phpBB 3.1 Ascraeus Support?
At this time I offer the following phpBB 3.1 services:
- New installations
- Upgrades from phpBB 3.0.x or 2.x to the latest production version of phpBB
- Installation of approved extensions for phpBB 3.1
- Some style customizations. If you need a customized style, I will generally direct you to a phpBB style artist, but I can often make minor changes to existing styles.
- Integrating phpBB styles into web site framework
- Most troubleshooting services
Pricing for phpBB 3.1 is the same as for phpBB 3.0, listed below. Note that I support (i.e. will troubleshoot) only approved extensions for phpBB 3.1. Note that modifications are now called extensions in 3.1, and they work similar to WordPress plug in: they can be disabled, easily acquired and easily deleted. You no longer have to worry that one extension will affect the behavior of another extension. Consequently, you may wish to install extensions and styles yourself.
I offer the following services to the phpBB community. Prices are under each type of service. See the pricing summary for high level details, or follow the links below to learn more about specific kinds of services.
- phpBB 3 Upgrade Services
- phpBB Troubleshooting Services
- phpBB Tutoring
- phpBB Modification Installation
- phpBB Extension Installation, Update and Removal
- phpBB Style Services
- phpBB Customizations
- phpBB 2.x to 3.x Upgrading Service
- phpBB Digest Installation and Support
- phpBB Smartfeed Installation and Support
- phpBB Installation Services
- phpBB Rehosting Services
- Other PHP Work
All work is priced in U.S. dollars.
In general, you only pay after work is complete. For very large jobs I often do work in phases, and work is billed upon completion of a phase. I have a convenient secure form you can use to send me a service inquiry.
You can pay with either with PayPal, Venmo or send me a check. Most customers pay electronically via PayPal but Venmo is preferred because I am not charged any fees. Use whatever method is most convenient to you. For electronic payments, use my email firstname.lastname@example.org to route the money to me.
- Venmo. I can be paid via Venmo. I prefer Venmo to PayPal because they don’t deduct any fees. In most cases you don’t pay a fee either, but if you use a credit card or non-major debit card, a 3% fee is added by Venmo. There is no fee with Venmo if you use money from your bank account or your Venmo balance. You can use my email address to pay me: email@example.com. If you need an invoice let me know and I will send you one.
- PayPal. You can use PayPal to send me the money in U.S. Dollars. You can use my email address to pay me: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need an invoice, I will send you a PayPal invoice.
- Check. If you want to pay by check, send me an email at email@example.com and I will provide my snail mail address. I will deposit your check and ensure the funds have been received before I will do the work if the estimated cost is $100 or more. At this time I don’t take credit cards. If you need an invoice let me know and I will send you one.
Worried about things going wrong after you have paid me? Not to worry. Within 30 days of completing the work, I will handle any minor problems related to the work I did for you at no extra charge.
- Payment is required promptly upon completion of work or for large jobs, upon completion of a phase.
- For work done in phases or large work orders generally anticipated to cost more than $150, I usually ask for half now and half on completion. I usually waive this policy for previous customers who have demonstrated they will pay bills promptly on completion.
- Paying by check? For jobs estimated at more than $100, checks must clear prior to starting work.
Please ask me if you need any clarification.
- Author of the phpBB Digest Modification (for phpBB 2: 2004, for phpBB 3: 2009)
- Author of the phpBB Smartfeed Modification (for phpBB2: 2006, for phpBB 3: 2009)
- System administrator for The Potomac Tavern (the domain is closed, but the forum is now archived on this site) a phpBB forum (2002-2009)
- Instructor in web page design, structured query language, computer fundamentals and other courses at Northern Virginia Community College
- 30 years professional experience developing, maintaining and managing information systems. See my extensive résumé.
- Having started this business in May 2006, as of 9 February 2016, I have served 234 distinct customers and handled 603 requests for service over more than nine years with an average of 2.6 jobs per customer.
Why should you choose me?
- I have considerable experience and I am reliable and very professional. I also have extensive knowledge of the phpBB code base, the PHP programming language, relational databases in general and MySQL in particular.
- Being semi-retired, I am usually available if quick turnaround is needed.
