phpBB to Discourse, Avatars are not displaying


I am in the process of moving from phpBB to Discourse and managed to get everything up and running except for the avatars. Any user uploaded avatars from phpBB are not displaying and I am getting the letter avatar, however if a user has setup Gravatar on phpBB it is able to fetch and grab the images from there and set them properly.

When I navigate to /var/discourse/shared/standalone/import/data/avatars/upload I can see that there are images of users avatars in there, however when I view my forums they are not being associated to the user.

I have read this thread: Letter avatars still displayed after importing phpbb3 avatars the only plugins we are using are:

  • Docker Manager
  • Discourse MigratePassword

Since I’m a new user I cannot link to both of those, but are easy to find on GitHub. I do not believe are causing any issues. I have my avatars settings.yml file as:

        uploaded: true
        gallery: true
        remote: true

Does anyone have any other suggestions as to what might be the issue? I would like to not have to force our users to re-upload their avatars once we go live with Discourse. I have verified that once on Discourse you can re-upload your avatar and it works perfectly fine.


read this: Letter avatars still displayed after importing phpbb3 avatars

    grep ‘bicubic’ app/models/optimized_image.rb

And see if bicubic is still there. Change that word to ‘catrom’.

Thanks for the reply!

I have changed bicubic to catrom, and restarted the app. Still getting the letter avatars displaying though.


I recently just migrated another phpbb3 forum to discourse.

At first, the imported user-uploaded avatars were not shown either. After finishing the sidekiq jobs, the avatars showed.

If they don’t show up, you can click the empty avatar on your forum, and paste the URL here. And I will see if anything I can do to help.



I just checked and there are no SideKiq jobs in the queue, I flushed it just in-case as well. I am still getting letter avatars.

When I go to a users profile with a letter avatar the URL for their avatar is:

Thanks for the response! I think at this point I’m going to bump down the priority of this, and when I go live just have my users re-upload their avatars as this is really just a nice to have.


As I explained in my previous topic, if you see the URL of a lettered avatar (which is the system default), your uploaded_avatar_id might be empty.

Install a pgweb and see your user_avatar table, find a “custom_upload_id”, and use that id to find the actual location of the image in uploaded table.

Try open that URL with a browser, see if it is right.

(Maybe image read permission error?)

All your avatar urls are pointing to localhost for some reason?

@marguerite looking at the database the custom_upload_id is NULL for every user, some users have their gravatar IDs setup. I’m not going to bother working on this anymore, and just have users re-upload their avatars. Thanks for all the help though!

@schungx I have an EC2 instance running my Discourse forums, I just opened up the SSH ports so I can jump on it and test locally.