My services

General Information

Services Offered

I offer the following services to the phpBB community. Prices are under each type of service. See the pricing summary for high level details, or follow the links below to learn more about specific kinds of services.

Send me an inquiry

Fill out a short form to let me know how I can serve you. Please note that your information is transmitted securely because of my dedicated SSL certificate. If you prefer you can send me email.

Pricing practices

I have two rates: a hobbyist/small non-profit rate ($30/hour) and a professional rate ($60/hour). This accommodates both segments of the market I serve.

I also offer fixed price for a particular task (see pricing summary) based on the same criteria. My fixed pricing is still based on my labor rate. These tasks are performed often enough where I can generalize on the average time the task will take. I can charge you a fixed price based on known requirements or a hourly rate based on actual effort … your choice. If the scope of the work changes I can reprice the work and seek your consent before proceeding.

What rate will I charge you?

One simple rule: If you require an invoice to pay me, this triggers the professional rate.

  • Professional rate. Applies to corporations, LLCs, small businesses, educational institutions and larger non-profits. You are already paying for technical services at generally $75/hour or more. I expect to be paid at my professional rate, which is still significantly below what most professionals charge per hour.
  • Hobbyist/small non-profit rate. You run a forum or website as a hobby or for a group of hobbyists and while you may make some income from it, it’s very minor. You pay for it out of your pocket or from occasional contributions from members, friends or Patreon donors. You may be technically a small non-profit, but no one is drawing a salary and probably not even a stipend. Pretty much everyone is a volunteer.

Is the quality of the service at your hobbyist/small non-profit rate as good as at the professional rate?

Absolutely. Everyone gets the same quality of service regardless of the rate I charge them.

Aside from the price I charge you, the only difference is that if I have a queue of work at the moment, those seeking my services at the professional rate get priority over those at the non-profit rate. Hope that’s clear. Generally, I don’t have a significant backlog, but sometimes it happens. Of course if you agree to pay me at the professional rate I can move you up in my job queue.

Pricing Summary

All work is priced in U.S. dollars.

Service Hobbyist/Small Non-Profit Rate (USD) Professional Rate (USD)
phpBB Installation $30 per forum $60 per forum

Install additional style, language pack, emoticons pack, rank images pack

$15 each $30 each
phpBB 3 Upgrades

Possible shared hosting surcharge. May apply on upgrades from 3.0 to higher versions of phpBB on shared hosts, only if an error occurs during the conversion (which I will document and get your consent to continue) that requires me to move your files and database to my local environment to do an upgrade. If you are using a virtual private server or a dedicated server this charge does not apply. See discussion below.

$50 $100

Any phpBB version 3.1 or higher update. (Updates leave you on the same version but include improved code and bug fixes.)

$40 $80

Any phpBB version 3.1 or higher upgrade. (Upgrades move you from one version to another, such as 3.1 to 3.2.)

$40 $80

phpBB versions 3.0.8 and above upgrade (no mods, no special styles) to most recent phpBB version

$40 (surcharges may apply for forums with shared hosting or more than 100,000 posts and/or users) $80 (surcharges may apply for forums with shared hosting or more than 100,000 posts and/or users)

phpBB versions 3.0.3 – 3.0.7-PL1 (no mods, no special styles) upgrade to most recent phpBB version

$45 (surcharges may apply for forums with shared hosting or more than 100,000 posts and/or users) $90 (surcharges may apply for forums with shared hosting or more than 100,000 posts and/or users)

phpBB versions 3.0.0 (Gold) or earlier 3.0 beta versions – 3.0.2 (no mods, no special styles) upgrade to most recent phpBB version

$50 (surcharges may apply for forums withshared hosting or more than 100,000 posts and/or users) $100 (surcharges may apply for forums with shared hosting or more than 100,000 posts and/or users)

Install a non-standard styles and place your logo in the style in the style’s standard spot

See Style Installations

Reapply phpBB 3.0 modification file changes

See modifications upgrade pricing
Surcharges (applies to conversion and upgrades from phpBB 2 or 3.0 to the latest version of phpBB)

More than 100,000 but less than 200,000 posts and/or users

$15 extra (includes cost of rebuilding search index) $30 extra (includes cost of rebuilding search index)

More than 200,000 but less than 300,000 posts and/or users

$25 extra (includes cost of rebuilding search index) $50 extra (includes cost of rebuilding search index)

More than 300,000 but less than 500,000 posts and/or users

$35 extra (includes cost of rebuilding search index) $70 extra (includes cost of rebuilding search index)

More than 500,000 but less than 1,000,000 posts and/or users

$50 extra (includes cost of rebuilding search index) $100 extra (includes cost of rebuilding search index)

