Buy my book!

Excellent and clearly written handbook for anyone who needs to administer a phpBB message board. Having hired Mark in the past as a consultant to help with my board, I know him to be an expert at setting up, troubleshooting, and maintaining phpBB. Highly recommended.

Amazon reviewer

If you manage a phpBB board then you should find my book Mastering phpBB Administration essential for both general reading and as a reference. My book is available on Amazon as a Kindle eBook ($9.99) or in paper (367 pages, $19.99). The book is current up to phpBB version 3.3.7 and was most recently published in April 2022.

Since 2006, I have helped over 475 clients create, maintain, update, upgrade and troubleshoot their phpBB boards, resulting in over 1400 distinct requests for my services. This book is a concise consolidation of the most important insights, lessons and techniques that I have mastered that I see board administrators most often struggle with. It provides guidance and step by step instructions as needed.

Whether you are a computer novice or a seasoned IT pro, the book has useful and timesaving information that will help you keep your board running fast, efficient and with your desired bells and whistles. With this book, you may not need seasoned phpBB pros like me to help you maintain your board.

Table of contents

Chapter 1 | What is phpBB?
Why I wrote this book
Navigation conventions used in this book
How current is this book?

Chapter 2 | Why phpBB?
What is bulletin board software?
What are phpBB’s strengths?
What are phpBB’s weaknesses?

Chapter 3 | Using phpBB: the basics
The Bulletin board index
Logging in and logging out
The View forum page
The View topic page
Post a reply
The User Control Panel

Chapter 4 | Installing phpBB
Avoid using a scripting center to install phpBB
Installation overview
Step 1. Acquire a domain
Step 2. Acquire web hosting
Step 3. Decide where you want to place the bulletin board
Step 4. Install an SSL certificate (optional)
Step 5. Create a database for the bulletin board
Step 6. Download phpBB
Step 7. Decompress the phpBB archive
Step 8. Upload phpBB’s source files
Step 9. Set folder and file permissions correctly
Step 10. Run the install program
Step 11. Remove the install folder
Step 12. Change the config.php file permissions

Chapter 5 | Basic phpBB configuration
Refining your board settings
Do you need to create any special groups?
Server configuration
Decide the forums and categories you need
Create the forums and categories you need
Create the user-defined groups you need
Add language packs
Disable the Contact page
Set up an effective spambot countermeasure
Set the user registration settings
Set an authentication method
Setting up and testing email notifications

Chapter 6 | Advanced phpBB configuration
Installing styles
Adding, changing or hiding the logo
Installing and using extensions
Setting advanced board features
Using avatars
Adding BBCodes
Adding smilies
Adding and using custom profile fields
Adding and using ranks
Tightening security
Adjusting phpBB load settings
Fine-tuning the search engine
Understanding and using phpBB and system crons
Reliably sending emails
Managing bots
Controlling private messages

Chapter 7 | Growing your board
Attributes of successful boards
Growing your membership
Search engine optimization strategies
Membership engagement strategies
Moderating posts
Using feeds
Monitoring trends

Chapter 8 | Administrative chores
Managing backups
Managing users
Pruning forums
Handling spam
Understanding permission roles
User roles
Moderator roles
Administrator roles
Forum roles

Chapter 9 | Handling versioning
Understanding phpBB’s versioning nomenclature
Styling, language and extension considerations
Updating phpBB
Upgrading phpBB

Chapter 10 | Troubleshooting
Troubleshooting strategies
Why does good software break?
Try purging the cache first
Where to look for clues
Troubleshooting permission issues
Other tools

Chapter 11 | The future of phpBB
phpBB’s technical issues
Check out my website

Appendix A | phpBB and Web Hosting
What is a web host?
Getting a domain
phpBB’s system requirements
What kind of hosting do you need?
Deciding on a new host

Appendix B | Setting up and using File Transfer Protocol
Creating FTP credentials in a control panel
Connecting with FTP using FileZilla
Using key encryption with FTP
Using FTP
FTP cautions

Appendix C | Creating a custom style
Overview of steps required
Make a note of all the changes you made to your style
Reload your preferred style
Create a custom style that inherits from your preferred style
Override the preferred style’s stylesheet directives
Changing templates
Install the custom style
Make the custom style the primary style
Test and refine
Approach when upgrading phpBB

Appendix D | Converting to phpBB from other forum solutions
The benefits and hazards of conversions
How the conversion process works
Converting phpBB 2 boards

Appendix E | Rehosting
Gathering your hosting statistics
Decide the type of hosting you need
Moving to a new host

About the author