- With my expert knowledge I work very quickly which generally means I can do your work at a modest price.
- I back up your files and your database before I modify them so I can go back to a previous version, if I need to.
- I use professional tools that allow me to work on your site in a productive manner.
There are other people offering similar services to mine. You may find a competitor to have better or faster service. This is fine with me as I frequently have more work than I can handle. I am usually the logical choice if quality is your greatest concern.
Potential customers need to understand the following before contracting with me:
- Although semi-retired, I do this work in my spare time. Consequently I make no guarantee that I can service you in a timely fashion. However, my general availability is obviously more than before I retired, so simple jobs can often be done the same day of the inquiry, unless there is a substantial backlog at the time and higher priority requests.
- My goal is to triage an issue within 24 hours of notice and to fix it within 48 hours. This is just a goal. Real life may and often does interfere.
All my work comes with 30 days of support, which begins after I have finished your work. Please note though that:
- This covers relevant work only. For example, if I install a digest modification and you have a problem that is unrelated to digests, I won’t fix that, but I will fix problems related to digests working on your particular forum at no extra charge within the 30 day window.
- While I can install modifications and extensions written by others, I am not its author. I will make reasonable attempts to investigate and solve problems, but I cannot guarantee that installing a particular mod will work in your particular environment. There is usually a topic on phpbb.com where you can seek support.
- I do fully support modifications and extensions that I have written or customized work created specifically for your site. However the same 30 day limitation applies unless you have purchased maintenance services.
To accomplish work on your site I must have certain privileges. Admittedly it can be difficult to give so much control to someone who is essentially a stranger. You might want to read my blog, as once a month I summarize work done for clients (client names are not revealed). Also, please remember that I have no motive to abuse your site. Future business would quickly dry up if I did this! The privileges I need depend on the work you want done.
I have two useful forms that will securely transfer your sensitive data to me:
- A service inquiry form can be used to tell me about what you want done and to get an estimate. The form is preferred because it asks questions I generally need answers to in order to provide an accurate estimate. You can also send me email.
- A forum and server details form is used to transfer more sensitive data like passwords, control panel URLs and FTP information. Send me this form only after we have first agreed on the work that will be done and an estimate of the overall cost.
I am no longer offering phpBB maintenance contracts or contracts for maintaining upgrades to phpBB modifications. However, I do offer maintenance for phpBB modifications I wrote myself, i.e. my Digest and Smartfeed mods and extensions. In addition, I can upgrade you at any time for a fixed price. See below.
Upgrading forums from one major version of phpBB to another using shared hosting is typically error prone and quite time consuming, so I have to charge for this extra time and effort. Upgrade errors usually happen on shared hosts because the conversion program uses a lot of CPU/horsepower and your web host will tend to cut you off arbitrarily when you hit some sort of ill-defined limit. This usually means the upgrade did not complete so everything has to be recovered. During a major upgrade, tables are created, dropped and altered. Data itself may be changed. Search indexes have to be rebuilt. My shared hosting surcharge for these upgrades is $50. In addition, surcharges may apply depending on the number of posts.
If you don’t have shared hosting there is no extra charge.
To upgrade you I have to move your forum (files and database) to my machine and convert it there, then upload the new files and database when done. This takes time and careful attention so it is priced accordingly. The board should be disabled during this time, which can take a day and sometimes more.
You usually know if you have shared hosting but if you are unsure contact your web host. If you typically pay $5 to $10 a month you are likely using shared hosting. Most customers choose shared hosting for its obvious cost advantages.
I offer services to upgrade phpBB 3 or officially approved phpBB mods on your host. I can do this for a forum with or without modifications.
Upgrading phpBB 3.1 to newest version of phpBB 3.1
Upgrading from phpBB 3.0 to phpBB 3.1
Please note that aside from the upgrade base prices, there is also a shared hosting charge of $50 if you use shared hosting. I also charge surcharges if you either have more than 100,000 posts or users to be converted. This is unfortunately necessary because of the extra work needed to backup and successfully convert larger forums. For information, see this blog post.
If your board is unmodified and uses the default prosilver style, you might want to follow these instructions and do it yourself.
