay time — Suggested to use 1. This is the number of seconds that the server waits between the conversion cycles. It gives your server a second to catch its breath.

    Other Options:

    1. Clean — If something actually goes wrong, then you can choose to clean the database. This will effectively remove all the imported data and allow you to start the conversion over.

    2. Restart — Restart allows you to pick up where the script left off should you have the need to stop and start the process. Example is when your browser or computer window closes during the conversion process. If you close the browser during conversion for any reason, then the conversion stops.

    3. Users — You have the option of choosing not to import your users. If you are using bbPress 1x and have the forums linked to your WordPress install already, then you do not need to import users. Do not check the box. Otherwise you do want to import your users.

    Once Import is complete:

    1. Recount — Once everything is finished, then go to the wp-admin/tools and choose recount. This is going to present you with a screen full of checkboxes. Check every box and click submit. This is going to line up all the topic/replies/user posts counts etc.

    2. Keep bbConverter plugin active after conversion.

    bbConverter has a special script which will allow your users to maintain their old forum username and password. In a nutshell, when a user signs in for the first time after the forums convert, the script will check their old password, validate it, and then use the WordPress system to generate the identical password for the user in the appropriate place. This means that you need to keep bbConverter active until every single user has logged into the forums in order to maintain password management. This is not at all resource intensive, and you won’t even notice the plugin running in the background.

    That’s it your finished.



Viewing 25 replies - 26 through 50 (of 191 total)

  • Erlend


    Our php limit is 2048M, our mysql key_buffer_size is 512M, and we’re on linux 64-bit.



    AW, as i’ve jumped from punbb>phpbb2>phpbb3>bbpress1>bbpress2, I don’t think it’s worth sharing my setup – just too many variables to account for.

    However, look forward to testing a punbb or phpbb version for you.



    Oh, and I guess I might as well throw this in here:



    This works a whole lot better than the built in converter.

    The built in one could only handle 15 topics and, this plugin one is doing them all :D

    Not exactly what I planned on doing today whilst sitting in the back of a car! Though whilst browsing these forums I bumbed into this thread and have kicked it off on my iPad with a bbPress test site importing from 30,000 post PHPBB site, been running now for around 30 minutes.

    I’ll add some follow ups on how the data Looks in bbPress when I have the right tools :)

    EDIT: ~90 minutes after above

    After ~60 minutes I have stopped it and had a look at the WordPress tables with myphpadmin and I cannot see any new posts in ‘wp_posts’ or ‘wp_users’

    Is the ‘PhpBB_Not_Complete’ import tool active? i.e. Should I see more than nothing, nil, null as a result of trying this?





    It’s been about a week since we heard from you guys. I tried to get some discussions going on your own site, but it’s completely silent there.

    We are definitely here. I stated my direct contact info earlier in thread. You have a lot of questions and posts so be easier to address them all at once through a messanger. You are correct about the bbpress 1x and not needing the plugin after convert to convert passwords. That is for all other platforms.

    Please contact me directly at:

    skype: AWJunkies

    AIM: AWJunkies

    YAHOO: AWJunkies


    The phpbb is not currently complete as the file says :) I should have it done next week if nobody has tried to do the converter file yet. I also will be adding and editing a few things for speed.



    I guess I can compile my questions into an e-mail later, but wouldn’t you rather answer them in public so you don’t have to answer the same questions repeatedly? I greatly appreciate you taking the time to talk to me, but you won’t be able to build a community on your site if you prefer 1-on-1s.




    Most of your questions are pretty unique and specific. Frankly many of the questions you are asking about is why Adam has custom services available.

    I also sent you a twitter message with my skype info, however Adam is definitely the person to talk to.

    I am confident that he can accomplish exactly what you are after, but it would require direct contact and most probably custom services.

    *What is a newline problem? (ur question over there, can’t figure it out lol)

    I am trying to convert 1.x bbforum tables from a buddypress forum install.

