Importing from phpBB3

How many users? How many posts?

To get the forum back you need to stop the import container and start the app container.

Hey Jay : From the early start of the forum : 3500 topics and 700 declared users (and probably way less as I’m pruning the accounts while we talk). More than 300 hundreds never posted or last active date was 3 yeas ago), but from what I see, less than 30 users are “active posters”. There are a lot of users that didn’t connected for a while. Average 30/40 posts a day, which is barely nothing.

I’ve continued, still trying to figure out what’s wrong.

I’ve copied the script folder in my home folder

when I run

root@ESK8FRDiscourse : ~/script/import_scripts # ruby phpbb3.rb phpbb3/settings.yml

It says that that ruby is not found, so I installed it using

root@ESK8FRDiscourse : ~/script/import_scripts # apt install ruby

install goes fine.

Then I launch

root@ESK8FRDiscourse : ~/script/import_scripts # ruby phpbb3.rb phpbb3/settings.yml

and I get

and I’m stuck again :slight_smile:

and… back to the original initial state.

if someone could provide me a walkthrough that we be SO awesome cause I don’t know what to do.

As per the nature of phpbb, I had in my forum a thread where people post a link to video they like or a photo. I don’t care of saving that and migrating these. These will save more than 3000 posts that can be removed too. There is also a category where people post they “group ride” notification. I also don’t care about it… It’s 6000 posts so far that could be removed.

So we are really talking about a very limited amount of data to “migrate”.

How many total posts?

From an import perspective, there is no train to prune the users. 700 is not many. You really don’t want to remove a user who had posts.

You should be following the “Importing using Docker container” section of the OP.

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Hey Jay, 80 000 total posts. I read the full thread around 100 times for around 2 days now eheh. I just don’t get it. All my previous posts are a complete end to end follow up of the OP. The OP gives a non compatibility with phpbb 3.2.x as a result

You are not following the docker instructions. Your files are not where the OP describes and you didn’t do this:

It looks the 3.2 changes have not been merged. I think there’s a link in this topic, but if you can’t follow the instructions the OP then integrating the other code will be even more mystifying.

With the 3.2 complexity it’s not a job I would touch for under $1000 (but that’s not a promise). My advice is to see if your community is interested in crowd funding the migration.

thanks !! @gerhard did you manage to move towards a proper release for phpbb 3.2.x (I’m running 3.2.1. That will ease my life so much!!!


I don’t have a lot of money but I would chip in to pay for a migration for 3.2.1 to discourse. Perhaps if we all create a fund we can raise enough money to get this done.


I’d be down to pitch in what I can.

@gerhard do you have a sense of how much work remains, and how much budget it might take to get there?


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For a frame of reference, I did a small 3.2 import for something over $2000 last August. I handed my code over to Gerhard, but it wasn’t pretty. If your budget is in that range and you want the job done–as opposed to having code that is up to Gerhard’s standards (which is beautiful, and often does things that to me seem magical), please contact me.

I’d guess (but certainly don’t know, as I don’t work for them), that you could likely pay for a year of Standard hosting (and almost certainly Business-level hosting) and get an import, which would result in the importer getting updated.

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Thanks @pfaffman!

I don’t have the budget for that, unfortunately, so I’m hoping that group funding may be viable.

I appreciate the offer though. :slight_smile:


This page is a great source for importing to Discourse. Thanks for the contributions.
I used Permalinks with prefix and it worked the way I wanted to import from PHPBB to Discourse. I added forum as prefix in settings.yml to redirect from /forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=43 to /t/topic-name/81
The issue I have is the case insensitivity. some or pages have been indexed at google or other search engines as /Forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=43 and because of “F” in Forum, it is not redirected! Any thoughts how I can fix this?

I think you can add a permalink redirect with the F.

Then lower case f would not work!

You can have multiple permalink redirects.

You mean something like this:
prefix: forum
prefix: Forum

Will try? Is this making a duplicate map then!

Only one will match.

Add additional permalink normalizations. There’s a site setting for this.


After having the importer successfully used on my first testing-environment, I now wanted to import the old forum again / freshly into a new should-become-the-real-environment, but now it failed.

I get an error:
/var/www/discourse/plugins/discourse-migratepassword/plugin.rb:71:in `crypt’: incompatible character encodings: ASCII-8BIT and UTF-8 (Encoding::CompatibilityError).

Appearantly this happens oh the third user, and this one is with an umlaut.

Now, what did I change since it worked?

  • new VM with Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS (old was a 16)
  • updated Discourse (latest)
  • set “unicode usernames” with [äöüßÄÖÜẞ] since loads of my users have Umlauts in their Usernames (first import was without this setting and Users got imported by losing the dots on the umlauts)
  • preinstalled migratepassword (last time installed it later).

Any Idea whereon it fails? I’d really like to have my users migrated without having changed usernames.

Looks like it’s triggering a bug in the migratepassword plugin. It works in my tests, so I’m not sure what’s happening here. I suggest you disable the plugin during the migration. It’s not needed during the migration anyway.


Thank you - that worked :slight_smile: