There are quite a few terms that are commonly used throughout phpBB and the support forums. Here is some information on these terms.


The ACP, which stands for "Administration Control Panel", is the main place from which you, the administrator, can control every aspect of your forum.


ASCII, or "American Standard Code for Information Interchange", is a common way of encoding data to transfer it to a different computer. FTP clients have ASCII as a mode to transfer files. All phpBB files (files with the file extensions .php, .inc, .sql, .cfg, .htm, and .tpl), except for the image files, should be uploaded in ASCII mode.


Attachments are files that can be attached to posts, like e-mail attachments. Certain restrictions, set by the board administrator, control what users can attach.


Avatars are small images that are displayed next to a username. Avatars can be changed in your profile and settings (such as allow/disallow uploading) edited from the ACP.


BBCode is a special way of formatting posts that offers great control over what and how something is displayed. BBCode has a syntax similar to HTML.


Within phpBB, "binary" usually refers to another common way of encoding data for transfer (the other being ASCII. This is often found as a mode in an FTP clients to upload files. All of phpBB's images (found mainly in the images/ directory and the style's directories) should be uploaded in binary mode.


Cache is a way of storing frequently-accessed data. By storing this data, your server will have less load put on it, allowing it to process other tasks. By default, phpBB caches its templates, when they are compiled and used, and common static SQL queries.


A category is a group of any sort of similar items; for example, forums.


chmod is a way of changing the permissions of a file on a *nix (UNIX, Linux, etc.) server. Files in phpBB should be chmodded 644. Directories should be chmodded to 755. Avatar upload directories and templates cache directories should be chmodded to 777. For more information regarding chmod, please consult your FTP client's documentation.


A client is a computer that accesses another computer's service(s) via a network.


A cookie is a small piece of data put onto the user's computer. Cookies are used with phpBB to store login information (used for automatic logins).


A database is a collection stored in a structured, organized manner (with different tables, rows, and columns, etc.). Databases provide a fast and flexible way of storing data, instead of the other commonly used data storage system of flat files where data is stored in a file. phpBB 3.3 supports a number of different DBMSs and uses the database to store information such as user details, posts, and categories. Data stored in a database can usually be backed up and restored easily.


DBAL, or "Database Abstraction Layer", is a system that allows phpBB 3.3 to access many different DBMSs with little overhead. All code made for phpBB (including MODs) need to use the phpBB DBAL for compatibility and performance purposes.


A DBMS, or "Database Management System", is a system or software designed to manage a database. phpBB 3.3 supports the following DBMSs: Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, postgreSQL, and SQLite.


Events are injection points in the core phpBB code, similar to an anchor. When the event is triggered a listener in an extension that is subscribed to the event will inject code at that point, but without editing the core file.


Is the successor to a MOD. Like MODs they are to add or remove features or functionality, or in some other way modify behaviour of the standard software. They differ from MODs in that they are contained in their own directories and do not make changes to the core software. Instead they make use of Events and Listeners.


FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol". It is a protocol which allows files to be transferred between computers. FTP clients are programs that are used to transfer files via FTP.


A founder is a special board administrator that cannot be edited or deleted.


GZip is a compression method often used in web applications and software such as phpBB to improve speed. Most modern browsers support this on-the-fly algorithm. Gzip is also used to compress an archive of files. Higher compression levels, however, will increase server load.

IP address

An IP address, or Internet Protocol address, is a unique address that identifies a specific computer or user.


Jabber is the former name of Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) an open-source protocol that can be used for instant messenging. For more information on XMPP's role in phpBB, see Section, “Jabber settings”.


A listeners are triggered by an event. They can be used by an extension to process incoming data and manipulate variables in the scope of the event. So they can change phpBB's behaviour, add or remove functionality or if used in the context of templates, modify the output. An alternative name for a listener is a "hook".


The MCP, or Moderation Control Panel, is the central point from which all moderators can moderate their forums. All moderation-related features are contained in this control panel.


