phpBB 3.0.x to phpBB 3.2.x

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phpBB 3.0.x to phpBB 3.2.x

Postby Kaihaku » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:50 pm

I shared this over at Shining Force Central and thought, why not, I'll share it here as well...

Well... After years of inactivity I impulsively decided to upgrade my old forums (phpBB 3.0.x) to the latest version (phpBB 3.2.x). I'm not really sure why I decided to do this...I don't expect my forums to be active again - I don't even plan on being active there myself. I could argue that it was a security upgrade - which is valid - or that I really wanted to login using OAUTH - which is cool - but, again, my forums are dead so I might as well just have deleted them (except that I like to go back and read them occasionally). But I often make nonsensical decisions.

In any case... I thought I'd offer some insights on the chance that Moogie decides to upgrade the SFC forums at some point. (Sidenote: There's an import script for phpBB to Discord, so that's kind of cool.) phpBB is just as difficult to upgrade as I remember, which is pretty sad considering how easy Wordpress has made it, and the following is the strategy that I wished I'd taken from the onset.

  • Backup: Of course the first step is to back-up everything. This saved me because I screwed it all up later on.
  • phpBB Clean Install: Install the latest version of phpBB in a temp location. The phpBB upgrade process is very buggy and error prone. It's better, surprise, to restore the database in a fresh install than upgrade an existing forum. But you still have to upgrade the database to do this. Upload the contents of the current forum's Image and File folders to carry over Avatars, custom smilies, and such.
  • phpBB Purge: Delete all themes except prosilver and all language packs except British English. Change any anti-spam measures back to the default reCaptacha. Download the Support Toolkit and run it to clean the database of any custom data.
  • phpBB Dirty Upgrade: Delete everything except the Files folder, Store folder, Images folder, and config.php. Replace everything deleted with the phpBB 3.1.x versions (I skipped right to phpBB 3.2.x as some instructed and this was a mistake). Run the update then repeat with the phpBB 3.2.x files (I had to edit php.ini to give more memory).
  • phpBB 3.2.x Transfer: If everything worked (I had a terrible time with the database update and had to fiddle with php.ini/switch php versions) then a messy install of phpBB 3.2.x should be up and running. Mine had some noticeable gaps where MODs had been and other strange relics. Then download the back-up, point the dirty install somewhere else, point the clean to the desired location, unzip the gz back-up (it timed out decompressing it server side for me), upload and restore the backup. This should result in a clean board with all of the old topics, posts, private messages, and members.

I tried to upgrade directly from 3.0.x to 3.2.x and it was great reminder of how much I take modern CMS platforms for granted. Whew. I haven't played around in phpBB 3.2.x much yet but there was some talk in the changelog about adopting current standards (like installing extensions through the ACP) - I'm curious to see how that worked out.

Anyway - this probably is useless information but thought I'd post it here while it's still in my brain.


The latest version has some nice features and security upgrades, but probably the most important is OAUTH support which enables log-in by Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc. Don't know if that would bring more life to the boards or not - my impression at Shining Force Central has been that it's primarily Sega not releasing games that's causing the boards to go inactive.
The Once and Future Kai
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