Guide / Recommendations for newbies

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Andrew Kucienski
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Guide / Recommendations for newbies

Post by Andrew Kucienski » Thu Nov 03, 2005 1:48 pm

EDIT: I am a little older/wiser and thought I should update this....

I did everything wrong with my first board and thought that by sharing some advice it could help others.
  • 1. Find an ISP that is:
    • a. Fast
      b. Allows multiple databases (Unless you want to use something like easyphp; see #2)
    2. Create two forums, one that your audience knows about and the other a place to tests mods, updates, etc. (You can also use a program like easyphp to do this locally.)
    3. Learn Easymod. If you make ANY changes, try to do them with this. Why? It keeps a nice little history of what you have done. I know not everything runs in EasyMod; read the error messages and change the scripts.
    4. Manual modifications (see #3) should be documented in detail as well.
    5. Backup your data often. I use PHPmysqlautobackup. It allows you to automatically e-mail you the data on a set schedule. I am so bad at PHP (but getting better all of the time) and this was kind of easy.
    6. Make sure there is a blank "index.html" file in every directory you add. You don't want anyone snooping around.
    7. Know how to search this forum
    8. Realize that there is also a Knowledge Base
I have heard people complain about their boards being heavily modded and being upset at having to spend hours updating/remodding. I have sound that by doing the steps above it is pretty easy to upgrade. I just wiped everything clean (including the database, but not my easymod "mods" directory), Reinstalled the board, reran easymod, and restored the data (35MB). This took about 2 hours.


P.S. If you already modified your board big time I would suggest starting all over again doing this. Otherwise you'll get more and more upset everytime a version change comes out.These are either items I wish I knew before starting a forum or what I see as the most common support requests (that I understand).

Below are the shortcuts to either one of two things; things I should ahve read before installing and/or what I see as the most common questions that users are having in this support forum. Read through it all now so that later, when you have an issue, you will have a place to start.

Note: Nothing here is mine, just a recap of things I have read. I have tried to give credit where credit is due. I'd love to know who invented the "cookie dance!" If I have misquoted or offended anyone please PM me and I will fix it ASAP.

Cookies Help
This is a manual alternative to the Auto Cookies MOD by geocator

MOD Name: Auto Cookies
Author: geocator
MOD Description: Automaticly detects and writes proper domain name and cookie settings. This is a run once and delete script that will help you resolve many problems, including login issues.

AutoCookies Instructions
  • 1. Download the Auto Cookies MOD
    2. Extract the cookie.php file.
    3. You then need to upload this file to your server in the install directory (you will need to make that directory). The install directory should be in your forum directory.
    4. Using your browser go to the file review the settings and save.
    5. Make sure you delete the file and the install directory.
    6. Log out
    7. Clear your browser cookie
    8. Clear your browser cache/temporary internet files
    9. Close your browser
    10. Go back and test
AutoCookies support can be found by clicking here

Copyright Help

E-mail Help

Header/Footer/Custom Logo Help

Installation Help
phpBB2 Extended Welcome Package wrote: Hosting
requirements
Click here and scroll down for a list of sites with hosting related information

Download
Full package; in most cases the zip file will be the best choice.

Installation
Installation guide
Flash Installation Tutorial
KB - Step by Step Installation Instructions
The docs folder in the download package
Also, check out my Guide / Recommendations for newbies

Mod(ification) Installation Help
KB - Manual MOD Installation Tutorial
KB - Installing a MOD in a safe way

Automated Installation Utility
MOD Name: EasyMOD 0.3.0
Author: Nuttzy99
MOD Description: EasyMOD is an automatic MOD installer. It will take a MOD that follows the phpBB MODing guidelines and automatically make all changes necessary to install the MOD.
Download EasyMod | EasyMod Readme | EasyMod Support

Restore/Backup Help
Restore Options My favorite backup program! PHPmysqlautobackup
phpMySQLAutoBackup automates the backup of your MySQL databases. The PHP scripts export your database (data and structures), compresses it into gzip format and emails it to you. Either enter the url in your browser or schedule it to run every day/week by adding it to a cron job.
Security Help
Lumpy's instructions on security settings. For now: http://www.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=347555
Spammer Help

Upgrade Help
Location of all phpBB files (all versions and code changes)

KB - How to update or reinstall your phpBB board while keeping all data (thus the SQL database) intact

How to upgrade to a clean 2.0.19 (removes Modifications)
Biggest Upgrade Mistake -- Updating board files and forgetting to run update_to_latest.php
Second Biggest Ugrade Mistake -- Running update_to_latest.php but forgetting to update board files.
Third Biggest Mistake -- KB - I accidently deleted my config.php file. What do I do?