More than 1,000,000 posts and/or users

$50 plus $10 per block of up to 200,000 posts and/or users above 1,000,000 posts and/or users) $100 plus $20 per block of up to 200,000 posts and/or users above 1,000,000 posts and/or users)
Modifications (for phpBB 3.0.x)


Easy mods

$15 ($10 to upgrade) $30 ($20 to upgrade)

Moderate mods

$25 ($15 to upgrade) $50 ($30 to upgrade)

Advanced mods

$35 ($20 to upgrade) $70 ($40 to upgrade)


Half the price of installing a new mod, rounded up to the nearest $5 Half the price of installing a new mod, rounded up to the nearest $10
Extensions (for phpBB 3.1 and above)


$15 per extension, $40 for installing my digest extension if you want me to setup a system cron, or for Cleantalk or any extension that cannot be used out of the box and requires some additional integration. $30 per extension, $60 for installing my digest extension if you want me to setup a system cron, or for Cleantalk or any extension that cannot be used out of the box and requires some additional integration.


$15 per extension $30 per extension


$01 per extension $20 per extension
Style Installations


Install a non-standard styles and place your logo in the style in the style’s standard spot (Note: making extensive changes to styles to accommodate your custom colors, placements of objects, varying container widths, etc. are additional and are billed at my normal labor rate.)

$15 per style $30 per style

General style troubleshooting

See my general labor rate

Designing custom new styles

I do not offer this as a service. Contact a phpBB style artist.
Convert phpBB 2 forum to most recent phpBB 3.0.x, 3.1 or 3.2 version $50 and up, contact me for a price. For shared hosts, a shared hosting surcharge may be added if resource limitations are encountered. $100 and up, contact me for a price. For shared hosts, a shared hosting surcharge may be added if resource limitations are encountered.
phpBB Digest Modification Install (currently available for phpBB 3.0 and 2.0 only) $50 (includes cron setup) $100 (includes cron setup)

Upgrade phpBB first if required (generally required if not running a recent version of phpBB)

See upgrade pricing. (Surcharges may apply for forums with more than 100,000 posts and users.)

Integrate with a non-standard style (additional, if needed)

See Style Installations

Annual maintenance (will upgrade digests as new releases occur during the year)

$25 per year $50 per year
Rehost forum $60 minimum, contact me for an exact quote $120 minimum, contact me for an exact quote
WordPress assistance $30/hour and up, contact me for an exact quote $60/hour and up, contact me for an exact quote
General labor, troubleshooting and tutoring  $30/hour or portion thereof $60/hour or portion thereof

Payment Information

In general, you only pay after work is complete. For very large jobs I often do work in phases, and work is billed upon completion of a phase. I have a convenient secure form you can use to send me a service inquiry.

You can pay with either with PayPal, Venmo or send me a check. Most customers pay electronically via PayPal but Venmo is preferred because I am not charged any fees. Use whatever method is most convenient to you. For electronic payments, use my email to route the money to me.

  • PayPal. You can use PayPal to send me the money in U.S. Dollars. You can use my email address to pay me: If you need an invoice, I will send you a PayPal invoice. “Friend to friend” transfers are preferred to avoid PayPal fees. Depending on the size of the order, I may add PayPal fees if I have to pay them to the bill or invoice.
  • Venmo. I can be paid via Venmo. I prefer Venmo to PayPal because they don’t deduct any fees. In most cases you don’t pay a fee either, but if you use a credit card or non-major debit card, a 3% fee is added by Venmo. There is no fee with Venmo if you use money from your bank account or your Venmo balance. You can use my email address to pay me: If you need an invoice let me know and I will send you one.
  • Check or Money Order. If you want to pay by check or money order, send me an email at and I will provide my postal address. I will deposit your check and ensure the funds have been received before I will do the work if the estimated cost is $100 or more. At this time I don’t take credit cards. If you need an invoice let me know and I will send you one.
  • Invoice. If you are being billed at my professional rate, I can provide an invoice and you can pay me through established channels within your organization. If it takes more than 30 days to receive payment I maintain the right to charge applicable late fees.
  • Worried about things going wrong after you have paid me? Not to worry. Within 30 days of completing the work, I will handle any minor problems related to the work I did for you at no extra charge.

Payment Policy

  • If you have a history of paying me, I generally waive the right to collect portions in advance.
  • Payment is required promptly upon completion of work or for large jobs, upon completion of a phase.
  • For work done in phases or large work orders generally anticipated to cost more than $150, I usually ask for half now and half on completion. I usually waive this policy for previous customers who have demonstrated they will pay bills promptly on completion.
  • Paying by check? For jobs estimated at more than $100, checks must clear prior to starting work.

Please ask me if you need any clarification.


While I will make backups of your database and forum files prior to starting work I cannot be responsible for ensuring that your forum and website will work as it did previously in the event of errors or problems. Consequently, you should make a complete website and database backup prior to my starting work. Your web host control panel often provides a simple means for creating a backup.

My Qualifications

  • Author of the phpBB Digest Modification and Extension (for phpBB 2: 2004, for phpBB 3: 2009)
  • Author of the phpBB Smartfeed Modification and Extension (for phpBB 2: 2006, for phpBB 3: 2009, for phpBB 3.1: 2016)
  • System administrator for The Potomac Tavern (the domain is closed, but the forum is now archived on this site) a phpBB forum (2002-2009)
  • Instructor in web page design, structured query language, computer fundamentals and other courses at Northern Virginia Community College
  • 30 years professional experience developing, maintaining and managing information systems. See my extensive résumé.
  • Having started this business in May 2006, as of 21 October 2017, I have served 326 distinct customers and handled 843 requests for service over more than ten years with an average of 2.5 jobs per customer.

Why should you choose me?

  • I have considerable experience and I am reliable and very professional.
  • I have extensive knowledge of the phpBB code base, the PHP programming language, relational databases in general and MySQL in particular.
  • Being semi-retired, I am usually available if quick turnaround is needed.
  • With my expert knowledge I work very quickly which generally means I can do your work at a modest price and rapidly.
  • I back up your files and your database before I modify them so I can go back to a previous version, if I need to.
  • I use professional tools that allow me to work on your site in a productive manner.


There are other people offering similar services to mine. You may find a competitor to have cheaper, better or faster service. This is fine with me as I frequently have more work than I can handle. I am usually the logical choice if quality is your greatest concern.


All my work comes with 30 days of support, which begins after I have finished your work. Please note though that:

  • This covers relevant work only. For example, if I install a digest modification and you have a problem that is unrelated to digests, I won’t fix that, but I will fix problems related to digests working on your particular forum at no extra charge within the 30 day window.
  • While I can install modifications and extensions written by others, I am not its  author. I will make reasonable attempts to investigate and solve problems, but I cannot guarantee that installing a particular mod will work in your particular environment. There is usually a topic on where you can seek support.
  • I do fully support modifications and extensions that I have written or customized work created specifically for your site. However the same 30 day limitation applies unless you have purchased maintenance services.

What I need from you

To accomplish work on your site I must have certain privileges. Admittedly it can be difficult to give so much control to someone who is essentially a stranger. You might want to read my blog, as once a month I summarize work done for clients (client names are not revealed). Also, please remember that I have no motive to abuse your site. Future business would quickly dry up if I did this! The privileges I need depend on the work you want done.

I have two useful forms that will securely transfer your sensitive data to me:

  • A service inquiry form can be used to tell me about what you want done and to get an estimate. The form is preferred because it asks questions I generally need answers to in order to provide an accurate estimate. You can also send me email.
  • A secure forum and server details form is used to transfer more sensitive data like passwords, control panel URLs and FTP information. Send me this form only after we have first agreed on the work that will be done and an estimate of the overall cost.

phpBB Maintenance Contracts

I am no longer offering phpBB maintenance contracts or contracts for maintaining upgrades to phpBB modifications. However, I do offer maintenance for phpBB modifications and extensions I wrote myself, i.e. my Digest and Smartfeed mods and extensions. In addition, I can upgrade you at any time for a fixed price. See below.

Shared/virtual hosting surcharge for conversions and upgrades from phpBB 2.0 or 3.0 to 3.1 or 3.2

Converting or upgrading forums from one major version of phpBB to another using shared or virtual hosting is often error prone and quite time consuming, so if it happens I have to charge for this extra time and effort. Upgrade errors usually happen on shared hosts because the conversion program uses a lot of CPU/horsepower and your web host will tend to cut you off arbitrarily when you hit some sort of ill-defined limit. This usually means the upgrade did not complete so everything has to be recovered.

During a major upgrade, tables are created, dropped and altered. Data itself may be changed. The charge applies only if an error occurs on your host when I try to upgrade it. I will make a screenshot of the error and send it to you to document the issue. My shared hosting surcharge for these upgrades applies. In addition, surcharges may apply depending on the number of posts, users and attachments. (Most errors occur during these kinds of changes, so it tends to add to the effort.)

These issues happen about 20% of the time with my clients using shared hosting. The more posts and/or users you have, the more likely that this problem will occur.

If you don’t have shared hosting, there should be no issues upgrading on your host there is no extra shared hosting surcharge. On one occasion though I have experienced this on a virtual private server. It is possible to go “over quota” too on these servers. In most cases though a VPS has more than sufficient resources to handle even the nastiest upgrades and conversions.