Be aware of the following gotchas:
- You must have PHP 5.3.3 or greater.
- If you have modifications installed they will not port to 3.1. 3.1 uses extensions to support additional functionality. There may be an extension that offers equivalent functionality for a modification you have installed, but you will have to install it after the conversion. Since extensions and modifications are written by volunteers, so there is no guarantee that a given modification has an equivalent extension. If there is no equivalent extension and the functionality of the modification is critical to your forum, do not upgrade to 3.1. If you are not running the latest version of 3.0, you might want to upgrade to it, but you may have to reapply some file changes for your modifications.
- 3.0 styles are not compatible with 3.1 styles. You need a 3.1 style. As 3.1 is relatively new, there are fewer styles available for installation.
Upgrading phpBB 3.0 to a newer version of 3.0
Upgrading phpBB 3.0 on your own is a lot easier than upgrading phpBB 2. The process for upgrading with the automated update package is described here. If your board is only lightly modified and you are using standard styles you might want to try it yourself. Make sure you fully back up your files and database before attempting to upgrade!
Upgrading with the automated update package is trickier than it sounds, as you have to be able to assess file changes and render a judgment on whether to merge, allow or disallow a change. In addition, sometimes merged changes get applied incorrectly, resulting in syntactically incorrect code (usually manifest as a blank, white screen) and HTTP 500 errors. You often have to download a package of file changes then FTP them back to your server.
You may prefer to have upgrades done professionally. The cost depends on how many modifications you have and active templates you are using. The following prices are estimates:
- One time upgrade: See the pricing at the top of the page. Much older versions require multiple upgrades and template changes, which takes more time and adds to cost. The price assumes you are using the prosilver or subsilver2 style and are using phpBB with no modifications. Typically the phpBB group issues 2-3 upgrades a year, mostly to fix bugs. If you have mods installed, I will tack on the upgrade price for those mods to the cost. Note: if you have no mods and use the standard proSilver default style, see if your web host control panel has a QuickInstall or a similar program. You can use it to upgrade phpBB for free. Warning: attempts to use QuickInstall for modded phpBB installs or against non-standard styles can result in making your board unusable or inconsistent.
- Supporting nonstandard styles: proSilver and subSilver2 are standard styles. All others are non-standard. I charge a fixed fee per style in active use, in addition to the upgrade. See my price list. I will check for a newer version of your style with an upgrade and attempt to install it. If there are significant changes to the standard phpBB styles for a particular upgrade (such as the feed integration that occurred with phpBB 3.0.6) I will attempt to add these features to your style if they were not made to the style. Not all styles are maintained by the style author. In most upgrades, upgrading the style is not crucial, but certain upgrades require it. It is hard to know which ones these are.
Upgrading phpBB 3.0 mods
Upgrading phpBB modifications is often a delicate process, and the more mods you have the more delicate and risky it becomes. If installed with AutoMOD you can often uninstall the mod, then reinstall it after the upgrade. However, if the modification stores persistent information, uninstalling the mod temporarily will also remove the persistent data. That’s why it’s often better to apply the file changes manually when upgrading a mod. If your site is heavily modded, I may decline to upgrade it because the complexity of integrating disparate mods rises exponentially with the number of modifications installed. All files and your database are backed up before work commences, just to be safe. I only support official phpBB group approved modifications. Pricing for upgrade works is at the top of the page.
Unless you tell me otherwise, I will assume I can do an upgrade at a time that suits me. I cannot always accommodate unusual times for doing upgrades, such as during the middle of the night or on weekends. Some minimal amount of downtime is needed for an upgrade. In many cases it is only a matter of minutes, and only rarely takes an hour or longer.
Upgrading phpBB 3.1 extensions
You can upgrade extensions yourself with minimal effort and without worrying about whether it will interfere with another extension or phpBB. Generally you disable the extension, delete the extension and its data, then upload the newest version of the extension and reenable it. You need to be able to upload files to the forum. If you would prefer to have it done professionally, contact me for pricing.
Sometimes you just need a hired gun to go in and fix some sort of problem that has emerged. I will assess the problem for free and give you an estimate of what it would cost for me to fix it. My labor rate is $30 per hour or fraction thereof. If I agree to do the work and it takes more time than the fee we agreed on, I will not charge you extra for it. I cannot necessarily solve all problems, but I can figure out most of them. In general, my success rate is I can solve more than 98% of problems requested. $30 an hour may seem expensive, but in practice it is not because I can very efficiently do the work. Most of these problems take 1-2 hours of work. I will give you an estimate as best I can before I start the work. If the work turns out to be trivial (takes 5-10 minutes) I usually bill for only half an hour, or $15.
Sometimes you just need a little personal coaching so you can do work yourself. I offer phpBB tutoring services. I usually tutor via Skype but I can use other online solutions such as Google Hangouts, Webex or TeamViewer if you have these solutions. The solution needs to have both audio and screen sharing. From simple things like installing phpBB to complex things like troubleshooting phpBB issues, I can help you gain quick proficiency. My charge for tutoring is the same as for troubleshooting: $30 an hour or portion thereof. I’ve tutored many clients over the years, and my knowledge of phpBB, PHP, web servers and databases is quite extensive. In addition I have taught many courses in computer science, so I am an experienced teacher. Most tutoring can be done relatively quickly and cheaply. Contact me.
I generally install only officially approved phpBB 3.0 modifications (mods). Long experience has found that installing other mods often results in flaky behavior, problems that are hard to troubleshoot and making the work unprofitable. If I agree to install a non-approved mod, it will be with the understanding that I will not guarantee that it will work as designed and you will compensate me for my time regardless of whether it works as you envisioned.
You might want to use AutoMOD to install phpBB Modifications. Note that AutoMOD can be tricky to use. It will patch in code changes at the applicable point in the code if it can, but it does not know if in doing so a syntax error was introduced. When introduced, part of phpBB will stop working. Typically you will see a white screen. In many cases you must download the changed files and then upload them. In addition, AutoMOD will not apply changes to non-standard styles, and will not install language files by default for languages other than British English. Often, particularly if the mod is complex or needs to be integrated with other mods already installed and not cause conflicts, you might want it done professionally.
I generally use the author’s guidelines on how easy the modification is to install. See the pricing at the top of the page. I classify mods as easy, medium and hard based on the mod’s installation file. However, sometimes mod authors aren’t quite as candid as they should be, or are unduly optimistic. So I will do a reality check on it by looking at its installation instructions and price it accordingly.
Please note: while I will install a mod and do my best to get it to work in your environment, I am not the mod author so I cannot guarantee I will be able to get it to function properly in your environment. Caveat emptor.
Installing extensions is straightforward so you may want to do this yourself using instructions here. If you would like me to do it for you, I will install any extension for $10. While I can install an extension, I am not the extension author. I do not troubleshoot extensions but I can remove them. It’s possible but unlikely that an extension won’t work on your particular board, or have bugs. You should only install approved extensions for phpBB 3.1. Clients often want extensions installed when a 3.1 forum is created or upgraded from 2.0 or 3.0.
Updating and Removing Extensions
Updating and removing extensions is also straightforward, so you may want to try to do this yourself. If you would like me to update your extension, the cost is the same as installing the extension since the work is the same, or $10 per extension. I will physically disable, delete an extension’s data and physically delete the extension’s files for a rate of just $5 per extension.
Sorry, I am not a phpBB style artist. I cannot create custom styles for your site, as others are far more artistically gifted than I am and know how to wield complex tools like Adobe Photoshop to maintain and update a style. If you need a style artist, I suggest looking at the phpBB style demo gallery. If you see styles you admire, email the author and see if they are willing to do the work for you.
However, I can add prebuilt approved phpBB styles to your forum, integrate logos into the style and solve most issues with styles rendering incorrectly in browsers. I can change fonts, font sizes, colors, background colors and solve general positioning issues due to my comprehensive understanding of HTML and CSS. I have integrated phpBB forums into existing WordPress themes successfully.
See my style pricing at the top of the page. For fixing general style layout issues, I charge my standard fee of $30 hour or portion thereof. Most style issues can be solved in an hour or less.
I can also create custom phpBB 3.0 modifications and extensions to meet your specific needs. Pricing of course depends on your requirements. Customizations, unless I have done similar work before, tend to be pricier and generally start around $50. In general work is billed at my $30/hour troubleshooting rate.
I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel, so I will first look for an existing mod or extension that might work, or might be “good enough”. This is generally good for you too, as it is less expensive and support is easier to acquire.
Some of the customizations I have done for clients include:
- Integrating external RSS newsfeeds into their main index
- Dynamic user post statistics integration
- Integrating Google Adsense advertising into a site (including turning off advertising for registered users)
What I can do is only limited by your imagination, my time and your wallet.
Contact me with your requirements for an estimate.
Many forum owners want to convert their legacy phpBB 2 boards to phpBB 3.0 or 3.1.
If your board is small, you have the most recent version of phpBB 2 installed and you are using defaults, you may want to try it upgrading yourself. Complete instructions can be found on the phpBB site.
However, if you have modifications to your forum, or you haven’t upgraded it to the latest version of phpBB 2, or you have installed lots of extra smilies and avatars then you may wish to have me perform an upgrade professionally.
Please note that aside from the upgrade base prices, I charge surcharges if there are either more than 100,000 posts or users to be converted and you are moving from phpBB 2.0 to 3.o, or 2.0 or 3.0 to 3.1. If you have shared hosting, there is a shared hosting charge of $50 to cover the time of moving your forum and database to my machine to upgrade it. This is unfortunately necessary because of the extra work needed to backup and successfully convert larger forums. For information, see this blog post.
Please contact me for pricing. Pricing depends on a number the factors below. See pricing at the top of the page. Please let me know:
- What version of phpBB 2 are you running? (You can find out from the Administration Control Panel.)
- Have you installed any modifications? If so please list their names and version numbers as applicable. Let me know if the mod is essential to carry over or not. Not all mods for phpBB 2 are also available for phpBB 3.
- Have you installed special smilies or avatars that you need carried over?
- Approximately how many posts are on your board? The size of the message board has a lot to do with how much an upgrade costs.
- Do you want to migrate to phpBB 3.0 or 3.1?
- phpBB 3.0
- Has a wide variety of modifications to extend functionality.
- Has a wide variety of styles as well
- However, modifications come with a cost. If you upgrade phpBB, you may overwrite file changes needed for your modifications.
- Cannot use phpBB 3.1 extensions
- Not mobile friendly. Designed for desktop and laptop computers.
- phpBB 3.1
- Relatively new (released in November 2014)
- Improved and extensible architecture.
- Extensions are like plugins for WordPress. They are easily installed, uninstalled, enabled and disabled
- Limited styles compared with phpBB 3.0
- Limited extensions compared with phpBB 3.0
- Cannot use phpBB 3.0 modifications
- Built in mobile support on most styles as well as desktop and laptop computers
- phpBB 3.0
- Very large forums may require the database to be exported to be converted. This is because your server’s resources may not be enough to do the conversion. It could also be that there are unusually large posts or private messages that will bog down the phpBB conversion program.
- There are surcharges for converting very large forums with lots of users and/or posts.
- In the event that unusual conversion errors are encountered, I charge a troubleshooting fee of $30/hour for the conversion. I will document the errors with screenshots and the like and seek your approval before proceeding at an hourly rate, and provide progress reports as well accounting for each hour. Why this policy? It takes considerable work to solve these problems as they can be hard to find and fix. It often involves moving the database and forum files to my local machine, converting it there, then importing it back to your server. In addition in these situations there are very often issues that are difficult to troubleshoot because the problems and solutions may be unique, making it impossible to provide a fixed price. These issues can include spam posts, very large posts, very large private messages, post with very large words that must be removed, etc. The common issue is that inconsistent databases and databases with lots of bogus posts in them take considerable time to convert.
- Have you customized the look and feel of your board by adding special images or changing the header and footer? Do you expect your current look to be carried over when upgraded?
phpBB Digests is a modification I wrote that is used widely by the phpBB community. You can learn more about it on my digests page. The most recent version is for 3.0.x. A 3.1 version is in development.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why do you charge to install this modification?