User Admin Help
Admin Toolkit
An Admins most helpful tool for user management. Now Supports Mass User Deletion!
Change User's: names, passwords, emails, active status and avatar/pm permissions.
Ban/Unban Users, change Post and Resync Counts, and promote/demote users to admin.
Completely independent from your phpbb user account settings. No installation required, just upload one file.

Visual Confirmation Help
Last edited by Andrew Kucienski on Thu Jan 19, 2006 1:50 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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KevC
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Post by KevC » Thu Nov 03, 2005 2:29 pm

Best thing I ever did was install easyPHP. It allows you to do everything offline and then when you're happy with the edits you can just upload the files you changed (remembering to run SQL queries of course on the live DB if needed). Allows you to also very easily backup files cos you can just copy the whole folder and date it.

I love easyMOD too, it makes complicated MODs very easy to install but you shouldn't rely on it 100%. It does help to learn little bits about tables and columns so that if something has been put in the wrong place you can easily fix it.

I'd also say that you should add MODs as and when you NEED them rather than adding them because someone else has them or they look neat.
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Post by King Moonraiser » Thu Nov 03, 2005 3:01 pm

Kevin Clark wrote: I'd also say that you should add MODs as and when you NEED them rather than adding them because someone else has them or they look neat.


This man speaks the truth. Even the mods you DO want, make sure they're relatively bug free.

It's rare, but try to find a provider that will allow you shell access through SSH. You can create cron jobs to automate db backups, restore databases, etc.

Also, pick your styles FIRST, then worry about mods. Many, many mods need to make changes to the style templates. Try to pick styles that have a similar structure to subSilver.

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Post by valgreen310 » Tue Jan 17, 2006 2:30 am

huh?

Ok I cant lie and say I didnt completely understand that... I maybe got 10% of it though...

I'm sure that's some Great information... in fact, I'd like to hear more about easyMOD and easyPHP.

What exactly are those?

I saw a board the other day and it was effing awesome. I'd like to do something like it. In fact, what I'd really like to do is, change the headers on my board - I did it once but found that I didnt do it right. I clicked the source code on my board, and saved it as "index1.php" so I could edit it on my computer.

Turns out the actual "index.php" file is literally all .php - and the changes I made to the other file, created a static page where the information isnt up to date. Long story short, that wasnt what I wanted to do.

And I'm having a hell of a time finding where to go, to edit the Header on my page so that It looks the way I'd like it to look. I wanna change the <table> that's on there now to resemble something less "clunky" so to speak. At any rate, the search feature seems to be Down on the board, i get a blank page every single time ...

So I'll check back to see if anyone knows what I'm talking about - hopefully someone does.

:roll:
Last edited by valgreen310 on Wed Jan 18, 2006 5:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
thanks for your help!

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Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Tue Jan 17, 2006 7:12 am

valgreen310 wrote: huh?

Ok I cant lie and say I didnt completely understand that... I maybe got 10% of it though...

I'm sure that's some Great information... in fact, I'd like to hear more about easyMOD and easyPHP.

What exactly are those?

I saw a board the other day and it was effing awesome. I'd like to do something like it. In fact, what I'd really like to do is, change the headers on my board - I did it once but found that I didnt do it right. I clicked the source code on my board, and saved it as "index1.php" so I could edit it on my computer.

Turns out the actualy "index.php" file is literally all .php - and the changes I made to the other file, created a static page where the information isnt up to date. Long story short, that wasnt what I wanted to do.

And I'm having a hell of a time finding where to go, to edit the Header on my page so that It looks the way I'd like it to look. I wanna change the <table> that's on there now to resemble something less "clunky" so to speak. At any rate, the search feature seems to be Down on the board, i get a blank page every single time ...

So I'll check back to see if anyone knows what I'm talking about - hopefully someone does.

:roll:
Modifying or editing the phpBB files.

