bbPress (plugin) importer for Discourse
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What is this

This set of rake tasks imports users, threads, and posts from a bbPress instance into Discourse. This is an update to Wayne Graham's plugin that was built specifically for a bbPress standalone instance. My update is works specifically with the bbPress Plugin for Wordpress. bbPress standalone has been deprecated for some time now.

  • Post dates and authors are preserved
  • User accounts are created from bbPress, but have no login capabilities. The emails addresses are set, and gravatars work, but users will need to log in to activate their accounts.
  • There is a test mode to test the connection to the mysql server and read posts

Use at your own risk! Seriously, test this on a dummy Discourse installation first.


  • Run these commands as the discourse user sudo su - discourse

  • Head over to the discourse directory cd /var/www/discourse

  • Important: disable your email configuration or you will spam all your users with hundreds of emails.

    Add this to your environment config: config/environments/development.rb

    config.action_mailer.delivery_method = :test
    config.action_mailer.smtp_settings = { address: "localhost", port: 1025 }

    Install and start mailcatcher to monitor the sending of notification emails:

    As a general practice, it's a good idea to run gem update --system and gem update before installing additional gems.

    $ gem install mailcatcher
    $ mailcatcher --http-ip

    If you get errors like unable to convert "\x89" from ASCII-8BIT to UTF8 you need to install a version of the rdoc gem that supports the conversion.

    $ gem install rdoc
    $ gem rdoc --all --overwrite
  • Be sure to have at least one user in your Discourse instance. If not, create one and set the username in config/import_bbpress.yml. Details on how to set up an Administrator account can be found here

  • Edit config/import_bbpress.yml with your database connection information and discourse_admin username.

  • Install the mysql gem: gem install mysql2

    Note: You may need to install the header files for mysql.

    • For OS X, you can do this with brew install mysql;
    • For Debian, sudo apt-get install libmysqlclient-dev;
    • For CentOS/RHEL, sudo yum install mysql-devel.
  • Copy config/import_bbpress.yml to your discourse/config directory

  • Copy lib/tasks/import_bbpress.rake to your discourse/lib/tasks/ directory

  • In your discourse instance, run rake import:bbpress

    Note: if you are running multisite, you will need pass your database instance: export RAILS_DB=<your_database> rake import:bbpress

  • Cross your fingers

  • If everything worked, deploy

  • Be sure to have your users reset their passwords on the new Discourse site.


  • I encountered issues running the importer due to the scrub function patch in lib/freedom_patches/scrub.rb. Just in case you do run into a scrub error, modify this file to run the import then revert back after your done. I just changed def scrub to def scrub2.
  • If you run into "You are trying to install in deployment mode after changing your Gemfile." errors, just follow the instructions given. Run bundle install elsewhere and add the Gemfile.lock to version control.


Please make all pull requests to the develop branch. And example process for making a pull request:

  1. Fork and clone the repo
  2. $ git checkout -b feature-my-awesome-improvement
  3. Make changes and commit
  4. Push changes to Github
  5. Create a pull request from feature-my-awesome-improvement on your repo to develop on the main repo
  6. Celebrate your contribution to Open Source!!