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vBulletin installation Tutorial

vBulletin forum board requires PHP and MySQL web server, and most linux based web hosting provider will be able to run vbulletin smoothly.

Preparing hosting account

Before installing vbulletin, you will need to create a mysql database and write down the database connection information for later use :-

Database type: MySQL
Database server: localhost
Database Name: myacctlogin_dbname
Database User: myacctlogin_dbuser
Database Password: password set for myacctlogin_dbuser

Once you have this ready you can proceed on to step.

Getting vbulletin program

Once you have gone through the vbulletin purchase process, you should be receiving the license key in your email, you will need this info to login to the vbulletin program download area to download the program file. Once you are login, you can select the .zip / .tar.gz compressed version to download.

Uncompress vbulletin file

After downloading the compressed file, uncompress it in your computer. There will be two folder upload and do_not_upload extracted, upload is the folder containing all the vbulletin program files that you be uploading to your hosting account later, and do_not_upload contains all the tools for maintaining your forum, you will only need to upload these file when you need to do forum wide maintenance.

Updating config.php file

After uncompressing the vbulletin file, look for the config.php.new file in the upload/includes folder, rename it to config.php.

After renaming the config.php.new to config.php, open up the config.php file using a text editor (i.e. notepad in windows) and locate the following lines, you will need the database connection information written down earlier here :-

$config['Database']['dbname'] replace dbname with myacctlogin_dbname

$config['Database']['technicalemail'] replace technicalemail with your forum admin contact email

$config['MasterServer']['servername'] replace servername with localhost

$config['MasterServer']['username'] replace username with myacctlogin_dbuser

$config['MasterServer']['password'] replace password with password set for myacctlogin_dbuser


Leave the rest as they are and save the config.phpfile.

Uploading vbulletin files

After entering the database connection information in the config.php file, you can FTP upload the entire upload folder to your hosting account, place it according to how you wish to access the forum from your domain :-

if you wish to access the forum by entering http://www.dotservant.com/, then place all the files and subfolders in the upload folder in to the public_html folder in your hosting account

if you wish to access the forum by entering http://www.dotservant.com/forum/, then place the entire upload folder under the public_html folder, and rename it to forum

Please ensure all the files are uploaded in ASCII mode (manually set it in your FTP session, avoid using AUTO as it may wrongly guess the file type) to avoid file corruption leading to 500 server error when running the vbulletin program.

Running the installation script

After successfully uploaded the vbulletin files and folders to the proper location in your hosting account, open up your browser and enter the URL to the vbulletin install script to start the installation process. For example, enter the URL http://www.yourdomain.com/forums/install/install.php. There are about 13 steps in the installation process :-

  1. First, you will need to enter the Customer Number (the login name you use to login to the vbulletin members area, not the license number), hit Enter Installer to proceed to next step
  2. You will see a welcome screen, read through the message and if needed, disable your browser plugins before proceeding, click Next Step
  3. Installation script will check through your config.php file and try to connect to the MySQL database with the connection information entered, once connected successfully, you will be asked if you want to Empty your database, since this is a new installation, you will answer yes by clicking empty database
  4. Installation script will proceed on to setup the database, you will be seeing some messages on screen with no action needed on your end, but do read through the messages carefully and click Next Step as you finish reading messages on screen
  5. You will be presented with a Obtain some Default settings screen that requires you to fill in some default value for your vbulletin forum board :-

    • BB Title: Enter a tile for your forum, this will appear on every page
    • Homepage Title: Enter a name of your website, it will be shown at the bottom of every page
    • BB URL: Enter the URL to access your forum, for example http://www.yourdomain.com/forums/
    • Home URL: Enter the homepage URL of your website, for example http://www.yourdomain.com/
    • Webmaster email address: Enter email address of the forum administrator
    • Cookie Path (Suggested Settings): leave it as default '/' if you are only setting one forum for your domain
    • Cookie Path (Custom Setting): leave it as default
    • Cookie Domain : leave it as default

    Click Proceed after entering the info.
  6. In the next screen, you will be prompted to setup the forum administrator login, enter the desired information accordingly and hit Continue
  7. There will be a few more information screen for your reference, just read through and you will come to the completion of the installation process

After installation

After successfully running the vbulletin installation script, you will need to remove the install.php and upgrade*.php files in the install folder in your vbulletin program folder, this is to avoid security issues resulting loosing your entire forum board. Note that you will not be able to login to your forum Admin Control Panel without deleting the install/install.php file.