Style Change Resulted in Forum Lockout

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Re: Style Change Resulted in Forum Lockout

Post by HiFiKabin » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:23 am

fasst1 wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:06 am
Thanks EA117. I am IT as far as that goes. I run the website, the forums and pay the bills. Colony One is the website host but I didn't think they could do anything about this. I've gotten to know the main customer support guy there and will contact him to see what, if anything, he can do. I'll post the results here.
As you are paying the bills, you should also have full FTP and/or cPanel access. Contact support at your hosting company and request all of the "log on" details for cPanel and FTP.

Once you have them we can advance further.

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Re: Style Change Resulted in Forum Lockout

Post by fasst1 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:54 pm

It's fixed! Thanks everyone. It probably would never have happened without all your help. And, I'm working on getting the full access I should have.


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Re: Style Change Resulted in Forum Lockout

Post by EA117 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:09 am

Glad you were able to get the current site back online for the members over such a "small" error.

Perhaps one of the first things to do is go into the ACP and on the "Maintenance" tab, use the Backup option to do a "full" backup. Choose "select all" on the tables, and choose "for download" so that it will make the backup of your phpBB database and download it to your local computer.

That's not a backup of "everything" you would want in order to recover or upgrade the forums, but it's at least "all the users and messages". (Just none of the files or attachments.) Still, it would be a good "at least we have this" backup, if for any reason the site became lost again before you get full access to your hosting account. And it only requires that you have admin access in phpBB in order to perform it.

Once you do have full access to your hosting account, you can come back and make a new post about how to plan and execute your phpBB upgrade. Or there is also the option to hire someone to do it for you by posting in Wanted!, if you're not interested in personally chasing all the technical details involved in managing the hosting account and/or the phpBB version upgrade.

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Re: Style Change Resulted in Forum Lockout

Post by 3Di » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:44 am

I thought it was a phpBB2 reading the second post of this topic,
Brf wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:16 pm
Support for phpBB2 ended 10 years ago. All we can offer is support converting to the latest.
Information on how to convert from phpBB2 to phpBB 3.2 is here.
so I provided addresses for a typical installation.

I apologize for the inconvenience.
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Re: Style Change Resulted in Forum Lockout

Post by CyberKnightXan » Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:27 pm

fasst1 wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:54 pm
It's fixed! Thanks everyone. It probably would never have happened without all your help. And, I'm working on getting the full access I should have.

This is an edited and slightly different re-worded solution than my original posted solution, but it is essentially the same solution as I had in mind before the post (and my entire account) was mistakenly deleted by a moderator. But I did think my contribution counts, and was asked to re-edit it by a support team member so here is my edited post that contains my contribution and hopefully useful to someone here.

Hi Danny,

I noticed while browsing the phpBB boards on the morning of March 15, 2019 that you were having trouble logging back in after changing styles, and what got my attention as to why I should post a solution was that one response was that they do not support version 2, which is the version of the style you installed over the older one. Another, asked if you could access FTP and the call the hosting company to restore the site. You do not need to do either one to solve this. Since I have seen this error before I decided to respond.

I consider myself an expert at phpBB administration and was a phpBB administrator on several phpBB boards for over 10 years. I was a phpBB administrator for 2.0.x boards as well as 3.0.x boards. I was the person that did all the installs, the coding of the modifications on the forum and the person in charge of the FTP backups as well as the database backups. I am very familiar with this issue. My day job is IT Tech support at a Software Development company. In other words, I know what I am talking about.

The problem is the board you are using had installed SubSilver style as the default style which was designed for phpBB 2.0.x boards, even though the board itself changed versions to become a 3.0.x board. To a phpBB user with admin capability that is unfamiliar with this issue it looks as if its an option to use as a board style, but it's not, even if it says it needed to be downloaded. If you install a 2.0.x style on a 3.0.x board you get the error you got and you get locked out, like you did.

My original solution was to first point out that the admin panel's style never changes even though the user side style can change. In the event of a lockout due to installing an incompatible style, all you need to do is directly access the admin panel using the direct path to the admin panel login (this works both if you are logged in or logged out of the board due to a login session ending). After logging in on the admin panel login you will be able to restore the user side style with the ProSilver 3.0 style made as the default style for 3.0.x boards.

Remember, this only works if you are locked out and getting errors, because on a normal board running without any errors or lockouts, accessing the admin panel directly like I am mentioning while logged in gets you to the admin panel login but if you are not logged in, redirects you back to the index of the board on the user side. Guests normally don't have access, but when the board gives you errors try it to get back your access.

While your board was showing errors, I was able to go back and check the last wayback machine entry before the board was giving errors and it showed you were in fact running a 3.0.x version board not a 2.0.x version board (and by the way not even a 3.2.x board). Also while the board was giving errors I was then able to view source on the admin panel style sheet and it showed the style of the admin panel was still using 3.0.x Prosilver, rather than 2.0.x SubSilver as the admin panel style. I had even posted a small screen shot clip of the admin panel style sheet source code to back up what I was talking about. But I won't do that now, because your board is fixed now. But I did verify that your admin panel is using the Prosilver 3.0.x stylesheet. So in your case at least it will work.

The solution is as follows...

To access your admin panel while it's giving errors due to an incompatible stylesheet, I ask you to try and you will be able access your admin panel if you are logged in and to a login panel if logged out. The reason this works is because it's bypassing the assigned style (SubSilver) and going straight to the admin panel, which is ProSilver.

After you gain access to the admin panel from that URL mentioned, you can then restore your forum to its previous state, by changing the user style back to the default ProSilver. I was also going to say that once you verified that the solution worked with a test post, that it would be a very good idea to then back up the board (users, posts, files, and sql database) and upgrade to the latest phpBB 3.2.x version.

Notice that I go directly to the admin panel for a login panel. The 'adm' stands for the admin directory (the 3.0.x boards use 'adm' not 'Admin' which was used for 2.0.x phpBB boards). Also the reason the admin panel has its own stylesheet and is separate from the user end is there by design, so even if the user style gets locked out to a pre-version board style the admin panel will still work.

I also noticed that in one of your responses you said that you can get to a particular screen if you force the style sheet change in a URL but could not reach the admin panel, I was going to say it was probably because you were still trying to access the admin area through the user area. Once the session ends you keep on getting re-directed back to the user end which contained errors and prevented you from seeing a link to the admin panel. But even if you are logged in and the style is changed through a forced style change via a URL (style=1), it's still accessing code to prevent access to the admin panel through the user area, its a conflict, the user area code is trying to use a stylesheet that does not exist, and when you force it to one that does through a URL, the variable assigned to the board style in the database sets it back and you are locked out again. If the database is telling phpBB that the user style is 2 but you are using 1 via a URL it will force the error, that's a security thing apparently, I dealt with it many times. This happens when trying to reach the admin area from the user area and the style is different than the database variable style sheet number assigned.

The solution is to bypass the user area to access the admin panel, that way you are also bypassing the code to access the user style sheet variable from the database. The authority over the admin panel style is governed by the admin access panel which is a different and never changing style (unless a feature in 3.2.x now allows the admin style to change as well) so it ignores the user variable assigned in the database for the user area and gives you an admin access login panel or admin area that is the Prosilver style.

From my experience, you don't have to reach the admin panel from the user end if you are logged in, you can go directly to the admin panel url, login a second time and you are in the admin panel. The URL posted above is the URL to the second login panel (the admin panel login popup) so that a user with admin powers can login. However on your board Danny, as of this posting even though its fixed now and you can access your board, admin area and you can post messages, I can still take a screen shot of the admin panel login before its redirected back to the user end. It's only redirected back to the forum board index page when I press CANCEL, otherwise it stays on the screen.


Screen shot clip of admin login pop up

If you use the URL I posted above you will see a popup login, that is the admin panel login I was talking about, notice that its in Prosilver style, my point is it was always in ProSilver style even when you were getting errors due to installing the SubSilver style. That is another proof that the admin panel is Prosilver style. Again this only works if you are getting errors due to a switch to using a 2.0.x style on a 3.0.x board. If you (or anyone else on this board that has a phpBB installed for that matter) are ever locked out again due to that particular type of error, try that URL (basically the index page but with 'adm' as its working directory) and it will work, it has always worked for me when I had mistakenly locked out the board I was working on due to new modifications or changing styles.

I don't see why it won't work now for 3.2.x boards unless there was a coding change between 3.0.x and 3.2.x that prevented access to the admin panel popup login when errors show up due to incompatible default user style. But I know for sure it works for 3.0.x boards, as it did for yours Danny.

It should be noted this simple solution could be used a a general solution on every installed phpBB board that gets an error due to installing a 2.0.x style on an up to date phpBB version.

I'm assuming 3.2.x and above as of the date of this post - Monday April 1, 2019. -- NOT A JOKE! :lol:

@ phpBB support team -- please correct any info in my posted solution above you find verified to not work on phpBB 3.2.x boards I was able to get to an admin login screen on Danny's board during the time he was getting errors and I had a small screen shot clip in my original post to show that the solution actually worked while the errors were in the background. At the time he was getting the errors his board was a phpBB 3.0.x board, not a 3.2.x board as far as I can tell. I can still get to an admin panel login as you see from the inline posted screen shot clip. I'm assuming his board is still running 3.0.x at the time of this posting or else I would not be able to do that. As far as I can tell a 3.2.x board that running normally can never access the admin panel login directly without being redirected to the board index page. Am I right? Please verify, my expertise is with 2.0.x, and 3.0.x boards not 3.2.x boards.

I am glad you got it fixed Danny. :)

Last edited by CyberKnightXan on Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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