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  4. AdLogger
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  9. BBlog
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  80. PHP License
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  113. UltraEdit
  115. Variables in PHP
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  126. Zen Cart
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


phpBB is a popular internet forum package written in the PHP programming language. The name "phpBB" is an abbreviation of "PHP Bulletin Board". Available under the GNU General Public License, phpBB is free software.


phpBB was started by James Atkinson as a simple UBB-like forum for his own website on June 17, 2000. Nathan Codding and John Abela (both now former team members) joined the development team after phpBB's CVS repository was moved to the SourceForge, and work on 1.0.0 began. A fully-functional, pre-release version of phpBB was made available on July 1, 2000.[1]

phpBB 1.0.0 was released on December 9, 2000, with subsequent improvements to the 1.x codebase coming in two more major installments. The final release in the 1.x line was phpBB 1.4.4, released on November 6, 2001. During the lifetime of the 1.x series, Bart van Bragt, Paul S. Owen (former co-manager of the project), Johnathan Haase (now a former team member) and Frank Feingold joined the team.

phpBB 2.0.x was begun on February 17, 2001. It was developed entirely from scratch; the developer's ambitions for phpBB had outgrown the original codebase. Doug Kelly (now a former team member) joined the team shortly afterwards. After a year of development and extensive testing, phpBB 2.0.0, dubbed the "Super Furry" version, was released on April 4, 2002, three days later than intended.[2]

The latest release in the 2.0.x line is 2.0.22 which was released on December 23, 2006.[3] Releases in the 2.0.x line are now restricted to bug and security fixes only.

The latest in the 3.x line is 3.0 Beta 4, which was released on November 27, 2006, fixed 100 bugs that have been found since Beta 3 was released.[4]

Future development

With the new 2.0.x codebase in a stable state, the development team, now led by Meik Sievertsen, has begun building upon and altering the codebase to produce "Olympus"; when it reaches production quality, it will be released as 3.0.0. The improvements in "Olympus" to date are comparable with the improvements between 1.4.x and 2.0.x. It was originally planned to be released as 2.2.0; however, since 2.1.x eliminated virtually all compatibility with the 2.0.x line, the version number for release was changed to 3.0.0, in keeping with the Linux kernel version numbering scheme. [5]

A list of new features [6] that will be included in version 3.0.0 can be found at area51 (development site of Also, a summary of many features implemented as of May 2003 exists [7], with another more concise summary [8] dating from April of 2003. It is possible that not all of these features will make it to the final version, and that others will be added. The addition of new developers to the phpBB team has increased [9] the pace of development from a long lull.

On March 19, 2006, the development team opened a public bug tracker for the CVS version, and on June 17, 2006 the first beta version of 3.0 was released.[10]. On August 12, 2006, Beta 2 was released, and fixed many bugs from the first Beta.[11]. On November 12, 2006 Beta 3 was released, introducting UTF-8 support and fixing many bugs.[12]. On November 27, 2006 Beta 4 was released, fixing 100 bugs that have been found since Beta 3 was released.[13]


Some of phpBB's strengths are:

  • A templated style system intended to allow easy customisation.
  • Support for internationalisation; 64 translations are available as of 2006. [14]
  • Compatibility with multiple database management systems.
  • A large community of users providing free support and customisations.

phpBB can be scaled throughout many servers, and numerous sites have scaled phpBB sites over tens of servers.[citation needed] To make this simpler for future releases, the Olympus CVS code has many of these 'tweaks' implemented into the codebase. These tweaks range from being able to open pages within a timely manner if the topics are too large to speeding up registration.


Multiple database management systems are supported via an abstraction layer, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access and, with modification, Oracle.[15] The phpBB database abstraction layer primarily handles API differences; peculiarities in SQL syntax are dealt with by the application on a per-query basis. phpBB 3.0 will see the addition of SQLite, Firebird, and integrated Oracle support.

