Is PHPBB Ready For The Big Time....NOT!

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gmartfin
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Is PHPBB Ready For The Big Time....NOT!

Post by gmartfin »

I know someone is going to take this personally but hell I just wasted 4 hours trying to upgrade. Various packages listed do this, do that, wait for a full moon, use eye of newt, spin three times around the stripper pole and more.

I've been a webmaster for 18 years now and run 1500 websites. I've hard coded some of them on notepad, ripped apart wordpress and done my own themes etc etc. I do know my way around hosting etc.

Yet a simple upgrade from 3.08 to 3.1 utterly defeated me. A simpler upgrade from 3.0.8 to 3.0.14 handed me a list of over 100 files to manually upload to various directories. Just upload the install file and vendor file. Good luck there is no vendor file in the zip files.There is a docs file but no instructions as to what that was for even though there is one in the current installation. It didn't say replace it???

When I started I saw another post where someone said they were just going to delete the forum and start over. It as simpler. I laughed. Silly me I'm headed over to delete the DB and the forum folder and look for something else.

Forgive me for saying but my impression is we have a bunch of code jockeys running this software. I appreciate the free work that goes into all of it just as I appreciate wordpress. But the difference is night and day. With wordpress I click a button and it updates automatically. In fact with an updater plugin it all updates automatically, wordpress, themes, plugins.

The wp plugins like akismet defend against spammers something PHPBB lacks big time. I have spent countless hours deleting accounts and attempted spam postings. Even with all the tips and tricks there is still a major problem there.

I think that you coders have lost sight of the fact that the average webmaster just isn't up to your skill level and understanding of the underpinnings of this software. I think you've lost sight of the people who actually have to USE IT.

Wordpress is popular because they've dealt with these issues and simplified them. You...not so much. :?

JMO
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Lumpy Burgertushie
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Re: Is PHPBB Ready For The Big Time....NOT!

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie »

not sure what you have been reading but upgrading from 3.0 to 3.1 is very simple.

you replace all the old files with new ones except for the config.php file and the images and files folders.

then you run the database update.php file and you are done.

here is the step by step
Upgrading from phpbb 3.0.x to phpbb 3.1.x
  • Your server must be running at least PHP 5.3.3 and less than PHP 7
  • Most MODs for 3.0.x are incompatible with 3.1.x and their functionality will be removed in the update process.
  • Styles for 3.0.x cannot be installed or used on 3.1.x.
  1. Backup up your board's files and database
  2. Download the Support Toolkit. Install it and run the database cleaner to remove all old MODs from the database.
  3. Deactivate all styles except for prosilver
  4. Ensure that the activated spambot countermeasure is one of the standard phpBB plugins (Simple image, GD image, GD 3D image, Q&A, reCaptacha).
  5. Set British English as the only language pack
  6. Delete all of your phpBB 3.0.x files EXCEPT for the following:
    • The config.php file
    • The /images/ directory
    • The /files/ directory
  7. Upload the contents of the phpBB3 directory from the uncompressed 3.1.x Full Package (EXCEPT for config.php) into your forum's directory (Note: you don't want to overwrite your original config.php file)
  8. Browse to yourdomain.com/yourphpbb/install/database_update.php and keep clicking the continue button until it says it is finished. This will take a long time on a large board, maybe hours. Dont give up.
  9. Delete the folder named /install/
  10. Hold one foot in the air and spin around in a circle three times saying "I am a phpbb guru".
this really should be a smooth process for someone that does websites like you say.

as for spam, phpbb has solved this problem about as good as anyone else.

that akismet thing is junk if you ask me.

anyway, there is a anti spam setting built in to phpbb. you simply create a question that the answer can not be found in google and is not a simple what color or math problem or mutiple choice etc.

then, you set up that in the Q&A in the admin panel and it stops pretty close to 100% of the spam bots registering. then you don't allow guest posting and you have just stopped close to that 100% number.

I am sorry that you have had so much trouble but it really is just that simple for thousands of people all over the world.

luck,
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gmartfin
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Re: Is PHPBB Ready For The Big Time....NOT!