If an error happens during the upgrade, I have to move your forum (files and database) to my machine and convert it there, then upload the new files and database when done. This takes time and careful attention so it is priced accordingly. The board should be disabled during this time, which can take a day and sometimes more.

You usually know if you have shared hosting but if you are unsure contact your web host. If you typically pay $5 to $15 a month you are likely using shared hosting. Most customers choose shared hosting for its obvious cost advantages.

phpBB 3 upgrade and update services

I offer services to upgrade phpBB 3 or officially approved phpBB mods on your host. I can do this for a forum with or without modifications.

Some terms:

  • An update is updating the software to the latest version of what you have. For example, from phpBB 3.2.0 to 3.2.x where x is the last micro version.
  • An upgrade is upgrading the software to a new version of phpBB. For example, from phpBB 3.1 to 3.2.
  • conversion is converting from one forum software solution to another. Moving from phpBB 2 to phpBB 3.x is considered a conversion since it is a complete rewrite of phpBB. It may be possible to convert from other forum solutions (like vBulletin) to phpBB with the right conversion software.

Updating or upgrading phpBB 3.1 or 3.2 to newest version of phpBB 3.1 or 3.2

In most cases you can upgrade phpBB 3.1 yourself with the Automatic Upgrade Package. If you would prefer to have it done professionally, contact me.

Upgrading from phpBB 3.0 to phpBB 3.1 or 3.2

Please note that aside from the upgrade base prices, if you use shared hosting and it becomes necessary for me to move your files and database to my machine to do the upgrade then there is an additional shared hosting charge. I also charge surcharges if you either have more than 100,000 posts or users to be converted. This is unfortunately necessary because of the extra work needed to backup and successfully convert larger forums. For information, see this blog post.

If your board is unmodified and uses the default prosilver style, you might want to follow these instructions and do it yourself.

Be aware of the following gotchas:

  • For phpBB 3.1: You must have PHP 5.3.3 or greater. PHP 7 is not supported until phpBB 3.2.
  • For phpBB 3.2: You must have PHP 5.4 or greater. PHP7 is supported, but not PHP 7.1.
  • If you have modifications installed they will not port to 3.1 or 3.2. These versions uses extensions to support additional functionality. There may be an extension that offers equivalent functionality for a modification you have installed, but you will have to install it after the conversion. Since extensions and modifications are written by volunteers, so there is no guarantee that a given modification has an equivalent extension. If there is no equivalent extension and the functionality of the modification is critical to your forum, do not upgrade to 3.1 or 3.2.
  • 3.0 styles are not compatible with 3.1 or 3.2 styles. You need a 3.1 style (demo). As 3.1 and 3.2 are relatively new, there are fewer styles available for installation.

Upgrading phpBB 3.0 to a newer version of 3.0

Upgrading phpBB 3.0 on your own is a lot easier than upgrading phpBB 2. The process for upgrading with the automated update package is described here. If your board is only lightly modified and you are using standard styles you might want to try it yourself. Make sure you fully back up your files and database before attempting to upgrade!

Upgrading with the automated update package is trickier than it sounds, as you have to be able to assess file changes and render a judgment on whether to merge, allow or disallow a change. In addition, sometimes merged changes get applied incorrectly, resulting in syntactically incorrect code (usually manifest as a blank, white screen) and HTTP 500 errors. You often have to download a package of file changes then use FTP to move them back to your server.

You may prefer to have upgrades done professionally. The cost depends on how many modifications you have and active templates you are using. The following prices are estimates:

  • One time upgrade: See the pricing at the top of the page. Much older versions require multiple upgrades and template changes, which takes more time and adds to cost. The price assumes you are using the prosilver or subsilver2 style and are using phpBB with no modifications. If you have mods installed, I will tack on the upgrade price for those mods to the cost. Note: if you have no mods and use the standard proSilver default style, see if your web host control panel has a QuickInstall or a similar program. You can use it to upgrade phpBB for free. Warning: attempts to use QuickInstall for modded phpBB installs or against non-standard styles can result in making your board unusable or inconsistent.
  • Supporting nonstandard styles: proSilver and subSilver2 are standard styles. All others are non-standard. I charge a fixed fee per style in active use, in addition to the upgrade. See my price list. I will check for a newer version of your style with an upgrade and attempt to install it. If there are significant changes to the standard phpBB styles for a particular upgrade (such as the feed integration that occurred with phpBB 3.0.6) I will attempt to add these features to your style if they were not made to the style. Not all styles are maintained by the style author. In most upgrades, upgrading the style is not crucial, but certain upgrades require it. It is hard to know which ones these are.

Upgrading phpBB 3.0 mods

Upgrading phpBB modifications is often a delicate process, and the more mods you have the more delicate and risky it becomes. If installed with AutoMOD you can often uninstall the mod, then reinstall it after the upgrade. However, if the modification stores persistent information, uninstalling the mod temporarily will also remove the persistent data. That’s why it’s often better to apply the file changes manually when upgrading a mod. If your site is heavily modded, I may decline to upgrade it because the complexity of integrating disparate mods rises exponentially with the number of modifications installed. All files and your database are backed up before work commences, just to be safe. I only support official phpBB group approved modifications. Pricing for upgrade works is at the top of the page.

Unless you tell me otherwise, I will assume I can do an upgrade at a time that suits me. I cannot always accommodate unusual times for doing upgrades, such as during the middle of the night or on weekends. Some minimal amount of downtime is needed for an upgrade. In many cases it is only a matter of minutes, and only rarely takes an hour or longer.

Upgrading phpBB 3.1 or 3.2 extensions

You can upgrade extensions yourself with minimal effort and without worrying about whether it will interfere with another extension or phpBB. Generally you disable the extension, delete the extension and its data, then upload the newest version of the extension and reenable it. You need to be able to upload files to the forum. If you would prefer to have it done professionally, contact me for pricing.

phpBB Troubleshooting Services

Sometimes you just need a hired gun to go in and fix some sort of problem that has emerged. I will assess the problem for free and give you an estimate of what it would cost for me to fix it at the applicable labor rate. If I agree to do the work and it takes more time than the fee we agreed on, I will not charge you extra for it. I cannot necessarily solve all problems, but I can figure out most of them. In general, my success rate is I can solve more than 98% of problems requested.  Most of these problems take 1-2 hours of work. I will give you an estimate as best I can before I start the work. If the work turns out to be trivial (takes 5-10 minutes) I usually bill for only half an hour.

phpBB Tutoring

Sometimes you just need a little personal coaching so you can do work yourself. I offer phpBB tutoring services. I usually tutor via Skype but I can use other online solutions such as Google Hangouts, Webex or TeamViewer if you have these solutions. The solution should have both audio and screen sharing, although the telephone can be used for the audio if needed. From simple things like installing phpBB to complex things like troubleshooting phpBB issues, I can help you gain quick proficiency. My charge for tutoring is the same as for troubleshooting. I’ve tutored many clients over the years, and my knowledge of phpBB, PHP, web servers and databases is quite extensive. In addition I have taught many courses in the computer sciences, so I am an experienced teacher. Most tutoring can be done relatively quickly and cheaply. Contact me.

phpBB 3.0 Modification Installation

I generally install only officially approved phpBB 3.0 modifications (mods). Long experience has found that installing other mods often results in flaky behavior, problems that are hard to troubleshoot and making the work unprofitable. If I agree to install a non-approved mod, it will be with the understanding that I will not guarantee that it will work as designed and you will compensate me for my time regardless of whether it works as you envisioned.

You might want to use AutoMOD to install phpBB Modifications. Note that AutoMOD can be tricky to use. It will patch in code changes at the applicable point in the code if it can, but it does not know if in doing so a syntax error was introduced. When introduced, part of phpBB will stop working. Typically you will see a white screen. In many cases you must download the changed files and then upload them. In addition, AutoMOD will not apply changes to non-standard styles, and will not install language files by default for languages other than British English. Often, particularly if the mod is complex or needs to be integrated with other mods already installed and not cause conflicts, you might want it done professionally.

I generally use the author’s guidelines on how easy the modification is to install. See the pricing at the top of the page. I classify mods as easy, medium and hard based on the mod’s installation file. However, sometimes mod authors aren’t quite as candid as they should be, or are unduly optimistic. So I will do a reality check on it by looking at its installation instructions and price it accordingly.

Please note: while I will install a mod and do my best to get it to work in your environment, I am not the mod author so I cannot guarantee I will be able to get it to function properly in your environment. Caveat emptor.

phpBB Extension Installation, Update and Removal


Installing extensions is straightforward so you may want to do this yourself using instructions here. If you would like me to do it for you, I will install any extension. While I can install an extension, I am not the extension author. I do not troubleshoot extensions but I can remove them. It’s possible but unlikely that an extension won’t work on your particular board, or have bugs. You should only install approved extensions for phpBB 3.1. Clients often want extensions installed when a 3.1 or 3.2 forum is created or upgraded from 2.0 or 3.0.

Updating and Removing Extensions

Updating and removing extensions is also straightforward, so you may want to try to do this yourself. If you would like me to update your extension, the cost is the same as installing the extension since the work is the same. I will physically disable, delete an extension’s data and physically delete the extension’s files.

phpBB Style Services

Sorry, I am not a phpBB style artist. I cannot create custom styles for your site, as others are far more artistically gifted than I am and know how to wield complex tools like Adobe Photoshop to maintain and update a style. If you need a style artist, I suggest looking at the phpBB style demo gallery. If you see styles you admire, email the author and see if they are willing to do the work for you.

