Geeky - What Happened to Old Forum and Why No Upgrade Was Possible

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Jim, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. Jim

    Jim Administrator Staff Member

    Hey everyone,

    This is a "geeky" post - for those who happen to be interested. It will go over the reasons why I had to nuke the old forum and go with a forum based on new software (Xenforo).

    The old forum used vBulletin software. However, it was a very old version of vBulletin (3.0.11). Due to the software's age (over 10 years!) and several other factors, it was impossible to do an upgrade and have a seamless migration of posts from the old forum to the new forum.

    What Forced a Change in Forum Software
    • The old forum essentially stopped working in October 2015 when I had to move my websites to a new, much more powerful web server. The old server was dying, the the web host was clueless on how to fix it.
    • The new web server uses the latest, most secure versions of PHP and MySQL. Unfortunately, the old vBulletin forum software wasn't fully compatible with the latest PHP and MySQL.
    • The result was that some of the forum features stopped working, including one rather key one - the ability to reset the password.
    • Basically, the "email function" of the software stopped working. You could ask for password reset, but the email would never arrive. This happened to me, and essentially "locked me out" of the forum for the past month and a half. I tried "hacking into it" to no avail.
    • Other forum functions also stopped working or started to become quite buggy.
    • Finally,tThe old PhotoPost software had stopped working several years ago due to MySQL and PHP incompatibility, and was now broken "beyond repair" with it being on a new server that used the latest MySQL and PHP.
    Cost and Problems with Today's vBulletin

    I looked at updating the forum to the latest version of vBulletin. Doing so would have allowed old posts and user information to migrate to the newer forum. However, that proved impossible for several reasons.
    • To upgrade the old vBulletin used on the forum to the newest, mobile friendly version would have cost at least $500-$600 - with no guarantees of it actually working and no refunds provided. And this cost wouldn't include the cost of upgrading the old PhotoPost photo gallery software (which would have been another $200 or so - and again - with no guarantee of success).
    • The newer versions of vBulletin is being abandoned by many websites due to excessive bugginess, slow speeds and spam. Basically, vBulletin is a "dying software package" and it made no sense to upgrade to a software package that was on its death-bed.
    • vBulletin lacks a built-in photo gallery option - which is important to have.
    • Yearly updates would cost about $150 a year.
    Anyways, with the huge cost, the problems with the latest versions of vBulletin and the lack of a photo gallery option, I decided to go with another forum software package.

    Why Xenforo was Chosen

    Ultimately, after looking over several "free options" such as phpBB, I decided to spend the money to buy Xenforo forum software with the Media Gallery option (total upfront cost of $250 with a yearly update cost of $55). While not free, it is far less expensive than vBulletin, is actively supported and has many options. Plus, crucially, it is far more secure than the "free bulletin boards" online. Other reasons for Xenforo are:
    • The new forum has an excellent photo gallery option built right into it. Gone are the days of having to "switch between" two software packages to post photos.
    • The new forum is much faster than vBulletin, and - crucially - is also "friendly to smartphones" and other mobile devices. Since 30% of all visits to Big Sky Fishing are now on smartphones, a "mobile friendly" forum software package is needed.
    Anyways, that's the "techie details" about what happened to the old forum and why this new forum software package was chosen.

    I had hoped to keep the old forum alive through the end of the year (so people could move their old posts and photos over if they wanted to), but...that proved impossible too.

    The new forum software runs on, well..."newer software." By upgrading the web server to use the latest PHP and MySQL in order to run the new Xenforo forum software, it essentially "broke" everything with the old vBulletin software - which is why it stopped working today (Sunday, November 1st).
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015
  2. Excellent result Jim
  3. Jim

    Jim Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks Richard,

    Maybe not "excellent" results, though...since I wasn't able to move over older posts and members are forced to re-register. That was unfortunate, but there just wasn't a way around it without giving my life savings to vBulletin!
  4. I see it as a fresh start Jim.
  5. Jim

    Jim Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah, me too.

    The photo gallery component is especially nice. I missed not being able to upload photos of scenic web cams shots and all.

    Being friendly to mobile phones is also a big positive step.

    Oh, thanks for the email earlier tonight, too. Made me realize that the redirect from the old forum to the new forum wasn't working right. My new web host just got that fixed.
  6. d4570

    d4570 Active Member


    Picture works too
  7. Jim

    Jim Administrator Staff Member

    You can create an album for your hunting photos if you want to. By putting up your photos in an album, everything stays organized and you can easily find them all in one place. Once a photo is inside an album, you can easily insert those photos into any message in the main forum, too.

    If you want to create an album, Go to Media > then click "add media." Choose "album" then "create new album" from the drop down box. Once you got that, you're in business. :)

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