Features of phpBB®

phpBB® is now in its third major version. Version 3.3 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 and lightning speed.

General features


Learn about phpBB's general features.

Licensed under the GPLv2

phpBB is open source, licensed under Version 2 of the GNU GPL. You can read more about the license here.

Written in PHP

True to its name, phpBB was written in the PHP programming language. We have also had the added benefit of being built upon the Symfony framework, using Symfony 3.4 as a framework for phpBB 3.3.

Latest Version: 3.3.12

The latest version of phpBB is 3.3.12, released on 2024-05-31.

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Basic Features

Basic Features

At its core, what does phpBB offer?

UTF-8 Support

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.

3.2.x3.3.X PHP7 Support

Since phpBB 3.2 the most recent major version of PHP7 is now completely supported. With phpBB 3.3 support for the latest PHP 7.4 has been introduced. This will make phpBB considerably faster and moving along to modern times.

HTML5, CSS3, Responsive Design

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.

User Preferences

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.

Search Engine Spider Handling

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.

Unread Message Tracking

phpBB keeps track of the topics and posts users have and have not read, even between sessions!

Private Message System

Users have the ability to send messages to one another directly via the board. See the Private Messaging section for details.

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phpBB offers a fully customisable registration process for your users.

COPPA Registrations

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.

Limit Registration Attempts

A strict limit on the number of attempted registrations (when using the CAPTCHA) can be set.

Min/Max Username & Password Length

phpBB allows you to set a required username and password length, or ensure that usernames aren't too long!

Limit Username Characters

Usernames can be limited to a certain set of characters such alpha-numeric or ASCII. Multiple presets are available.

Password Complexity

In order to protect the security of your board's users, you can set the required password complexity.

Allow/Disallow Duplicate Emails

phpBB provides the option to either allow or disallow multiple user accounts from having identical email addresses.

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The primary purpose of phpBB is to facilitate discussion via posting.

Flat Topic Structure

phpBB utilises a flat topic and post structure, rather than threaded.

BBCode & Custom BBCode

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.

Quick Reply

A simple posting box can be enabled on the board to facilitate faster replies to topics without having to load the Posting page.

Smilies & Emoticons

Help demonstrate emotion in your posts with smilies! :D You also have the option of adding custom smilies.


Showing even more advanced emotions than smilies is possible with the use of Emoji! With Emoji, it's easy to add extra emotion to your post from your tablet or mobile devices.


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.

3.2.xClever quotes

Quoting has been extended in phpBB 3.2 to include links to the user's profile and post itself. The date and time of a post is also shown to make the distinction between posts extra clear.

Word Censors

Keep your board tame by implementing word censors and language filters to automatically eliminate or replace choice words or phrases.

3.1.x Syntax Highlighting

When placing code within a post, using BBCode, phpBB can automatically highlight the syntax to make it easier to read.

Post Drafts

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.

Beaten-to-Posting Review

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.

Posting Preview

Not sure how a post is going to look? Users have the option of previewing how their post will appear before submitting it.

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Share files by uploading them to the board attaching them to posts.

Automatic Image Thumbnails

For larger images, phpBB will automatically create a thumbnail when placing the image in the post to keep things looking neat.

Attachment Types

Control what type of files and which extensions are permitted to be uploaded to the board.

Multiple Attachments

Multiple attachments can be placed in a single post. The exact number is configurable in the ACP.

Attachment Placement

Place links to the attachments anywhere in the body of the post, not just at the end.

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Forums make up the organisational structure of the board.


Categories are organisational containers which house the individual forums.

Password Protected Forums

Require a unique password to be entered in order for any user to access a single forum.

Forum-specific Styles

Set individual forums to use a different installed style.

URL Redirect Forums

Make a forum link directly to a specified URL instead of the forum itself.

Forum Rules

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.

Last Post

phpBB will list who made the last post in a particular topic and when it was made on the forum's page.

Forum Pruning

phpBB provides options for pruning old or inactive topics using custom conditions. This can be a one-time action or be done automatically.

Display Active Topics

A list of the most active topics in a forum can be displayed in a separate container at the top of the forum.

Subscribe to Forums & Topics

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.

Bookmark Topics

Users have the ability to bookmark topics that interest them for quick access at a later time.

Topic & Post Sorting

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.

Topic Participation Tracking

Users will see an indicator next to topics in which they have posted.

Print & Email Topic

phpBB creates a custom formatted page that is printer-friendly. Users also have the option to email a topic to their friends.

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Users are the backbone of any board. Users have many options available.

OAuth Login

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.

Users Online List

If enabled, phpBB can list all of the users who are currently online or have signed in during a specified period of time.

User Preferences & Profile Settings

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.

Manage Saved Drafts

Saved PM or post drafts are able to be edited from within the User Control Panel.

Manage Bookmarks & Subscriptions

Users can view a list of their bookmarks and subscriptions from within their control panel and unsubscribe if desired.

Custom Profile Fields

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.

Friend/Foe List

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.

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Moderators help maintain order by assisting users and enforcing the rules.

Global Moderators

A Global Moderator immediately has access to moderation tasks for all forums on the board.

Forum Moderators

Moderators can be assigned to individual forums on a per-user or per-group basis.

Posts/Reports Moderation Queue

Moderators have quick access to a list of any post needing approval or posts which users have reported, and can deal with it efficiently.

Topic History

Moderators have access to a full log of a topic's history, such as when it was approved, locked, or moved to another forum.

Forum Topic Logs

Moderators have access to logs of actions that took place in an entire forum or on a per-topic basis.

Post Editing

Moderators can have the ability to edit the contents of a user's post.

Post Locking

Moderators can lock individual posts so that the original author cannot edit it any longer.

Post Details

Moderators have access to view details about a particular post, such as the IP address used while posting.

Change Post Author

Moderators can change the author of a particular post from one user to another.

Move Topics

Moderators have the ability to move any number of posts to a new forum. Selecting and moving multiple topics at once is supported.

Merge Topics/Posts

Moderators have the ability to merge two topics together or only merge selected posts from one topic into another.

Split Topics

Moderators can split a topic into two separate topics, individual which posts stay and which go.

Lock Topics

Individual topics can be locked so that regular users can no longer reply or edit their posts.

Delete Topics

Moderators can permanently delete a topic and all of its replies from the board.

Soft Delete

Posts and topics can be removed from public view without being permanently deleted. This behaviour can be configured per user or group.

Copy Topics

Moderators can duplicate a topic to another forum.

Global Topics/Announcements

Moderators can create topics which are present as announcements in all forums on the board.

Announcement/Sticky Topics

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.

Manage Bans and Warnings

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.

User Notes

Moderators can keep a log of notes on a particular user which only other moderators can see.

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Usergroups allow users to be easily organised on the board.

Group Types

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).

Multiple Group Leaders

phpBB supports the option to make multiple users the leaders of a group.

Custom Group Colours

Users in a particular group can have their usernames set to a configurable colour.

Group Ranks & Avatars

Custom ranks and avatars can be set to display for all members in a particular group.

Group-based Memberlist Display

phpBB can show a list of users based on their groups from within the memberlist.

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Private Messaging

Private Messaging

Private messages are direct messages between two or more users.

Custom PM Folders

Users can create custom PM folders and create a set of filters/rules to automatically sort PMs.

Multiple Recipients

Private messages can be sent to more than one user at a time.

Send Blind Carbon Copies (BCC)

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.

Send to Groups

PMs can be sent all users in a particular usergroup.

Address Book

Users can quickly send a PM to someone in their friends list.

Message Drafts

Unfinished PMs can be saved as drafts and, just like posts, can be edited and sent later.

Export Messages

Private messages can be exported from phpBB for archiving purposes.

Attachments in PMs

Just like posts, attachments can be placed in PMs.

Conversation View

phpBB keeps track of PM replies and displays a chronological view of the PM history.

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phpBB leads the industry in security.

Unmatched Code 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. During its lifetime, phpBB3 has even undergone a second security audit, and there have been no reported major vulnerabilities in the software.

3.1.x3.3.xPassword Hashing

All passwords in phpBB are entirely hashed before stored in the database, so you can be sure they're secure. phpBB employs the latest Argon2id and Argon2i hashing on newer platforms as an upgrade from bcrypt that has been used since the final release of phpBB 3.1.

Type-aware Parameter Handling and Database Layer

phpBB checks and enforces all data types when collected and before being used to enable a high level of security.

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Multiple tools keep your board free of unwanted users and spam.

CAPTCHA Confirmation

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.

3.2.xreCAPTCHA 2.0

Google has released an even stronger version of their API, called reCAPTCHA 2.0. phpBB now incorporates this stronger API to provide an even stronger protection against spambots.

Flood Control

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.

User Banning & Suspension

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 Logging

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.

Report Posts & Private Messages

Users have the ability to flag a post or a PM as spam to a moderator for later review.

