phpBB3 Transfer Tutorial

How to transfer phpBB3

In this tutorial we'll review how to transfer your phpBB3 board. These instructions apply to transfers from one hosting provider to a different one, or from one account to another one with the same hosting provider.


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As with most other applications there are three basic things that you have to do to migrate your phpBB:

  • Transfer the phpBB3 files and folders from the old account to the one to which you want to move the application.

  • Transfer the database used by your phpBB3. To do this you have to export it from the old account and import it into a database on the new account.

  • In order for the application to connect to the database on the new account you have to make some changes to the configuration file of the application. In phpBB3 that file is called config.php.

In case you change the domain name too you have to edit the cookie domain option of the transferred application. For more information check further down in this tutorial. You may also need to make some changes to redirect/rewrite rules in the .htaccess file.

If you just want to move your phpBB3 from one folder to a different folder within the same account, you only have to transfer the phpBB3 files and folders.

Transfer the phpBB3 Files and Folders

You have to transfer the files and folders of your phpBB3 from the account from which you want to move the application to the new hosting account. You can do this with an FTP client (e.g. FileZilla). Download the phpBB3 files and folders from the old hosting account to your local computer and then upload them from the local computer to the desired folder on the new hosting account.

You'll save a lot of time if before you download the files and folders you pack them into an archive. After you upload the archive on the new hosting account you can unpack it there.

For some more details check out the section on file transfers in the tutorial on how to transfer your website.

Transfer the Database

To transfer the database used by the application you have to export it from the old hosting account. The exported database will be saved as an SQL dump file. You should then import this dump file in a database on the new hosting account. You can do the export/import actions with phpMyAdmin. This is an application for managing databases; it can be accessed from the control panel of your hosting account.

For more details and screenshots check out the sections on exporting a database and importing a database in the tutorial on how to transfer your website.

Edit config.php

In order for the phpBB3 application to function it should be able to connect to the database in which it's installed. The relevant database information is stored in a file called config.php. After you move your phpBB3 the name of the database, as well as its user and the password of that user, will be different than those on the old hosting account. So you have to change the database information in the config.php file. It's located in the root phpBB folder. Assuming that you uploaded the phpBB files directly in the public_html folder on your account (making the site's frontend accessible at yourdomain.com), then the path to the file on the account will be public_html/config.php. You can edit it from the Files section of the Pixie control panel. Alternatively, you can download it on your local computer with an FTP client, edit it with a text editor (e.g. Notepad, Wordpad) and upload it back overwriting the old file.

In the config.php file find the lines:

$dbhost = 'localhost';
$dbname = 'database_name';
$dbuser = 'username';
$dbpasswd = 'password';

The dbhost should be set to localhost. You should replace database_name with the actual name of the database into which you imported the database dump file on the new hosting account. To every database you can add a user with a password. This is performed from the Databases section of the Pixie control panel. Replace username with the username of the user that you added to the database and password with the password that you set for that user.

Cookie Settings

If in addition to transferring the application you also changed your domain name, you should edit the cookie domain option and change the old domain with the new one. You can do this from the admin panel of your phpBB. After you log into it go to General tab>Server Configuration menu on the left>Cookie Settings button. On the page that opens you can edit the Cookie domain option, and if necessary, any of the other cookie settings.

You can also change the cookie domain directly in the database. To do this log into phpMyAdmin by using the link in the Databases section of the Pixie control panel. Inside phpMyAdmin click on the name of the database in the left frame. In the right frame find the table prefix_config (prefix is replaced with the actual database table prefix). The table consists of several pages; you can change them using the drop-down menus above and below the table rows. Find the table row named cookie_domain (most likely on the third page) and click on its Edit button. On the following page type the new domain in the respective field and click on the Go button.