Planning a migration from Vanilla


I’d like to migrate a Vanilla forum to Discourse. My preference would be to have it hosted by - I no longer want to manage my own server.

From what I understood, I can only run the Vanilla importer on an instance I have full control on, so the migration plan would be to:
1/ Import the existing Vanilla forum in my own Discourse instance.
2/ Create a backup.
3/ Restore this backup on the instance hosted by

Question 1: is this the correct procedure, or have I missed a more direct way of importing Vanilla data on a forum hosted on

Question 2: will the Vanilla import also import all attachments?

Question 3: so far I have been struggling with occasional error messages due to a mismatch in the data format, and have been modifying the import script accordingly. The import seems to run fine now, but at the rate of about 1 user per second. Is this the expected speed (running in the VM, on a recent iMac)? If so, what’s the easiest way of setting up a faster running instance that I could use for the import?


Update: I repeatedly get Killed messages when running the import script on my machine, even after giving more RAM to the VM - it never went past importing users. I’m currently trying to run the import on an 8 GB RAM Digital Ocean instance, importing 130k posts at 500 / min.

(Jay Pfaffman) #3

500 per minute is about par for the course.

(Jeff Atwood) #4

If you select the business plan we include migration, so we can do this work.


If I don’t go with the business plan, do I still have the option of importing a backup from a Digital Ocean instance in which I would have imported the data from Vanilla?

(Jeff Atwood) #6

Yes, but you will need to do the migration, then provide a backup file to us to restore for you.


I have something that appears to be working running on a Digital Ocean instance, and have the backup file.

Now backup restore seems to be disabled in my trial instance. Is that normal? If so, how can I get out of trial, and buy a month just to check that everything is okay after the import?

(Sam Saffron) #8

Yes, it is a security measure, we can enable restore just send an email to so we can track the request and sort it out, no need to prepay here.