I charge because installing it takes quite a bit of my limited time and it is not a simple modification to install. phpBB 3.0 has no ability to “wake itself up” at an exact time. To send a digest at a guaranteed requested hour, your server has to wake up periodically and send out digests. Servers running Unix or Linux typically do this with the “cron” utility. Instructions are provided in all versions, but are often daunting to those without the requisite computer skills. Those without them or who choose to spend their time in more worthwhile endeavors can choose to hire me.
- How much do you charge for installation?
See my price list at the top of the page. All prices are in U.S. dollars. The price assumes a fairly recent version of phpBB version 3. Earlier versions may need to be upgraded before the digest software can be installed and that cost is extra.
A basic installation assumes your board is using one of the default styles. For phpBB 3 this is prosilver or subsilver2. If you are using some other style the customizing style work is extra. Customizing a style does not include creating any images needed to match your style to show the Digests link as an image. You must supply it or allow a text link to be linked somewhere.
- What support if any comes with installation?
As with all my work, for a period of 30 days from the date of installation I will answer questions or troubleshoot problems related to the digest installation.
- How fast can you do an installation for my site?
Ask me. Usually I can do it within a day or two. If I have jobs queued ahead of yours I will give you an idea when it the installation will occur.
- How long does an installation take?
It can take up to 24 hours, but in most cases once I get started the process takes a couple of hours. The process is much simpler than it used to be because the mod is AutoMod compliant and includes UMIL integration. Typically the only hard part is programming the cron job, and even that is getting easier. Each installation is tested using the automated process to ensure it is behaving correctly.
- Do you offer yearly maintenance?
Yes. If a new version comes out within a 13 months of your installation date, I will install it for you for a fee listed at the top of the page. (Note: one month of maintenance comes free with installation and is priced into the 13 months.) I will also answer questions and troubleshoot digest related problems during this time. I will not troubleshoot problems which are clear to me are not related to the digest software, such as another phpBB modification you installed that is giving you problems. You can purchase another year of maintenance a year later if you want.
- Can I buy maintenance later?
Yes. The maintenance will be good for 12 month starting from the day of purchase. If there is a new version available when you purchase maintenance, I will install it.
- What do you need from me to install the software?
See What I Need From You above. A digest installation is the most complex installation I do, so I need all of this information.
- Do you offer a money back guarantee?
If I cannot fully install your software, I will refund your money and restore your site as it was before I modified it. This has not actually happened before.
- Do you offer a service to call mail_digests.php hourly?
Yes, but only in exceptional cases. This can happen if your server does not allow cron jobs or scheduled tasks, your web server does not allow external requests if the external request does not identify itself as a browser, and you cannot use a site monitoring service because it has no ability to identify itself as a browser. In these cases, I can set up my server to ping mail_digests.php on your server hourly for a nominal fee. The fee is $5/month payable in advance. If I am installing digests for you there is no additional charge to set this up when needed. If you set up digests yourself but this part is not working, I will install a cron for a $20 one time setup fee. Contact me if interested.
If your needs are simple, since phpBB 3.0.6 newsfeeds are supported in phpBB. Only the ATOM protocol is supported and the forum must be public. However, Smartfeed supports RSS 1.0 and 2.0. Probably more of interest, Smartfeed allows non-public forums to be read as a newsfeed.
At this time an approved version for phpBB 3.0 is available. More information is available on my Smartfeed page. A version for phpBB 3.1 is in development.
The good news is that Smartfeed is simple to install and only minimally changes phpBB. Moreover, it is AutoMOD and UMIL compliant, making installation pretty simple if you have AutoMOD installed and can use FTP. Since it operates independently of the phpBB source code, you may want to install it yourself by downloading it from the Smartfeed page.
A basic installation assumes your board is using one of the default styles. For phpBB 3 this is prosilver and subsilver2. If you are using some other style the customizing style work is extra. Customizing a style does not include creating any images needed to show the Smartfeed link as an image. You must supply it or allow a text link to be linked somewhere. Costs are detailed at the top of the page.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What does “yearly maintenance” buy?
