Migrate PHPBB3 to Ninjaboard

I never told you this (because it’s not relevant) but I’ve been the administrator for a small forum for quite a while now. The Brevcom Forums were founded about 4 years ago, by a bunch of people who were tired of the classic “forum drama” that was going on at other forums.

Until this weekend, we had always used PHPBB3 as our forum software. But an unpleasant event had me looking for alternatives. Preferably, a forum component for Joomla!, which would allow me to use AkeebaBackup to easily create back-ups of the forums as well.

After a lot of testing and asking for advice of fellow Joomla! I decided to give Ninjaboard a try. One of the key reasons, was that I could migrate the old PHPBB3 forum to Ninjaboard. When you’ve already established a community, having to start over again is not on your “to do” list.

Anyway, enough introduction. I am going to explain you how I migrated the forums, using the built-in tools and one additional component!

Migrating the Users

Before you start migrating your PHPBB3 forum to Ninjaboard, you need to “migrate” the users yourself. That might sound like a difficult task, but it’s not, really. You can “migrate your users if you follow the next few steps.

  1. ADDED: Before you start, make back-ups, especially of the database and files of your FORUM. JFusion can be VERY hard to uninstall from your PHPBB Forum, making the forum useless after you follow the next steps.  Back-up, back-up, back-up!
  2. Download Jfusion. This component is normally used to bridge Joomla with other systems. In this guide, we’ll only use it to migrate the users.
  3. Install the component the usual way.
  4. Once the component is installed, Go to Components > Jfusion > Configuration.
  5. You’ll see a list of various “plug-ins”. Select the “PHPBB3 plugin” and click “Configure”.

    Select the "PHPBB3" plugin, and configure it
  6. In the next screen, fill in the path of where your PHPBB3 forum is installed, and click “Next”.

    Fill in the path to your forum
  7. Normally, you’d now be changing settings on this page. Instead, just click “Save”.

    Don't change anything. Just click "Save"
  8. You’re back at the “plugin” screen. Click “New Usersync”.
  9. You’ll probably want to make a back-up at this point, as you’ll be importing (or maybe even overwriting) Joomla users in this step. Once that is done, go to “Options” for PHPBB3 and set it to ‘include this plugin from the usersync’. Then, click “Start”. Give it some time to synchronize the users.

    Set plugin to "Include", and click "Start"

Migrating everything else

Now that the users are migrated, you can start migrating the rest of your data.

  1. Go to “Component > Ninjaboard > Tools
  2. Under “Select what you want to import”, click PHPBB3.

    Click "PHPBB3". Did you remember to make a back-up?
  3. In the next screen, you’ll be asked for the path to the forum. Enter the path, and click “next”. The migration will start and will only take a couple of minutes.

What’s being migrated by Ninjaboard?

  • Post counts
  • Forum structure
  • Posts
  • Avatars
  • Signatures

Basically, everything you need to make your new, Ninjaboard powered forum a succes! Once the migration is complete, don’t forget to finetune the settings (like user groups) to your liking!

Did you succesfully migrate to Ninjaboard as well? Where there any problems? Or is there something else on the tip of your tongue? Leave a comment!

8 thoughts on “Migrate PHPBB3 to Ninjaboard”

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  2. Hi,

    nice article! I have just one question. When you migrated posts, has all the attached files, images etc been migrated also or did you have to migrate those by hand?

    1. Igor,

      To be honest: we never really worked with attachments on our old forum, so I don’t really know. I’d suggest to try it yourself, and get familiar with the migration process!

      One thing I forgot to mention in the articles: make a back-up of your PHPBB forum before importing the users. JFusion is hard to “uninstall” from PHPBB3 and can lead to problems if,
      for some reason, you want to still access the forum afterwards.

  3. Nooooooo!!! I have a problem, I am stopped in the last point when I try to migrate my phpbb3 to ninjaboard through the button y type the path /myfoldersofmyhost/thefolderofmyphpbb3/ and it doesnt work, It is translated to my language spanish and It says something about the path and something about a bridge, can you explain me that details?? why it doesnt work??

    Thank you

  4. Mine also says import failed! Had an existing phpbb3 forum and was looking to migrate to ninjaboard.

    1. @Evan

      Can you tell me how your folders are located?
      In my case, I have site/forum-old (phpBB) and site/forum-new(Joomla+Ninja) (just example) at the same level of the root. Is this correct?

      Or.. Am I should the /forum-old/ (phpBB) inside the /forum-new (Joomla root)?

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