If you are planning to move to another host (like your own) from a free forum host and take your forums with you, here are some helpful tips for you to avoid any errors:
Things Included in your backup:
- reset your style to prosilver, including the imagesets as styles & images are not included in the backup
- reset your smilies to the default as smilies are not included in the backup, you will get a nice text smilie instead
- de-assign any rank images set as rank images are not included in the backup so you will get a nice text rank instead
- delete all avatars as these are not included in the backup so all your uploaded avatars will appear as "user avatar"
- when you switch, make sure you update your URL & cookie settings in the ACP, otherwise they will still be set to prophpbb and you could end up locking yourself out by getting stuck in a redirect loop
Things NOT included:
- Your forums MySQL Database
- BB Codes & Board Settings
- Users, Forums, Posts, Permissions
It truly is a very big step when deciding to go advanced so think carefully before deciding to go advanced and leaving the luxury of the free forum hosts.
- installed style files. If you don't pre-install the styles or reset your template to prosilver, you will get a nice error
- any uploaded images including smilies, rank images & avatars uploaded by yourself or on the hosts file database will not be included
- Mods! Yes you will have to re-install any mods that are installed on the hosted forums so it might be advisable to re install any mods present on your free board before reopening your forums
The information above can also be useful when wanting to import your backup to free forum hosting to avoid any errors with that too.
I hope the information above helps you all out and avoids any problems that could occur as I have experienced the lot from experience of attempting to switch. However, it is a switch I have not regretted since and I absolutely love having the powers to do what I like to my forums and i'm sure you will too!
This tutorial was initially written for phpBB3 users, but the same principles apply to other forum software that offer free forum hosting e.g. MyBB & SMF, etc.
Source: Ashley.S. of http://www.plutohosting.net/community/threads/1418/