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phpBB3 • Readme

Thank you for downloading phpBB3. This README will guide through the basics of installation and operation of phpBB3. Please ensure you read this and the accompanying documentation fully before proceeding with the installation.


1. Installing phpBB3

Installation, update and conversion instructions can be found in the INSTALL document contained in this distribution. If you are intending to convert from a previous phpBB 2.0.x installation we highly recommend you backup any existing data before proceeding!

Users of phpBB3 Beta versions cannot directly update.

Please note that we won't support the following installation types:

  • Updates from phpBB3 Beta versions to phpBB3 RC1 and higher
  • Conversions from phpBB 2.0.x to phpBB3 Beta versions
  • phpBB3 Beta installations

We give support for the following installation types:

  • Updates from phpBB3 RC1 to the latest version
  • Note: if using the Automatic Update Package, updates are supported from phpBB 3.0.2 onward. To update a pre-3.0.2 installation, first update to 3.0.2 and then update to the current version.
  • Conversions from phpBB 2.0.x to the latest version
  • New installations of phpBB3 - always only the latest released version

2. Running phpBB3

Once installed, phpBB is easily managed via the Administration and Moderator Control Panels. If you need help or advice with phpBB, please see Section 3 below.

2.i. Languages (Internationalisation - i18n)

A number of language packs with included style localisations are available. You can find them listed in the Language Packs pages of our downloads section or from the Language Packs section of the Customisation Database.

For more information about language packs, please see:

This is the official location for all supported language sets. If you download a package from a 3rd party site you do so with the understanding that we cannot offer support. So please, do not ask for help in these cases!

Installation of these packages is straightforward: simply download the required language pack, uncompress (unzip) it and via FTP transfer the included language and styles folders to the root of your board installation. The language can then be installed via the Administration Control Panel of your board: System tab -> General Tasks -> Language packs. A more detailed description of the process is in the Knowledge Base article, How to Install a Language Pack.

If your language is not available, please visit our [3.0.x] Translations forum where you will find topics on translations in progress. Should you wish to volunteer to translate a language not currently available or assist in maintaining an existing language pack, you can Apply to become a translator.

2.ii. Styles

Although the phpBB Group is rather proud of the included styles, we realise that they may not be to everyone's taste. Therefore, phpBB3 allows styles to be switched with relative ease. First, you need to locate and download a style you like. You can find them listed in the Styles section of our Customisation Database.

For more information about styles, please see:

Please note that 3rd party styles downloaded for versions of phpBB2 will not work in phpBB3. It is also important to ensure that the style is updated to match the current version of the phpBB software you are using.

Once you have downloaded a style, the usual next step is to unarchive (or upload the unarchived contents of) the package into your styles/ directory. You then need to visit Administration Control Panel -> Styles tab where you should see the new style available. Click "Install" to install the style.

Please note that to improve efficiency, the software caches certain data. For this reason, if you create your own style or modify existing ones, please remember to "Refresh" the appropriate style components Administration Control Panel -> Styles tab -> Style Components screen. You may also need to reload the page you have changed in your web browser to overcome browser caching. If the changed components are not refreshed you will not see your changes taking effect.

2.iii. Modifications

Although not officially supported by the phpBB Group, phpBB has a thriving modification scene. These third party modifications to the standard phpBB software, known as MODs, extend its capabilities still further. You can browse through many of the MODs in the Modifications section of our Customisation Database.

For more information about MODs, please see:

Please remember that any bugs or other issues that occur after you have added any modification should NOT be reported to the bug tracker (see below). First remove the MOD and see if the problem is resolved. Any support for a MOD should only be sought in the "Discussion/Support" forum for that MOD.

Also remember that any modifications, particularly those which modify the database in any way, may render upgrading your forum to future versions more difficult. With all this said, many users have and continue to utilise many of the MODs already available with great success.

3. Getting help with phpBB3

phpBB3 can seem a little daunting to new users in places, particularly with regard the permission system. The first thing you should do is check the FAQ which covers a few basic getting started questions. If you need additional help there are several places you should look.

3.i. phpBB3 Documentation

A comprehensive documentation is now available online and can be accessed from the following location:

This covers everything from installation through setting permissions and managing users.

3.ii. Knowledge Base

The Knowledge Base consists of a number of detailed articles on some common issues phpBB users may encounter while using the product. The Knowledge Base can be found at:

3.iii. Community Forums

The phpBB Group maintains a thriving community where a number of people have generously decided to donate their time to help support users. This site can be found at:

If you do seek help via our forums please be sure to do a Search before posting. This may well save both you and us time and allow the developer, moderator and support groups to spend more time responding to people with unknown issues and problems. Please also remember that phpBB is an entirely volunteer effort, no one receives any compensation for the time they give, this includes moderators as well as developers. So please be respectful and mindful when awaiting responses.

3.iv Internet Relay Chat

Another place you may find help is our IRC channel. This operates on the Freenode IRC network, and the channel is #phpbb and can be accessed by any decent IRC client such as mIRC, XChat, etc. Again, please do not abuse this service and be respectful of other users.