Abstraction is also applied to the way phpBB presents data to users. Layout is separated from the application code, and defined with templates. Templates, which contain Markup language as well as variables and blocks, are compiled by phpBB into PHP code and executed. This can be an intensive process; phpBB is distributed with an optional system to cache the compiled templates. Templates typically do not contain text from a specific language. Localised text is contained in language "packs", which contain lists of strings to be substituted into templates as variables. These strings often contain format specifiers, enabling the order of application-supplied variables within each piece of text to be customised.

Recent versions of phpBB 2.0 require PHP version 4.0.3 or above. When initially released, phpBB 2.0 included support for both PHP 3 and PHP 4; subsequent releases have dropped PHP 3 support in favour of easier maintenance. Support is not given for the use of phpBB2 in conjunction with PHP 5, although the phpBB developers have altered the code to function more properly in such environments.[16] phpBB 3.0 requires PHP version 4.3.3 or above, and is compatible with PHP 5. Although it is not supported, code is also present to allow phpBB3 to run under PHP 6.0.0-dev.


MODS are code modifications created by the phpBB community. The term is capitalised to distinguish modifications from forum moderators. Modifications referred to in this manner are not authored by the phpBB developers, and do not enjoy the same level of support as unmodified official code. The phpBB MOD Team accepts modifications from community sources for validation, and modifications which meet the MOD Team's standards are made available for download from the phpBB MOD Database.[17] Other sites also provide modifications, both validated to their own standards and unvalidated, however the phpBB teams do not offer support for boards using MODs downloaded from sites other than The phpBB teams do not offer support for mods other than ones found in their MOD database.


In December 2004, a large number of Web sites were defaced by the Santy worm, which used vulnerabilities in outdated versions of phpBB to overwrite PHP and HTML pages.

Because of this, the security of phpBB has been disputed, with a series of new versions in a relatively small timeframe addressing security issues. However the phpBB Team usually responds to security reports as soon as possible, and releases a new version quickly. The phpBB Group has also learned from a series of security issues, and phpBB 2.0.18 followed a codebase security audit. Additionally, many things have been changed to avoid problems in the future. Among those are a re-authentication system for the administration panel (this was introduced after a cookie verification issue allowed attackers to gain administrator access), a visual confirmation system (CAPTCHA) to prevent bots from registering, as well as the substitution of the highlighting code, which was the cause for critical vulnerabilities in phpBB 2.0.10 and 2.0.15. In order to keep boards as secure as possible, administrators are urged to keep their board updated to the latest version as soon as possible.

On November 23, 2005, the phpBB Group announced a new Incident Investigation Team, a sub-team of their Support Team, which is responsible for assisting users in the cleanup and repair of an attacked phpBB installation and investigating reports of new exploits. [18] The team announced a tracker the following January where administrators of attacked bulletin boards could report an attack and receive support from the IIT.[19]


  1. ^
  2. ^ phpBB forum post covering history from 20002002
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ phpBB 2.2 is no more ... meet Olympus from the phpBB community forums
  6. ^ Olympus Feature Highlights
  7. ^ A summary of phpBB 3.0 (development) features included by May 2003
  8. ^ A concise summary of phpBB 3.0 (development) features included in April 2003
  9. ^ phpBB CVS statistics
  10. ^ Beta 1 announcement
  11. ^ Beta 2 announcement
  12. ^ Beta 3 announcement
  13. ^
  14. ^ [1] phpBB translation pack downloads
  15. ^ HOWTO: phpBB with Oracle
  16. ^ phpBB statement regarding PHP5
  17. ^
  18. ^ Announcing the Incident Investigation Team from the community forums
  19. ^

See also

  • Comparison of Internet forum software

External links

  • phpBB web site
  • phpBB development web site Development information and preview of the upcoming phpBB 3.0 release
  • phpBB Podcast unoffical podcast from several team members
  • phpBB at OpenSourceCMS Demonstration of phpBB along with user reviews and comments
  • phpBB modification web site
  • phpBB code documentation
  • phpBB at the Open Directory Project
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