phpBB® is now in its third major version. Version 3.1 incorporates a professional-quality modular design, high security, multiple-language interface, support for a multitude of database servers and complete layout customisation, all with a low execution overhead.
Learn about phpBB's general features.
phpBB is open source, licensed under Version 2 of the GNU GPL. You can read more about the license here.
True to its name, phpBB was written in the PHP programming language. phpBB 3.1 has the added benefit of being built upon the Symfony framework.
At its core, what does phpBB offer?
phpBB is fully compatible with UTF-8 and uses it as the default character encoding. This ensures complete compatibility with nearly every language on the planet.
phpBB's features and functionality can be extended using self-contained extensions. These community built extensions are easily installed via the ACP with just a few clicks.
prosilver, phpBB's default style, utilises the latest specifications for HTML5 and CSS3 for a modern and responsive design. This ensures optimal performance and cross-browser support for all modern browsers on desktop and mobile platforms.
prosilver, phpBB's default style, complies 100% with the W3C specifications for XHTML 1.0 Strict, ensuring optimal performance and cross-browser support.
phpBB offers a completely modularised User Control Panel to give your users full control over their account on the board. See the Users section for more details.
An arsenal of tools are at your disposal in order to moderate your board. See the Moderators section for details.
phpBB provides a comprehensive Administration Control Panel which allows you to configure and customise nearly every aspect of your board. See the Administration section for details.
phpBB comes pre-loaded with configuration for over 100 of the most common spiders and optimises your board when they visit. Using the Permissions system, you have full control of what the spiders can see and where they can go.
phpBB keeps track of the topics and posts users have and have not read, even between sessions!
Users have the ability to send messages to one another directly via the board. See the Private Messaging section for details.
phpBB offers a fully customisable registration process for your users.
COPPA, primarily used within the United States, requires parental approval for children under the age of 13 to register on the board. phpBB can facilitate this functionality.
A strict limit on the number of attempted registrations (when using the CAPTCHA) can be set.
phpBB allows you to set a required username and password length, or ensure that usernames aren't too long!
Usernames can be limited to a certain set of characters such alpha-numeric or ASCII. Multiple presets are available.
In order to protect the security of your board's users, you can set the required password complexity.
phpBB provides the option to either allow or disallow multiple user accounts from having identical email addresses.
The primary purpose of phpBB is to facilitate discussion via posting.
phpBB utilises a flat topic and post structure, rather than threaded.
BBCode is an easy to use and highly effective way that users can format their posts, insert images and links, and post emoticons. In addition to the default BBCodes, phpBB allows you to add new, custom BBCodes to suit your needs.
phpBB provides the ability to post multiple attachments to posts. The types and size of files allowed to be posted is fully configurable within the ACP.
A simple posting box can be enabled on the board to facilitate faster replies to topics without having to load the Posting page.
Help demonstrate emotion in your posts with smilies! You also have the option of adding custom smilies.
In order to help the flow of discussion, phpBB allows users to quote another user's post within their own. phpBB supports nested quoting, as well.
Keep your board tame by implementing word censors and language filters to automatically eliminate or replace choice words or phrases.
When placing code within a post, using BBCode, phpBB can automatically highlight the syntax to make it easier to read.
In the middle of typing a long reply but can't finish it right now? phpBB allows users to save unfinished posts to their Drafts so they can finish them later.
phpBB offers a fully configurable Polling feature for topics. Multiple polling options as well as time limits can be set. Users can be allowed or disallowed to change their vote at a later time.
If another user posts a reply while a user was typing theirs, the user will be notified so that they can make changes to the post if necessary.
Not sure how a post is going to look? Users have the option of previewing how their post will appear before submitting it.
Share files by uploading them to the board attaching them to posts.
For larger images, phpBB will automatically create a thumbnail when placing the image in the post to keep things looking neat.
Control what type of files and which extensions are permitted to be uploaded to the board.
Multiple attachments can be placed in a single post. The exact number is configurable in the ACP.