MD5 (Message Digest algorithm 5) is a commonly-used hash function used by phpBB. MD5 is an algorithm which takes an input of any length and outputs a message digest of a fixed length (128-bit, 32 characters). MD5 is used in phpBB to turn the users' passwords into a one-way hash, meaning that you cannot "decrypt" (reverse) an MD5 hash and get users' passwords. User passwords are stored as MD5 hashes in the database.


A MOD is a code modification for phpBB that either adds, changes, or in some other way enhances, phpBB. MODs are written by third-party authors; as such, the phpBB Group does not assume any responsibility for MODs.


When users perform certain actions on the board notifications will be generated to the affected users. For example, moderators can select to be notified when a post requires approval. Notification methods include board notification and email notification.


PHP, or "PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor", is a commonly-used open-source scripting language. phpBB is written in PHP and requires the PHP runtime engine to be installed and properly configured on the server phpBB is run on. For more information about PHP, please see the PHP home page.


phpMyAdmin is a popular open-source program that is used to manage MySQL databases. When MODding phpBB or otherwise changing it, you may have to edit your database. phpMyAdmin is one such tool that will allow you to do so. For more information regarding phpMyAdmin, please see the phpMyAdmin project home page.

Private Messages

Private messages are a way for registered members to communicate privately through your board without the need to fall back to e-mail or instant messaging. They can be sent between users (they can also be forwarded and have copies sent) that cannot be viewed by anyone other than the intended recipient. The user guide contains more information on using phpBB3's private messaging system.


A rank is a sort of title that is assigned to a user. Ranks can be added, edited, and deleted by administrators.


When assigning a special rank name to a user, remember that no permissions are associated. For example, if you create a "Support Moderator" rank and assign it to a user, that user will not automatically get moderator permissions. You must assign the user the special permissions separately.


Anything on your server that is server-writable means that the file(s) or folder(s) in question have their permissions properly set so that the server can write to them. Some phpBB3 functions that may require some files and/or folders to be writable by the server include caching and the actual installation of phpBB3 (the config.php file needs to be written during the installation process). Making files or folders server-writable, however, depends on the operating system that the server is running under. On *nix-based servers, users can configure file and folder permissions via the CHMOD utility, while Windows-based servers offer their own permissions scheme. It is possible with some FTP clients to change file and folder permissions as well.


A session is a visit to your phpBB forums. For phpBB, a session is how long you spend on the forums. It is created when you login deleted when you log off. Session IDs are usually stored in a cookie, but if phpBB is unable to get cookie information from your computer, then a session ID is appended to the URL (e.g. index.php?sid=999). This session ID preserves the user's session without use of a cookie. If sessions were not preserved, then you would find yourself being logged out every time you clicked on a link in the forum.


A signature is a message displayed at the end of a user's post. Signatures are set by the user. Whether or not a signature is displayed after a post is set by the user's profile settings.


SMTP stands for "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol". It is a protocol for sending email. By default, phpBB uses PHP's built-in mail() function to send email. However, phpBB will use SMTP to send emails if the required SMTP data is correctly set up.


A style is made up of a template set, image set, and stylesheet. A style controls the overall look of your forum.


Sub-forums are forums that are nested in, or located in, other forums.


A template is what controls the layout of a style. phpBB 3.3 template files have the .html file extension. These template files contain mostly HTML (no PHP, however), with some variables that phpBB uses (contained in braces: { and }).


phpBB uses the Twig template engine to combine data and template files to generate dynamic web pages on demand.


The UCP, or User Control Panel, is the central point from which users can manage all of the settings and features that pertain to their accounts.

UNIX Timestamp

phpBB stores all times in the UNIX timestamp format for easy conversion to other time zones and time formats.


Usergroups are a way of grouping users. This makes it easier to set permissions to many people at the same time (e.g. create a moderator group and give it moderating permissions to a certain forum instead of giving lots of individual people moderating permissions separately). A usergroup has a usergroup moderator (a leader, essentially), who has the ability to add or delete users from the group. Usergroups can be set to hidden, closed or open. If a usergroup is open, users can try requesting membership via the proper page within the group control panel. phpBB 3.3 has six pre-defined usergroups.