View Full Version : Switching Forum Software Platform

10-18-2013, 09:33 PM
Hi all,

We are experiencing some serious growing pains with the current SMF software platform that we have been using since the site's inception 4 years ago (next week!). In fact, some of you may have noticed that the site was down most of the day a couple of weeks ago. Long story short, some of the plugins (like the photo gallery) that we use for this forum have not been updated and will no longer be updated, and they leave breaches for access into our servers by spammers whose actions can harm the forum.

We are currently testing some available packages. We want to go with a package that has more functionality than this software but will still be fun and easy to navigate, keeping the clean look and community feel of this site. After having evaluated several options, we are leaning towards vbulletin. I am in the process of installing a test version of this software with an old version of the forum so the staff can look at everything closely.

I am actually partial to this software, having used it several years ago when I was an administrator on another MD site. Several of the staff here were on the staff there as well, and we really liked the functionality and look.

When this process is worked through (within the next several days), we will move to the new platform. There will be changes in look and feel but I think many of you are familiar with vbulletin, as it is used by a huge number of forums on the internet, including some familiar MD forums.

We just wanted to keep everyone posted of the progress. When we have an exact date of the transfer I will post more here. It should involve very little downtime.

Please feel free to post any questions here.

Thank you!

The AD Staff

10-18-2013, 09:58 PM
Thanks for all of your efforts and no matter what you come up with I am sure it will be awesome!

10-18-2013, 11:01 PM
Thanks Angie! :waving: I'm sure Vbulletin eill work out fine. You're the best MD forum owner I know!!! :yes:

10-19-2013, 07:57 AM
Angie ,
i am very appreciative of the time and money you are investing in this forum to instill in its existance as a home for all of us to come together and share in this hobby we love .

Thank you

Full Metal Digger
10-19-2013, 09:19 AM
Thanks Angie, I appreciate all you do for us!

10-19-2013, 10:49 AM

I echo the comments above. |:cheering: With the hectic schedule you keep, it's a great thing you do to keep this forum user friendly and available for all the world to see. :twirlingeyes: You have an awesome group of moderators, and collectively you have all done a great job of making AD feel like 'home'.

Kudos to you all!! :perfect10:

10-20-2013, 09:43 PM
Word of caution Angie,

vBulletin vulnerability opens backdoor to rogue accounts

The widespread vBulletin CMS has a vulnerability that allows remote attackers to create new administrative accounts.

Back in August, users of versions in the 4.1+ and 5+ series were advised to delete the /install/ or /core/install/ directories (depending on version) as a workaround against the bug, but vBulletin didn't advise of the impact of the problem.

However, according to this article at Help Net Security, the vulnerability allows admin account injection using vulnerable PHP code.

A user whose site was compromised in September posted an Apache log that identified the attack source (below).

The vulnerable upgrade.php resource is attacked to inject the unwanted administrative user account.

The author of the article, Barry Shteiman of Imperva, notes that the exploit code and technique were found on hacker forums, meaning that the exploit is in the wild.

If the vBulletin user can't, for some reason, delete the /install/ or /core/install/ directories, Shteiman advises that they implement redirects to block incoming requests trying to hit the upgrade.php file.

10-20-2013, 10:07 PM
Hi Rudy,

Thanks so much for the word of caution. I had read about this, and the recommendation to delete the install directories (which people should know to do in the first place) but the extra info in that article is helpful.

Version 5 is a train wreck so I'm going nowhere near that. I was even leery about version 4, although I'm thinking 4.2 is probably what we will go with. My vbulletin license is for version 4.2 publishing suite. Originally had been thinking 3.8.7.

10-20-2013, 10:29 PM
We are running 3.8.5 over at Friendly. Seems quite well behaved.

10-21-2013, 09:50 AM
Good luck to you and the team here Angie! While I don't post much here, I love to check in and read about how everyone is doing! :waving:

11-08-2013, 07:18 PM
Thanks everyone!

We will be converting the forum to a vbulletin software platform next Saturday evening, November 16.

You will notice differences in the look of the forum, although the layout will remain as is. There are additional features with this software, such as the ability to personalize the user profile with much more detail, as well as the ability to post blogs and publish articles in your own name in association with the forum. However, the forum itself will remain much the same, although with improved functionality and features.

All PMs will convert over (unless you have more than 5000 PMs in your Inbox and Sent Messages combined, in which case you will need to delete some before using the PM system on the new forum). Your member name, rank, status, and all past posts and photos associated with posts will convert over.

Unfortunately, the photo gallery associated with our current software will not convert over (this photo gallery is one reason why we are switching software, as it is no longer being updated and maintained which leads to security issues). We will install a photo gallery plugin with the vbulletin software, but your photos will need to be re-uploaded to it at that time. Please download any photos in your photo gallery here that you do not already have backed up on your computer by next Saturday.

The forum will likely be offline for approximately one day for this conversion process. Once we are back up and running, you will need to reset your password before you can log on - we will supply instructions for this via e-mails and posts here later this week.

We think the test forum looks great, and we hope you like the new forum as well as we do!

Thank you,

AD Staff

11-08-2013, 09:47 PM
Good luck with the upgrade Angie. :needadrink:

11-08-2013, 10:03 PM
Good luck with the upgrade Angie. :needadrink:

Thanks Rudy. I have done this :needadrink: lots of times through the process so far lol