Thursday, January 20, 2011

vBulletin 4.1 Upgrade Made Easy

This is a tutorial on how to upgrade your vbulletin forum to the latest version. I am not an expert on vbulletin and I just learned about the upgrade process so I want to share what I know to those who maybe looking for an easy way to do the upgrade.

vBulletin for me is the most powerful and the most complex forum software. Not all want to own one though because it is not free and getting help to install or upgrade it costs money. I own a forum that I really enjoy spending time with when I am free but I haven't had the chance to learn how to upgrade it until yesterday. I'm not a techie person so I was always afraid to mess up with something as complicated as the vbulletin. I thought it was difficult and I'm sure that vbulletin newbies have the same issue, but I'd like you to think again. It was really easy and right after I upgraded my forum, I was exhilarated. I didn't expect it to be that simple. So let's cut to the chase and start with the tutorial now.

Step 1.
Go to and access the support area. You'll see your account details and from there you can download the latest vbulletin version that is available for your license.

Step 2.
Now you have the zip file of your vbulletin downloaded to your computer. Do not unzip the file from your computer because that is going to be a lot of work (at least I think it is). Create a backup first so you can restore everything if you don't get it right.

Step 3.
Access your server control panel which is normally or and go to public_html where we are uploading the vbulletin files. Now create a new folder under public_html and call it whatever you want. I renamed mine vbfiles so I know where to look for it later.

Step 4.
After creating a new folder, open it up and then click upload located at the upper left hand side of your screen. You will be brought to an upload screen. Now go ahead an click the 'Choose File' button and select the vbulletin zip file that is saved in your computer to upload the file.

Step 5.
Now that you have the zip file uploaded, reload your page to show the file and then click on it to select the file and then click on 'Extract'. A pop up window will appear asking you to type the path you wish to extract. You should already see the name of the folder you just created. If you named the folder vbfiles, you'll see /vb_files on the destination. Now we want to extract the files in one folder to keep them in one place. Let's name the new folder vb4.1 given that you are upgrading to the latest version available now and then click extract. It will unzip the file to the folder you specified.

Step 6.
After unzipping the files reload your page again to show the new folder vb4.1 where you extracted the vbulletin zip file. Now double click on the folder and you'll find an 'upload' and 'do_not_upload' folder. Double click on the upload folder then choose the option 'Select All' to highlight all the files so we can copy them to the public_html.

Step 7.
Once you have selected all the files, do a right click from your mouse and then click on the copy option. You will then see another popup window asking you to 'type the path you wish to copy'. Now below you will see an area where you can type in the destination you wish to copy all the files to. Type in '/public_html' and then click on 'Copy File(s)'.

Step 8.
After copying all the files to /public_html, point to the upgrade page of your forum. Open your web browser and then type in

Step 9.
You will be then asked to enter your vBulletin Customer Number so go ahead and do that and then click on 'Enter Upgrade System' and then 'Begin Install'. Now all you need to do is wait until it's done upgrading your forum.

Step 10.
You need to go back to your control panel in public_html to rename or delete the install.php because this posts as a security threat to your forum. Under public_htm, look for the 'install' folder and then double click to open. Look for the file 'install'php' and rename it to whatever file name you want to use or you may also delete it as this is considered mandatory.

And then you're done! You just need to upload a new style for your forum or you may also use the default vbulletin theme.

I hope this short tutorial helps those newbies like me upgrade their forum to the latest version. Good luck!



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