Migrating from Other Platforms

If you have an existing community running on another platform, you may be able to migrate it to Waterhole.

Currently Waterhole provides experimental support for migrating data from Flarum. Support for other platforms is planned – please get in touch if you would like to work with us to develop migration support for another platform.

Migration Steps

1. Start With a Fresh Installation

You can only import data from another platform into a fresh Waterhole installation, before the waterhole:install command has been run. The Waterhole database must be completely empty to prevent any primary key conflicts with imported data.

Follow the installation process, but instead of running the waterhole:install command, run the database migrations directly:

php artisan migrate

This will set up the database without seeding any data or user accounts.

2. Install the Import Package

Run the following command to install the Waterhole Import package:

composer require waterhole/import

This package contains commands which we will use to import data from the legacy platform.

3. Add a Database Connection

Open up config/database.php and add a new database connection for your legacy platform's database. The easiest way to do this is to copy and paste one of the existing blocks in the connections array (usually the mysql one), and change its name and details. For example:

'connections' => [
    // ...

    'flarum' => [
        'driver' => 'mysql',
        'host' => '',
        'port' => '3306',
        'database' => 'flarum',
        'username' => 'flarum',
        'password' => 'password',
        'unix_socket' => '',
        'charset' => 'utf8mb4',
        'collation' => 'utf8mb4_unicode_ci',
        'prefix' => '',
        'prefix_indexes' => true,
        'strict' => true,
        'engine' => null,
        'options' => extension_loaded('pdo_mysql') ? array_filter([
            PDO::MYSQL_ATTR_SSL_CA => env('MYSQL_ATTR_SSL_CA'),
        ]) : [],

4. Run the Import Command

Run the appropriate waterhole:import:* command to import data from the legacy platform. You will be asked which database connection to import data from – select the connection that you configured in the previous step. The import will be attempted and any progress and errors will be displayed.

Supported Platforms


php artisan waterhole:import:flarum
  • Users and groups are imported.
  • Primary tags are imported as channels. All other tags are not.
  • "Discussions" are imported as posts, and "comment posts" are imported as comments, including likes. Private or deleted discussions and posts are not.