phpBB – free bulletin board software

phpBB is a very popular, open source, flat-forum package written in the PHP programming language. phpBB uses a flat topic and post structure, rather than threaded.

The software includes features such as posting/replying/editing messages, private messages, private forums, user and anonymous posting, robust theming, user ranking by posts or by special, admin definable, ranks, and much more.

phpBB has a user-friendly interface, simple and straightforward administration panel, and helpful documentation.

phpBB has been our longstanding favourite open source forum software.

Features include:

  • HTML5, CSS3, Responsive Design.
  • User Preferences.
  • Moderation.
  • Comprehensive Administration Control Panel.
  • Search Engine Spider Handling.
  • Unread Message Tracking.
  • Private Message System:
    • Custom PM folders – create custom PM folders and create a set of filters/rules to automatically sort PMs.
    • Multiple Recipients – send private messages to multiple people.
    • Send Blind Carbon Copies (BCC).
    • Send to Groups.
    • Address Book – makes sending messages quicker.
    • Message Drafts – lets you edit and send messages later.
    • Export Messages – for archiving purposes.
    • Attachments in PMs.
    • Conversation View – keep track of PM replies and displays a chronological view of the PM history.
  • Registration:
    • COPPA Registrations.
    • Limit Registration Attempts.
    • Minimum / Maximum Username & Password Length.
    • Limit Username Characters.
  • Posting:
    • Uses a flat topic and post structure.
    • BBCode & Custom BBCode.
    • Attachments:
      • Automatic Image Thumbnails.
      • Attachments Types.
      • Multiple Attachments.
      • Attachment Placement.
    • Quick Reply.
    • Smilies & Emoticons.
    • Quoting.
    • Word Censors.
    • Syntax Highlighting.
    • Post Drafts.
    • Polls.
  • Anti-spam:
    • CAPTCHA Confirmation – offers multiple CAPTCHAs to use during registration, including the industry-standard reCAPTCHA by Google, a custom 3D CAPTCHA, and a customisable Q&A CAPTCHA. There’s also support for reCAPTCHA 2.0.
    • Flood Control – limit the number of posts that can be made or PMs that can be sent in a given time period.
    • User Banning & Suspension.
    • Designated moderators and administrators are able to issue warnings to users.
    • User’s actions on the board can be logged and viewed by administrators and moderators.
    • Report Posts & Private Messages.
    • Post Approval – can be configured to require individual topics and posts to be approved by moderators before they’re visible to everyone.
  • Users:
    • Signatures.
    • Avatars.
    • Ranks.
    • User Online List.
    • User Preferences & Profile Settings.
    • Manage Saved Drafts.
    • Manage Bookmarks & Subscriptions.
    • Custom Profile Fields.
    • Friend/Foe List.
  • Moderators.
  • Usergroups – allow users to be easily organized on the board with group types, multiple group leaders, custom group colours, group ranks & avatars, and group-based memberlist display.
  • Data Management: supporting:
    • MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle Database, Firebird, SQLite, and Microsoft SQL Server.
  • Caching:
    • Database Query Caching.
    • Template Caching.
    • Manually clear the template cache, the theme cache, or everything.
  • Styles – three main parts: templates, themes, and imagesets.
  • Search system:
    • Fulltext Native.
    • Customized Topic Search.
    • Customized Forum Search.
    • MySQL Fulltext.
    • Author Search.
    • Advanced Search.
    • View Unanswered Posts.
    • Active/New Topics.
    • Posts Since Last Visit.
    • Search Flood Control.
  • Security:
    • All passwords are entirely hashed before stored in the database.
    • Type-aware Parameter Handling and Database Layer.
  • Plugins to connect phpBB to other applications.
    • Authentication – authenticate using the database, Facebook, Google, Twitter, other OAuth sources, LDAP, and Apache. Other custom authentication methods can also added with extensions.
    • Search – MySQL native is included with phpBB. Additional plugins, such as Sphinx, are available.
    • Cache – includes plugins for file-based cache, memcache, X-Cache, APC, eAccelerator and Redis.
    • CAPTCHA – includes Classic GD, 3D Wave, Q&A, and reCAPTCHA plugins by default.
  • Notifications – multiple methods of notifying users of activities on the board.
  • UTF-8 support.

Support: Blog
Developer: phpBB Limited
License: GNU GPL


phpBB is written in PHP. Learn PHP with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

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