If you are outgrowing your web host and need a new one but you also want to move your phpBB forum intact, I can help. Note that phpBB provides a help topic on how to do this, so you may want to try this yourself, particularly if you have decent IT skills. In any event it is not a trivial process. Particularly if your board is heavily modded you may want to have it done professionally. I have done this for many clients and have moved my own boards several times.

Unfortunately I cannot price the work until I understand what is involved in your particular situation. See my pricing summary to get an idea of the costs involved.

Hosts not recommended

In general, avoid any host that is owned by Endurance International Group. This company has bought up all sorts of previously successful web hosts and based on my experience either hosting with them (Hostgator) or working with clients who host with them, has made technical support worse and their platforms markedly less reliable than they used to be. You can see a full list of the companies they own on the Wikipedia page, but some of the better-known brands include: Bluehost, Hostgator, HostMonster, iPage and Site5.

Recommended hosts

Please note that I don’t get any money from my hosting recommendations. My recommendations change over time as the industry changes. One of the interesting things about my job is I get to work on a variety of web hosts so I developed informed opinions on which web hosts are quality web hosts.

For most hosting of phpBB forums, I recommend SiteGround shared hosting. With shared hosting, many sites use the same server. This keeps costs low. Some hosts may overload their servers with clients, slowing access or causing timeouts. Your needs should be modest for shared hosting. Expect to pay for high volume hosting. If considering SiteGround shared hosting, please check out Siteground shared hosting features and resource limitations to make sure it’s a good fit for your needs. In particular make sure you can live with outgoing email quotas as they can quickly add up, particularly if you have lots of users and email notifications turned on. Two reasons to prefer Siteground to most hosts:

  • A completely solid-state infrastructure. No moving parts in their entire infrastructure! No disk platters to go bad. Also, because it’s all solid state, you get much faster response because there is nothing mechanical to slow things down.
  • Built in Let’s Encrypt security certificates. These are free security certificates issued for 90 days at a time accepted by all browsers. They manage the update of these certificates for you so you never have to think about updating your security certificates, let alone paying for them.

If your board is highly trafficked (500+ messages per day, with lots of reading) you should consider leasing your own server (dedicated hosting) or at least going with a virtual private server solution. As you may expect this can be quite expensive but at least your users are not competing with other domains for access to the same web server. Most web hosts provide dedicated hosting. One example is Rackspace.

Rehosting procedures

These are generally the steps I follow to rehost.

  1. Verify that I have the accesses I need on the current and new web hosts
  2. I back up files and databases on the old host and disable the forum (unless you want to do a test run first)
  3. I copy over your current phpBB software (with mods or extensions) intact and install on new host. This way if you have mods, unusual styles, etc. I don’t lose any functionality.
  4. I create a new database on the new host for the forum
  5. I export your database and move it over to see if I can get it working at all on the new host in a “test” mode. Sometimes the export available in the phpBB control panel will suffice. For larger databases I usually have to go into MySQL itself and dump your database to a file, which is why I sometimes need SSH access.
  6. I configure the new host config.php and related files to work with the new database
  7. I verify that it looks and behave the same. I will have you verify that all the posts, topics, forums and users are there and the styles are correct.
  8. When you are satisfied:
    1. If we were doing a test run, I’ll run through the process again, this time for real, disabling the board so no posts are lost
    2. Change the nameservers to point to your new host. I can do this for you or you can do it yourself. To do it for you, I need access to your domain registrar.

Once the domain switches everything should appear the same to your users. Generally it takes at least a few hours to propagate a change to the domain. It is better to assume a full day for the switchover for all your forum users.

As you can see this process is time consuming and somewhat cumbersome. The whole thing can easily take a couple days.

How to get started

I suggest sending me a service inquiry.

Last updated April 11, 2018