Place links to the attachments anywhere in the body of the post, not just at the end.
Forums make up the organisational structure of the board.
Categories are organisational containers which house the individual forums.
Require a unique password to be entered in order for any user to access a single forum.
Set individual forums to use a different installed style.
Make a forum link directly to a specified URL instead of the forum itself.
Customise and display forum rules at the top of a single forum or globally across the board.
phpBB allows for an unlimited number of subforums in the hierarchical structure.
phpBB will list who made the last post in a particular topic and when it was made on the forum's page.
phpBB provides options for pruning old or inactive topics using custom conditions. This can be a one-time action or be done automatically.
A list of the most active topics in a forum can be displayed in a separate container at the top of the forum.
Users have the ability to subscribe to individual topics or entire forums so that they can be notified of any new topics or posts made.
Users have the ability to bookmark topics that interest them for quick access at a later time.
Users have the ability to change the order in which topics and posts are displayed, such as oldest to newest, alphabetical order, or by the number of replies.
Users will see an indicator next to topics in which they have posted.
phpBB creates a custom formatted page that is printer-friendly. Users also have the option to email a topic to their friends.
Users are the backbone of any board. Users have many options available.
Register and login using your Google, Bit.ly, or Facebook accounts. Extensions can easily add other authentication services.
A signature is small bit of text or images that is inserted after a user's post. Each user can customise their own signature, if allowed.
Avatars are a personal image displayed above the user's username on a post and in their profile. If avatars are enabled, each user can customise their own.
Avatars may be fetched from the Gravatar service, in addition to the previously available options.
User and group specific ranks are available and fully customisable. Ranks display under a user's username in a post or in their profile.
If enabled, phpBB can list all of the users who are currently online or have signed in during a specified period of time.
Individual users can customise their board preferences, such as the way the board looks, the sorting of topics, or the language used. Users can customise their profile and add additional information such as an email address or IM and social media accounts.
Saved PM or post drafts are able to be edited from within the User Control Panel.
Users can view a list of their bookmarks and subscriptions from within their control panel and unsubscribe if desired.
phpBB ships with an assortment of profile fields (such as AIM/WLM/ICQ accounts), but board owners have the option to add completely custom profile fields.
Users can decide to add a particular user to their friend or foes list, enabling fine tuning of whose posts they see while browsing the board.
Moderators help maintain order by assisting users and enforcing the rules.
A Global Moderator immediately has access to moderation tasks for all forums on the board.
Moderators can be assigned to individual forums on a per-user or per-group basis.
Moderators have quick access to a list of any post needing approval or posts which users have reported, and can deal with it efficiently.
Moderators have access to a full log of a topic's history, such as when it was approved, locked, or moved to another forum.
Moderators have access to logs of actions that took place in an entire forum or on a per-topic basis.
Moderators can have the ability to edit the contents of a user's post.
Moderators can lock individual posts so that the original author cannot edit it any longer.
Moderators have access to view details about a particular post, such as the IP address used while posting.
Moderators can change the author of a particular post from one user to another.
Moderators have the ability to move any number of posts to a new forum. Selecting and moving multiple topics at once is supported.
Moderators have the ability to merge two topics together or only merge selected posts from one topic into another.
Moderators can split a topic into two separate topics, individual which posts stay and which go.
Individual topics can be locked so that regular users can no longer reply or edit their posts.
Moderators can permanently delete a topic and all of its replies from the board.
Posts and topics can be removed from public view without being permanently deleted. This behaviour can be configured per user or group.
Moderators can duplicate a topic to another forum.
Moderators can create topics which are present as announcements in all forums on the board.
Announcement topics are the most prominent topics in a forum, having their own section at the top of the list of topics. Stickies are less prominent, but still remain at the top of the forum no matter when the last post was made.
Moderators who have permissions to issue and remove bans can do so from within the Moderator Control Panel. From here, moderators can also issue and edit warnings.
Moderators can keep a log of notes on a particular user which only other moderators can see.
