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Phpbb Forum Move From One Database To Another

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Hello everyone, recently I set up a forum online, the hosting provider I set it up with however only offered access databases, no sql. We got the forum working as normal, but we started to notice little differences, there is no ability to backup the forum in the admin section, and we are also unable to install any mods to it. Apparently with the Phpbb forum using a MS Access database is limited. Now we have a bit of a problem because the forum has been running for some time, and we are trying to find a way to get the information moved over with us if we change to an SQL database. We are able to see all the information through Microsoft Access in the current database, but have no way of knowing how it should be sorted differently in an sql database. Anyone ever tried this? If so, any suggestions on where to start?

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Try to find out if anyone at the phpbb boards has written a converter to accommodate your request.

I would think that if you can 'see' the database, that you should be able to use some sort of DB Utility to perform an extraction of data and then perhaps a transformation into the required mysql format.

This sounds like something the phpbb forums would know all about.


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Hey, man...wow, you've got yourself into one HELLUVA pickle then, haven't you? OK, first things first.


1. I have NEVER heard of a phpbb database WITH Admin access that DIDN'T have an ability to backup the forum. It's just not possible. SO! Log into your FORUM, not into the database...go into the actual forum AS THE ADMIN, then towards the bottom click on "Go To Administration Panel". Right under General Admin is the function "Backup Database"...USE THAT. It will prompt you to SAVE the database back to your local machine...DO THAT. It's really hard to re-integrate it later...and should only be used as a last resort...but it's absolutely critical if you're going to do this thing right.

2. You say you can see your database through MS Access...which means you must be able to see it locally as well. I want you to log into your host, locate your database and export it to a LOCAL copy that you can see on your machine in MS Access. That's also important. When you do the export...export EVERYTHING...column headers, indexes, tables...EVERYTHING.

3. Now go to your new host and log in there via your control panel. Install PhpBB normally using a blank SQL table. That's actually the easy part.

4. THEN go to the new table that was just created using MYSql or whatever product they have and IMPORT your MS Access table into the MySQL table.

5. That should do the trick...HOWEVER...sometimes the table structure creates and the data goes to hell...in that case...after you have the table created via the previous steps here, go log in to the FORUM with your Admin credentials, then Go To Administration Panel and choose "Restore Database". You'll then be able to pull in your local copy of the forum backup and you should be off and running. NOTE! This ONLY works with a file size of 2MB or under! which is kinda stupid...if your file is over 2MB large...then you'll need to dump it somewhere on your host and ask their support people to do the restore for you. Believe me, they'll be happy to...they do it ALL the time for LOTS of folks...that's been my experience anyway.


This is NOT as easy as I'm describing it however! There are pieces of the puzzle you'll need to watch over during this whole process and that requires some familiarity with DBA functions/maintenance. Post table creation, you should look at the structure and see if everything is the same as you've seen it in your MS Access database....if it's not, you MAY need to manually create some structure items...but MySQL makes that rather easy these days. Then you'll have to try pulling in your local table again. If you have to resort to pulling in the forum backup file...there is an ini file that requires adjustments so the data will go into the new table...that data being the administrative login information, table name and some other things. You'll need to look at the PhpBB support site for that. Here's a good article for you: https://www.phpbb.com/kb/article.php?article_id=212 and this one too https://www.phpbb.com/kb/article.php?article_id=59.


If you really find yourself in a pickle you just can't get out of...give your local copy of both the phpbb backup AND the MS Access backup to your host support folks and, again, ask them to do the restore for you. They should be overjoyed to be doing something other than reset passwords. :P


I hope this is helpful...please feel free to ask ask ask more questions...I have a wealth of information on this topic and am happy to help.

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