This month we bring you an indepth testimonial from a big web site that proudly upgraded from version 2 to 3 of vBulletin. Tony has taken the time to write down his experience and share it with other vBulletin fans! Thank you Tony!

Author: Tony Ford

My name is Tony Ford, Software Engineer and DBA for TeamXbox[/font] (Parent Company – IGN/Gamespy). I’ve been working with TeamXbox for just over a year and have been developing with php and mysql for about 2 years. TeamXbox has been using vBulletin software for close to 3 years and I’ve had my own experiences with the software for over a year and a half.

Just over a week ago, along with the release of vBulletin 3.0.0 Gold, it was time for us to make the large leap into the world of vB 3. Working with a board with over 2.3 million posts is daunting enough, but to think about using browser based upgrade scripts was downright scary. Therefore, I’d like to share my upgrade experiences with other vBulletin users that may have the same doubts I had.

Technical Information:

Web Server: Dual P4 2+ Ghz, 1 Gig of RAM
- Linux RHAS 2.1
- Apache 1.3.29
- PHP 4.3.4

Database Server: Dual P4 2+ Ghz, 1 Gig of RAM
- Linux RHAS 2.1 [/font]
- Mysql 4.0.14 [/font]

Forums Info: vB 2.3.0 - 42,668 Members, 145,142 Threads, 2,332,489 Posts

First, I shut down the forums, removed all php files from the forums directory, uploaded the new vB 3 files, and htaccess’ed the directory. Then, I performed a text backup of my forum db, and I recommend EVERYONE do the same. In addition to that, I truncated my search index tables before I made this backup, because they consisted of 20 million something rows of data. This was a decision I made based on time, and does have one negative affect being that it left my vB2 db with no search index should I need to run that forum again (You’ve been warned should you decide to do the same). Once I finished my backup I dumped it as a new db on the server, of course with a different name. At this point I had two dbs that were identical, with two different names. I would use the newly created db to perform the upgrade. Leaving the other db there, just in case disaster should ensue and I would need to run vB2 again.

After changing /includes/config.php with server information and the newly created db name, I browsed to And so, the upgrade began. The most grueling and agonizing part of the upgrade was the first 42 steps that take you to vB 3.0.0 beta 3. Most notably, the attachment update (I had 9,251 rows / ~ 600 MB worth of data on disk for attachments, not too bad) and the thread/post updates. All and all the redirecting 1000 (or whatever the script was incrementing) at a time scripts were pretty slick, but not without an occasional time out. During the thread/post update I experienced a time out that left my post table totally screwed. This forced me to use myisamchk –r –q from the CLI. Once I had that fixed I had a few more problems with some schema updates, like changing data types and indices on the thread table. I ended up viewing the upgrade scripts and running some of the queries from the CLI to avoid timeouts. These were later in the RC1/RC2/RC3 updates. The actual upgrade from vB 2 – vB 3 took about 6 ½ - 7 hours if you include the problems I had.

My advice, and I cannot stress this enough, is to be ready for anything and have shell access to your severs should you need to get in and do something from the command line. Also very important, should you experience a time out or if your browser stops responding do NOT hit refresh! The best thing to do is close your browser, open a new one and go to: this will take you back to where you were. You may find that the upgrade script will try to perform a query that has already been performed before and you’ll receive a db error. Find out what the error is by viewing the source of the document and if it’s a small query just reverse it and let the upgrade script do it’s thing again. This worked great for me on two separate occasions and I was fine. If things were bad enough you may have to start the entire process over again, but note, I did not have to resort to this even once.

Finally, after receiving the coveted, “Your board has now successfully been upgraded to vB 3 Gold” message, it was time for a visual makeover. Luckily, I was well prepared for this crucial step, as our designer and I had created three styles in RC4 over a 2 week period just before Gold was released. Implementing the three separate styles was as easy as uploading three xml files that I exported/downloaded from my vB 3 RC4 test board. After the styles were uploaded it was necessary to make a few changes here and there to any updated templates in vB 3 gold. This was a snap with the new ability to simply “Find Updated Templates” under the Styles & Templates menu in the Admin Control Panel.

Overall Jellsoft and especially vB 3 rock! If you’re still running something else, or still wondering whether the upgrade from vB 2 is worth it, think no more, do it now!

The Forums, including three separate styles, can be seen here: here

© Copyrights 2004 Tony Ford &
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