Restoring A Deleted Forum

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GregChapman GregChapman
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Restoring A Deleted Forum

This post was updated on .
When a forum is deleted Nabble sends an email like this:

Forum deleted message
Frequently, administrators complain the email did not arrive, but it is much likely that the message was treated as spam by their mail provider or their own anti-spam software and been deleted before they realised the forum had gone.

Ideally, to have Nabble restore a deleted forum you should post a message on Nabble Support immediately on receiving the warning email. Your post should have the Subject line "Forum Recovery Request" and give the full URL of the backup file shown in Nabble's email or, if the file is smaller than 5Mb, have the file itself attached.

Failing that, post the URL of the forum to be restored, as Nabble can work out the address of the backup file from that. (That means the full address that Nabble originally provided. It starts with http: and ends with "".) It is not the one that you or your users might use to access the forum, such as "" or "".

If you cannot do one of these things then it is unlikely that it will be possible to restore your forum.

For The Future

If you do not visit your forum regularly and do receive a "Nabble forum deleted" email then you are strongly advised to download the backup file and make a habit, each time you visit the forum, of following the link on the root page of your forum at:
Options > Download backup
as this means you should always have a recent file to provide to Nabble should it ever be deleted. Do not rely on Nabble to keep a backup for a long period. The evidence suggests they only store backups of individual forums for a few weeks - if that.

Below is described how the system works and what you should do in future to avoid having any replacement forum deleted.

Nabble will delete forums that appear to be unused.
A post on Nabble Support in 2009 suggested "unused" meant unvisited for 60 days. Other old messages confirm that a forum does not require new posts, it is only a lack of visits that count. My own recent experience suggests that the period for a lack of visits may have been extended to three months, but you should not rely on this.

Nabble sends a warning email, but these may be treated as spam.
Here's an example of the form they take:

Scheduled For Deletion
As you see, that forum got ten days warning of deletion. More recently, forums I maintain have given me a 30 day deletion warning. I have no information on why there might be a difference and whether this is a universal change, or affected by the server on which that forum was hosted, the past pattern of traffic on the forum or some other criteria.

At the same time your forum will have a banner across the top that looks like this:

Forum Deletion Warning
Moral: Check your spam folder frequently, ideally at least weekly, or ensure emails from "" will not be blocked by either your mail service provider or your own anti-spam software.

Note: Any visitor to your forum will see the banner and may click the button to remove the message and threat of deletion. Forum Administrators who are not quick to respond to the email they receive or fail to visit their own forum frequently often post on Nabble Support worried because they do not see the banner and the "Don't delete this forum" button. They should not worry. If they don't see it, someone else has done the job for them already.

As suggested above, if you have a low traffic forum and do not visit it yourself every week, then you should make a habit of following the link on the root page of your forum at:
Options > Download backup
That forces the creation of a backup file. Once ready a link to the file will be emailed to you. Then, if you do find your forum is deleted, you have the ability to get it returned to the state in which you last saw your forum when you last visited it.

Further Background:
While I do not know exactly how Nabble's back procedures work the evidence suggest that each of their servers is backed up overnight on daily basis in a conventional "three generation" way.

In other words, they'll hold a current version that is updated as new posts are made, they'll hold a copy taken the previous night and a further copy taken the night before. At the end of any day the oldest copy gets over-written by the new backup made. That approach suggests that any trace of a users forum is erased after as little as 48 hours. Bear in mind that these backups are system wide designed to protect against server failure and not the recovery of individual forums.

It appears, from the URLs of backup files of deleted forums, that backups of individual forums are held separately and are kept for longer. However, it is highly likely that little used forums are backed up less often (as they are less likely to have new material on them) and may be held for a shorter period than those that have regular traffic.

A post on Nabble Support in 2012 suggests that two months is about the limit for storage of backup files.