Installing a PhpBB Forum

What are the minimum requirements to install PhpBB? How do I install or update a PhpBB Forum?

Chapter 1: The minimum requirements
Chapter 2: How to install PhpBB
Chapter 3: Updating PhpBB

Chapter 1: The minimum requirements

The minimum requirements to install PhpBB are really basic so almost every hosting should fulfill them. Here they are: a hosting account with PHP 4.3.3 (or greater) support and a MySQL Database version 3.23 (or greater).

If you don’t have a hosting yet or your hosting doesn’t fit the minimum requirements have a look at the Hosting and FTP applications FAQ.

Chapter 2: How to install PhpBB

Installing a PhpBB Forum is fairly easy. If you're looking for instructions on how to install PhpBB on HostExcellence click here.

Visit and download the latest version of the forum

Unzip the file and you will find a folder named “phpbb”.

Now you need to decide whether you want your URL to look like
If you want it to look like the first one you need to upload only the content of the “phpbb” folder. Otherwise, if you want it to look like the second one, rename the “phpbb” folder to whatever you want and upload the whole folder (recommended).
I usually rename it to "forum" so I get as the URL of it.

Upload the folder to the root of your server.

If you don’t know how to upload the files to your server visit the Hosting and FTP applications FAQ and read how an FTP application works.

Visit its web address to start the installation.

At first you get to this page

Click on install and you will be shown the requirements of the installation
Hit "Proceed to next step" to continue
You will see an installation compatibility test. If ok you will see "Start install" at the bottom of it, otherwise you see "Test again" in this case see what needs to be done to fulfill the requirements. Make the changes yourself or contact your hosting through its support.
If you use HostExcellence remember to set
mbstring.http_input = pass
mbstring.http_output = pass
as described on the Using HostExcellence page.

Hit Start install and compile the needed informations

Hit "Proceed to next step"
PhpBB will test the connection and hopefully tell you that it's been successful

If so hit again "Proceed to next step"
Enter the administration username you want and the password and an e-mail address

Hit once again Proceed to next step
PhpBB will test the administrator details and hopefully tell you that they're ok

Proceed to next step
The configuration file will be written

Go on and you will find a window with E-mail settings and Server URL settings. I usually leave it as-is.
Continue and PhpBB will be installed

Proceed to next step to finish the installation
And now you're almost done. You will see a page with "Congratulations". Yes you made it! But there's one more thing...

There's one more thing at the end of the page which gets often overseen and causes the forum to not-work

You need to go to your FTP application and open your forum's folder.
There you will see an "install" folder

Select the folder and delete it.

Now you can login to your forum by hitting "Login"

Proceed to Setting up your forum

Updating PhpBB

Note that while updating your forum your forum will not be reachable for other users.

If there's a newer version of PhpBB than the one your currently have you will see the following message appearing when logging in to the administration control panel:

Click on More informations. And you will see the following screen

As per instructions go to the PhpBB download page. Then click on Update Package.
Select the current version of your forum from the drop down menu and hit Select.

Download you package

You will get a folder named phpBB-3. In the folder you find a folder named install. Upload it to the root of your forum using your FTP application hence where your config.php file is. As an example if you have your forum under make sure the install folder is reachable under

Once you uploaded the folder click on Now start the update process by pointing your browser to the install folder on the screen you got when you clicked More informations.

Hit Proceed to next step.

Update database.

Update my database now.

Continue the update process now. You will get a screen telling you that it is collecting the differences

and a list of the differences

Now you can either choose to download an archive with the modified files and replace them manually or use FTP upload. Here I will use FTP upload. If you choose FTP upload you get to a screen where you have to type the connection data to your FTP server

Make sure you also enter the right path to the forum. Once you entered the data choose Test connection to see if it works. If it does click Update files. More or less shortly after you will hopefully see the following screen

Hit Continue update now and it will recheck all the files to see if the update was successful.

Using your FTP application make sure you remove the install folder you uploaded at the beginning of the tutorial for the forum to be available again.

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