Converting from vBulletin to Invision Power Board

All my community sites are powered by vBulletin. I’ve been using vBulletin for 9 years. I was an early adopter after the mess that happened with UBB in the pre-Infopop days. I never thought the day would come when I would have to move to another forum package. With the recent events at vBulletin like the presale fiasco where they want you buy or upgrade to a product that isn’t even available yet to the censorhip and banning of long standing customers on their forum I saw enough. IB doesn’t seem to have a clue or care about customer loyalty.

My original plan was to test vBulletin 4 on one site and then decide if I would upgrade the rest of the sites. After seeing what happened when Internet Brands upgraded to vBulletin 4 and after seeing it in action I changed my plan. All my sites will now be converted to IP.Board. vBulletin 4 offers me nothing. IP.Board on the other hand has features I’ve longed for. OpenID and Windows Live as well as Facebook signon modules. Then there is IP.Converge to easily integrate users across different software platforms.

Anyway this post is to track the progress of the first vBulletin to IP.Board conversion.

Preparing for the conversion:

  • Remove the archived forums that haven’t had any posts in 2 years. Done
  • Prune inactive users. Done
  • Remove vBulletin software and put up a site maintenance notice. Done
  • Upload IP.Board and install and configure the settings. Done
  • Start the vBulletin to IP.Board conversion process. Done
  • Set permissions on forums and configure IP.Board Done
  • Re-open site for the public Done

Removing the archive forums has been running for over an hour now. I can’t believe that pruning 27K posts would take this long. This is really eating into the timetable I setup to get this done. I hope the member prune doesn’t take this long.


I hit a snag with my database. Had to roll back to a backup. The import is going smoothly as I write this update. I decided to do this a little different. I might lose a few posts in the process because I am leaving the site live until I have IPB configured the way I want. I will then make the test site live and shutoff the live site. So far everything is progressing nicely.

Update 2:

The conversion is going along smoothly. I knew it would take a while with over 700K posts. It’s 25% done on the post import. I’m going to finish the import tonight and tommorrow I hope to go live.

Some intersting things about my site. I did a zero post user prune. When I started the site had 33,791 users. After the prune of  banned users, zero post cound users and users that haven’t visited in a year I was left with 1686 users. I would venture to guess that most of them were spammers so nothing is really lost.

Last Update

The site is converted. You can check it out at

Some observations. In order to convert I had to install 2.3.6, convert and then upgrade to 3.0.4. I kept getting errors on post import at various stages. I edited the scripts to try and fix it and I did get farther along each time before I just gave up. I will say it was a pleasure being in code that is properly formatted and well commented. The code is clean unlike vbulletin which is a mess.

I bought my third license and will be doing another site tonight. Should be much easier this time. The site isn’t as large.

I converted another site. This one went off without a problem, but, I expected that since the site is a start up with not many posts. You can view it at

I have 4 more sites to do. One larger site and 3 smaller ones. The more I used IPB the more amazed I am that I stayed with vbulletin as long as I did. I will have some vbulletin licenses and vbseo licenses  for sale in the coming weeks.  I will also write a detailed howto for those that are going to convert from vbulletin to IPB.

I’ll keep this post updated as the vBulletin to IP.Board progresses

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9 Comments on "Converting from vBulletin to Invision Power Board"

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Hi! Thank you for posting about your conversion. I also got licenses of invision board but have not converted my boards yet. I replied to you in one of the threads in vbulletin but it got deleted. I can’t believe it especially since I stayed polite and did not mention any competitor.
I joined vbulletin in April 2000 like you and supported/recommended them fully until now. They should be ashamed. It is sad to see this situation.

To anyone living in the US: if you are a vbulletin customer and wish to complain about them, please complain at

Thank you.

Charles Warner

We usually suggest leaving your vB (or whatever you’re converting from) install in place until the conversion is done and everything looks good. Conversions can be an inexact science so sometimes you have to tweak things to your liking and convert again 🙂


Nice write-up. 😉

We have some members looking for some guidance on converting from vB to IP.Board ( I just came across this blog post and shared it with the community; hopefully it will come in handy to them. 🙂

The Geek

Great write up. The user prune was pretty heavy!

Q – any tweaks that you made to the converter – did you feed those back to IPB or could you make mention of those somewhere? If I make the transition, I want to make it as painless as possible 🙂

ps – agree with you regarding the code. IPB is much cleaner.

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