    The buddypress bbpress tables in the database were actually created, polulated, and upgradded using the buddypress smf conversion plugin just fyi.

    so, bbconverter seems to have started OK but once it gets to “Convert forum parents (0-99)’, it just seems to spin and spin and spin and I cannot tell if anything is happening. I suspect something is just hung up since to process 100 rows I would think would happen pretty quickly.

    Again, while I am using the Standalone bbPress setting, I am actually trying to apply it to a version of BuddyPress bbPress tables.

    Any ideas?



    should have said 1.x bbpress tables…sorry for the confusion.

    fyi, looking at the database it appears that new posts were created for all the forums and a single topic type post had been created. The forum is actually fairly mature and there is a lot more content than that.

    Also of note, when it gets into this spin, spin, spin mode clicking the “stop” button does nothing.


    big progress!

    I found that in the original bbpress 1.x tables that had been created by the smf converter plugin, depnding on an option selected, each forum’s forum_parent was either set to 0 or all set to 1. Using phpmyadmin, I left all top level forums with forum_parent = 0 and changed the forum_parent for sub-forums to the correct ID,

    The bbconvert plugin is now proceeding “according to plan” and has gotten through conversion of forums, topics, and is making its way through posts. It has several thousand to get through so it’s taking a while.

    Will report back on results.


    Did not work… the forums now appear on the bbpress page, but no topics or replies. looking at the data base and a couple sample entries, it appears that the post_parent IDs for all the topic are wrong which would be consistent with no topics being listed.

    will try recounting, cleaning, and re doing the conversion.


    woot! Got it working… now just need to start from scratch and do it cleanly.

    One thing I found quite frustrating was that somewhere or other, a post count is kept after using bbconverter. I did not find it sufficient to clean and start over. I ended up having to muck about with the post_metadata table the posts table, and others. Even after going on multiple search and destroy missions into the database, I still could not get the post count to start where i though it should. Hence the strong recommendation to make db backups along the way.

    So, I managed to get SMF users and posts over to WordPress and bbPress 2.0 plugin respectively. Here’s the basics of how I did it:

    Words of caution!!! BACK UP YOUR WORDPRESS DATA BASE! Make a backup before you install bbpress. make another before you install bbconverter.

    Keep the backups because you may need to revert back to them.

    Assumption here is that both WordPress and SMF are on the same server, but not the same database.

    WARNING! This is just from memory,and it only worked once, and there was a lot of DB manipulation done to get to the end. You should NOT attempt this unless you are very comfortable with SQL, phpmyadmin, and wordpress! If you are even a little concerned, contact the plugin author and tell him how much you are willing to pay for the SMF conversion capability!

    1) Install wordpress

    2) Install buddypress

    3) Install BuddyPress SMF Import plugin

    4) Follow the BuddyPress SMF Import directions. You should end up with a number of tables in your WB database that look like wpv_bb_blahblah. Make sure you go through the Upgrade Database step but Do not go beyond that. with this plugin. Please note that this plugin creates new groups for each original forum and all the topics for that forum are associated with the new group. If this is what you want, you can stop here. If like me, you wanted a site-wide forum with the old SMF content, keep going.

    5) Deactivate the SMF Import plugin (but keep the SMF Compatibility plugin… you’ll use that for user login later)

    6) Using phpmyadmin (or similar) go into the wpv_bb_forums table and make sure that the forum_parent field is set to 0 for all top level forums and set to the appropriate forum_id for any subordinate forums.

    7) Through Buddypress, install “site wide forum” which will install bbPress 2.0 plugin.

    8) Make another database backup NOW! Don’t overwrite the ones you made before because you may have to go back further than this if things don’t work!

    9) Install bbPress Converter plugin.

    10) Go to tools and recount everything.

    11) follow the directions for the “Standalonebbress” conversion using the WP database user and password and wpv_bb_ as the db prefix (or whatever the SMF Importer left you with). Do NOT select the transfer user option… the other plugin already did that.

    12) If you have a large forum, the conversion takes a while!

    That’s about it. If you have set wordpress up to be able to display the plugin forum (not group forums), with any luck, you’ll see your forums populated.