However, I can add prebuilt approved phpBB styles to your forum, integrate logos into the style and solve most issues with styles rendering incorrectly in browsers. I can change fonts, font sizes, colors, background colors and solve general positioning issues due to my comprehensive understanding of HTML and CSS. I have integrated phpBB forums into existing WordPress themes successfully.

See my style pricing at the top of the page. For fixing general style layout issues, I charge my standard labor rate. Most style issues can be solved in an hour or less.

phpBB Extensions Development

In general, I don’t develop custom extensions. However, I will refer you to highly qualified developers I know in the phpBB community who do this work.

Developing extensions is time consuming, thus costly and consequently thus something most people can’t afford. It takes a lot more work to develop an extension than to do the same thing as an old phpBB 3.0 or 2.0 modification. Except for the most trivial extensions, expect any developer to charge hundreds of dollars or more.

There are two reasons I don’t develop extensions for clients:

  • Lack of time. I also teach a class and that take precedence. So most of my work tends to be of short duration that can be done in a few hours.
  • Others can do it faster and more adroitly. I have developed two extensions: Smartfeed (approved) and Digests (awaiting approval). It’s a huge learning curve, even for an experienced PHP programmer and phpBB developer. Official extensions undergo extensive quality review which is why it takes months just to get a review. I have most of the skills needed to develop complex extensions, but not all of them. I’d rather a client be satisfied with a quality job by someone with the time and the best skills available. I tend to recommend trusted developers I have interacted with on the forums on, whose extensions I admire.

phpBB 2.x to 3.x Conversion Services

Many forum owners want to convert their legacy phpBB 2 boards to phpBB 3.0, 3.1 or 3.2.

If your board is small, you have the most recent version of phpBB 2 installed and you are using defaults, you may want to try it upgrading yourself. Complete instructions can be found on the phpBB site.

However, if you have modifications to your forum, lots of posts, you haven’t upgraded it to the latest version of phpBB 2, or you have installed lots of extra smilies and avatars then you may wish to have me perform an upgrade professionally.

Please note that aside from the upgrade and conversion base prices, I charge surcharges if there are either more than 100,000 posts or users to be converted and you are moving from phpBB 2.0 to 3.0, 3.1 or 3.2. If you have shared hosting, there may be a shared hosting charge to cover the time of moving your forum and database to my machine to upgrade it. This is unfortunately necessary because of the extra work needed to backup and successfully convert larger forums. For information, see this blog post.

Please contact me for pricing. Pricing depends on a number the factors below. See pricing at the top of the page. Please let me know:

  • What version of phpBB 2 are you running? (You can find out from the Administration Control Panel.)
  • Have you installed any modifications? If so please list their names and version numbers as applicable. Let me know if the mod is essential to carry over or not. Not all mods for phpBB 2 are also available for phpBB 3.
  • Have you installed special smilies or avatars that you need carried over?
  • Approximately how many posts are on your board? The size of the message board has a lot to do with how much an upgrade costs.
  • Do you want to migrate to phpBB 3.0, 3.1 or 3.2?
    • phpBB 3.0
      • Has a wide variety of modifications to extend functionality.
      • Has a wide variety of styles as well
      • However, modifications come with a cost. If you upgrade phpBB, you may overwrite file changes needed for your modifications.
      • Cannot use phpBB 3.1 extensions
      • Most styles are not mobile friendly. Designed for desktop and laptop computers.
    • phpBB 3.1
      • Relatively new (released in November 2014)
      • Improved and extensible architecture.
      • Extensions are like plugins for WordPress. They are easily installed, uninstalled, enabled and disabled
      • Limited styles compared with phpBB 3.0
      • Limited extensions compared with phpBB 3.0
      • Cannot use phpBB 3.0 modifications
      • Built in mobile support on most styles as well as desktop and laptop computers
    • phpBB 3.2
      • Very new (released in January 2017)
      • Some 3.1 styles are not compatible with 3.2
      • Some 3.1 extensions will not work on 3.2
  • Very large forums may require the database to be exported to be converted. This is because your server’s resources may not be enough to do the conversion. It could also be that there are unusually large posts or private messages that will bog down the phpBB conversion program.
    • There may be surcharges for converting very large forums with lots of users and/or posts.
    • In the event that unusual conversion errors are encountered, I charge a troubleshooting fee at my standard labor rate for the conversion. I will document the errors with screenshots and the like and seek your approval before proceeding at an hourly rate, and provide progress reports as well accounting for each hour. Why this policy? It takes considerable work to solve these problems as they can be hard to find and fix. It often involves moving the database and forum files to my local machine, converting it there, then importing it back to your server. In addition in these situations there are very often issues that are difficult to troubleshoot because the problems and solutions may be unique, making it impossible to provide a fixed price. These issues can include spam posts, very large posts, very large private messages, post with very large words that must be removed, etc. The common issue is that inconsistent databases and databases with lots of bogus posts in them take considerable time to convert.
  • Have you customized the look and feel of your board by adding special images or changing the header and footer? Do you expect your current look to be carried over when upgraded?In the highly unlikely event that I cannot fully install your software I will refund your money.

phpBB Installation Services

phpBB is powerful and sophisticated forum software that is free and open source. phpBB 3.2 is now the only approved and supported versions of phpBB. phpBB 3.0 became official in December 2007 and phpBB 3.1 became official in October 2014. I can install any version of phpBB for you. Installing the latest version is always recommended.

phpBB can often be installed directly from your web host control panel with a few clicks. Look for a scripting center or similar area of the control panel. If you choose this option you will get a default installation with the prosilver style installed. You can often also use the tool to upgrade the forum, sometimes automatically. For phpBB 3.0, this is a great and cheap option, but just remember not to install any modifications or custom styles if you plan to use your web host’s automatic upgrade feature. Upgrades may introduce issues.

phpBB is written in PHP, a powerful scripting language installed by default on virtually all web servers. Installing phpBB on a web host can be confusing without skills in FTP, editing files on the server and setting up a database. If you choose, I can install and configure your phpBB forum.

If you would like me to do the installation I need the following information:

  • The name of the styles or styles you want installed. Styles provide the colors, fonts and images that are used uniformly across your forum and give the forum a professional and artistic look. The default style for phpBB 3 is prosilver although subsilver2 comes preinstalled and can be used “out of the box”. If selecting more than one style, provide the default style for your board. Styles can be selected here. Other styles exist on the site.
  • Any other avatarsrank imagessmilies etc. you want installed other than the default one. You can look at them here.
  • The language packs you want installed. Many are included in phpBB 3, so in some cases they only need to be enabled. British English is installed be default. If you are in the United States, you might want the American English language pack installed.
  • The phpBB mods you want installed on top of phpBB.
  • The name you want for your Forum.
  • The location you want under your domain for the forum. The default is /phpBB3. You can also specify a subdomain, like If you will have only a set of forums for your domain, you may prefer to install it in your web root folder, so when someone comes to your domain they first see your phpBB board index. If you want your main domain to automatically redirect to your forum let me know.
  • See What I Need From You above. I do not need the administrator username and password. I will create one with the default name “admin” for you unless you specify it. The password can be changed later, but you can provide one if you want.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does an installation take?

For a simple installation, it takes generally no more than a couple hours, once I get started, and providing I have from you the correct information. It may take a day or two to get the information needed to make the install and actually install it. If there are lots of modifications and themes that need to also be installed, it may take a few days. Some of the modifications are very complex to install.

  • Do you offer a money back guarantee?

In the highly unlikely event that I cannot fully install your software I will refund your money and put your web space back to the condition I found it.

  • Is there a warranty?

I will troubleshoot problems for a period of 30 days, should they occur.

  • Will you maintain my site after 30 days?

No. I no longer offer maintenance services. However, I can upgrade you periodically upon request.

phpBB Rehosting Services

If you are outgrowing your web host and need a new one but you also want to move your phpBB forum intact, I can help. Note that phpBB provides a help topic on how to do this, so you may want to try this yourself, particularly if you have decent IT skills. phpBB also has guidance for moving your phpBB 2 board to another host. In any event it is not a trivial process. Particularly if your board is heavily modded you may want to have it done professionally. I have done this for many clients and have moved my own boards several times.

Unfortunately I cannot price the work until I understand what is involved in your particular situation. See my pricing summary to get an idea of the costs involved

If you haven’t decided on a new web host yet…

Here are some guidelines that will help in the migration process. Look for a web host that can provide these capabilities:

  • A database type and version similar to the host you are leaving. For example if your current forum is running on MySQL 5.5, you should prefer a new host that supports MySQL 5.5 or better. (MariaDB is a MySQL clone and can be used interchangeably.)
  • The same or better version of PHP than your current web host supplies. Version 5.4 or better is required for phpBB 3.2.
  • A web based database control environment. For MySQL, phpMyAdmin is typically provided via a web host control panel. If it is not provided it can usually be manually installed.
  • A web host control panel. This is standard now. cPanel is the most widely used control panel, but Plesk is often provided for dedicated or virtual dedicated hosting. One is usually available by default.


  • For low end hosting of phpBB forums, I recommend SiteGround shared hosting. With shared hosting, many sites use the same server. This keeps costs low. Some hosts may overload their servers with clients, slowing access or causing timeouts. Your needs should be modest for shared hosting. Expect to pay for high volume hosting. If considering SiteGround shared hosting, please check out Siteground shared hosting features and resource limitations to make sure it’s a good fit for your needs. In particular make sure you can live with outgoing email quotas as they can quickly add up, particularly if you have lots of users and email notifications turned on.
  • For busy or highly trafficked forums, I recommend MediaTemple has proven to be a very reliable web host for my general needs when I needed more horsepower and high availability. MediaTemple too has limitations on outgoing emails.
    • For relatively uncomplicated database driven sites that are not too busy the Grid Service is fine. Note that this is actually shared hosting and in fact is Amazon Web Services under the hood, which is fine. MediaTemple just makes it volumes easier to have the scale of cloud computing with their front end control panel that handles all the hard stuff. Neat solution, really. However, MediaTemple does not offer cPanel or Plesk, and you must use its own somewhat rudimentary control panel and SSH to do most of your work. A fair amount of hands on skill is needed.
    • I have used the Dedicated Virtual Service for my many domains in the past when my hosting needs were more complex and I needed fine tuned server control in a virtualized environment.

If your board is highly trafficked (500+ messages per day, with lots of reading) you should consider leasing your own server (dedicated hosting) or at least going with a virtual private server solution. As you may expect this can be quite expensive but at least your users are not competing with other domains for access to the same web server. Most web hosts provide dedicated hosting. One example is Rackspace.

What I need to price your rehosting

  • Do you need to move just your forum or to move your entire domain? Typically phpBB is placed in a folder on your domain. If you need your entire site moved, I may be able to do this too, but of course this increases the cost.
  • If you are running phpBB 3.0, a list of your phpBB 3.0 installed mods
  • A list of styles that you are using
  • If you use language packs other than the default British English, let me know what they are
  • Version of phpBB you are running. (You can get this from the Administration Control Panel on the main page.)
  • The total number of topics and posts in your forum. (It takes more effort, and hence costs more to move large forums.)
  • Whether you will need additional mods or extensions installed in addition to rehosting
  • If using phpBB 2, whether you plan to upgrade to phpBB 3.0 or 3.1 as part of rehosting, and if so which version
  • If using phpBB 3.0, whether you plan to upgrade from phpBB 3.0 to phpBB 3.2 as part of rehosting
  • Will any email addresses change when you move to the new web host?

What I need to actually do rehosting

See What I Need From You. Generally, I need ALL privileges to both your new and old board to rehost, so you will need to send me the forum and server information form for both the old and the new web host.

Rehosting procedures

These are generally the steps I follow to rehost.

  1. Verify that I have the accesses I need on the current and new web hosts
  2. Back up files and databases on the old host
  3. Copy over your current phpBB software (with mods or extensions) intact and install on new host. This way if you have mods, unusual styles, etc. I don’t lose any functionality.
  4. Create a new database on the new host for the forum
  5. Export your database and move it over to see if I can get it working at all on the new host in a “test” mode. Sometimes the export available in the phpBB control panel will suffice. For larger databases I usually have to go into MySQL itself and dump your database to a file, which is why I sometimes need SSH access.
  6. Configure the new host config.php and related files to work with the new database
  7. Verify that it looks and behave the same. I will have you verify that all the posts, topics, forums and users are there and the styles are correct.
  8. When you are satisfied:
    1. Disable the current board
    2. Export the database as a final snapshot and move it into the database on the new host
    3. Have you move the domain from the old host to the new host using your registrar

Once the domain switches everything should appear the same to your users. Generally it takes at least a few hours to propagate a change to the domain. It is better to assume a full day for the switchover for all your forum users.

As you can see this process is time consuming and somewhat cumbersome. The whole thing can easily take a couple days.


I have installed WordPress on numerous sites, mostly for myself. While it is straightforward, even for a relative novice, if you like you can hire me to install it with your choice of theme and set up the various plugins that you want. I can install a number of the common ones, such as reCaptcha and Google Adsense rather easily. Contact me for details. I can do related WordPress work, such as importing a blog from Blogger to WordPress. Ask me!

Other PHP Work

While I specialize in phpBB, I am often capable of installing and troubleshooting other PHP applications. Feel free to write me and describe your project and I will be glad to tell you my comfort level with the work and if I agree to do it, an estimate. I can install many PHP applications for you. I am quite familiar with WordPress and have installed WordPress and added themes and plug-ins to it many times. Contact me for availability and pricing.

Updated February 19, 2018

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