Category: "Forum Software"

Importing vBulletin 4 CMS Articles into WordPress

For vBulletin 4 owners who utilize the CMS aspect of vBulletin, there are no current converters for migrating vBulletin 4 CMS Articles into WordPress as Posts. If you intend to use WordPress as your primary software platform and you have hundreds if not thousands of vB4 CMS Articles you will definitely want to import all your articles! Losing that many articles from search results and rankings is not an option in the least so today we present you with a vB4 CMS Article to WP Post Converter!

If you’re planning on importing your vBulletin forum please do that first by using our article “Importing Forum Software into WordPress Forum using BBPress” before you import your CMS articles.

Now after you’ve successfully imported your forum, it’s time to import your CMS Articles from vBulletin into WordPress as Posts, this way they show on your WordPress home page. Let’s review the steps, then we’ll also discuss possible plugins you may wish to use.

  • Download the included converter.php and converter_inc.php files from our zip file vb4cmsarticlestowpposts
  • Extract the .zip file, edit the file converter_inc.php file and enter in your vBulletin 4 database details then save the file.
  • Upload the two files into your WordPress root folder.
  • Now simply call the script via URL, i.e. in your browser after your wordpress url add a slash and type in the script name, Example: /converter.php so if your site is example.com, it would be www.example.com/converter.php. IF you installed WordPress in a folder to test the import, then it would be www.example.com/foldername/converter.php.
  • The script will run, you will see data being imported on screen, depending on the number of articles in your vBulleitn CMS it may take more time to run for some than others. Once the script is finished it will stop, give a it a few minutes to ensure its not still processing before you close your browser window.
  • When you believe its finished, check your WordPress dashboard, check the Posts and ensure all were imported.

If you provided the correct database details and uploaded the script properly and followed the instructions above you should now be looking at all your vBulletin CMS Articles within WordPress! Enjoy!

What’s next? Good you asked! Now lets import external images, then attachments as the script does in fact show attachments in the posts but as images coming from your vBulleitn software and since you’ve just imported into WordPress its safe to assume you’re almost ready to remove vBulletin entirely and if you do so before importing external images and attachments then they’ll be removed when you do, ruh-roh!

First you need to install some WordPress plugins:

The two above scripts will import external images and attachments. Why do you need both? Good question, think of it this way, your WordPress is now “itself” meaning that it views itself as the primary software, so any links to external images such as those in your forum will be viewed as external images to WordPress so we need to ensure we import any external images AND attachments no matter how WordPress “views” or interprets them.

After you’ve successfully imported external images and attachments you’re then safe to remove your vBulletin forum (if using the CMS system remove the entire Suite). We do recommend you backup your vBulletin site before removing entirely, backup the files and database and retain a copy in the event you need to reference any data it can be restored and the data easily retrieved.

Credits:

  • This new script was made from the tutorial on Military Media however it would not run properly and had errors when testing so it was adjusted to work properly on WordPress 4.6 and 4.7 respectively.

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Importing Forum Software into WordPress Forum using BBPress

With WordPress powering nearly 25% of the web, it’s safe to say that its popularity coupled with ease-of-use and vast plugin support make it a primary contender and choice of many website owners. For many years other software such and Bulletin Board software reigned supreme more so in the years prior to social media sites such as Facebook were heavily utilized. Those using phpBB, vBulletin, Invision Power Board, and others such as Xenforo had long used WordPress as the home page with the forums being installed into a sub-folder… then adding in a Single Sign On or “bridge” to link the two systems – this could be done easily by developers and avid WordPress enthusiasts however it left simple site owners in the dark!

BBPress (and/or BuddyPress) creates a forum within your WordPress and for those who had previously utilized WordPress as a home page yet depended on other forum software to render your forums to your member base it does a simple and quite elegant job! Below is the process of installing BBPress into WordPress and then importing forum data into it, thereby seemingly transferring your WordPress site into a forum as well!

Preparation

  • Backup your site, both database and files before beginning.

Installation  (Source)

Automatic Plugin Installation

  1. Open your WordPress Admin Dashboard and go to Plugins > Add New.
  2. Under Search, type in bbPress into the search form and click the Search Plugins button to the right, bbPress should be the first result in the returned list.
  3. Click Details for to confirm the author is listed as ‘The bbPress Community‘ and links back to http://bbpress.org
  4. Click Install Now to install the bbPress Plugin.
  5. A popup window will ask you to confirm your wish to install the Plugin.
  6. Click Proceed to continue with the installation. The resulting installation screen will list the installation as successful or note any problems during the install.
  7. If successful, click Activate Plugin to activate bbPress.