Usergroups allow users to be easily organised on the board.
phpBB offers several type of groups: Hidden (only members can see it), Closed (everyone can see it, but users must manually be added), Open (anyone can join), and Request (users can request to be added by the Group Leader).
phpBB supports the option to make multiple users the leaders of a group.
Users in a particular group can have their usernames set to a configurable colour.
Custom ranks and avatars can be set to display for all members in a particular group.
phpBB can show a list of users based on their groups from within the memberlist.
Private messages are direct messages between two or more users.
Users can create custom PM folders and create a set of filters/rules to automatically sort PMs.
Private messages can be sent to more than one user at a time.
Private messages can be Blind Carbon Copied to a set of users. To these users, it will appear as if they are the only recipient.
PMs can be sent all users in a particular usergroup.
Users can quickly send a PM to someone in their friends list.
Unfinished PMs can be saved as drafts and, just like posts, can be edited and sent later.
Private messages can be exported from phpBB for archiving purposes.
Just like posts, attachments can be placed in PMs.
phpBB keeps track of PM replies and displays a chronological view of the PM history.
phpBB leads the industry in security.
Before its initial release, phpBB3 underwent a rigorous security audit by the well-known organisation SektionEins, and most notably Stefan Esser, a highly respected PHP security consultant. phpBB 3.1 underwent a second security audit and to date, there have been no reported major vulnerabilities in the phpBB software.
All passwords in phpBB are entirely hashed before stored in the database, so you can be sure they're secure. phpBB uses a salted hash based on phpass.
phpBB checks and enforces all data types when collected and before being used to enable a high level of security.
Multiple tools keep your board free of unwanted users and spam.
phpBB offers multiple CAPTCHAs to use during registration, including the industry-standard reCAPTCHA by Google, a custom 3D CAPTCHA, and a customisable Q&A CAPTCHA.
phpBB provides the option to limit the number of posts that can be made or PMs that can be sent in a given time period.
phpBB allows designated administrators or moderators to permanently ban or temporarily suspend a user's account for a given time period.
Designated moderators and administrators are able to issue warnings to users. These warnings can be set to expire automatically.
User's actions on the board can be logged and viewed by administrators and moderators. IP addresses are logged for these actions as well as each post made.
Users have the ability to flag a post or a PM as spam to a moderator for later review.
phpBB can be configured to require individual topics and posts to be approved by moderators before they're visible to everyone.
phpBB supports a wide variety of database storage servers.
Likely the most common database server used for the web. MySQL is open source, released under the GPL, the same license as phpBB.
phpBB supports Microsoft's industry-leading SQL Server for use on Windows-based servers. Both SQL Server native and ODBC connections are supported.
Known for its high level of scalability, PostgreSQL is an open-source database server which is quickly gaining popularity.
Using an Oracle database in a business or enterprise environment? No problem. phpBB fully supports this database.
Firebird is an open-source database system which is available on multiple platforms.
SQLite is a small, lightweight, and fast database server.
phpBB 3.1 extends SQLite compatibility with support for SQLite 3.
Utilities are provided within the ACP to fully backup and restore your board's database.
phpBB utilises an advanced caching system which increases performance.
phpBB will cache the results of commonly executed queries in order to decrease page load times.
phpBB also supports the advanced open-source Redis caching system.
Rather than recompiling the template on each page load, phpBB has the ability to cache its output in order to save on CPU cycles and decrease page load times.
Options in the ACP allow board owners to manually clear the data and template cache.
Fully customise the way phpBB looks with user-contributed styles.
If multiple styles are installed on the board, each user will have the option to use the one he or she likes best.
phpBB's style is fully customisable. Either tweak an existing style or create one from scratch.
phpBB's default style, prosilver, is a responsive design that provides a modern and unified experience across all your devices, including desktops, tablets and smart-phones.
Individual style components, such as CSS themes, template files, and images, can be customised right from within the ACP without having to touch the files on the server. Note: this seldom used functionality has been removed from phpBB 3.1.x.
