This section contains detailed articles elaborating on some of the common issues phpBB users encounter while using the product. Articles submitted by members of the community are checked for accuracy by the relevant phpBB Team. If you do not find the answer to your question here, we recommend looking through the Support Section as well as using the Site Wide Search.

Tools needed to set up and customise phpBB

Description: Here's a recommended list of tools and programs for setting up and customising phpBB.

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Tools needed to set up and customise phpBB


While you don't need any extra tools or programs to run phpBB as it's ready to go out of the box, you will need an uncompression/unzip program to unpack the phpBB download and a FTP program to upload the files to your host. Or if you want to customise phpBB or install any MODs manually, then you will need some tools as well. All of the programs I mention are either open source (read: free) or freeware. However, there may be paid programs or other programs not on this list you'd like to use. That's fine -- this is just a list to get you started. If you find other great open source or freeware programs not listed here, please feel free to send me a PM, and I might add them to the list.

Uncompression programs

An uncompression program will uncompress the zip or bz2 phpBB package you downloaded.

We don't recommend using the utilities in host control panels for uncompressing packages. It is better to uncompress the package locally (on your computer) and then upload the uncompressed package.
FTP programs

You need a FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program to upload phpBB files from your personal computer to the web server.
Text editor programs

A good plain text editor is essential for installing MODs and making tweaks to your board. An editor for phpBB should have at least two features
  1. able to respect the correct end of line (EOL) convention. phpBB uses the UNIX (LF) line ending format.
  2. able to encode files as UTF-8 without BOM (see phpBB3 and UTF-8 without BOM for more information)
We do not recommend Windows Notepad or Wordpad because they are unable to meet either of those requirements.

Editors are largely a matter of personal preference as most have similar features like syntax colouring, line numbers (very useful for tracking down errors!), etc. Important note: Do not use a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor like FrontPage or Dreamweaver with phpBB as those will likely add extraneous markup that will cause problems.
File comparison programs

Used to compare files or folders to each other and show any differences, for example, if you are unsure how your file has been edited you could compare your file to one from the standard package to find any differences.
Graphics programs

You'll need a graphics program if you want to create or edit images for use with phpBB.
  • GIMP (cross platform including Windows) - “a versatile graphics manipulation package”.
  • Paint.NET (Windows) “a free image and photo editing software for computers that run Windows”.

A way of searching a directory and sub-directories for all occurrences of particular text is also useful, particularly when troubleshooting or developing MODs. For example, you may want to find all lines in all files in the software which contain the variable $script_path[/list]
Enjoy! :mrgreen:

  • 20120403 Oyabun1 Updated tool lists and altered text regarding text editors (Notepad or Wordpad not suitable)
  • 20120430 Oyabun1 Added search tools
  • 20170909 stevemaury updated editor list