Upgrades involve moving your forum from an older version of phpBB to the latest version of phpBB 3.x, currently 3.3. This is probably the bulk of my work and in many ways where I add the most value. There are lots of landmines in upgrading a forum from inconsistent data in the database to timeouts during the upgrade (usually on shared hosting) to replicating the look and feel of the old website. This can trip up even experienced web developers, so it often makes sense to have me handle this as a service.

The process

Because upgrades are so problematic, I use a systematic, failsafe approach:

  1. We discuss your requirements extensively. You often need a new style, or certain mods or extensions you are used to are not available. I give you an estimate of the cost for the work. After you make a number of decisions, the upgrade can begin. Generally you use my secure form to provide the credentials I need.
  2. I back up both your files and your database before starting any work, so you can always recover to where you were before the upgrade. Before starting a backup I disable your forum so no posts or private messages get lost during the upgrade.
  3. I remove the old software and install the new software, taking care not to remove any data folders and files (files, images and store folders, along with your config.php file). I am also careful not to remove any special programs you write, error log files, favicons, etc.
  4. I set all files and folders to the correct permissions, if needed. Certain folders must be world-writeable.
  5. I run the database update program. Here’s where errors often occur.
    1. On shared hosting and sometimes on other types of hosting timeouts may occur as you “slip over” some ill-defined resource limitation imposed by your web host. I will try to run the update program again but if the problem persists I may have to move your files and database to my machine, convert it there, then upload the converted database. If this happens I do a screenshot to document the error. There is a surcharge for this effort, which is considerable. See my pricing summary.
    2. Sometimes the update program detects an inconsistency in your database. If this happens I have to analyze the error and fix the database. This is why I request web host control panel access. I need access to the database to fix these issues. After I fix an issue I rerun the database update program. If another error occurs, I fix the next one and try again. I keep doing this until the updater completes successfully. I have surcharges for forums with more than 100,000 posts. See my pricing summary. Why do I do this? Because it takes longer to upgrade larger forums and the more data in the database generally the more issues there are to fix.
  6. If mods were installed on a phpBB 3.0 forum, I manually removed the modules for these mods and for AutoMOD from the Administration Control Panel, User Control Program and Moderator Control Program. The goal is to give an “out of the box” look to all these control panels for consistency.
  7. If you choose a style other than the default prosilver style, I install the new style and add any logo you might have
  8. I add any extensions you choose to have me install, and configure them as necessary
  9. I usually will set up the reCaptcha V2 checkbox spambot countermeasure
  10. I usually disable the contact form since it has no Captcha built in and often attracts spam
  11. If you support language packs other than British English, I will install them as part of the upgrade at no extra charge
  12. If you need style changes I make the style changes
  13. I remove any dead modules the in Administration, User and Moderator Control Panels
  14. I give the board a check up to make sure all basic functionality is working correctly then ask you to review it, reenabling the forum.
  15. I fix any remaining issues you find
  16. Upon completion to your satisfaction, you pay me.

How to get started

I recommend sending me a service inquiry if you want me to give you an estimate.

If you administer a phpBB board, you should find my book Mastering phpBB Administration invaluable. Learn lots of tips, tricks and secrets I learned from serving over 400 clients. Paper and Kindle versions available.