Post Approval

phpBB can be configured to require individual topics and posts to be approved by moderators before they're visible to everyone.

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Data Management

Data Management

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.

Microsoft SQL Server

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.

Oracle Database

Using an Oracle database in a business or enterprise environment? No problem. phpBB fully supports this database.


SQLite is a small, lightweight, and fast database server, which we have even further extended with compatibility for SQLite 3.

Backup & Restore

Utilities are provided within the ACP to fully backup and restore your board's database.

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phpBB utilises an advanced caching system which increases performance.

Database Query Caching

phpBB will cache the results of commonly executed queries in order to decrease page load times.

Redis Caching

phpBB also supports the advanced open-source Redis caching system.

Template Caching

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.

Manually Refresh Cache

Options in the ACP allow board owners to manually clear the data and template cache.

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Fully customise the way phpBB looks with user-contributed styles.

User Selectable Styles

If multiple styles are installed on the board, each user will have the option to use the one he or she likes best.

Install/Manage Custom Styles

phpBB's style is fully customisable. Either tweak an existing style or create one from scratch.

Responsive Style Design

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.

3.2.xFontAwesome icons

Leveraging FontAwesome icons reduces raster images in turn speeding up page rendering, while providing higher resolution retina quality icons.

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Fine tune where users can go and which features they can use.

Permission Roles

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.

Group-based Permissions

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.

User-based Permissions

phpBB allows board owners to assign Moderator, Administrator, Forum, or Global permissions to individual users.

Permission Masks

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.

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Gain full control over the look, feel, and operation of your board.

Founder Status/Board Creator

The founder status of a user ensures that no other administrator can take complete control of the board without the founder's explicit permission.

Load Settings

phpBB allows board owners to configure various settings which have an effect on the load on the server.

Prune Inactive Users

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.

Manage Ranks

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.

Manage Groups

Create groups, add users to groups, assign leaders to groups, and assign permissions to groups all from within the ACP.

Manage Attachments

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.

User Editing

Manage a user's profile and board preferences.

Topic Icons

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.

Contact Page

Visitors, including guests, can get in touch with the board administrator using the built-in contact page.

Manage report/denial Reasons

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.

Module Management

With the module manager, administrators can customise exactly which features appear within the UCP, MCP, or ACP. New modules can be added.

Manage Bans

View a list of banned users, unban users, or initialise a new ban by username, email address, or IP address.

Teams Page

The teams page displays all administrators and moderators of a forum in one central place, and is highly customisable and sorted by groups.

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Search System

Search System

The powerful search system lets users find topics, posts, and users.

Customised Topic Search

Users can search for a particular post from within a topic using various filters and sorting options.

Customised Forum Search

Users can search for a particular post or topic from within a forum using various filters and sorting options.

Fulltext Native

Database fulltext native is the built-in search backend used for searching the forum.

MySQL Fulltext

phpBB includes a fully functional MySQL fulltext plugin which allows for improved search capabilities in MySQL databases.

PostgreSQL Fulltext

phpBB includes a fully functional PostgreSQL fulltext plugin which allows for improved search capabilities in PostgreSQL databases.

Sphinx Fulltext

phpBB includes a fully functional Sphinx fulltext plugin which allows for improved search capabilities.

Author Search

Search for a list of topics or posts by a particular author.

Advanced Search

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.

View Unanswered Posts

phpBB's search system can find a list of all topics on the board or in a forum which have no replies.

Active/New Topics

The search system can find topics which have been very active or have a certain number of replies.

Posts Since Last Visit

phpBB can show users a list of posts and topics which have been made since their last visit to the board.

Search Flood Control

phpBB can be configured to limit the number of searches that can be performed in a specified time interval.

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phpBB boasts a powerful plugin system to connect phpBB to other applications.

Authentication Plugins

phpBB can by default authenticate using the database, Facebook, Google, Twitter, other OAuth sources, LDAP, and Apache. Other custom authentication methods can also added with extensions.

Search Plugins

MySQL native is included with phpBB. Additional plugins, such as Sphinx, are available.

Cache Plugins

phpBB includes plugins for file-based cache, memcached, APCu and Redis.


phpBB includes Classic GD, 3D Wave, Q&A, and reCAPTCHA plugins by default.

Expandable Modules

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.

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phpBB offers multiple methods of notifying users of activities on the board.

Live Notifications Menu

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.

Instant Messaging

Using the Jabber protocol, users can receive notifications via instant messaging applications.

ATOM Feeds

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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