Upgrading NodeBB

NodeBB’s periodic releases are located in the Releases. These releases contain what is usually considered the most bug-free code, and is designed to be used on production-level instances of NodeBB.

You can utilise git to install a specific version of NodeBB, and upgrade periodically as new releases are made.

To obtain the latest fixes and features, you can also git clone the latest version directly from the repository (master branch), although its stability cannot be guaranteed. Core developers will attempt to ensure that every commit results in a working client, even if individual features may not be 100% complete.

*As always*, the NodeBB team is not responsible for any misadventures, loss of data, data corruption, or any other bad things that may arise due to a botched upgrade - so please don’t forget to back up before beginning!

Upgrade Path

NodeBB’s upgrade path is designed so that upgrading between versions is straightforward. NodeBB will provide upgrade compatibility (via the --upgrade flag) between the latest version of a lower branch and the latest version of the higher branch. For example, if v0.2.2 is the latest version in the v0.2.x branch, you can switch to the v0.3.x branch and suffer no ill effects. Upgrading from v0.2.0 to v0.3.x is not supported, and NodeBB will warn you when attempting to upgrade that you are not upgrading cleanly.

Upgrading between patch revisions

e.g. v0.1.0 to v0.1.1

Patch revisions contain bugfixes and other minor changes. Updating to the latest version of code for your specific version branch is all that is usually required.

Execute steps 1 through 3.

Upgrading between minor revisions

e.g. v0.1.3 to v0.2.0

Minor revisions contain new features or substantial changes that are still backwards compatible. They may also contain dependent packages that require upgrading, and other features may be deprecated (but would ideally still be supported).

Execute steps 1 through 4.

Upgrade Steps

Note: After upgrading between revisions (i.e. v0.0.4 to v0.0.5), it may be necessary to run the following upgrade steps to ensure that any data schema changes are properly upgraded as well:

1. Shut down your forum

While it is possible to upgrade NodeBB while it is running, it is definitely not recommended, particularly if it is an active forum:

$ cd /path/to/nodebb
$ ./nodebb stop

2. Back up your data


This section is incomplete, please take care to back up your files properly!

Backing up Redis

As with all upgrades, the first step is to back up your data! Nobody likes database corruption/misplacement.

All of the textual data stored in NodeBB is found in a .rdb file. On typical installs of Redis, the main database is found at /var/lib/redis/dump.rdb.

Store this file somewhere safe.

Backing up MongoDB

To run a backup of your complete MongoDB you can simply run


which will create a directory structure that can be restored with the mongorestore command.

It is recommended that you first shut down your database. On Debian / Ubuntu it’s likely to be: sudo service mongodb stop

Store this file somewhere safe.


Uploaded images (avatars) are stored in /public/uploads. Feel free to back up this folder too:

cd /path/to/nodebb/public
tar -czf ~/nodebb_assets.tar.gz ./uploads

3. Grab the latest and greatest code

Navigate to your NodeBB: $ cd /path/to/nodebb.

If you are upgrading from a lower branch to a higher branch, switch branches as necessary. *Make sure you are completely up-to-date on your current branch!*.

For example, if upgrading from v0.3.2 to v0.4.3:

$ git fetch    # Grab the latest code from the NodeBB Repository
$ git checkout v0.4.x    # Type this as-is! Not v0.4.2 or v0.4.3, but "v0.4.x"!
$ git merge origin/v0.4.x

If not upgrading between branches (e.g. v0.3.3 to v0.3.4, just run the following commands:

$ git fetch
$ git reset --hard origin/v0.3.x    # Replace v0.3.x with the branch name!

This should retrieve the latest (and greatest) version of NodeBB from the repository.

Don’t know what branch you are on? Execute git rev-parse --abbrev-ref HEAD to find out.

Alternatively, download and extract the latest versioned copy of the code from the Releases Page. Overwrite any files as necessary. This method is not supported.

4. Run the NodeBB upgrade script

This script will install any missing dependencies, upgrade any plugins or themes (if an upgrade is available), and migrate the database if necessary.

$ ./nodebb upgrade

Note: ./nodebb upgrade is only available after v0.3.0. If you are running an earlier version, run these instead:

  • npm install
  • ls -d node_modules/nodebb* | xargs -n1 basename | xargs npm update
  • node app --upgrade

5. Start up NodeBB & Test!

You should now be running the latest version of NodeBB.