Manual Plugin Installation

  1. Download the current version .zip of bbPress and extract the contents to a folder on your PC.
  2. With your FTP program upload the extracted ‘bbpress‘ folder to your ‘/wp-content/plugins/’ folder.
  3. From your WordPress Admin Dashboard and go to Plugins and Activate the bbPress Plugin.

After you’ve successfully installed and activated BBPress, the next step is to import from your alternate forum software.

How to Import

  • Visit WordPress Admin Dashboard > Click on Tools > Click on Forums > Click on the Import Tab

You will see the following screen when doing so:

bbpressimport

As you can see in the screenshot, some additional information is required, this being database details for the alternate forum software, in nearly all cases this can be found in a config.php file from the other software OR listed in the administrator control panel of said alternate software. *Also please note, there is another “Import” link in the menus, the look of this page will greatly differ from the screenshot above and is the wrong location, do not use the import function if it does not resemble the page in the screenshot above as it would be the wrong location and import respectively.

Once you’ve provided all information required from the other software, you can begin your import. Once finished simply follow any additional on-screen prompts and then check your site to see if everything imported properly.

For example:

  • www.example.com/index.php  <– WordPress.
  • www.example.com/forum/index.php  <– Old Forum Software
  • www.example.com/index.php/forums/  <– Is now your new BBPress Forum within WordPress

There are now other things you can do, such as changing URL Hierarchy (how links work and look) to make them more SEO friendly, what plugins do you wish to use? Now is the time to check the plugin directory for WordPress and also the BBPress plugins directory and see what you can use to your benefit!

Now with all changes in place, your new WordPress forum is ready to rock and roll! We do suggest you backup and archive your old forum software for reference purposes.

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Google Analytics UI Changes and Improvements

Some site owners have noticed recently that there have been changes to Google Analytics UI (User Interface) and more such as security improvements in regards to browser use, namely that Firefox and similar browsers are not compliant with how the information is displayed securely therefor will not display the analytics content for review.

Let’s review a few of these changes and some useful tips!

  • Automatic alerts will be removed from Google Analytics soon. Custom alerts will not be affected and continue to be visible.
  • The In-Page Analytics report is being removed from Google Analytics soon. However, you can still get in-page analytics by using the official Page Analytics Chrome Extension.

Furthermore the Google Analytics Code itself has undergone another change, let’s compare an old snippet to a newer snippet of code;

Old Version:
<script type=”text/javascript”>

var _gaq = _gaq || [];
_gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-12345678-1’]);
_gaq.push([‘_trackPageview’]);

(function() {
var ga = document.createElement(‘script’); ga.type = ‘text/javascript’; ga.async = true;
ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘.google-analytics.com/ga.js’;
var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
})();

</script>

New Version:
<script>
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i[‘GoogleAnalyticsObject’]=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){
(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new
Date();a=s.createElement(o),
m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)
})(window,document,’script’,’https://www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js’,’ga’);

ga(‘create’, ‘UA-12345678-1’, ‘auto’);
ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’);

</script>

Using the above examples, you need to check your existing Google Analytics Code and compare, if it’s outdated then simply snag the new code from the Analytics Dashboard Admin area which is rather simple so let’s recap that as well:

  • Log into your Google Analytics Account.
  • Click on the ADMIN tab at the top.
  • Click on .js Tracking Info under the Property Settings.
  • Click on Tracking Code and now scroll down, you can view the new code and copy/paste that into your relevant software.
  • Allow upwards of 24hours for the tracking code to begin tracking properly (if no code existed already).

You can view more information on the upcoming changes and improvements here.

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LiteSpeed Cache and Xenforo

Every forum owner wants a lot of posts but high post counts and traffic can bring a large forum to a crawl in peak hours. The falling cost of SSD’s has helped considerably but a good caching scheme is mandatory.

