phpbb is a user friendly program and it is best run in a Linux server with PHP and MySQL installed, it does not take up too much server resources, a simple shared hosting account is able to serve a moderately active phpbb board with approx. 100 active users at any one time. Of course, if you forum board grows to a large active community, you will need a dedicated environment or a custom server farm to cater for the load.
This guide is leaning towards installing a phpbb forum board in a cpanel shared hosting account, where servers are Linux based with php and mysql support. Manual phpbb installation process is quite simple, it is split into three major steps and we have broken each major steps and detail out the process below :-
Note: the following installation process is for phpbb version 2, installation process for phpbb version 3 will be slightly different.
create MySQL database
First thing to do is to login to the hosting account control panel to create an empty MySQL database, create a MySQL user and grant access for this user to the newly created database. Copy down the following details :-
database name: username_dbname
database user: username_dbusr
This info is needed during the installation process below.
Download and prepare phpbb
After getting the MySQL database prepared, you can proceed on to prepare the phpbb files, visit phpbb and download the phpbb compressed file, uncompress it in your PC and FTP upload it to your hosting account, be sure to upload the files in ASCII mode, manually set your FTP session to ASCII transfer mode instead of binary or AUTO, this is to ensure your php files are uploaded as ASCII text files, otherwise you might get weird error messages (i.e. error 500 server error) when running your phpbb board. This error is caused by the upload process that might accidentally insert a hidden binary code in the php script that is not able to parse by php.
Depending on how you wish to access your phpbb board, place the files accordingly :-
If you want to access your board by entering http://www.yourdomain.com/, then place the phpbb files in the public_html folder in your hosting account.
If you want to access your board by entering http://www.yourdomain.com/phpbb/, then place the phpbb files in public_html/phpbb folder in your hosting account.
If you are familiar with Linux shell command, here are simple steps to get the phpbb files directly into your hosting account :-
SSH login to your hosting account, at the Linux shell prompt, enter the following command :-
tar xvzf downloaded_phpbb.tar.gz
mv expanded_folder to public_html/phpbb/
chmod 666 public_html/phpbb/config.php
This will prepare the files in public_html/phpbb/
and you can access your forum board by entering http://www.yourdomain.com/phpbb/
after the installation process.
In the folder you have uploaded the phpbb files, locate the config.php and change the file permission to read/write (-rw-rw-rw-), the chmod command shown above is setting the file permission as mentioned. If you are using FTP program to upload, refer to the documentation of your FTP program for changing file permission and set accordingly.
Run installation script
After phpbb files are prepared, you can proceed on to running the phpbb installation script. In your browser window, enter the path to the phpbb files in your hosting account, for example :-
depending on where you have place the phpbb files.
There will be a phpbb pre-installation web page appearing on your browser window once you hit enter, enter the info as required :-
Default board language: English
Database Type: MySQL 4.x **check your server mysql version
Choose your installation method: Install
Database Server Hostname/DSN: localhost
Your database Name: username_dbname **from mysql creation process above
Database Username: username_dbusr **from mysql creation process above
Database password: password_given_for_username_dbusr **from mysql creation process above
Prefix for tables in database: phpbb_ **leave as default
Admin Email Address: enter forum admin email
Domain Name: Enter site domain name
Server port: 80 **leave as default
Script path: /phpbb/ **path to phpbb files, depend where you place the files
Administrator Username: forum admin username
Administrator Password: forum admin password
Administrator Password: enter again the password above to confirm
Hit Start Install when all the above has been filled in correctly, phpbb will perform the automated installation process, when the process completes, you will be presented with an info screen with a Finish button, hit the button and there is a reminder for you to remove the /install/ and contrib folder in the phpbb folder, go ahead to remove/rename both this folder as mentioned, and also remember to reset the file permission of config.php (chmod 644 config.php).
Your phpbb is now installed and ready for use !