Among the typical Vanilla forum use cases we see from customers, is the legacy forum. This is where you have an older forum, typically with lots of activity and members, but the forum platform it's running on is old, clunky, or just not doing what you want it to.
It could also be that support for that platform is coming to an end, either because the company that makes that platform is discontinuing or because it was an in-house custom build and the person who built it is moving on or doesn't want to support it on-going. In short, there are a lot of reasons why it either makes sense to make a switch or it is an imperative for the continuation of the forum.
That said, making a move in platforms brings its share of concerns, such as:
- Will there be disruption in service as I make the switch?
- What will happen to the old links that are indexed in search engines and linked to by other sites?
- Will my old members be resistant to changes?
- Will I be able to import user accounts from the old system into the new?
- How about importing all of the discussions, categories, sub-categories, posts, replies etc.?
- Will the forum keep all previous file uploads, pictures etc.?
When switching your old forum to Vanilla you take advantage of our depth of expertise in this area. We offer a standard import tool for forums coming over from V-Bulletin, phpBB and Vanilla 1. We also offer a custom import service through our Vanilla Professional Services team that can handle many other platforms, such as PunBB, Lefora, Xenforo, IP Board, Get Satisfaction, MyBB, SimpleMachines, and even custom-built forums.
With both the standard and the custom imports, we set them up to minimize any disruption in service by doing the switches in off-peak hours.
In terms of links and indexing, we have a smart redirect system that will redirect the old links to the new ones on our the new Vanilla system, while telling search engines such as Google to put the new links in its index for those results.
While in general forum participants are typically resistant to change, the absolute flexibility of the Vanilla Forum theme control allow you to update the forum with a modern theme and functionality while maintaining a familiarity to the members. We have experience working with forums that had a very mature and change-resistant audience that very much appreciated the new look after the move. If you would like to have us help you design the theme for your new forum, you can take advantage of our Managed Installation service to help you do just that.
One of the most obvious things you will want moved over properly in a forum software move are the user accounts, particularly with both the username and password so that your members don't have to create a new password on top of the viewing a new interface. You also want to make sure that the discussions, categories, sub-categories, posts, replies, file uploads and pictures move over as well. At Vanilla we take great care in building import systems that will take in as much of these assets as possible or as much as you wish to move over. We also make sure to bring over the user account credentials to make the move as seamless as possible for your members.
Moving software platforms for an old forum with hundreds of thousands of posts can be a scary thought. At Vanilla Forums we've done everything possible to remove the fear and make it a great experience, both for you, the forum owner or administrator, and ultimately your loyal forum contributors.