Fine tune where users can go and which features they can use.
Permission roles simplify the permission process by allowing board owners to create a "template" of permissions and then applying them to various users and groups.
phpBB allows board owners to place multiple users into a group and then apply a set of Moderator, Administrator, Forum, or Global permissions to the group.
phpBB allows board owners to assign Moderator, Administrator, Forum, or Global permissions to individual users.
Permission Masks are an invaluable tool which can allow you to see exactly what a user has access to at any given time. They trivialise the process of identifying conflicting permissions.
Gain full control over the look, feel, and operation of your board.
The founder status of a user ensures that no other administrator can take complete control of the board without the founder's explicit permission.
phpBB allows board owners to configure various settings which have an effect on the load on the server.
Has a user not logged in for a long time or not posted in a while? The ACP gives administrators the option to remove inactive users within a specified time period.
Add, edit, or remove user and group ranks from the board. Customise the images displayed or the number of posts necessary to achieve a certain rank.
Create groups, add users to groups, assign leaders to groups, and assign permissions to groups all from within the ACP.
Control attachment settings, such as file times or file sizes from the ACP. Board owners can also view a list of attachments on the board and delete ones if necessary.
Manage a user's profile and board preferences.
Add, edit, or remove custom topic icons which can be selected by users when creating a new topic.
Send out a bulk email to all of your board's users simultaneously.
Visitors, including guests, can get in touch with the board administrator using the built-in contact page.
When users report posts, they have the option to select a reason for the report. Administrators can create, edit, or remove these reasons from the ACP.
With the module manager, administrators can customise exactly which features appear within the UCP, MCP, or ACP. New modules can be added.
View a list of banned users, unban users, or initialise a new ban by username, email address, or IP address.
The teams page displays all administrators and moderators of a forum in one central place, and is highly customisable and sorted by groups.
The powerful search system lets users find topics, posts, and users.
Users can search for a particular post from within a topic using various filters and sorting options.
Users can search for a particular post or topic from within a forum using various filters and sorting options.
Database fulltext native is the built-in search backend used for searching the forum.
phpBB includes a fully functional MySQL fulltext plugin which allows for improved search capabilities in MySQL databases.
phpBB includes a fully functional PostgreSQL fulltext plugin which allows for improved search capabilities in PostgreSQL databases.
phpBB includes a fully functional Sphinx fulltext plugin which allows for improved search capabilities.
Search for a list of topics or posts by a particular author.
phpBB's search system allows for a full range of filters and options to be set when performing a search, such as timeframe, post author, or within multiple forums. Wildcard searches are also supported.
phpBB's search system can find a list of all topics on the board or in a forum which have no replies.
The search system can find topics which have been very active or have a certain number of replies.
phpBB can show users a list of posts and topics which have been made since their last visit to the board.
phpBB can be configured to limit the number of searches that can be performed in a specified time interval.
phpBB boasts a powerful plugin system to connect phpBB to other applications.
phpBB can, by default, authenticate with a database, Apache, LDAP, and new in 3.1.x OAuth. Additional plugins are available.
MySQL native is included with phpBB. Additional plugins, such as Sphinx, are available.
phpBB includes plugins for file-based cache, memcache, X-Cache, APC, eAccelerator, and new in 3.1.x, Redis.
phpBB includes Classic GD, 3D Wave, Q&A, and reCAPTCHA plugins by default.
All of the existing modules in phpBB (ACP, UCP, MCP) are fully configurable. Additional modules and sections can be created easily with little modification to the code.
phpBB offers multiple methods of notifying users of activities on the board.
phpBB's header contains a notifications menu which provides a centralised place to receive alerts and other information.
phpBB can send users notifications via email about new posts in subscribed topics or when a PM is received.
Using the Jabber protocol, users can receive notifications via instant messaging applications, such as GTalk.
Using a feed reader application, users can subscribe to the board, a forum, or individual topics via syndicated ATOM XML feeds.
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