Importing MyBB to Discourse

In this tutorial, we will learn how to migrate MyBB forum to :discourse: platform using the official MyBB Importer script.

What can be migrated

  • Categories
    • Root category => root category
    • Child category => sub category
    • Root Forum => sub category
    • child forum => sub category
  • Threads & replies => topics & posts
  • Users
    • username
    • email
    • privilege status
    • joining status
  • Redirects

Our plan is very simple:

  • Setup the local DEV environment.
  • Exporting the production database.
  • Importing the production database to Discourse.
  • Running MyBB importer script.

Let’s get started :slightly_smiling_face:

Setup The Local DEV Environment

First of all, you need to follow one of these guides to install Discourse platform itself. Consult this guide if you have any problems.

Install MySQL database server;


$ brew install mysql@5.7
$ echo 'export PATH="/usr/local/opt/mysql@5.7/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.bash_profile
$ source ~/.bash_profile

Check the service status:

$ brew services list

You should see something like this:

mysql@5.7         started

Otherwise, run the following and try again:

$ brew services start mysql@5.7

Ubuntu 18.04:

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install mysql-server -y

After finishing installing MySQL, check its status:

$ systemctl status mysql.service

If it’s not running, run the following:

$ sudo systemctl start mysql

For Windows, you can follow the official installation guide

We will call this environment: Discourse server.

Exporting The Production Database

Export/Backup the production database (from MyBB production server) by running:

$ mysqldump -u USER_NAME -p DATABASE_NAME > mybb_dump.sql
  • Copy this database dump to the Discourse server.

:bulb: You can use scp or rsync to copy the database.

Importing The Production Database to Discourse

On Discourse server, Create a database:

$ mysql -u root

:bulb: If your DB user has a password, you should use: mysql -u root -p then type your password.

mysql> CREATE DATABASE mybb;

Make sure that the database has been created successfully by running:


You should see something like:

| Database           |
| information_schema |
| mysql              |
| performance_schema |
| mybb               |
| sys                |

The mybb DB is empty by now. Our next step is to import the production database into it.

$ mysql -u root mybb < mybb_dump.sql

Later, we will need the table prefix. So, While we are here, let’s get it.

$ mysql -u root
mysql> USE mybb;

You will see something like this:

| Tables_in_mybb           |
| mybb_adminlog            |
| mybb_adminoptions        |
| mybb_adminsessions       |
| mybb_adminviews          |
| mybb_announcements       |
| mybb_attachments         |
| mybb_attachtypes         |
| ...The rest of tables....|

Our table prefix is mybb_ as the output shows.

Running MyBB Importer Script

  • Let’s first install the importer dependencies. From Discourse server:
$ cd ~/discourse
$ echo "gem 'mysql2', require: false" >> Gemfile
$ bundle install

Next, you should configure the script to run properly. Copy and paste the following into your shell (change the values if necessary):

export DB_HOST="localhost"
export DB_NAME="mybb"
export DB_PW=""
export DB_USER="root"
export TABLE_PREFIX="mybb_"

You have other option to configure the script. Open script/import_scripts/mybb.rb in any editor of your choice and change the values inside the double quotation to fits your needs:

  DB_HOST ||= ENV['DB_HOST'] || "localhost"
  DB_NAME ||= ENV['DB_NAME'] || "mybb"
  DB_PW ||= ENV['DB_PW'] || ""
  DB_USER ||= ENV['DB_USER'] || "root"

Run the importer with a clean Discourse instance:

$ bundle exec rails db:drop
$ bundle exec rails db:create
$ bundle exec rails db:migrate
$ bundle exec ruby script/import_scripts/mybb.rb

The importer will connect to MySQL server and migrates your MyBB database to Discourse database.

After the importer finish, start Discourse instance by running:

$ bundle exec rails server

Next, start Sidekiq (background jobs processor) to process the migrated data:

$ bundle exec sidekiq

:bulb: You can monitor sidekiq progress at http://localhost:3000/sidekiq/queues.

Setup your Discourse production server by following this tutorial.

Perform a backup for Discourse platform (local Discourse Server) and upload it to your Discourse production server by following this tutorial.


If you have any questions about the process I am happy to help.

Happy migration :grinning: