phpBB is powerful and sophisticated forum software that is free and open source. phpBB is written in PHP, a powerful scripting language installed by default on virtually all web servers. phpBB has certain system requirements which you can see here.

phpBB can often be installed directly from your web host control panel for free 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.

Why you may not want to use your web host’s installer

There are reasons why you might want to have phpBB installed professionally:

  • Some web hosts won’t install the most recent version of phpBB. There are some web hosts installing phpBB 3.0.14 when the latest is the phpBB 3.2 version! This version is not responsive, i.e. it will not flow well on mobile devices.
  • Once you have installed a non-default styles or one or more extensions, using the automatic upgrader for phpBB provided by your web host is likely to cause issues. Disable this feature if you install phpBB this way, and follow the phpBB Group’s official instructions when you need to update or upgrade phpBB.
  • You may not be able to change the location where you want to place phpBB. For example, you may be required to place phpBB in a phpBB3 folder, or you may not be able to pick the forum folder wanted.
  • You generally have no control over the database name.
  • You get a standard installation with the prosilver style and you are left to figure out the rest for yourself. How to install a different style, integrate your logo or installing extensions won’t be obvious. In addition, you will be left to figure out how to change permissions to forums and user groups by yourself.
  • You may be given the option to have the web host update phpBB automatically for you as new versions come out. These update programs, when they work, assume a default installation with no extensions or style changes. The phpBB group frowns on these auto updaters. They usually cause problems instead of making your life easier.

How I can help

You may want the finished product to look right and have all the functionality that you need, set up properly for the long term. These are all compelling reasons to have phpBB installed professionally. Part of my process is to lead you through this thought process, have you review the free styles and extensions available and have it looking right at the end. You may also want some tailoring of the default permissions or have me set up the forums you want with the permissions you need.

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. If selecting more than one style, provide the default style for your board. Free styles can be demoed here. Some paid styles are available from third party sites.
  • 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. British English is installed be default. If you are in the United States, you might want the American English language pack installed.
  • The phpBB extensions you want installed. Extensions are similar to WordPress plugins and provide additional functionality to phpBB without requiring the base code of phpBB to be overwritten. You can see a list of approved extensions here.
  • 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.

I can also create the forums, user groups, and permissions you want. This does not come by default, but I can do this as a service at my normal hourly rate.

Getting started

A simple installation generally no more than a couple hours, once I get started, and providing I have from you the correct information. To get started, I suggest sending me a service inquiry.

Updated July 14, 2019

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