No announcement yet.

Best practices for upgrading to vBulletin 4.0.


  • Best practices for upgrading to vBulletin 4.0

    rss.jpgThe best method for upgrading your community is to be informed and prepared before hand. Today, I hope to give you some hints and tips that will ease the transition for you, your staff and the users of your community. Upgrading to a new major version of a software package can be time consuming and shouldn't be handled while under a time-crunch or hastily. The first thing you want to do is plan for the upgrade and make sure your community is aware of potential downtime when the upgrade is performed. Hopefully these steps will help you do this.

    Preparing For Your Upgrade
    Plugins and Addons
    If you have plugins or products installed in your community, you will want to make sure you have a copy of the current version on hand. Keeping a copy allows you to maintain critical installation and uninstallation information. You most likely won't want to use these addons but the documentation will come in handy.

    Custom Styles and Graphics
    Your custom style is your site's identity. You will want to maintain this identity as much as possible when you upgrade. To do this you will need to document your style and backup any custom assets (images, flash, fonts, etc...). Documenting your style is going to take a little work. So open your favorite text editor or grab a pad of paper. You want to write down the following things:

    1) A list of all colors used in your style. If you had your style professionally designed, the designer may have given you a color sheet as part of the style. What you need here is the color codes so you can recreate them. vBulletin 4 has different classes and color mapping so your existing codes won't be used. Write them down in this format:
    Body - font: fontname; font-size: XXpx; color: hexcode; background: image url, color; etc...

    2) If you customized templates to add functionality than you will probably want a list of the templates that you modified. This should include the template name and a description of what you did. The code you changed would be nice as well.

    3) Backup all your graphics. Make sure to include your smilies, backgrounds and other customized graphics. vBulletin 4 includes new graphics but they may not fit your taste or your site. If you're not a graphic designer you may need some graphics altered to fit in with the new style. Many of your current buttons will not be used. vBulletin 4 uses text links styles with CSS to create buttons. However you can still make them look like traditional graphic buttons if you want. This is also a bonus to people translating the software because you don't need to make new buttons for each language.

    4) Finally, a list of phrases if you modified any of them will be helpful. vBulletin 4 has modified quite a few phrases to make them more friendly. Plus it has a lot more inline help throughout the system to help new users more.

    Creating a Test Environment.
    Now that you have answered the questions above you want to create a test environment for your system. This environment should be as clean as possible but contain enough raw data for an adequate test. The easiest way to do this is to create a new installation of vBulletin in a directory called vbtest and using a new database. Double and triple check that the config.php for your test installation is pointing to an empty database. You do not want to overwrite your live forums.

    Once the test environment is up and running, make sure it works similarly to your live forums but without any products or plugins. Update the settings, usergroup permissions and forum structure so that is closely matches your live installation. Also make sure to create users for each of your custom permission setups as well as the standard groups. This will allow you to test permissions and other settings properly.

    Educating your Community.
    Some things will work differently in the new version. The hope is that the functioning of things is improved. However some things are different enough to illicet concern both on your part and your user's part. To resolve this you need to make sure to educate your community on the changes. You can use announcements, stickies, and notices to do this. Hopefully on the user end everything will be easy enough to pick up. Some key things to look for is wording changes and location changes of key elements. For wording, the goal is to make the phrasing more user friendly. For example, instead of User CP the text reads Control Panel or My Account. Another example is that instead of the New Reply button being on the left side of the screen, it is on the right inline with other controls.

    Before upgrading your live forums, I suggest you develop your own Quality Assurance testing to make sure everything works and you'll be able to support your users.

    • malmazan
      malmazan commented
      Editing a comment
      It makes no sense that thousands of vBulletin owners try to invent the wheel and go around like chickens with no head educating users. If VBulletin has made the software complicated to use, then it is vB should should be preparing educational materials for ALL of us to use.

      For God's sake, ¡¡the forum FAQ is the same as v3!! The new and confusing attachment thing is not even mentioned.

    • اليزيد للحاسبات
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for this achievement and continue to update

    • Oracle simsim
      Oracle simsim commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for the information. you are great
    Posting comments is disabled.

About the Author


Wayne Luke A curious juxtaposition of nature, technology and sustainability. Find out more about Wayne Luke

Article Tags


advanced (5) android (2) api (29) array (17) beginner (17) blog (4) calendar (2) cms (2) commission (1) forum (3) forums (4) Intermediate (7) iphone (3) mapi (30) member list (1) methods (10) mobile (34) recovery tools (1) security (2) style (2) sub-forums (1) threadinfo (1) threads (4) vb5howto (5) vBulletin (5)

Latest Articles


  • Managing CMS Section and Content
    by Don Kuramura
    Here's a quick Visual Guide on how Manage Sections in the new CMS.

    1. Editing a Section: If you have permissions to manage a Section, as you hover over the Section title, a pencil icon will display.

    After clicking the pencil icon, you will be taken to the Section Edit page. Here's what you will see:

    2. Section Name:
    Enter the Section Name
    3. SEO URL Alias: This is the SEO Friendly URL. By default, if this is blank, the system will automatically copy the section title.
    4. Section Layout: For each section you can define an individual section layout.
    Tue 11th Mar '14, 3:04pm
  • How to Create a New Article
    by Don Kuramura
    Here's a quick visual guide on how to create a new article with the CMS.

    1. Create New Article Button: Navigate to the section you want the article to be published in. Click on the “Create a New Article” button. This will open an article form.

    2. Article Title: In the "Add/Edit Article" screen, enter the title of your article in the “Title” textbox.
    Tue 11th Mar '14, 3:04pm
  • Promoting Articles from the Forums
    by Don Kuramura
    One of the innovative new features on vBulletin 4.0 Publishing Suite is the cross-publishing "Promote to Article" functionality. In the spirit of promoting content discovery, we wanted to create features that will allow content to flow between Forums, Blogs, and Articles. For example, there might be a really popular post in the forums, but unfortunately it is buried inside page 13 of a thread. We will now have an option (if you have permissions) to “promote” a forum (or blog) post as a new artic...
    Tue 11th Mar '14, 3:04pm
  • Welcome to the new CMS. Read me first.
    by Don Kuramura
    Welcome to the new CMS. Here's a quick guide of the different areas of this page.

    1. Section Navigation Widget. This widget allows you to go to different sections. The "plus icon" means that this section has sub-sections. Clicking on the "plus icon" will display the sub-sections. ...
    Tue 11th Mar '14, 3:04pm
  • Recovering a hacked vBulletin Site
    by TheLastSuperman

    Having your site hacked is something no owner wants to experience due to the fact it takes quite a bit of effort to fix, often times requiring payment to a experienced third-party when a owner feels inundated by the sheer amount of work required to troubleshoot and remedy the situation.
    • Site has been defaced - This is the most blatant form of hacking where your sites pages have been replaced with a very disruptive and sometimes rude message from the hacker themselves.
    Tue 12th Jun '12, 2:37am
  • Issues After Upgrading
    by TheLastSuperman
    If your running a completely default forum upgrading is a very simple process. Many sites however run third-party add-ons and even use a custom style therefor when things change between older and newer
    Thu 24th May '12, 1:02pm