Redirect vBulletin URLs to Discourse URLs

import

(Arpit Jalan) #1

Migrating from vBulletin to Discourse and want to redirect old vBulletin URLs to new Discourse URLs? Read on!

:bell: If the base URL of your old forum and new forum is same, you should follow this howto instead:

Redirecting old forum URLs to new Discourse URLs

In this howto we’ll assume:

  • vBulletin base URL: www.example.com/forum

  • Discourse base URL: forum.example.com

  • Nginx server for www.example.com

Let’s begin!

Generate Nginx map file

To set up categories and topics redirect we’ll use Nginx map module. The CSV file will be generated (script/import_scripts/vb_map.csv) while performing import via create_permalinks method. We’ll paste the content of CSV file into map file on server.

File sample contents:

...
/forum/forumdisplay.php?6  http://forum.example.com/c/games;
/forum/forumdisplay.php?7  http://forum.example.com/c/movies;
/forum/forumdisplay.php?13  http://forum.example.com/c/admin;
/forum/showthread.php?1  http://forum.example.com/t/x/22;
/forum/showthread.php?2  http://forum.example.com/t/x/23;
/forum/showthread.php?3  http://forum.example.com/t/x/24;
/forum/showthread.php?4  http://forum.example.com/t/x/25;
...

Copy the entire content of generated CSV file to etc/nginx/vb_forum.map on www.example.com's server.

Edit nginx.conf

Edit the /etc/nginx/nginx.conf file to add this code in http block:

map_hash_bucket_size 128;
map_hash_max_size 80000;

map $request_uri $new {
    include /etc/nginx/vb_forum.map;
}

server {
    listen 80;
    server_name www.example.com;

    location ~ ^/forum\/showthread.php {
        if ($args ~* ^(\d+)-(.+)$) {
            set $tid $1;
            set $args '';
            rewrite ^ /forum/showthread.php?$tid permanent;
        }
        if ($args ~* ^t=(\d+)$) {
            set $tid $1;
            set $args '';
            rewrite ^ /forum/showthread.php?$tid permanent;
        }
        return 301 http://forum.example.com;
    }

    location ~ ^/forum\/forumdisplay.php {
        if ($args ~* ^(\d+)-(.+)$) {
            set $tid $1;
            set $args '';
            rewrite ^ /forum/forumdisplay.php?$tid permanent;
        }
        if ($args ~* ^f=(\d+)$) {
            set $tid $1;
            set $args '';
            rewrite ^ /forum/forumdisplay.php?$tid permanent;
        }
        return 301 http://forum.example.com;
    }

    if ($new) {
        rewrite ^ $new permanent;
    }

    location /forum {
        return 301 http://forum.example.com;
    }
}

map_hash_max_size needs to be adjusted based on number of URLs present in map file.

Verify nginx.conf

Verify your Nginx config file:

nginx -c /etc/nginx/nginx.conf -t

Reload your Nginx config to include your changes:

sudo systemctl reload nginx

Try reaching www.example.com/forum, you should now be getting redirected to forum.example.com. :tada:

Following types of URLs will be handled by above Nginx config:

  • www.example.com/forum --> forum.example.com

  • www.example.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?6 --> forum.example.com/c/games

  • www.example.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?6-Games --> forum.example.com/c/games

  • www.example.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=6 --> forum.example.com/c/games

  • www.example.com/forum/showthread.php?2 --> forum.example.com/t/topic-slug/23

  • www.example.com/forum/showthread.php?2-topic-slug --> forum.example.com/t/topic-slug/23

  • www.example.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2 --> forum.example.com/t/topic-slug/23


vBulletin migration guide?
Redirecting vbulletin urls to discourse
Redirect Old Forum URLs
Importing Xenforo to Discourse
(Anil Paul) #2

Hi Arpit,

I have implemented your method and its working fine. But the problem is when I rebuild the app again all my nginx changes getting lost. please advise

Anil


(Jay Pfaffman) #3

The sample assumes that you’ll do the redirects on the old server, not the Discourse server.

If your discourse server is using the same name as your old server, you want to use permalink redirects, and perhaps permalink normalizations in discourse.


(Anil Paul) #4

Thanks @pfaffman.
I used Permalink.create and solved the problem


(Walker Blackwell) #5

For those who do not have MAP or can’t figure it out, I have figured out the easy (dumb) way to do it for topics at least. This works for VBulletin 4. I have not tested on 5 nor do a really want to deal with VBulletin ever again, so I probably won’t. I think the URL structure is the same though. This is for migrating from VBulletin 4 (hosted on NGINX) to Discourse (also hosted on NGINX).

*** Note, there are security implications with this process, but if you are new to NGINX (like I am) and just need to get this done and then figure out the fancy way later, this is what I did. In short, it requires you to keep your old vbulletin running for a while *****

  1. Change your VBulletin URLs to “Advanced Friendly URLs” >Admin>Settings>Options>Friendly URLS. This will get rid of the argument character “?” in all your urls. All the destination posts will be at “…showthread.php/(the-post-id-number)-blablablabla…” Old urls with google juice will forward to the new urls. Don’t worry.

  2. Now import your vbulletin and make sure that you uncomment the permalinks section (as described in this thread).

  3. After import, open the vb_map.csv. You will see post to post (ID to ID) maps like xxxx837 yyyy589. The first is the ID of the VB thread and second is the ID of the Discourse thread.

The VB thread is at http://myamazinglyoldforum.com/showthread.php/837- and the new discourse one is at https://myawesomenewforum.com/t/589

  1. You can probably guess what to do now. Just create a rewrite in your site-available file (above your root delineation).

Using the example above:

rewrite /showthread.php/837- https://myawesomenewforum.com/t/589 permanent;

  1. The “-” is key in this whole equation so remember to put it in there. A simple txt editor with “find-replace” will convert the map file to nginx rewrite directives.

Nginx seems to be able to handle several thousand rewrites (or several hundred thousand as the case may be). I have seen no performance issues so far.

best,
Walker


(Walker Blackwell) #6

Just a note on all of this. I did finally get rid of the VB forum (for security reasons).

To redirect the showthread.php?bla- to /showthread.php/bla- in nginx instead of with VB’s own PHP you do this (above your re-write rule list)

(in my case, the old forum lives at “tech” but you will change this to be whatever folder it lives at)

location ~ ^/tech(?:/(.*))?$ {
  rewrite ^/tech/showthread.php /tech/showthread.php/$args permanent;
  rewrite ^/tech/content.php /tech/content.php/$args permanent;
}

then all the redirect rules live below here:

rewrite /showthread.php/837- https://myawesomenewforum.com/t/589 permanent;

On a further note, it took me FOREVER to figure out how to simply replace a question mark with a forward slash in NGINX. Maybe I’m dumb (no I’m certainly dumb), but the above little snippet works like a charm and I don’t see it widely documented elsewhere.

edit> Thanks for the formatting.