If you intend to modify any of the phpBB files, then you will need a
text editor.
MSWord or Wordperfect, or any kind of word processor, is not a text editor.
You can use notepad, it is not very user friendly for this.
You can use wordpad, it works pretty good.
You can download some other text editor and use it.
If you know how to use FrontPage or Dreamweaver properly, you can use one of
them. If you don't know how to use the pure text part of them, don't use them.
Netscape Composer won't work.

All of the phpBB files are just pure text. If you use something other than a pure
text editor, you will screw up the code and then it won't work.

Ok, now you have a text editor, what next?

Assuming that you downloaded the phpBB zip file, you now have all the files
on your computer. When you want to edit one of the files for your forum, all
you have to do is find the appropriate file on your computer, edit it and
upload it to your server. It will overwrite the one there and that will be it.

What I do is create a folder on my computer and name it "working", then I put a
copy of the file I am working on in there. Then I do my edits, upload it to the
server, and see if it works. If it doesn't work, I do more edits and try again,
each time overwriting the one that is on the server.

If it all gets completely messed up, I still have the original in the zip file
to replace it with and I am back to normal.



Changing the Top and Bottom of phpBB pages.



Changing the phpBB Logo Image

IF you want to change the phpBB logo, there are two ways to do it.
Easy way:
If your logo images is a gif file, rename it to logo_phpBB.gif and
upload it to the templates/subSilver/images directory, overwriting
the one that is there.
If you are using a different style/template, then rename it/ upload it
to the appropriate directory.

A little harder way:
Go to the templates/subSilver (or whatever style you have) directory.
open the overall_header.tpl file, using a text editor like wordpad or
even notepad.(not Word)
Scroll down almost to the bottom of the file and look for:

<img src="templates/subSilver/images/logo_phpBB.gif"

replace the path to the logo with whatever yours is.

All of this works for the subSilver template, your template may vary
a little, but the idea is the same. If you are having trouble finding
the name or path to the style logo, try this;
Go to your forum, right click on the logo that is there, go to properties,
that will show you the path and logo name to look for.


Making the logo image a link of your choice.

If you have replaced the phpBB logo with your own, and now want it to
link to your home page (or wherever), here is how:
Go to the templates/subSilver (or whatever style you have) directory.
open the overall_header.tpl file, using a text editor like wordpad or
even notepad.(not Word)
Scroll down almost to the bottom of the file and look for:
<a href="{U_INDEX}">

change like this:
<a href="http://yourdomain.com">

You are done.


Adding new menu items to the phpBB pages.

If you want to add new menu items of your own to the ones at the top
of the forum pages, here's how:
Go to the templates/subSilver (or whatever style you have) directory.
open the overall_header.tpl file, using a text editor like wordpad or
even notepad.(not Word)
Scroll down almost to the bottom of the file and look for:
<a href="{U_LOGIN_LOGOUT}" class="mainmenu"><img src="templates/subSilver/images/icon_mini_login.gif" width="12" height="13" border="0" alt="{L_LOGIN_LOGOUT}" hspace="3" />{L_LOGIN_LOGOUT}</a>&nbsp;</span></td>

Now, let's say you want a new link that says "Home", try this;

On the next line after the above code, enter the following:
<tr><td height="25" align="center" valign="top" nowrap="nowrap"><span class="mainmenu">&nbsp;<a href="http://yourdomain.com/index.html" class="mainmenu">Home</a></span></td></tr>

If you want a graphic like the other ones, you can create one or
find one somewhere. Then upload it to the server and make the image
path point to it as in the first code above.



Changing the bottom of the pages.

To change/add to the bottom of all pages on your forum:
Go to the templates/subSilver (or whatever style you have) directory.
open the overall_footer.tpl file, using a text editor like wordpad or
even notepad.(not Word)
You can add whatever html you want to this file and it will show up
at the bottom of every page of your forum.

good luck.
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Post by KevC » Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:31 am

valgreen310 wrote: huh?

Ok I cant lie and say I didnt completely understand that... I maybe got 10% of it though...

I'm sure that's some Great information... in fact, I'd like to hear more about easyMOD and easyPHP.

What exactly are those?


Easyphp - http://www.easyphp.org/
All in one offline install package. It puts the software to run the databases on your PC so you can have an offline install of your forum where you can mess around with MODs etc without affecting a live forum.

EasyMOD - see the mod release forum
This is a program that installs MODs for you, makes backups of the files it changes and allows you to preview the MOD edits first so you can see if they'll install correctly.
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Post by valgreen310 » Wed Jan 18, 2006 5:56 am

That's some great stuff... thanks to both of you for such quick responses; Like I said, I was sure that was some great information...