There are other IRC channels available, please see for the complete list.

4. Status of this version

This is the third stable release of phpBB. The 3.0.x line is essentially feature frozen, with only point releases seeing fixes for bugs and security issues, though feature alterations and minor feature additions may be done if deemed absolutely required. Our next major release will be phpBB 3.1. Please do not post questions asking when 3.1 will be available, no release date has been set.

Those interested in the development of phpBB should keep an eye on the development forums to see how things are progressing:

Please note that the development forums should NOT be used to seek support for or ask questions about phpBB 2.0.x or phpBB 3.0.x, the main community forums are the place for this. Any such posts will be locked and go unanswered.

5. Reporting Bugs

The phpBB Group uses a bug tracking system to store, list and manage all reported bugs, it can be found at the location listed below. Please DO NOT post bug reports to our forums. In addition please DO NOT use the bug tracker for support requests. Posting such a request will only see you directed to the support forums (while taking time away from working on real bugs).

While we very much appreciate receiving bug reports (the more reports the more stable phpBB will be) we ask you carry out a few steps before adding new entries:

  • First, determine if your bug is reproduceable; how to determine this depends on the bug in question. Only if the bug is reproduceable is it likely to be a problem with phpBB3 (or in some way connected). If something cannot be reproduced it may turn out to have been your hosting provider working on something, a user doing something silly, etc. Bug reports for non-reproduceable events can slow down our attempts to fix real, reproduceable issues

  • Next, please read or search through the existing bug reports to see if your bug (or one very similar to it) is already listed. If it is please add to that existing bug rather than creating a new duplicate entry (all this does is slow us down).

  • Check the forums (use search!) to see if people have discussed anything that sounds similar to what you are seeing. However, as noted above please DO NOT post your particular bug to the forum unless it's non-reproduceable or you are sure it’s related to something you have done rather than phpBB3

  • If no existing bug exists then please feel free to add it

If you do post a new bug (i.e. one that isn't already listed in the bug tracker) first make sure that you have logged in (your username and password are the same as for the community forums) then please include the following details:

  • Your server type/version, e.g. Apache 1.3.28, IIS 4, Sambar, etc.
  • PHP version and mode of operation, e.g. PHP 5.1.1 as a module, PHP 4.4.4 running as CGI, etc.
  • DB type/version, e.g. MySQL 4.0.1, PostgreSQL 7.3.2, MSSQL Server 2000 SP1, etc.

The relevant database type/version is listed within the administration control panel.

Please also be as detailed as you can in your report, if possible list the steps required to duplicate the problem. If you have a patch that fixes the issue, please attach it to the ticket or submit a pull request on GitHub.

If you create a patch, it is very much appreciated (but not required) if you follow the phpBB coding guidelines. Please note that the coding guidelines are somewhat different between different versions of phpBB. For phpBB 3.0.x the coding guidelines may be found here:

Once a bug has been submitted you will be emailed any follow up comments added to it. Please if you are requested to supply additional information, do so! It is frustrating for us to receive bug reports, ask for additional information but get nothing. In these cases we have a policy of closing the bug, which may leave a very real problem in place. Obviously we would rather not have this situation arise.

5.i. Security related bugs

If you find a potential security related vulnerability in phpBB please DO NOT post it to the bug tracker, public forums, etc.! Doing so may allow unscrupulous users to take advantage of it before we have time to put a fix in place. All security related bugs should be sent to our security tracker:

6. Overview of current bug list

This list is not complete but does represent those bugs which may affect users on a wider scale. Other bugs listed in the tracker have typically been shown to be limited to certain setups or methods of installation, updating and/or conversions.

  • Conversions may fail to complete on large boards under some hosts
  • Updates may fail to complete on large update sets under some hosts
  • Smilies placed directly after bbcode tags will not get parsed. Smilies always need to be separated by spaces.

7. PHP compatibility issues

phpBB is no longer supported on PHP3 due to several compatibility issues and we recommend that you upgrade to the latest stable release of PHP5 to run phpBB. The minimum version required is PHP 4.3.3.

Please remember that running any application on a developmental version of PHP can lead to strange/unexpected results which may appear to be bugs in the application (which may not be true). Therefore we recommend you upgrade to the newest stable version of PHP before running phpBB3. If you are running a developmental version of PHP please check any bugs you find on a system running a stable release before submitting.

This board has been developed and tested under Linux and Windows (amongst others) running Apache using MySQL 3.23, 4.x, 5.x, MSSQL Server 2000, PostgreSQL 7.x, Oracle 8, SQLite 2 and Firebird. Versions of PHP used range from 4.3.3 to 5.4.x without problem.

7.i. Notice on PHP security issues

Currently there are no known issues regarding PHP security.

8. Copyright and disclaimer

This application is opensource software released under the GNU General Public License v2. Please see source code and the docs directory for more details. This package and its contents are Copyright © phpBB Group, All Rights Reserved.