Moving a forum to a new server can be a daunting task, especially when considering the need to transfer critical information contained in the forum’s database. Not only will the forum files and database need to be transferred, but the database configuration will also need to be modified to reflect the new server names. Fortunately, with cPanel’s BackupmySQL®Databases and PHPmyAdmin tools and an FTP tool, such as Filezilla, the task is not nearly as difficult as it may seem.

Here’s how:

  1. Make a backup of the forum’s database from the old server. This can be done directly within the forum’s admin panel using the Export feature, or by using the Backup tool found in cPanel (Files > Backup). Save the backup file to your local computer. Simply click on the database and it will download.
  2. Transfer the forum files and folders from the old server to your local computer using an FTP tool like Filezilla.
  3. Once the transfer is complete, transfer the files and folders from your local computer to the appropriate directory on the new server via FTP.
  4. Using the new server’s mySQL®Databases tool in cPanel, create a new database and user for the forum. Be sure to add the user to the database with all privileges.
  5. Next, open the PHPmyAdmin tool (new server cPanel) and click on the newly created database on the left-side column. You may need to click on the on the + sign to expand the view to find the database.
  6. Click on the Import tab at the top, then click on Choose File to select the backup file for your database on your local computer. Once selected, click Go. (The other default presets on this window need not be changed.)
  7. Next, you will need to modify the configuration of the database settings. To do this, locate the forum’s config.php file and transfer this from the new server to your local computer via FTP. Some forums may have a different title for their config file, such as Settings.php. The important thing is to find the php file that contains the server settings found in step 8.
  8. Open the config.php file using a simple text editor. Find the database settings and modify according to the new server settings. The settings to modify will look like this (in blue):
    • ########## Database Info ##########
      $db_type = ‘mysql’;
      $db_server = ‘localhost’;
      $db_name = ‘newserver_DbName’;
      $db_user = ‘newserver_DbUserName’;
      $db_passwd = ‘UserPassword’;
      $ssi_db_user = ”;
      $ssi_db_passwd = ”;
      $db_prefix = ‘smf_’;
      $db_persist = 0;
      $db_error_send = 0;
  9. Save the changes and upload via FTP to the new server, replacing the existing config.php file.
  10. Your forum is now ready to use on the new server!

If you desire further understanding, here’a a YouTube video that will walk you through the process. Although this is specific to a phpBB forum, the concepts are the same: