Need some input on how to upgrade an old phpBB version

Leopold

Neophyte
Joined
Jan 9, 2020
Messages
6
Hi!

I recently acquired a forum that is quite active with a lot of registered members and 340k+ posts in 17k+ threads. Since I’ve been senior moderator for many years at this place I want to revitalise the forum, and step #1 is to make the forum software reasonably updated which it is not at the moment. See attached scrennshot of the admin panel. Sorry it is in Swedish but almost the same as English... :)

What I need right now is a safe upgrade path, I have almost no experience ”at the bowel end” of forum software so to speak... The forum software is installed on a VPS running CentOS 7 if that may help suggestions on how to proceed wisely.

All suggestions are greatly appreciated. I am in no position to hire consultants to do necessary upgrades, this costs me money already for the ISP operational fees of hiring the VSP with the required bandwith, power, memory etc. I assumed the responsibility of admin for the sake of the community and not in any hope of making any profit at all. Of course I would not mind if I can find funding models to cover at least operational costs but it is not so important for me right now, just need a solid working solution for the community.

Thankful for constructive suggestions on how to move forward!

824E0A5A-C482-46A0-A8E1-A46112D6C857.png
 

haqzore

Devotee
Joined
Dec 6, 2012
Messages
2,429
First thing, no matter what, even if you do nothing: create, download and backup a full backup of the site.


There's a guide right on the phpBB site for upgrading from 3.0, step-by-step.

What part of that are you stuck on?


The biggest thing are any modifications and styles you're using. They won't work as-is, and will likely need to be removed & re-added after the upgrade IF there's a 3.3 version available.

If you rely on mods for core functionality of your site, you should confirm their availability on 3.3 & make plans around that.
 
Last edited:

koraldon

Aspirant
Joined
Sep 9, 2015
Messages
26
Just to clarify - mods no longer work at all, but they have been replaced with extensions.
You should use the guide, I would emphasize:
Backup before
Update using a copy of the site and db. I never directly update the main site.

If you have mods - Remove all mods from DB using the STK, note that this will render the board inoperable in some cases
Update using the full files (not automatic) keep the files and directories which are specified in the guide - delete all other old files.

After update is successfully completed move the copy to the main directory. You can disable the main site during the process using the ACP so no data is lost.

The above are my tips

p.s phpbb 3.3 was just released but it requires php 7.1+, note that you cannot probably use phpbb 3.0 with php 7.1, so maybe it is best to update first to phpbb 3.2.9
 

Leopold

Neophyte
Joined
Jan 9, 2020
Messages
6
Thanks a lot haqzore and koraldon for excellent advice!

To clarify: I have not tried anything at all yet, just trying to get a picture of current technical forum status and what is required to modernize the software version. Although there may be better forum software I could consider, I have the impression that the best route for now is to tidy up and update the phpBB rather than attempting to migrate at this point. My knowledge of the technical parts of forum administration is next to zero which is why I was reluctant to take over the forum in the first place.

But I’m an optimistic person and think I will manage to do what is required with some good advice from kind knowledgeable people!
 

haqzore

Devotee
Joined
Dec 6, 2012
Messages
2,429
There's no reason to change software unless you have specific, identified needs that phpBB cannot meet + a well laid out conversion plan to software that does meet those needs.
 

Kyrie

Habitué
Joined
Sep 2, 2009
Messages
1,008
There's no reason to change software unless you have specific, identified needs that phpBB cannot meet + a well laid out conversion plan to software that does meet those needs.
I completely agree. I realize that security is a big deal, but upgrading to 3.3 will help you achieve what exactly that you cannot already do?
 

CrazyTech

Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
231
Having performed a software swap of a slightly smaller, but growing forum, I would strongly advise you against changing the software out unless there is a specific need. I'll echo others here in that an old dog learning new tricks can cause some issues with longtime members. We had some leave out of frustration. In our case, we needed a better, specific feature set. However, I had a number of members wanting to go back to the old, free software.

As for an upgrade path, phpBB has a guide specifically for 3.0 -> 3.3. Biggest thing is to take good backups and have them on hand. I'd obviously advise doing this after-hours (or at least not at peak time), communicating clearly to your members that this is going on, and maintaining communication with them if it goes south or even when completed.

Copy the db and files, perform the updates. You can even do it in a sub directory and let .htaccess (or equivalent) do the redirecting when done.
 
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