LiteSpeed in conjunction with the admins at XenForo has come up with what looks to be an efficient and well-maintained scheme.
The LiteSpeed Cache Plugin for XenForo (LSCXF) is a PHP-based plugin that communicates with your installation of LiteSpeed Web Server(LSWS) and its built-in page cache, LSCache. LSCache is built directly into LSWS to significantly reduce overhead with greater efficiently than with other PHP-based caches.
The current community version of LSCXF will only cache and serve pages for non-logged-in users. After a user has logged in, their page requests will always hit the backend.
Additional Plugin Features
Automatic page caching greatly improves site performance
Support for HTTP/2 & HTTPS out-of-box

LiteSpeed ForoMTB cache efficiency.

LiteSpeed ForoMTB cache efficiency.

Load comparison Apache vs. LSWS
*Courtesy LiteSpeed Technologies Inc

Server Environment
2x AMD Opteron 6272 CPUs (32 cores)
64GB RAM
2x 1TB drives with RAID 1

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How to install Xenforo Add-ons

Installing and upgrading Xenforo Modifications/Add-ons is a fairly straightforward process. Normally installing a Add-on involves:

  • Upload Add-on contents to /library
  • Upload Add-on contents to /JS
  • Import .xml file in the Admin Control Panel.

*Please Note: Not all Add-ons have the same files and some do not have javascript (JS) files to upload – the files required for upload vary per Add-on.

Alternatively there are Add-ons that can do this for you if you’re uncomfortable with installing or upgrading your Add-ons, some of which are:

Other Add-ons are also available in the resources section of the xenforo website, one prime example would be “Proper Theme Installation, Upgrading, and Usage” which is also a very useful Add-on! Always keep your Add-ons up-to-date, it’s very important!

 

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Uninstalling Modifications – vBulletin

Uninstalling Modifications:

Note: On some occasions disabling the modification instead of uninstalling is best.

  1. Prepare yourself i.e. if you’re uninstalling a modification it’s best to know exactly what you’re uninstalling.
  2. Run a backup of files and database beforehand.

When to disable versus uninstall?

Note: When you disable a mod the data remains within the database. When you uninstall a mod all data is removed permanently. *With that being said if you uninstall a mod due to whatever reason, you will not be able to retain any previous data.

Example: A Thanks mod for thanking people on certain posts, if you uninstall and later decide to re-install all user thanks will be gone SINCE you previously uninstalled the mod – if however you disabled it and now upgrade the mod the previous data will upgrade with the new version of the mod and all users will still have their previous thanks amount.

  • If the mod only works on a certain version of vBulletin AND you’re unsure if an upgrade will become available then you could retain the mod by simply disabling it.
  • If the mod is a basic mod that generates no user data it can be uninstalled then re-installed at any time without the loss of data.
  • If the mod has a security risk you can either disable it so it cannot be exploited (some can even if files remain so you could disable AND remove the files to be safer than usual) OR uninstall it completely (*Refer to the Note above, be sure you want to specifically uninstall instead of disabling – knowing the difference can save you a headache later on if a mod was in fact required).

How to uninstall?

Note: Some mods have file uploads and some do not. The easiest way to know if it has file AND what those files are (since you remove all files associated with mods IF uninstalling) is to re-download the same version of the mod you have installed, within the .zip if it had files to upload all the files will be shown in the .zip and now you know what files to remove. IF the mod is no longer available you can inquire for assistance or for file names themselves from the community on vbulletin.org.

*We strongly advise against using warez/nulled sites for downloads as they can be compromised or you yourself by utilizing such sites and on top of that most are providing scripts, files, and much more without permission and are usually in violation of the law by conducting illegal activity – be careful!

*Not all mods are in the modification graveyard yet were removed from vbulletin.org so their author might have a version available on their site otherwise if it’s in the graveyard on vbulletin.org AND the company went belly up you must rely on Google and other searches to find the file names associated with the mod.

Directions:

> AdminCP > Plugins & Products > Manage Products > *Now to the right of each mod listed is a drop-down, select to disable OR uninstall the mod in question.

Note: The mods title on the left is a hyperlink. Hovering above the mods title on the left will reveal the url of the mod on vbulletin.org or the authors site, click it to view and possibly download the .zip required to know what files should be removed.

  • If a mod has no files associated with it and only an .xml file was present then no further cleanup is required i.e. a mod with only an .xml will not have files that need to be removed.
  • Some mods have manual file edits to default vBulletin files required before use, be sure you read any readme.txt or readme.html files to ensure that you remove all customization’s (easiest way to revert custom changes in a file is to overwrite the default vBulletin file with a fresh file of the same version). Another example would be changes to .htaccess in which case you should remove any custom additions and only retain what is required in a typical .htaccess file.
  • If you’re unsure about which files to delete (for example if you could not find a download of the modification and are using your best judgement to clean old files from your site) you can CHMOD them to 000 which makes them unusable by the server in a sense – if the file was required you will see some form of error on your forum in which case you now know the file was not a file to be removed and can CHMOD it back to the previous CHMOD permission value. *Only CHMOD the files to 000 AFTER uninstalling the modification from the product manager – If you CHMOD files to 000 before you uninstall the product it WILL produce errors respectively.

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Setup XenForo locally for learning and Development

Good way for XenForo users who want to install XenForo locally for learning and development purposes. Backbone for this guide is WPN-XM (or WPИ-XM), an open source, nginx backed server stack for Windows actively developed by Jens-André Koch. You can donate to him here.
Compatible with XenForo Versions 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4
Homepage: http://wpn-xm.org/
Github: https://github.com/WPN-XM

1. Download and install WPN-XM

Go to http://wpn-xm.org/ and grab the All-In-One Installer. Webinstaller is buggy and doesn’t always work. Next, install it in any directory you like. When it prompts you to select the components you want to install, follow this picture as you don’t need all of them:
wpnsetup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the next prompt, choose if you want start menu entries, desktop shortcuts etc.
I’d choose the portable installation because it doesn’t do registry entries and makes for a clean uninstall.

wpnsetup2

 

 

 

 

 

When the installation completes;

2. Create database and copy XenForo

Run WPN-XM. You should see the Server Control Panel:

server conrolpanel

 

 

 

 

Click the Start button and the grey dots to the left should turn green.

wpnpanel2

 

 

 

 

Now click the webinterface button to reach the Webinterface:

wpnwebinterface

 

 

 

To create a database for XenForo, click at phpmyadmin. Username is “root”. Leave the password field blank. phpmyadmin will create a database with the collation utf8_general_ci. Name your database and when its created, click at the red Stop button from the Server Control Panel.

Navigate to the www folder of WPN-XM and create the folders for your project. .In the one for the XenForo install unzip the XenForo archive.

3. Configuring php

You need to follow the instructions carefully. First navigate to /bin/php/ and open the php.ini with the editor of your choice. There we need to make a few adjustments.

Find post_max_size and upload_max_filesize and set their values to 80M. As this is for development purposes, you’ll likely have to import and export databases if something blows up or if an add-on creates database entries that you can’t get rid of during the uninstall process. This is the first step to allow importing databases bigger than the default allowed size (8MB).

Save the changes, navigate to /bin/nginx/conf/ and open nginx.conf. We need to make changes there as well. The first thing to do is copy&paste the following line directly below http {

Code:
server_names_hash_bucket_size 128;

What does this do? By default you can access your local xenforo installation via the following URL: http://localhost/xf/

/xf/ is the folder I chose for the xenforo installation in this guide. Now it’s possible to use any domain name you want instead of localhost by setting up a virtual host (this is described later). The problem is, if your domain name is too long, you get a Gateway time-out error. The setting above allows you to use a long domain name.

Now find client_max_body_size and change its value to 80M. This will complete the permission to import databases up to 80MB big.

At this point if you were to install xenforo and access your forum, you will see 404 errors on nearly all pages but the forum index. This is because we haven’t defined rewrite rules yet.

Find

Code:

# handle files in the root path /www

location / {

index index.php index.html index.htm;

}

and replace it with

Code:

# handle files in the root path /www

location / {

index index.php index.html index.htm;

}

 

location /xf {

try_files $uri $uri/ /xf/index.php?$uri&$args;

index index.php index.html;

}

 

location /xf/internal_data/ {

internal;

}

location /xf/library/ {

internal;

}

The /xf/ directory must be changed to match your xenforo installation directory (if you chose something else than xf). Save the nginx.conf and start your server. Go to the webinterface of WPN-XM and click the name of your xenforo project. If all is well you should be prompted to install XenForo. Fill in all required fields and wait for completion. You know have a blazing fast XenForo forum to tinker with.

4. Setting up virtual hosts (optional)

The following step is for those who want to use a domain other than “localhost” for their forum. I will use the domain “example.com” as an example.