If a new version comes out within a 13 months of your installation date, I will install it for you. (Note: one month of maintenance comes free with installation.) I will also answer questions and troubleshoot Smartfeed related problems during this time. I will not troubleshoot problems which are clear to me are not related to the Smartfeed software, such as another phpBB modification you later installed or upgraded that is giving you problems. You can purchase another year of maintenance a year later if you want.
- Can I buy maintenance later?
Yes. The maintenance will be good for 12 month starting from the day of purchase. If there is a new version available when you purchase maintenance, I will install it.
- Do you offer a money back guarantee?
In the highly unlikely event that I cannot fully install your software I will refund your money.
phpBB is powerful and sophisticated forum software that is free and open source. phpBB 3.0 and 3.1 are now the only approved and supported versions of phpBB. phpBB 3.o became official in December 2007 and phpBB 3.1 became official in October 2014. I can install either phpBB 3.0 or phpBB 3.1 for you. phpBB 3.1 is recommended.
phpBB can often be installed directly from your web host control panel with a few clicks. Look for a scripting center or similar area of the control panel. If you choose this option you will get a default installation with the prosilver style installed. You can often also use the tool to upgrade the forum, sometimes automatically. This is a great and cheap option, but just remember not to install any modifications or custom styles if you plan to use your web host’s automatic upgrade feature. Upgrades may introduce issues.
phpBB is written in PHP, a powerful scripting language installed by default on virtually all web servers. Installing phpBB on a web host can be confusing without skills in FTP, editing files on the server and setting up a database. If you choose, I can install and configure your phpBB forum.
If you would like me to do the installation I need the following information:
- The name of the styles or styles you want installed. Styles provide the colors, fonts and images that are used uniformly across your forum and give the forum a professional and artistic look. The default style for phpBB 3 is prosilver although subsilver2 comes preinstalled and can be used “out of the box”. If selecting more than one style, provide the default style for your board. Styles can be selected here. Other styles exist on the phpBBstyles.com site.
- Any other avatars, rank images, smilies etc. you want installed other than the default one. You can look at them here.
- The language packs you want installed. Many are included in phpBB 3, so in some cases they only need to be enabled. British English is installed be default. If you are in the United States, you might want the American English language pack installed.
- The phpBB mods you want installed on top of phpBB.
- The name you want for your Forum.
- The location you want under your domain for the forum. The default is /phpBB3. You can also specify a subdomain, like forum.example.com. If you will have only a set of forums for your domain, you may prefer to install it in your web root folder, so when someone comes to your domain they first see your phpBB board index. If you want your main domain to automatically redirect to your forum let me know.
- See What I Need From You above. I do not need the administrator username and password. I will create one with the default name “admin” for you unless you specify it. The password can be changed later, but you can provide one if you want.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long does an installation take?
For a simple installation, it takes generally no more than a couple hours, once I get started, and providing I have from you the correct information. It may take a day or two to get the information needed to make the install and actually install it. If there are lots of modifications and themes that need to also be installed, it may take a few days. Some of the modifications are very complex to install.
- Do you offer a money back guarantee?
In the highly unlikely event that I cannot fully install your software I will refund your money and put your web space back to the condition I found it.
- Is there a warranty?
I will troubleshoot problems for a period of 30 days, should they occur.
- Will you maintain my site after 30 days?
No. I no longer offer maintenance services. However, I can upgrade you periodically upon request.
If you are outgrowing your web host and need a new one but you also want to move your phpBB forum intact, I can help. Note that phpBB provides a help topic on how to do this, so you may want to try this yourself, particularly if you have decent IT skills. phpBB also has guidance for moving your phpBB 2 board to another host. In any event it is not a trivial process. Particularly if your board is heavily modded you may want to have it done professionally. I have done this for many clients and have moved my own boards several times.
Unfortunately I cannot price the work until I understand what is involved in your particular situation. The minimum rehosting price is $50.
If you haven’t decided on a new web host yet…
Here are some guidelines that will help in the migration process. Look for a web host that can provide these capabilities:
- A database type and version similar to the host you are leaving. For example if your current forum is running on MySQL 5.5, you should prefer a new host that supports MySQL 5.5 or better.
- The same or better version of PHP than your current web host supplies. Version 5.3 or better is preferred and 5.3.3 or greater is required for phpBB 3.1.
