Migrate from another provider

Migrating from another provider to Communiteq’s Discourse hosting is pretty easy, but there are some caveats.

That is why we made this guide. Follow all the steps carefully and everything will be ok in no time!

1. Find out which version of Discourse you are currently running.

This is shown in the Discourse dashboard at /admin or can be seen by using the ‘View Source’ function in your webbrowser. Just look for the <meta name=”generator”> tag.

2. Create a forum with us

by going to https://www.communiteq.com/discoursehosting/pricing/ and following all the steps.

Do not add your existing hostname yet.

3. Find out which version of Discourse we are running

You can do this in the same way as in step 1. The important thing here is that we run the latest stable version of Discourse, or the version just before that (whenever a new version is released we need some time to test it with all the plugins). It is likely that your existing forum is running a beta version of Discourse.

It is impossible to restore your forum to a lower version of Discourse.

If the version that we are running is lower than the version that your forum is currently running, you need to contact us using the contact form in your control panel (or at https://www.communiteq.com/contact/) and ask us to upgrade the forum to that version.

Please read on for now because we’d like you to prepare a test backup for us.

4. Check if we have all your plugins

Please compare the plugins that you are using on your current forum, with the plugins that are installed on our hosting (Admin – Plugins). If we haven’t installed a plugin that you want to use, let us know.

Please note that we only support additional plugins on Professional and Business plans.

5. Prepare for the backup/restore

The backup/restore process is a bit fragile nowadays. A restore will almost certainly fail if you have uploads to s3 configured.

Important: Before starting the backup/restore process, make sure you have Admin – Settings – Files – enable_s3_uploads turned off.

Important: Having SSO enabled can cause issues as well. We recommend to turn Admin – Settings -Login – enable_sso off as well before taking the backup. Don’t forget to enable it again afterwards!

6. Perform a test backup and restore

Create a backup of your existing forum by going to Admin – Backup and clicking the Backup button.

After a while the backup will show up in this screen and you can download it using the Download button. It will send a download link to your associated e-mail account.

Then, go to your forum with us and upload the backup file you have just downloaded.

If this forum is already on a good version of Discourse (equal or higher than the current version) you can try to restore it. If you still need us to upgrade it, stop right here. We can use the uploaded backup to test if the restore will be successful.

  • Go to Admin – Settings – Backups and check ‘Allow Restore’
  • Go to Admin – Backups and click the Restore button.
  • Check if the restore went succesfully. If it didn’t, please contact support. Please leave your uploaded backup online so we can reproduce and fix the issue.

7. Perform the final migration

If everything is ok, you can plan and perform the final migration.

7.1 Prepare the DNS configuration

Make sure the TTL of your existing DNS record is set to a low value (preferably 900 or lower). This makes sure that the migration will go smoothly and your users will end up at the new site pretty quickly. If the TTL is set to a high value, you will need to do this step beforehand and wait the amount of seconds it was set to: if it is set to for instance 3600, you will need to wait for one hour before continuing to the next step.

Other common values are:

  • 7200: wait two hours
  • 14400: wait four hours
  • 21600: wait six hours
  • 86400: wait one day

It’s better to adjust this and wait before doing the migration, than having all your users end up in the wrong place after the migration!

7.2 Put up a Global Notice

Put up a Global Notice telling your users that they might encounter a read only forum, and that you are migrating to a new host. Admin – Settings – Other – Global Notice.

7.3 Enable Read Only mode

Go to Admin – Backups and set your existing forum to Read Only using the Enable Read Only button in the top right.

7.4 Backup and Restore

Create a backup like you did in step 6, and restore it to the forum you’re hosting with us. Make sure your existing site stays in Read Only after the backup has been created.

7.5 Finish configuration on the new forum

Remove the global notice on the new forum and enable e-mail.

Don’t forget to enable enable_s3_uploads if you turned it off previously.

7.6 Change the DNS

Go to our Control Panel and change your DNS record according to the instructions.

Do not forget to add the host name you want to use to the External Hostname section and save it.

8. Make final changes

If everything went ok, make some final changes.

  • Some hosting comes with their own settings for the notification_email. Make sure to change it to an email address within your own domain.
  • Set your SPF records according to the instructions in this KB article.
  • If your current hosting provider was using a CDN, you want to move away from that. Just contact us and we will help you with this.