On complex, trouble-prone and “gnarly” work, surcharges can apply. Surcharges are applied to some upgrades and conversions. Surcharges allow me to recoup the substantial costs and time associated with this work, particularly on large forums.

Surcharge for resource limitations, should they occur

Often when doing intensive tasks like upgrading phpBB, the effort can suddenly fail because the work causes a resource limitation. This is most likely to occur on shared hosting but I have seen it on virtual private servers and even dedicated servers.

What is happening? You’ve exceeded some sort of quota, usually some amount of “database work” allowed over a period of time, but sometimes you use up all available memory or trip some sort of limit for execution time. When this happens, the only way to do the upgrade or conversion is to move your forum and database to my local machine, convert it there, then upload everything back. In the best case this takes a couple of hours. Even importing the data back into your database is tricky. I generally have to use a staggered importer to get it to work.

If it occurs I do a screenshot to document the problem and send it to you. The surcharge fee then kicks in.

Surcharge for boards with 100,000 or more posts (upgrades and conversions only)

This surcharge applies only to upgrades and conversions and only from phpBB 2.0 and other forum solutions (conversions) or from phpBB 3.0 (an upgrade) to a higher version.

Examples where I require a surcharge:

  • phpBB 2.0 to 3.0 or 3.x
  • phpBB 3.0 to 3.1 or 3.x

Examples where I do not require a surcharge

  • phpBB 3.0.x to 3.0.14
  • phpBB 3.2.0 to 3.2.x

These kinds of upgrades and conversions make major changes to phpBB’s database, so they are particularly error-prone and time consuming.

When doing upgrades and conversions, the bulk of the time and effort is expended converting posts, private messages and user data. Thus the larger the size of your board, the longer it takes. Moreover, the larger the size, the more likely unusual errors will occur, errors that can only be fixed by analyzing the issue when it comes up and fixing it, usually in the database, then trying again. These errors are usually weird technical issues, generally inconsistent data in the database. All this work can also trigger a resource limitation error. So in addition to a standard surcharge for forums with more than 100,000 posts I may have to charge the resource limitation surcharge should it occur.

I rarely see these issues on boards with less than 100,000 posts simply because there is less work to do and it’s less likely there will be data errors that need fixing. The more posts, the more likely it is that one of these issues will come up. Also, the more posts, the longer it takes for the upgrade or conversion to succeed. If you have millions of posts, it can take twelve hours or more to convert all of them. In general, the newer your server is, the faster it goes, but caps on resource usage can also slow things down. For large conversions I need to dedicate a block of time to the task.

If I can get SSH (secure shell) privileges, I will try to do your upgrade from the phpBB CLI (command line interface), as it is much more reliable that trying to do it using the web interface.

Surcharge pricing

See my pricing summary page for my current surcharges.


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