- A web based database control environment. For MySQL, phpMyAdmin is typically provided via a web host control panel. If it is not provided it can usually be manually installed.
- A web host control panel. This is standard now. cPanel is the most widely used control panel, but Plesk is often provided for dedicated or virtual dedicated hosting. One is usually available by default.
- For low end hosting of phpBB forums, I recommend HostGator shared hosting. I currently run this site on HostGator.com. Many sites use the same server. This keeps costs low. Some hosts may overload their servers with clients, slowing access or causing timeouts. I have not experienced this with HostGator, but your needs should be modest for shared hosting. Expect to pay for high volume hosting.
- For busy or highly trafficked forums, I recommend MediaTemple.net. MediaTemple has proven to be a very reliable web host for my general needs when I needed more horsepower.
If you decide to use either of these hosts, please click on the advertising at the top of this page. You won’t pay any extra, and I will earn a small commission.
If your board is highly trafficked (500+ messages per day, with lots of reading) you should consider leasing your own server (dedicated hosting) or at least going with a virtual private server solution. As you may expect this can be quite expensive but at least your users are not competing with other domains for access to the same web server. Most web hosts provide dedicated hosting. One example is Rackspace.
What I need to price your rehosting
- Do you need to move just your forum or to move your entire domain? Typically phpBB is placed in a folder on your domain. If you need your entire site moved, I may be able to do this too, but of course this increases the cost.
- If you are running phpBB 3.0, a list of your phpBB 3.0 installed mods
- A list of styles that you are using
- If you use language packs other than the default British English, let me know what they are
- Version of phpBB you are running. (You can get this from the Administration Control Panel on the main page.)
- The total number of topics and posts in your forum. (It takes more effort, and hence costs more to move large forums.)
- Whether you will need additional mods or extensions installed in addition to rehosting
- If using phpBB 2, whether you plan to upgrade to phpBB 3.0 or 3.1 as part of rehosting, and if so which version
- If using phpBB 3.0, whether you plan to upgrade from phpBB 3.0 to phpBB 3,1 as part of rehosting
- Will any email addresses change when you move to the new web host?
What I need to actually do rehosting
See What I Need From You. Generally, I need ALL privileges to both your new and old board to rehost, so you will need to send me the forum and server information form for both the old and the new web host.
These are generally the steps I follow to rehost.
- Verify that I have the accesses I need on the current and new web hosts
- Back up files and databases on the old host
- Copy over your current phpBB software (with mods or extensions) intact and install on new host. This way if you have mods, unusual styles, etc. I don’t lose any functionality.
- Create a new database on the new host for the forum
- Export your database and move it over to see if I can get it working at all on the new host in a “test” mode. Sometimes the export available in the phpBB control panel will suffice. For larger databases I usually have to go into MySQL itself and dump your database to a file, which is why I sometimes need SSH access.
- Configure the new host config.php and related files to work with the new database
- Verify that it looks and behave the same. I will have you verify that all the posts, topics, forums and users are there and the styles are correct.
- When you are satisfied:
- Disable the current board
- Export the database as a final snapshot and move it into the database on the new host
- Have you move the domain from the old host to the new host using your registrar
Once the domain switches everything should appear the same to your users. Generally it takes at least a few hours to propagate a change to the domain. It is better to assume a full day for the switchover for all your forum users.
As you can see this process is time consuming and somewhat cumbersome. The whole thing can easily take a couple days.
I have installed WordPress on numerous sites, mostly for myself. While it is straightforward, even for a relative novice, if you like you can hire me to install it with your choice of theme and set up the various plugins that you want. I can install a number of the common ones, such as reCaptcha and Google Adsense rather easily. Pricing starts at $25. Contact me for details. I can do related WordPress work, such as importing a blog from Blogger to WordPress. Ask me!
While I specialize in phpBB, I am often capable of installing and troubleshooting other PHP applications. Feel free to write me and describe your project and I will be glad to tell you my comfort level with the work and if I agree to do it, an estimate. I can install many PHP applications for you. I am quite familiar with WordPress and have installed WordPress and added themes and plug-ins to it many times. Contact me for availability and pricing.
Updated January 9, 2016