Vanilla 2 migration to Dreamhost


I’m at the end of my tether here, folks.

Long story made short: my fiancee’s forum was owned and operated by the husband of one of the members. They are now getting divorced, and he no longer wants to maintain the site or the hosting. Somehow, the transfer of this site has fallen upon me, and I really have no idea what I’m doing.

I could start a new message board from scratch for all of these women, but they want to maintain their database of old discussions, and therein lies the issue. I have not a single clue on how to get this already established forum up and running on the new host, let alone how to take the data dump from the old host and plop it into the new one. For the last two days, the website has displayed various error screens as I haphazardly tinker with the files and settings, and I’m afraid I’ve broken it more than fixed it at this point.

So, please, please help, if you can. I need a complete dummy-fied explanation of what I need to do to take the old Vanilla forum and move it to its new home on DreamHost. I have all of the forum’s files and the .sql database sitting on my desktop, and I’m more than willing to delete everything in the ftp and start with a clean slate. I just need a lot of guidance.

Can anyone give me their best attempt at a step-by-step here, because everything I’ve found online thus far is way beyond my limited expertise and understanding.


Do you know what version of the message board software you have? The old and new board version will have to match, or you will get database errors.

[b]EDIT: I just realized you meant Vanilla 2 the board software (I have not heard of it before)…
I assume you’ve read through this:

But, your board already has a database, so the general info that follows should still be helpful for migrating…[/b]

IS a database ready to go at DH?
Dreamhost handles databases a bit differently than some other hosts, You must go through the panel to create a new database. In the panel, you create a sub-domain for your database(s). You can then create a new database, user and password. You can then use phpmyadmin to log into your database and import your backup.

If it is too big, you’ll need to use the shell.
Here’s some more info on a few approaches:

Now, to the board files:
Set up your domain if you haven’t already to use the version of php that works best with the message board software you are using (if it is an older version, you may need to use an older version of php…).

Log into your server root using ftp or sftp and upload the board files.

Find the board configuration file. You will set the new database info and location there, you may have to look around for it and, if you cannot find a config file, and depending on what board software you are using, you may have to change these credentials from within the database itself. Browse the database rows for it.

Again, depending on the board software and version, You may also have to put in the absolute path to your server files somewhere in the config. It would be something like: username/home/
where username is the user who you selected in the DH panel to run the domain, the ftp/shell user.

Once the configuration can find the database, the board index should appear.

You mention you are getting errors, so not sure which of these steps you have already implemented or where it is breaking down…