So you want to move your existing Discourse instance to a new server?
In this guide we'll move an existing Discourse instance on Linode to a new Discourse instance on Digital Ocean, although these steps will work on other cloud providers that also support Docker. Let's start!
Log In as Admin
Only admins can perform backups, so sign in as an account with admin access on your existing Discourse instance on Linode.
Update Existing Install
Both the new and old Discourses MUST BE ON THE EXACT SAME VERSION to ensure proper backup/export. So the first thing we'll do is update our existing Discourse instance on Linode to the absolute latest version.
/admin/upgrade to upgrade. After successfully upgrading, you should see You're up to date!
Download Your Backup
/admin/backups and click Backup button.
You will be prompted for confirmation, press Yes.
Once confirmed, you will be able to see the log of backup processing. Once the processing is finished, switch back to Backups tab.
Now you will see the newly created backup file. Click Download button and save the file, we will need it later for restoration on the new server.
Log In as Admin on New Server
Sign up and login on your new Discourse instance at Digital Ocean.
Under site settings search for
allow_restore setting, and refresh the page for changes to take effect.
/admin/backups and click Upload button, select the backup file you downloaded previously from your existing Discourse instance (file name ends with
Once the file gets uploaded it will be listed as shown below, click Restore button:
Press Yes when prompted for confirmation:
You will see restore process log, it may take some time but it's automagically importing all your existing Discourse instance (Linode server) data.
Once the Restore process finishes, you will be logged out.
Log In and You're Done
Once the restore process finishes, all the data from your previous Discourse instance on Linode server will be imported in your new Discourse instance on Digital Ocean, sign in with your Admin account and you are good to go!
If anything needs to be improved in this guide, feel free to ask on meta.discourse.org.