That EasyPHP program sounds really cool, im gonna have to check that out.

I did end up going into the overall_header.tpl and played around with the Table there; That's some coding that I Do understand... So i used that to re-do the table at the top - I even added a link to my homepage, and created my own lil mini-icon; Really cool stuff. One question I do have is this... Where do I go to change what ...

Code: Select all

{L_LOGIN_LOGOUT} 
- This comes out to be...

Specifically I dont want to change the Logout one, but the one that says, "Log in to check your private messages" - I believe the code line is more like ...

Code: Select all

{L_LOGIN_PRIVATEMSGS}
- and as I'm sure you both know, that code outputs the message "Log In to check your private messages"

I looked all around and cant seem to find where that is. I'd like to change it to something like, "Private Messages" - to shorten the line... I'm sure what happened is I overlooked a line. I checked the .css pages, the .php pages... the index.php page specificallly, and even the index_body.tpl page... a few other .tpl pages, cant seem to find it but, Im sure it's there somewhere.

Also, Do either of you know who to report a down search feature to? The search feature on this board doesnt seem to be working...

you guys are great, hopefully I'll learn enough to come back and help other "newbies" out very soon...
thanks for your help!

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Post by miztiik » Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:29 am

Why do we need 2 db from the host

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Post by SER » Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:36 am

miztiik wrote: Why do we need 2 db from the host


You don't need more than 1 database to run the software.
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Post by -jm- » Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:49 am

There's a little problem with this guide ...
The author doesn't consider that each MOD has (or should have) an update line too ...
So, maybe, going to the MOD developer site to see if there's any new release could be an idea ;)
Furthermore, if you use brute force system to update your hacked site, you can retrieve your easyMOD folder (or your manual MOD log) only from your offline backups.

About the second database ... it's not so necessary. If you want you can use for testing a local environment :)
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Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Wed Jan 18, 2006 9:52 am

to change this:
Specifically I dont want to change the Logout one, but the one that says, "Log in to check your private messages"

you edit the text in the languages/lang_english/lang_main.php file.

robert
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Post by Andrew Kucienski » Wed Jan 18, 2006 3:10 pm

-jm- wrote: There's a little problem with this guide ...
The author doesn't consider that each MOD has (or should have) an update line too ...
So, maybe, going to the MOD developer site to see if there's any new release could be an idea ;)
Can you clarify this?
-jm- wrote: Furthermore, if you use brute force system to update your hacked site, you can retrieve your easyMOD folder (or your manual MOD log) only from your offline backups.
How about this one too?
-jm- wrote: About the second database ... it's not so necessary. If you want you can use for testing a local environment :)
I totally agree and updated my notes by suggesting something like EasyPHP. The reason why I prefer a database on the Net vs. my PC is that I can ask others to look at it and I haven't yet gotton around to trying out EasyPHP (or its peers).

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Post by valgreen310 » Thu Jan 19, 2006 1:03 am

Lumpy Burgertushie wrote: to change this:
Specifically I dont want to change the Logout one, but the one that says, "Log in to check your private messages"

you edit the text in the languages/lang_english/lang_main.php file.

robert


That would be the one folder I didnt check... in fact I just noticed the lang folder last night.

Good stuff... once again Lumpy You're the man!
thanks for your help!

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Post by -jm- » Thu Jan 19, 2006 12:12 pm

well ... Each MODification to phpBB have an update line too ... it starts from the ground, grows, get approved by MOD team.
After validation it should be mantained. Everytime someone finds security issues or nasty bugs in the MOD, the developer should patch it and then release a new version of the MOD itself.
If you have a 2.0.19 and an old MOD installed with a security flaw, an attacker could gain the control of your site through that security flaw. So it's wiser take a look sometimes at the MODder site or @ MOD developement/release thread to see if there's any update.
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Post by -jm- » Thu Jan 19, 2006 12:29 pm

Then. When a site is seriously messed up by a lame kid, one of the things recommended around here is something like "delete all your files but config.php , upload a brand new 2.0.x phpBB and reapply your MODs". This to avoid backdoors in files or other strange scripts hanging around the site .

In this situation it could be difficult that the easyMOD folder can remain online untouched. This is why I told about that folder backup offline
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