Post by gmartfin »

You mean all that compared to clicking a button on wordpress and 30 seconds later it's updated?

Just look at what you've posted and are asking your clients to do to accomplish this.

I get what has to be done. You missed all the db questions it asks like port, password, db name and a host of other things I don't know! It's been up for 6 years and the password has been lost a long time ago. Now I can chase down all that stuff but again......

Think of it in USER terms of pressing a button and having the site updated 30 seconds later.

That's the failure to launch that I see with this software. Wordpress has made itself easy and accessible even to idiots like me! This software is a webmasters nightmare.

So I'm asking you......what are you building here and who is it for?
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Ger
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Re: Is PHPBB Ready For The Big Time....NOT!

Post by Ger »

If you don't like phpBB, than don't use it... No one is asking you to.

On the other hand, there are thousands of active installations and most of them managed to update without any hassle. Now if it's too complicated for you there is a huge support community right here and dozens of international support sites to help and guide you trough the process. Several sites even offer to do it for you. And if even that is too complicated, there are services like Forumatic who will manage your forum installation completely and ensure an always up-to-date system.

So, thinking of it in USER terms of pressing a button and having an complete installation 10 seconds later and NEVER having to think of updates EVER... That's quite neat.
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Re: Is PHPBB Ready For The Big Time....NOT!

Post by KevC »

gmartfin wrote:I get what has to be done. You missed all the db questions it asks like port, password, db name and a host of other things I don't know! It's been up for 6 years and the password has been lost a long time ago. Now I can chase down all that stuff but again......
At no point in the update does it ask you for any of the database information.
That usually happens if you have overwritten the config.php file which the instructions tell you specifically not to do.

I've never taken more than 10 minutes to do a version update. Upload files, run database update script, done.

You're forgetting too that wordpress is backed up by a massive company with lots of paid employees. phpBB is all voluntary.
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Re: Is PHPBB Ready For The Big Time....NOT!

Post by AmigoJack »

gmartfin wrote:I know someone is going to take this personally
Chances are you're the one when I'll now question your logic.
gmartfin wrote:I just wasted 4 hours trying to upgrade. Various packages listed do this
Welcome to the internet - it works thru links. Whatever you're refering to, please link to it. As for me Downloads > Update Packages > 3.1 > Changed Files is straight forward: an archive contains phpBB-3.0.14_to_3.1.9.zip, and /docs/INSTALL.html tells you:
Updating from phpBB 3.0.x to 3.1.x is just the same as updating from stable releases of phpBB 3.1.x
gmartfin wrote:I've been a webmaster for 18 years now and run 1500 websites. I've hard coded some of them on notepad, ripped apart wordpress and done my own themes etc etc. I do know my way around hosting etc.
Yet you opt to not describe where you failed, not linking anything, not giving screenshots as attachments, nothing to quote?
gmartfin wrote:With wordpress I click a button and it updates automatically.
With Wordpress you had several security issues over the years.
gmartfin wrote:the average webmaster just isn't up to your skill level
Or vice versa: the average skill level is dropping continuously.
gmartfin wrote:You missed all the db questions it asks like port, password, db name and a host of other things I don't know! It's been up for 6 years and the password has been lost a long time ago. Now I can chase down all that stuff
It's in /config.php - I have no clue how someone with your experience is unable to just search thru all files for terms like password or the name of your database (that you have to know for backup reasons as well) - it's obvious to me to try it this way.
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Re: Is PHPBB Ready For The Big Time....NOT!

Post by koraldon »

I think there are two camps here:
PHPBB old-timers who are used to the way it work - for us it is great that 3.1 introduced extension instead of the antiquated mods system. Uploading files via ftp / changed files is something we know how to do.
So while it takes time, for me to update phpbb version and extension in my "Scheduled maintenance" can take a couple of hours to upload and test.

"Modern" one-click update system/automated updates/package upload/SaaS packages, in which the user doesn't even have to use FTP or even have knowledge of the innards of the software he uses. I.e. a developer can install and configure the site, and the administrator can just use it, post content, etc. without any awareness of the system, while still updating it.
The upside for experienced users is that the update is quick and simple, in my joomla site I can update a minor version (i.e. like phpbb 3.1 to 3.2) within 5 minutes and just clicking a button. Much easier than phpbb and faster.

So, I suspect that a lot of current PHPBB users are belonging to the 1st camp.
But to attract new users, the current installation/updating procedure sounds like a nightmare, compared to modern systems. I don't think that there is right or wrong, but we definitely should support the move towards simplifying and making phpbb more accessible to new users - and part of this is simplyfing significantly the install/update process.

Heck, even having the system writing the changed files on the server directly, instead of using the convulted "download changed files and re-upload" will assist greatly - and now possible thanks to no longer have mods in phpbb.

p.s. asking "regular" joe to delete all files on server and use FTP to upload all of them is way too technical not to mention bugs that might occur due to issues with FTP upload.
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Re: Is PHPBB Ready For The Big Time....NOT!

Post by gmartfin »

Thank you Koraldon finally someone that "gets it".

For a starter I would NEVER delete all the files on the server. I'd rename or download the entire site first, depending on the volume. I don't trust backup and restore functions after having a 600 page site disappear when it got hacked and the backup corrupted. (no it wasn't WP or phpbb)

Secondly I was asked to upload close to 100 files or so to different directories. I can do that I do use ftp all the time. Do I want to spend the time. When hell freezes over maybe!

All this and the questions that Jack asked can be answered with one word>

TIME!

PHPBB is a minor actor in what we do and you can see from the few posts I've had here over the years I don't spend a lot of time on it. Which also means I'm unfamiliar with the problems it has. Problems present a learning curve and I can tell you on a day to day basis I already have plenty of those learning curves.

Yes Wordpress has a lot of people making money from it. That's because it's been simplified and brought to the masses. Coders can earn money designing themes. plugins etc. I know 'cause I buy stuff all the time that does something I want. PHPBB may have thousands of sites but WP has MILLIONS. Why is that? I see posts here back to 2002.

I'll mention again that I remembered the update needed because another webmaster mentioned he was dumping his forum because of the problems.

I come from a marketing background and if I was offered a job selling the newest super duper PHPBB as a paid product to webmasters I'd say no. Too many problems, too much of a nightmare. There's easier ways of making money.
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Lumpy Burgertushie
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Re: Is PHPBB Ready For The Big Time....NOT!

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie »

sorry but that is all based on your lack of knowledge about phpbb.
phpbb is not designed to be a one click install/update software like wp is. That was not the intention. If you want that then you can pay for that type of software, pay for that type of support etc..
phpbb does exactly what it is designed to do and it does it rather well .
I am pretty sure that phpbb is still the most used bulletin board software in the world, paid or free.

your statement of phpbb having thousands of users versus wp having millions is a bit off.
phpbb has had millions of users for many years. most of those users never come here because they do not have any major problems with phpbb.

the market for phpbb is not really people who want a one click hands-off program. they want a basic bulletin board software that they can customize and add on to as they wish.
phpbb users are usually people who have their own website and know how to use ftp , how to install and run php scripts etc.

I think your main problem was that you chose the wrong upgrade method.

the instructions I posted above are pretty close to the official steps listed here.
going from 3.0 to 3.1 is not a simple version update.

I am pretty sure that when you do the wp update that it deletes and replaces the files with new ones depending on the type of update or upgrade required.

I believe that phpbb will eventually have this one click update from the admin panel type thing.

it has evolved from the manually editing files for just about everything days of phpbb2 to phpbb3.0 where you have automod that will install the MODs for you, to now with 3.1 you have extensions that only require one upload via ftp to install/enable them. ( there is even an extension that removes the need for using ftp for this process )

I assume that it will continue to improve in many ways. however, since it is free and since all who work on it are volunteers with lives and families and jobs, it does not happen as fast as something like wp that has many employees etc.



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Re: Is PHPBB Ready For The Big Time....NOT!

Post by koraldon »

Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:sorry but that is all based on your lack of knowledge about phpbb.
Yes, but the issue is that PHPBB still requires a fairly evolved technical understanding , which is a hurdle for new users. In the 90's it was commonplace to know everything about HTML/FTP and so on.
Those days ppl can use WIX to open a site, and if they have some knowledge they will use WP.
So while correct, the web has moved on to less-knowledgeable site owners.
Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:I am pretty sure that phpbb is still the most used bulletin board software in the world, paid or free.
Nitpick: you might be right on number of installation, I'm pretty sure that for many years the most popular sites used VB and now XF.
If someone is making his living from a site, he will invest the funds in the most advanced software.
Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:I believe that phpbb will eventually have this one click update from the admin panel type thing.
I assume that it will continue to improve in many ways. however, since it is free and since all who work on it are volunteers with lives and families and jobs, it does not happen as fast as something like wp that has many employees etc.
Concur completely.
While I agree with Gmartfin that phpbb has is not newbie friendly, this is free software which is developed by volunteers.
And evidently, I think phpbb can use more developers - the thing I don't know how focused is the current team on bringing in new blood to refresh the team and replace ppl who quit (in other words - managing vs. coding).
Maybe there should be some kind of a pool of open Ideas that phpbb team can publish as a call to new developers for them to develop under a mentor from the existing team. Of course it might mean less time coding but more efficient in the long run.
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Re: Is PHPBB Ready For The Big Time....NOT!

Post by canonknipser »

koraldon wrote:... there is barely any communication from the PHPBB team about development...
There is a whole subdomain know as area51 for development, the link is in the header (called "Development") and a link in the first category: viewforum.php?f=47 ;)
Afaik everybody can participate in development, maybe by solving tickets in the tracker or by participating in discussion, sharing ideas and code... .
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Re: Is PHPBB Ready For The Big Time....NOT!

Post by AmigoJack »

koraldon wrote:delete all files on server and use FTP to upload all of them is way too technical not to mention bugs that might occur due to issues with FTP upload.
As if an automated script could deal with all potential issues.

This is a bit off topic, but if I can choose between an installer and just the plain pack of files of a software, I go for the latter. Encountered so many installations doing worthless crap, being unable to deal with several environments, expecting conditions that are nowhere mentioned (and also not needed)... and 5 years later the installers can't be run on modern systems anymore.

Likewise I prefer having several options left, i.e. by uploading files myself via FTP. One click installers are only cool if they work, but much more a problem when not.
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Re: Is PHPBB Ready For The Big Time....NOT!

Post by DarkBeing »

koraldon wrote:.......

p.s. asking "regular" joe to delete all files on server and use FTP to upload all of them is way too technical not to mention bugs that might occur due to issues with FTP upload.

:shock: simple tasks like these are nowadays to complicated to be done by the average user who has even access to a server ?!
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Re: Is PHPBB Ready For The Big Time....NOT!

Post by Pond Life »

Why should the developers have to do everything for you? They already give their time and knowledge to create software that they allow you to use, completely free. If you're not willing or able to learn how to use the software and/or run a website then don't. Learn to do things for yourself or employ someone to do it for you. The sense of entitlement displayed by some people makes me spit feathers. It's free software, nobody owes you anything.
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Re: Is PHPBB Ready For The Big Time....NOT!

Post by JimA »

Pond Life wrote:Why should the developers have to do everything for you? They already give their time and knowledge to create software that they allow you to use, completely free. If you're not willing or able to learn how to use the software and/or run a website then don't. Learn to do things for yourself or employ someone to do it for you. The sense of entitlement displayed by some people makes me spit feathers. It's free software, nobody owes you anything.
I don't think that's the right attitude in these types of discussions. Sure, this is an open-source project, the developers do this on a voluntary basis spending lots of time on it without compensation, I'm sure all of us using the software are very appreciative of that. However, that doesn't mean that people can't make suggestions how to make it better, on the contrary! :)

The OP certainly makes some valid points and all user input is greatly appreciated. However, if you have any concrete suggestions for the implementation of your suggestions, please visit Area 51. That's the place where all of our development discussions take place and you're (as everyone is) welcome to join in.
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