Creating a forum is a great way to get the community together. Depending on the type of website you are hosting, a forum will bring many benefits. First of all, it will allow your visitors to leave feedback about your site. What better way to find out new ideas and locate existing issues than by letting the community itself report them to you? Secondly, it will bring your site community together and drive more traffic. Most importantly, you will have the opportunity to know your visitors and website audience better. One of the crucial tasks every website developer has to make to create a successful project or website is to know as much about his audience as possible. This will give you a better general overview and idea of what direction your project should go to. A forum can also be just a fun and relaxing place to discuss various topics and meet new people.
What is phpBB?
There are many forum scripts that you can choose from and phpBB is one of them. The name phpBB is short for PHP Bulletin Board. It is a free and open source script that can be used to create your own forums. The script comes in many available languages and will let you create boards, topics, manage users, groups and much more. There are several ways how to install phpBB forum which will be covered in this tutorial:
- Installing phpBB manually
- Installing phpBB via Hostinger Auto-installer
- Installing phpBB via Softaculous
What you’ll need
Before you begin this guide you’ll need the following:
- Access to hosting account
- Your hosting account should meet these requirements
- Access to FTP/File Manager
Option 1 — Installing phpBB manually
Setting up phpBB manually will work on all hosting platforms, but it will take some extra time to set up. It is also useful if you do not have an auto-installer or if you simply prefer manual integration.
Step 1 – Creating a MySQL Database for phpBB forum
You will first need to create a MySQL Database, a user and assign the user to your MySQL Database. If you use cPanel, check out this tutorial for instructions on how to fully set up a MySQL Database on cPanel
In Hostinger, you can create a MySQL database and user via Members Area -> Databases section.
Enter your MySQL database, username, and password. Press Create and your MySQL database will be created along with the user assigned to it.
Step 2 – Uploading phpBB forum installation to your host
You will first need to download the latest phpBB forum version. After that, access your hosting account via FTP or File Manager and upload the phpBB installation.
After that, unzip the file and proceed to the next step.
IMPORTANT! Make sure to unzip the installation in the same directory where you want your forum to be located.
Step 3 – Installing phpBB forum
Now access your phpBB installation via domain name in the browser to begin. If you uploaded it to a specific directory, enter it via domain.com/directory to start the setup process. In the phpBB overview screen, access the Install section to begin.
Since the MySQL database for phpBB was created in Step 1, you can press Install once again to proceed.
You will then need to enter your desired phpBB admin area credentials and press Submit
In the next phpBB installation section, you will need to enter your MySQL database details.
- Database Type may vary depending on the hosting provider. If you are with Hostinger, choose MySQL with MySQLi Extension. The other available options are MySQL and SQLite 3.
- Database server hostname or DSN is in most cases localhost but it also varies. In Hostinger, you can find your MySQL Host in Members Area -> Databases section.
- Database server port can be left blank unless a custom port is used by the hosting provider. The default MySQL port is 3306
- Database Username should specify the MySQL Database name created for your phpBB forum in Step 1.
- Database Password should specify the MySQL user created for your phpBB forum in Step 1.
- Prefix for tables in database is set to phpBB_ by default. Changing it is a good idea, as it will provide you with a better protection against MySQL injections. Hackers usually target default settings and values first, because people don’t bother changing them. You could add a few extra letters, for example, phpBBfrm_ and that would be more than enough to give your phpBB an initial boost in security.
After entering all the MySQL Database details, press Submit to proceed. In the next section, you will need to specify your Server configuration.
- Cookie secure allows you to secure your visitor data. However, it requires an SSL certificate. If you are not using an SSL certificate, choose No as it can cause issues when accessing your phpBB forum.
- Force server URL settings: forces the URL to be HTTP or HTTPS. If you are planning to use HTTPS for your phpBB forum, choose Yes. You can also leave it as No if you wish to use HTTP. It is possible to install an SSL certificate and force phpBB forum to use HTTPS at a later time.
- Domain name specifies the domain name that will be used by your phpBB forum.
- The default setting for Server Port is 80. Only change it if a custom port is used by your host.
- Script Path specifies the location of your phpBB forum. If you want to locate it directly under your domain name (for example: domain.com, enter
/. In case you wish to have it in another directory (for example: domain.com/forum, specify it like this
/forum. Keep in mind that you must use the directory where the installation was uploaded in Step 2.