First open your Windows hosts file and add the following line at the end:

Code:

127.0.0.1       example.com

If this is denied you need to disable your firewall or anti-virus and re-enable them again.

Now open the nginx.conf file and delete the lines you previously added:

Code:

location /xf {

try_files $uri $uri/ /xf/index.php?$uri&$args;

index index.php index.html;

}

 

location /xf/internal_data/ {

internal;

}

location /xf/library/ {

internal;

}

Save the nginx.conf and navigate to /bin/nginx/conf/domains-enabled/ and create a new file called xenforo.conf. Open the file and copy&paste the following into it:

Code:

server {

listen   127.0.0.1:80;

server_name example.com;

 

root www/xf;

index index.php index.html;

 

log_not_found off;

charset utf-8;

 

access_log logs/xf.access.log main;

 

location / {

try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$uri&$args;

index index.php index.html;

}

 

location /internal_data/ {

internal;

}

location /library/ {

internal;

}

 

location ~ \.php$ {

try_files $uri =404;

fastcgi_pass   127.0.0.1:9100;

fastcgi_param   SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;

include         fastcgi_params;

}

}

Save and start your server. Your local xenforo site is now accessible via example.com (only for you).

 

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Creating Terms of Service and Privacy Policy Documents

 

 

tos

From forums to ecom sites, the importance of current Terms of   Service, Privacy Policies and various other legal documents cannot be be stressed enough. Automattic has open sourced all of its legal documents, including a DMCA takedown notice.

To use Automattic’s legal document as a foundation for your sites document check the Auto Terms of Service and Privacy Policy plugin at WordPress.org.  Clifford Paulick’s, wrote the plugin to use content from Automattic’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, both are available to the public under the Creative Commons Sharealike license. The language of each document is generic and can apply to most sites or service providers, from single sites to subscription sites, blog networks, forums and others.

Github and its Legalmattic repository is another source to check for these documents.

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XenForo Adds Spam Filters

XenForo, with version 1.4 supports a number of CAPTCHA providers:

Text CAPTCHA — provides Q&A style CAPTCHAs like “Which of 47, sixty two, 18 or 59 is the smallest?”. Its really the same as Q&A, only it has a large number of questions built-in — over 180 million.
Solve Media — Solve Media offers standard image-based CAPTCHAs at varying difficult levels:
They also offers revenue generation options through your CAPTCHA if that’s something you’re interested in. KeyCAPTCHA — KeyCAPTCHA uses a puzzle-solving approach to implement a CAPTCHA. When I say a puzzle, I mean that literally: KeyCAPTCHA has a few different offerings and variations on this theme which you can enable on their site.
All of these new options require you to obtain API keys from the service, so they will need to be explicitly enabled.
IP Checks Against Banned Users —If a user registers with an IP address that was used by a banned user recently, you now have the option to manually approve that registration. Catch user re-registering banning. Spammers tend to use the same IP over and over.

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Potential vBSEO vulnerability

This is just out from vBulletin:

It has come to our attention that there may be a potential security vulnerability in VBSEO affecting the latest version of the software (and potentially other versions as well). We’ve attempted to contact the vendor, but as they have been non-responsive we felt we should alert the community as many of our customers use this add-on software.

If you beleive your running a vulnerable version of the software, there is a simple fix: just comment out the following lines in the file vbseo/includes/functions_vbseo_hook.php:

if(isset($_REQUEST[‘ajax’]) && isset($_SERVER[‘HTTP_REFERER’]))
$permalinkurl = $_SERVER[‘HTTP_REFERER’].$permalinkurl;

should be changed to:

// if(isset($_REQUEST[‘ajax’]) && isset($_SERVER[‘HTTP_REFERER’]))
// $permalinkurl = $_SERVER[‘HTTP_REFERER’].$permalinkurl;

If you are running the “Suspect File Versions” diagnostics tool, you will additionally need to generate a new MD5 sum of the above file and edit upload/includes/md5_sums_crawlability_vbseo.php to use the new MD5 sum on the line:

Please be aware that you are making these changes at your own risk. We don’t know if making this change affects the terms of your VBSEO license and we can’t be responsible if making this change breaks your site.

CVE-2014-9463 has been assigned to this potential vulnerability by cve.mitre.org.

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