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How to Backup before Upgrading to 4.0


  • How to Backup before Upgrading to 4.0

    vBulletin 4.0 - Restore to previous Version if Upgrade Fails

    Before you get all excited and go trying to upgrade yourself let's make sure you have some "headache medicine" ready!

    You are allowed to run a vbtest under your license I suggest you install or upgrade a backup of your live site first to make sure it goes smoothly IF you are going to in fact upgrade, disregarding our warnings of upgrading a live site.

    If your backing up to do a TEST upgrade of your LIVE site, please read this FIRST before proceeding:


    Information from an experienced community "mentor" if you will This means the old sayings are true, patience is a virtue and curiosity killed the cat!

    Step 1) Check the Minimum Requirements found here:

    If your Hosting account/Server is not up to par with the minimum requirements in STEP 1), it might not upgrade at all or cause you more trouble then it's worth! Some host will move you to another server with the minimum requirements if available or perhaps for an additional fee or monthly cost.

    Again, do not risk your LIVE site however If you attempt to upgrade like my stubborn grandmother then go ahead we know how you are.. continue on otherwise if your not that stubborn then your done with this guide until a new version of vBulletin 4.0 is released!

    Step 2) Backup your Database and Files so you can restore to your current version on your live board now i.e. 3.5/3.6/3.7/3.8 etc.

    How to do this Mike?

    2a) Database - Cpanel? phpMyAdmin? Do you have any of these? If so go in and export a copy of your site, click the export tab and then click "Save as file" near the bottom and let it run the backup saving it to a folder on your computer. (If you don't have phpMyAdmin etc please look into MySQLDumper found here: & Special Thanks to FF|Skyrider for the reminder!!
    2b) FTP (i.e. Filezilla) or the Cpanel File Manager or Legacy File Manager? Filezilla I find to be quicker than Cpanel but long story short you want to backup all the files, every single folder and file. Why? Well if you have problems while upgrading to 4.0 you have already uploaded the new files so they will not work if you try to restore if the upgrade fails .
    2c) Download your current version (3.6 or 3.7/3.8 etc etc) and I mean the exact same version your forum is running now before the upgrade this will be needed to restore if required.

    Step 3) Turn off ALL MODIFICATIONS. You can do this by disabling them all but the best and highly recommended way of doing this is by locating your config.php file and edit it (make a copy of it first and do not use notepad to edit use an external editor such as notepad ++ google it etc) and at the top below
    define('DISABLE_HOOKS', true);
    *YOU MUST DISABLE MODS BEFORE UPGRADING, not afterwards when it failed the first time, NOW.

    Step 4) Your all backed up! Run the upgrade script, you can find details in one of the two readme files included in your 4.0 zip i.e. vb4_readme.html OR vb4_readme.txt.

    Did it work? If yes then great! Enjoy


    If the backup worked and your forum is upgraded and running fine please stop reading this guide now and go have fun with vBulletin 4.0 Beta 3! If you have many Bugs please confirm they are common and not specific to only you for some reason i.e. MySQL or PHP version (Although you should have confirmed the minimum requirements were met before upgrading regardless).


    Continuing with this Guide from here down means you had a failed upgrade and wish to restore!

    Big forum or you just don't want your live site to stay down while you wait on a fix.. is there a fix? Frantic are you? Well simply restore back to your previous version.

    Step 5) Depending on where the install script failed, it might not have modified you current database so you see errors because it's new files for 4.0 not communicating properly w/ the 3.x database . Simply re-upload your previous versions files (see step #7) as if you were updating and then run the upgrade script, there is an option to run it anyways please click that and proceed.

    If it did not alter the DB then you should see your live site back up! If it still shows errors then you might be in trouble and want to post here: and wait for a reply otherwise you will need to restore your backed up database or do a fresh install and have all your members re-register .

    Step 6) Restoring but at the same time

    6a) You can try restoring your database via phpMyAdmin but some host have file upload or session limits/timeouts in place. You can ask them to restore it for you which is the quickest way.

    They won't restore or charge $$$.$$ ?

    6b) Now you must do the rest plain and simple, buck up and let's get this done Good Sir! (or Lady )

    There's an EXPORT and IMPORT option in phpMyAdmin look for it in yours, some host though have timeouts or limited sessions in place as mentioned above so you attempting to restore it will never work unless you use something like BIGDUMP. Here is some more info on automated backups (do this when you have time ) which has links for BIGDUMP so you can upload a large Database.

    From that page, credit to XOOPS see post for details on author:


    Bigdump, The script

    Thanks Alexey Ozerov (alexey at for this script that imports big SQL dump files on limited sessions servers. Script Valid with IE 6.0 SP1, mozilla 1.x and Netscape 4.8.


    Staggered import of large MySQL Dumps (like phpMyAdmin 2.x dumps and even GZip compressed dumps). Do you want to restore a large backup of your mySQL database (or a part of it) into a new or the same mySQL database? Maybe you can't access the server shell and you can't import the dump using phpMyAdmin due to hard memory/runtime limit of the web-server. BigDump will achieve this
    even with webservers with hard runtime limit and those in safe mode in a couple of short sessions.


    Installation and configuration

    One unique script. Modify setup vars ( DB connection and gzip file URL) and upload it on your server.


    This is a manual operation (Databases are not usually restored daily)
    Post gziped sql Dump at devoted URL and run the script.

    Simple, ths script is an excellent DB_Backup complement. No more sql files cut to fit phpMyAdmin sessions that a so boring (and dagerous) as your DBs bocomes too big.
    6c)Check out this information as well posted by Floris!

    Originally posted by Jhumon
    Hello users and team

    how do i restore my databases after upgrading to 4.0 ?

    can anyone help me in this ?
    Originally posted by Floris
    Step 7) Your files... Upload all of them back to the same directory and all the files are as they were with the database now restored!

    Again, in regards to restoring your Database, if it's getting to you that bad and you can't wait simply contact your host and ask for their assistance.

    I hope it goes well for many of you, I had to save a 3.8 forum last night from an owner who jumped then gun and tried to install herself so I thought I would post this up since many will be here for 4.0 ?'s and support just like many will only be on!


    I'm trying to help another member out so if you tackled a few issues yourself and have time to look it over he and I would both be very appreciative! & THANKS!

    The above "Optional" problem was fixed by using IMPEX.. as a LAST RESORT!

    (For 3.x to 4.0 failed upgrades that are not very functional please try this
    method of Importing that failed 4.0 to a new 4.0 Install
    : )


    • GiveMeABreak
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    • GiveMeABreak
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    • TheLastSuperman
      TheLastSuperman commented
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      I'm no longer supporting the vB4 Beta forum version of this tutorial, for future questions and support please post here:[Suite-OR-Forum]-How-2-Guide-Backups-Upgrades-and-Recovery! That is the most recent version for vBulletin Gold Owners. Mike
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About the Author


TheLastSuperman I'm a silly father of three wonderful kiddos ranging from ages 5 to 12 years old, I have a beautiful wife of 11+ years, and I develop Websites and Forums for a living 40+ hours a week. Find out more about TheLastSuperman

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