To a new domain name, that is.

I’d originally hosted The Advisory Panel on a subdomain of this blog, because it was an easy and inexpensive way to host it. I figured I’d see what happened with the forum, and move it to its own domain name later.

Well, later came, and I just recently completed the move. It was a bit of a hassle, which reminded me I should have just started with its own domain name. After all, a domain name is only $9 these days, less if you use a coupon code.

One of the hassles that cropped up was the need to copy the actual forum files from one directory on my server to another. Now, I’m technical enough that I was able to log into the shell and use a single command to copy the entire directory structure to the right place. Lacking that knowledge, though, this would have been a pain.

After the copy, various config files had to be updated with the new location. There weren’t too many of these, because most of the forum doesn’t care about the actual directory it lives in. But it’s a pain to have to go back and touch these config files a second time, when you’ve already done it once setting up the forum.

Switching over to the new domain name was a bigger pain. There are numerous settings in vbulletin that use the domain name, and I had to track down each and every one of them and change it from ap.onlineopportunity.org to advisory-panel.org. I would only know that I missed one of them when I went to the forum and, for example, didn’t see the images of smilies I should have seen when composing a post.

Oh, and a note for anyone who tries to move a forum to a different domain…clear your browser’s cache after the move. I actually saw the smilies even though they weren’t really there because of them being in my browser’s cache. It was only when I logged in from a different computer that I realized something was wrong.

I still have a mildly annoying problem that I haven’t been able to figure out yet, involving the site navigation menu. It worked fine before the move to the new domain name, and doesn’t quite work right now.

So my advice for anyone who is thinking about starting a forum is to break down and spend the $9 to give the forum its own domain name from the very start. It’s far less hassle than trying to move it later!

If you’ve tried to get to The Advisory Panel lately through a bookmark into the forum itself, you’ll have to update those bookmarks. The old main address will automatically forward you to the new address, but no deep links to the old address will work.

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