Posted on February 4, 2013
I was recently asked by a member of our local WordPress meetup group which forum software I would suggest using. I mentioned that I had been using SimplePress for a while, but wasn’t in love with it. I had used BBPress quite a while ago, before it got the major revamp and if I had to choose which to use for a new site, I would go with BBPress. Then, with a stroke of great timing, the BBPress 2.3 beta was released the following day. Since it was fresh in my mind, I installed the beta to test it out. In short, BBPress has come a LONG way in the past year. So much so that we decided it was time to move our support forums off of SimplePress. That process would prove to be tricky.
To follow are the steps I took to convert our forums from SimplePress version 4.4.0 to BBPress version 2.3
Seriously. Just do it.
I went one step further than just backing everything up. Instead, I exported the database and set up a separate WordPress install just to run the conversion. This way, if everything broke I could simple delete it and start again. And now the actual conversion process.
Step 1: Upgrade SimplePress
When figuring out what it would take to do the conversion, I found that BBPress could convert SimplePress version 5 forums right from the tools menu. So in order to do the conversion, I first needed to upgrade SimplePress. Unfortunately, their upgrade only works with version 4.5.x. After reading this page, I took these steps:
– Deactivate the SimplePress plugin (Do Not uninstall it, just deactivate it)
– Remove the /plugins/simple-forum/ folder from your server
– Download the latest version of SimplePress
– Upload simple-press folder to /plugins/simple-press/ on your server
– Activate the plugin
Once the plugin is activated, you’ll have the “Forums” item added back to your menu which will link you to an upgrade process. Start the upgrade process and let it run. For our small forum this process took 3-4 minutes. I’m assuming for a larger forum, this process could take a bit longer. Be patient.
After I ran the update, poking around the forums admin area, everything looked fine. I then checked the actual forums and found this message:
I was concerned that I had lost all my data, but the forum stats displaying below gave me some comfort.
Step 2: Install BBPress
Not wanting BBPress and SimplePress to colide, I started by deactivating SimplePress. I then uploaded the BBPress 2.3 beta to /plugins/bbpress/ and activated it from the plugins menu.
Yeah, that part was pretty simple.
Step 3: Import SimplePress forums
Just a quick note. At the time of this writing BBPress 2.3 beta 2 has a bug related to importing of data. I posted a ticket about it in Trac and I’m sure it will be fixed soon. To get around the bug, I ran a search and replace on the database to remove any instance of as it causes the post to be truncated upon import.
Start by going to Tools -> Forums in the WordPress admin area, then click the Import Forums tab at the top. From the dropdown select SimplePress 5 and then fill in the database information. Just under that you’ll see a few options. The most important of which is the Convert Users option.
The first time I ran the import, I was installing BBPress on the same WordPress installation that SimplePress had previously been installed on. This meant that all my user accounts already existed and their posts were all connected to them. I clicked the convert users tab prior to running the import, and all the posts, once converted, were once again attached to their rightful owners as part of BBPress.
I then decided that I wanted to move my forum to a different WordPress install on a different domain. When doing so, I accidentally forgot to click the Convert Users checkbox. The results were less than optimal. All of the posts DID come over to the new installation, but they were all attached to a single user account. Oops.
I can’t think of a reason (although, I’m sure there is one or this wouldn’t be an option) why you would ever want to NOT click the Convert Users checkbox. So before you click Start, make sure it’s checked.
Step 4: Repair Forums
After running the conversion in step 3, I was reviewing the forums and noticed that all the data appeared to be in place and the posts were all attached to the proper people, but, all of the counts were off. Anywhere where it said how many posts or replies were on a post or topic was all displaying zero. Back to the admin area we go. This time to Tools -> Forums and click the Repair Forums tab where you will find the following options:
Taking the advice along the top, I clicked the first item in the list and then clicked Repair Items. It took a matter of seconds to complete. I then went through each item on the list, one at a time, and checked the box and ran the repair. When I was done I went back to the forums to find that all the counts had been updated and my forums were working perfectly.
Once you know all the pieces, the process isn’t actually all that difficult. But hopefully I just saved you some trial and error time.
Done Done. (as Chris Lema would say)