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vBulletin Backup and Migration

Backing up the vBulletin website
Taking regular backup of your websites is extremely important for maintaining their data security, and this is all the more true in case of vBulletin websites. For backing up vBulletin websites, you must take a backup of the MySQL database and the files and folders located inside the vBulletin installation.

How to back-up the MySQL database?

MySQL database can be backed up using the forum’s admin panel as follows:
– Access this section: {vBulletin}/forums/admincp/index.php
– Once you reach this section, click the maintenance link on the left hand side menu.
– Locate the database backup option under the maintenance link. Click this option and you’ll be presented with two choices. First one will allow you to include the tables in your backup. The second one will let you take the backup of the entire database onto the web server. You are free to select either of these options. The one you go with will depend mostly on the size of your vBulletin Forum. You’d be better off opting for the second one if your forum is pretty large.
– Now you’ll need to select the directory where you’d like your backup to be saved. Unless you make any changes to it, the data would get saved at the default location. Please keep in mind that the directory you’d see would be on your web server and not on your local system.
– Download the backup file/s to your local system using either the file manager from the Control Panel or an independent FTP tool.

How to back-up the files and folders?
Backing up the files and folders of your vBulletin installation, such as the language files, avatars, profile pictures, source code etc. can be easily carried out using the FTP tools made available by your hosting service.

Migrating the vBulletin website to a new web server
You may need to migrate your vBulletin installation when you switch your hosting service provider or when you have to move the forum from the development stage to the production stage. Please keep in mind that this task can be extremely risky unless you approach it with careful planning. For safely moving the vBulletin website to a new web server, you should first change the web hosting service provider and then follow the steps provided below for migrating the vBulletin code and data:
– Start by moving the database of the vBulletin Forum. As vBulletin uses MySQL for storage of all the discussion records, you’ll need to migrate the MySQL database.
– Once you’ve done that, download all the files located in your old web server and upload them to the right directory on the new web server. These files would primarily constitute of profile pictures, language files, avatars and source code.
– In case the username or password of the new database is different from the previous one, you’ll need to make appropriate changes to this setting in the config.php file. Doing so is mandatory as you won’t be able to correctly connect to the new database without it.

Once you’re through migrating the vBulletin installation, test the new website by using the temporary URL or the IP address provided by the new web host. Once everything has been verified and is working properly, you can start the process of changing the dynamic name servers (DNS) for the change to be reflected on the Internet too.