After pressing Submit the setup will take you to the E-mail Configuration screen for your phpBB forum.
- Enable board-wide emails allows you to enable or disable e-mail sending via phpBB. The installation recommends to disable this option if you do not have an SSL certificate installed.
- Use SMTP server for email allows you to configure SMTP protocol for your phpBB forum. If you choose Yes you will need to fill in your SMTP Details such as SMTP server address, SMTP server port, Authentication method for SMTP, SMTP username, and SMTP password. On Hostinger, you can find this information in Members Area-> Details section.
Once you configure that section, Submit your details and you will need to enter a short description about your phpBB forum.
- Default language section lets you choose your phpBB forum language. The installation has British English available, however, you can download additional phpBB languages here.
- Enter the title of your phpBB board and create a short description. This is the last step of the installation. After pressing Submit the phpBB installation wizard will load and finish.
Congratulations, you have successfully installed phpBB forums manually. You can now access your phpBB forum via URL in the browser.
IMPORTANT! PhpBB admin area will be accessible only after you remove the install directory from the phpBB forum root directory.
Option 2 — Installing phpBB via Hostinger Auto Installer.
In Hostinger, you can easily install phpBB via Auto-Installer tool.
Step 1 – Accessing Auto Installer
The phpBB installation process can be started in Members Area -> Auto Installer section.
Step 2 – Installing phpBB
In the search field enter phpBB and click on the icon to start your forum installation.
You will then be forwarded to the phpBB setup screen.
- The URL field specifies your phpBB location. If you want phpBB forum to be installed directly on your domain, leave the field blank.
- Language section allows you to choose your phpBB forum language. This phpBB installation supports the following languages: Arabic, Catalan, Greek, English, Spanish, Finish, French, Gaelic, Galician, Hebrew, Italian, Danish, German, Dutch, Nederlands, Polish, Portugese, Brazilian Portugese, and Russian.
- In the Administrative fields enter your desired phpBB admin area details.
- You can also give your phpBB forum a name in the Website Title section.
Once everything is entered press the Install button to proceed with your phpBB installation.
Wait a few minutes for the installation to be completed and you will be able to access your phpBB forum via URL in the browser.
Option 3 — Installing phpBB via Softaculous Apps Installer
If you have cPanel hosting, you can start the phpBB forum setup via Softaculous Apps Installer.
Step 1 – Navigating to Softaculous
Firstly, navigate to cPanel-> Softaculous Apps Installer.
In Softaculous search field, type phpBB and select it.
Step 2 – Installing phpBB
To begin installing phpBB, press the Install Now button.
You will then need to fill in the phpBB forum installation details.
- Choose Protocol field allows us to choose whether phpBB will be set up on HTTP or HTTPS protocol. It is also possible to choose HTTP and configure your phpBB forum to use HTTPS later.
- Choose Domain field lets us choose the domain name for phpBB installation. It is also possible to locate phpBB on a subdomain. You will only need to create a subdomain before the installation and choose it from the drop-down list.
- In Directory specifies the root directory of your phpBB forum. By default, it is set to domain.com/phpbb. However, if you leave this field empty, the phpBB forum will be installed directly under your domain (for example: domain.com)
- Board Settings will require you to enter minor details such as Board Name, Site Description and Board E-mail
- In the Admin Account section you will need to set up your phpBB administrative information which will be used to access the phpBB admin area.
- In Choose Language section you will be able to choose the language for your phpBB forums. Available languages for phpBB are: English, Arabic, Dutch, French, Greek, Italian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish.
- Advanced Options section allows you to configure automated backups for phpBB. You may also choose how many backups of your phpBB forum should be kept in the Backup Rotation field. Once it reaches backup rotation limit, Softaculous will remove the oldest backup of your phpBB installation and create a new one. The backups will use your disk space so choose the backup rotation according to the space available on your hosting account.
Once all these fields are configured, press the Install button to complete your phpBB installation.
You can now access your phpBB forum by entering the URL in your browser.
PhpBB is one of the best free and open source forum scripts. In this guide you have learned three ways how to install phpBB:
- installing phpBB manually
- installing phpBB via Hostinger Auto-Installer
- installing phpBB via Softaculous Apps Installer
For more information about phpBB usage, you may refer to the official phpBB documentation