Discourse No Frills Import



I will import your data from your legacy forum package to Discourse. This offering is for a quick-and-dirty import of up to 50,000 posts. It is suitable for testing whether a given importer will work for your purposes, or to move your small community to Discourse. To see whether an importer exists for your forum, you can see this list of importers on GitHub. As a rule, all importers import users, categories, topics and posts. If you have an active community and need 301 redirects for your old URLs, that is beyond the scope of this service. You will need a service import which I typically do for $500-1000. Contact me with the size of your forum, current URL, current forum software, and desired time frame.

For this offering, I will configure the importer to import your data, make trivial changes to the existing script, and either upload the data to your Discourse or let you inspect it on a temporary Discourse instance that I set up for you, which you can then download and install onto your own Discourse instance at your convenience.

If you need multiple imports (e.g., you want to make sure that the importer works to your satisfaction before transitioning to Discourse), have a very large forum, or need to have a carefully choreographed transfer to the new site with minimized downtime, more time and money are required. Please contact me for details.

Import Frequently Asked Questions

What do you need to do the import?An SQL dump of your database, and usually a zip or tar file of your uploads folder. Exactly what files the importer will use varies, but it cannot import what you do not send me; it is better to send too many files than too few (though I do not need the source code). If the files are too big to email, then you can send me a link to the data on a service like Dropbox or Google Drive. If I will be doing multiple imports, then providing me with remote access to your MySQL server works well.What gets imported?All importers import users, categories, topics, and posts. Some also import attachments, avatars, personal messages, or even create 301 redirects for the URLs from the legacy forum. Even if you are not a programmer, you can get a hint from the source code; there is usually a section that begins with def execute that includes lines like
or import_private_messages. You can also get information by
searching on meta.

What if I need some feature that the importer is missing?

If the data is easily accessible in the database, then I can generally add support to import it for $100-$500.

What if I have more than 100,000 posts?

If you have a huge site, then it usually does not make sense to import the whole database to start with. Most clients want to see how things look to make a decision about whether to move to Discourse. When I use an importer, I add code to import only users and posts active after a given date. I’ll choose a date that will give you enough of your data to make a decision about how to move forward. This can also be handy if you have a very old forum with stale discussions that you would like to have purged as part of your migration.I have an active community and need to minimize downtime. How long does it take?For fewer than 100,000 post, I can often turn around an import in an hour or two if you arrange a time in advance. However, if you have an active community and want absolute minimum downtime, you probably also want to verify that the import works just like you want it to and to re-run the import at the very last minute for minimal downtime. For that you probably want a full-service import, which typically costs about twice what this service does.

What should I know before requesting this service?

You should see if there is a #howto for your importer. They often explain what the importer includes. Here are a few:


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