    I have not yet tackled the issue of getting rid of all the groups and group forums that the other plugin created.

    The resulting forums and posts seem to have wrong dates & times and I have not looked into this.

    If I had it to do over again, I probably would have spent the same amount of time figuring out how the converter works and building an SMF converter directly, avoiding the SMF Import plugin altogether.

    I beg you to not use this thread to ask questions about this process or any of the plugins or applications other than bbConverter.




    Thank you kindly for your input Joe. In fact, your conversion process is identical to ours; we’re currently running a BP forum that was previously converted from SMF, using that same plugin (which one of our developers, Normen, actually programmed for that exact purpose. Maybe he could work his magic again, but our own software needs some lovin’ too).

    I’ve got some questions that I hope fall under the requirements of your disclaimer:

    – Did you ever experience any issues with memory loss / timeouts? If so, how did you bypass them?

    – After the successful conversion, did you have a new forum for each individual group? (i.e. Are the group forums all technically a single forum behind the scenes?)

    – What exactly is the date & time issue? It’s a rather critical fix in my opinion.

    I have not yet tackled the issue of getting rid of all the groups and group forums that the other plugin created.

    You mean cleaning out the existing groups & group forums in BuddyPress, created by using the “Site wide forum” option? I would expect that to have a wizard or at least a doc page for it, but I’ve not found any post, doc or code relevant to it yet.

    I did all my work locally so no issues with memory or timeout that I could not easily resolve. BTW, one thing I did along the way was to set the number of rows to 1000 vs the default 100.

    My overall strategy is to work off of a local, static version of the smf DB and local version of WP and all plugins and themes.

    Once I get the process working smoothly and reliably and I get most of the development done in the WP end of things, I’ll do the following:

    1) Lock down smf on the live site to new posts.

    2) Make a backup of the smf DB and import it to my local environment.

    3) Process the recent SMF DB using my (hopefully) perfected translation process.

    4) Use standard WP methods to Move my site to the live server.

    I’m a long ways away from this, having a lot of other development work to do (see to see where I’m starting from). I will be “practicing the moving of the site to the live server before I have to do it for real to find and fix any residual issues with URLs and paths that I expect will exist.

    Finally, I believe that the groups and group forums were created by the smf import plugin, not the sitewide forum selection from bp. I am trying to get to the point where I can go from site-wide smf, with no group association, to the same sort of forum with bbpress. I will also be using the bp internal forums for groups but there will be no “overview” of group forum activity… at least that is my thinking so far.

    On a related note… I’ve started to pick away at trying to build an smf converter using this plugin. I’ve run into a bit of an obstacle.

    In the Topic Section of Standalonebbpress.php These lines are used to get the Topic Title and make sure it gets place in the bbPress 2.0 post meta data:

    // Topic title.

    $this->field_map[] = array(

    ‘from_tablename’ => ‘topics’,

    ‘from_fieldname’ => ‘topic_title’,

    ‘to_type’ => ‘topic’,

    ‘to_fieldname’ => ‘post_title’


    Seems simple enough… the original bbpress install has a table topics with a field topic_title that has the topic title you’re looking for. I belive that inside bbc-convert-class this array is translated into a querry string but not exactly sure how the indexing is done.

    With SMF, it’s more complicated. The topics are defined in a table also called topics, but that table does not include the topic title. Instead, it includes the index to the original message posted in a field called ID_FIRST_MESSAGE. To get the topic title, you have to go to the messages table and look up the ID_MESSAGE that matches, and get the title from the subject field.

    All this seems doable using standard SQL but I’m finding it very difficult to figure out how to use the array fields ‘from_tablename’, ‘from_fieldname’, ‘join_tablename’, join_fieldname’, ‘join_type’, and ‘join_expression’ to produce the desired result.

    I guess part of the problem is that I don’t really get what the “desired result” is… I have not managed yet to wrap my head around what the heck the convert_table function result in when it works correctly.

    Any help or insight would be appreciated! I suspect that this may be representative of one of the most complex aspects of getting smf conversion done.



