Considering migrating custom-built message boards to NodeBB

General Discussion
  • Hey everyone, I'm new to the community. I've been managing a website for the past 4 years that has a custom-built message board built in. The website was originally built in 2001 using PHP and mySQL. In 2014, I rewrote and migrated the website to .NET and SQL Server hosted in Microsoft Azure. Currently the message board has approximately 4.3 million topics and 85 million posts and is extremely active. The functionality of the board is very rudimentary but we have long wanted to implement many of the features NodeBB offers out-of-the-box (chat, tagging, voting, reputation, moderation, etc).

    My question to the community is, has anyone migrated a board of this size? Were there any pain-points during the migration or performance issues after the migration? Some of our concerns going in are as follows:

    • SSO with our existing website - Looks like I can customize this with the SSO OAuth plugin (
    • Migration of existing topics - I'm thinking the best way to do this would be with the write API plugin (
    • Ad Integration - We keep the board free to our member by displaying ads. We use Google Double Click for Publisher and I've read that others have had issues getting this to play nice with NodeBB
    • Skinning/Theming - The NodeBB look and feel would have to align with the rest of out website. I feel like it would have to be a highly customized theme. How complex is it to theme NodeBB and how much flexibility do you have?

    I really like the platform so I'm hoping none of these concerns are show-stoppers. Thanks in advance for your advice and help!

  • Hey @mglace -- nice to hear you're looking to migrate!

    The best way to migrate would be to build your own exporter by forking an existing one... for example the SMF exporter... they work with the importer plugin:

    Alternative you could use the Write API, although you'd be writing a lot of the one-time logic yourself to migrate users and posts and such, and I don't know offhand of anybody using the Write API quite like that 😄

    You're on track with the SSO OAuth plugin. DFP should work using the adsense plugin... if not, you can ping @baris for help.

    Theming NodeBB is one of our strong points, our themes are very customisable. Almost everything can be customised including templates for each page, as well as adding additional styles, etc. Check out the quickstart theme for a shell to start off with 👍

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