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Guide to Creating a Forum with phpBB

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Everybody’s got something they’re passionate about!  Whether it’s creative writing or your favourite football team, an online forum is a great way to meet other people who share your interests.  Do you have an existing web site? Adding a forum can increase traffic to your site, help create a sense of community, and give you insight into what your visitors love (and hate) about your web site.

Want to create a forum for your web site? It’s easy with phpBB and Evohosting!

All of our hosting plans come with Installatron, the premiere auto-installer plugin for cPanel, allowing you to install up to 60 FREE scripts quickly and easily! This week, we’ll be highlighting one of these free scripts, phpBB, a bulletin board system for creating forums.

phpBB makes setting up, running, and maintaining an online forum quick and easy! phpBB is a high powered, fully scalable, and highly customisable bulletin board package to help you create simple or complex forums. Plus, phpBB has a user-friendly interface, simple and straightforward administration panel, and helpful FAQ, making it the ideal community solution for all web sites.

Some of the features offered by phpBB include:

Security, Anti-Spam, and Permissions

  • Banning of disruptive users permanently or temporarily
  • Prevent spamming via CAPTCHA Visual Confirmation and flood control
  • Enables members to report inappropriate posts to moderators
  • You can warn, ban, or blacklist users for spamming
  • Allows group based and user based global, moderator, administration, and forum permissions
  • Enables you to set admin, user, moderator, and forum roles, and it allows multi-level permission masks

Data Management

  • Supports the following databases: MySQL, MSSQL Server, MSSQL ODBC, PostgreSQL, Oracle, Firebird, SQLite
  • Allows you to backup and restore all of your databases to prevent the loss of important information
  • Purge unwanted data via post and topic pruning

Posting and Attachments

  • Utilizes a flat topic display method and enables users to preview posts before they submit them
  • Allows members to use BBcode but not HTML in posts
  • Enables you to create a list of words that you don’t want users to include in their posts (especially helpful if you want to run a kid-friendly forum)
  • Members can insert multiple attachments (images, documents, audio, video, and archives) either inline or standard

Forums

  • Members can subscribe to certain forums and topics
  • Allows the creation of password protected forums, forum rules, and subforums
  • Enables users to sort posts and topics by criteria such as author, time of post, and subject
  • Members can email and print topics

User & Administration Control Panels

  • Allows members to use signatures and avatars, create preferences and profile settings, and make lists of friends and foes
  • Users can manage saved private messages and drafts of posts, bookmarks, attachments, and subscribed topics
  • Administrators can manage ranks, groups, group memberships, attachments, and settings
  • Administrators can use custom BBCodes, profile fields, profile field placement options, and profile field data types
  • Administrators can prune inactive members

Registration

  • COPPA Registration allows webmasters to ask a user’s age when they attempt to register. If the user is under a particular age, then they will be required to get parental verification before they can proceed with registration
  • Enables you to allow or disallow specific email addresses from being reused for registration
  • You can set the minimum and maximum username and password lengths, set password complexity requirements, and force members to change their passwords on a regular basis

Moderation Control Panel

  • Allows global and forum moderators, topic and post moderation queues, and editing and locking of posts
  • You can merge topics, posts, and multiple topics as well as move, lock, delete, and copy topics
  • Allows global, split, announcement, and sticky topics
  • You can also ban members by usernames, email addresses, and IP addresses and manage your bans and user warnings

Plug-ins, Upgrades, Installation, Technical, and Caching

  • Apache, DB, and LDAP Auth Plug-ins and Native and MySQL search Plug-ins included
  • File Cache Method Plug-in included; other Cache Plug-ins available such as memcache, X-Cache, APC, and eAccelator.
  • ACP, UCP, and MCP, plus any and all custom Control Panels installed
  • Offers Installation, Update, and Converter Wizards and File Merge Diff Update Engine
  • Allows CMS Software Integration and is XHMTL compliant
  • Enables caching of database queries, templates, and arbitrary data

In addition to all of phpBB’s built-in features, you can find a ton of phpBB MODs (short for “modifications”) in the phpBB Modifications Database at http://www.phpbb.com/mods/db/.  MODs allow you to customize even the finest points of your forum:  if you don’t want hidden users on your forum, download the “Remove Hidden Users” MOD; if you want hyperlinks to change colour when a user mouses over them, download the “Fading Links” MOD.

If you want to customise the look of your forum, there are loads of phpBB templates available on the internet. If you want your forum to look unlike anyone else’s, check out a site like Template Monster. They offer a wide range of phpBB templates , and each template has what is known as a “unique price”. A unique price means that if you purchase a template at this premium price, that particular template will no longer be available for sale. If you have the money, and having a unique design for your forum is really important to you, then this option is for you. However, if you’re looking to save money, and you don’t really care about someone else’s forum having the same look as yours, then you can purchase a phpBB template for only $35.

If you want to pay even less for a template, there are a fair amount of free phpBB Templates available. Check out the links below for sites offering templates at a range of prices.

http://www.themesbase.com/?category=phpBB
http://www.phpwebtemplates.com/t106/PhpBB3/1.htm
http://openfreetemplates.org/templates/phpbb3

phpBB has extensive documentation available at http://www.phpbb.com/support/documentation/3.0/ to walk you through setting up, configuring, and maintaining a forum.  Excellent Flash Tutorials for phpBB can be found at http://www.phpbb.com/support/tutorials/3.0/; these tutorials will show you how to do everything from managing forums, ranks, and attachments to creating custom usergroups and profile fields.

If you need an in depth explanation on how to do something like create  a private forum or add a link and icon to your header, check the phpBB knowledgebase at http://www.phpbb.com/kb/.  Still can’t find what you’re looking for?  Post a message in the Support Forum at http://www.phpbb.com/support/forums/ and a member of the phpBB community should be able to help you.

Ready to start setting up your forum ?

  • Just choose your hosting plan — we recommend the Business Plan for medium-sized communities and the Ecommerce Plan for larger communities
  • Install phpBB in just a few clicks
  • Start configuring your forum today, so your members can start joining tomorrow!