    Joe thank you so much for your info pasted above to help assist people. I just want to let everyone know I have a new version 1.2 coming out probably tomorrow which will speed up everything IF your mysql account for WP has access to add tables. It will also fix issues with non UTF8 WP tables. Also fixes cleaning to be faster.

    Now onto smf my advise is to look at invision and other examples in the convert folder that showing the tags grab which uses the join tables code.

    If you give me the two names OR dump me a database for SMF I can do the convert file or tell you what to put within minutes. These convert files I can create within 30min. It is the testing that is more time consuming. Once I release the next update I will start creating more convert files. Sorry again for the delays. I am ALWAYS available on skype and other messengers for immediate help.

    I looked at all the files for other forum converters but the joins seemed simpler than what smf might require or more likely I just did not understand the table conversion code.

    So, here are the specifics (smf_ is the prefix).

    for the topics area.

    for the topic title conversion.

    SMF has two tables required to get whatever it is you need:

    Table = smf_topics includes:

    field = ID_TOPIC – the table index for topics.

    field = ID_FIRST_MESSAGE – the index of the first message written for the topic.

    Table = smf_messages includes:

    field = ID_MSG – table index & source of ID_FIRST_MESSAGE above.

    field = subject – the actual text for the “topic title”

    If you can give me the corresponding syntax to replace the following, I think I can probably muddle through the rest of the converter. I am very hesitant to send the entire database. BTW, this is coming from an smf 1.x install, not the newer 2.x version.

    Current converter code for topic title

    // Topic title.

    $this->field_map[] = array(

    ‘from_tablename’ => ‘thread’,

    ‘from_fieldname’ => ‘title’,

    ‘to_type’ => ‘topic’,

    ‘to_fieldname’ => ‘post_title’


    Thanks very much!!


    Hello, I would like to convert existing punbb forum into bbpress, I already have a script but I really don’t know how to import the data when bbpress is now using wp_posts table instead of wp_forum_forums etc. tables :(.

    Is there any way how to configure bbpress to use its standard tables so that the import would be possible? If not, then I would have to do everything manually through excel but I would still appreciate if you could help me with the wp_posts structure for forums, posts, etc. How do I specify what is a forum, what a category, what a topic, etc.?

    I have to add that I am absolutely inexperienced in forum conversion, php scripts and have some limited knowledge of the database (was already able to convert data from nucleus to WP). I however really need to accomplish this conversion asap and I am willing to play with the tables, lol.

    Would very much appreciate your help! Thank you!

    Hello guys, so I was able to convert my punbb forum at last. Firstly I have installed a stand alone version of bbpress 1.1 and then ran the script from this post . The conversion was a success with minor errors (in the forum names, etc.), which I corrected manually.

    Then I installed your converter while I was still running bbpress 1.1 and the conversion completed but the Replies weren’t linked to the Topics and Forums. I then uninstalled bbpress 1.1 and installed bbpress 2.0, realized the problem and ran the script again with the Clean option. Now the conversion completed without problems and everything was nicely converted! Thank you very much for this tool!

    Yet I am still facing a minor problem, which was already described by Ed – at the beginning of every topic I have an empty post by admin.. I didn’t have it in the bbpress 1.1 version so I guess that the mistake must have done during the bbpress1 to bbpress2 conversion. Due to this mistake all the topics are listed as started by admin…

    I would very much appreciate if you could advise me on how to get rid of the empty posts as I really didn’t get it yet. Also if you would release a new version of the converter that would face this issue, I would be more than happy to try it. Otherwise I can definitely recommend this way of punbb to bbpress2 conversion as I am a real newbie in all this stuff and yet was able to accomplish everything.

    All the best to all of you, Misha




    Adam is currently working on an improved vs. of the plugin that should resolve this problem.

    I’m looking forward to hearing back from Adam regarding my SMF Table question. I’m hoping that based on his answer I may be able to contribute back a prototype smf table conversion file.


    Any news here? Is the SMF table translation issue I outlined above impossible with this plugin?



Viewing 25 replies - 26 through 50 (of 191 total)
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