Akismet + phpBB3 = Clean Forums

Update: deprecated by phpBB 3.1+

I’ve dealt with spam registrations and spam posts for years now in an online forum that I host. Its a burden on the users and a burden on (especially) the owner. No one wants to use a forum that can’t seem to control spam and no one wants to have a daily routine of manually purging hundreds of posts and users either! That’s where Akismet comes into play. πŸ˜‰

I’ve used it in combination with WordPress from the beginning and to-date it has blocked nearly 500k spam comments! I enjoy working with web stuff, but I enjoy hacking it together even more.. so I’ve put together a “mod” package that will harness the power of Akismet and its super easy to install! While it won’t take care of spam registrations (you’ll need something else for that), it should be able to dramatically curb spam posts!

What you need

  • A web server running at least PHP 5 with phpBB 3 installed (I do not support phpBB2 or lower).
  • An Akismet API Key (* Free for personal use, the donation bar DOESΒ drop to $0, though donate if you wish).
  • My phpBB + Akismet Installation package
  • FTP Access to your phpBB server
  • 15-20 minutes for setup time

Continue reading “Akismet + phpBB3 = Clean Forums”

Finally updated to phpBB 3.0.5

After weeks of postponing the phpBB 3.0.5 update, I’ve finally gotten around to installing it on my BimmerMania.com forums.

I’ve not been very impressed with phpBB since I first started using in way back when the 2.x branch was the latest stable.

Now that phpBB3 has been bombarded with spam, I’ve been forced to try new anti-spam measures.

I’m very disappointed in their community support for this issue, but I was able to find a great post that covers several options. It’s entitled Preventing Spam in 3.0 and it’s been the best sort of spam solutions I’ve found for phpBB3.

If you’re having problems with spam bots on your phpBB forums, then I would highly suggest that you look into these solutions and pick one that works for you.

In the meantime, I’ll be waiting for phpBB to release some sort of solution to all of this and become as reliable and stable as WordPress has been.

Easy theme and plugin (a.k.a. mod) installs, updates and uninstalls would also be highly appreciated. As well as a one click automatic update system for phpBB itself.

phpBB still has a long way to go before it will be as friendly as the current WordPress admin panel, but all of this manual work isn’t enough to convince me that a better solution is available…so I guess I’ll be sticking with phpBB3 for a while.

phpBB 3.0.2 released

Only an hour ago phpBB 3.0.2 was released to the public! If you’re like me and always decide to upgrade your blogs and forums to the latest stable versions immediately when they are released, then you may enjoy a post I will be putting together on the update process from phpBB 3.0.1 to 3.0.2.

Since many of us, including myself, tend to search around from time to time online for simplified and quick guides for these tedious little tasks…I will be writing a simplified list of steps or at least explainations to the steps that are already provided with the upgrading packages.

Maybe my explanations to some of the steps will help you understand just a little bit better what is going on when you are updating phpBB.

Well, I’ll keep you posted here with a link to the guide when I complete it. Until then, don’t break your phpBB 3.0.1 forums. πŸ˜›

More progress on BimmerMania.com phpBB3 conversion!

While sitting on my butt at home (after another surgery) I’ve been converting my BimmerMania.com website from phpBB 2.0.23 to phpBB 3.x. The actual forum was fairly straight forward and simple to convert! That took about 15-20 minutes before that part was complete. That is counting the time that I wasted searching for guides, tips and tricks on the conversion so I wouldn’t piss off any members of the site by messing up anything. πŸ˜€

Well, I made the new design live and the board is enabled! I’m still tweaking several pages, but I decided to make go a head and make it live simply because the boards are pretty active and I didn’t want to manually copy new posts from the old forum which was live (phpBB2) to the new one (phpBB3). That would have been too much work! Oh and copying over new members and matching their posts.

The conversion is simple, but it’s a one time deal, you can’t sync several times to update posts and members as far as I know. If I could have just synchronized all of the posts and members later then I would have completed the entire conversion behind the scenes and released it all at once. Oh well.

Anyhoo, the fun and long part of the conversion if two fold:

  1. Recreating all of the custom pages, such as the downloads section, takes some time to perfect. I have a good habit of trying to validate all of my pages (the entire site), so it takes a bit longer per page than just making the content show up. πŸ˜‰ (Btw: WordPress has a nasty habit of mixing lists and <p>’s like crazy. I’m still trying to work out some of those validation errors. πŸ™ Can’t blame anyone but myself..and the javascript back-end to the visual editor, lol.)
  2. Tweaking the theme to look awesome, clean, slick, relevant -> Zen. This is one of the most important aspects of web design in order to get a crowd to use the site. I mean, who wants to use a website that looks like it was designed back in the text only days of the world wide web? Even if it worked perfect and never made or caused any mistakes..the interface has to be appealing!

Well, I’m now about half way done recreating the downloads section of the site. The only remaining portions after this are the contact page (it’s there, but none functional at the moment) and a garage. There are apparently no garages made as of yet for phpBB 3.x, so it looks like I may need to port the car garage that I used in phpBB 2.x over. This could take some time. πŸ™

Oh well, back to work!

UPDATE (2008-05-23):
Well, BimmerMania.com is pretty much completely converted to phpBB 3.0.1! I’ve held off on a couple of items in my to-do list until I have time to get around to them. They aren’t show-stoppers, so the site is fine without them (just two fairly small tweaks).

The phpBB Garage for phpBB 3.x is coming kind of slow. I’d prefer to use a Garage that’s already been developed, but hey..what are you gonna do when there’s nothing out there already!? If anyone comes across a garage mod then please let me know!

Upgrade: phpBB 2.0.23 to phpBB 3.0.1

Well, I’m in the process of upgrading my BimmerMania.com forum from the now retired phpBB 2.x line. The candidate for the upgrade in the fresh phpBB 3.0.1 release!

This latest 3.x release has been out for a little while now, but I’ve been hesitant to upgrade since I was busy with school and everything. Now that the summer break is here and I’ll be off my feet anyway for a while (surgery), I figured I’d go a head and upgrade!

The main reason that I put it off for so long is because of the customizations that I made to the original BimmerMania.com forum (header, icons, extra pages such as the downloads and links and home/intro pages). Now that I have plenty of time for tweaking and working out any bugs, I can finally upgrade! Everyone who knows me knows that I love using the latest and the greatest, hehe.

A simple break down of the process needed to upgrade is as follows:

  1. Backup your current phpBB 2.x database by downloading it and saving it.

  2. Go to phpBB.com and download the latest 3.x version from the link on the homepage (file types include zip and tar.bz2).

  3. Extract the archive and upload the folder to your server.

  4. Open your web browser and navigate to the folder that you uploaded to the server.

  5. To upgrade from 2.x to 3.x, you want to make a new installation first, making sure to use a different table prefix. My phpBB 2.x tables didn’t have a prefix (I removed the phpBB_ prefix from them upon installation) so I used phpBB_ which is the default.

    If you are already using phpBB_ as your table prefix for phpBB 2.x then you could use something like phpBB3_ for this conversion.

  6. After following the new installation instructions and completing them, you’ll be prompted to either convert an existing forum (phpBB 2.x) or make the current installation live, which means the general public can see it. You want to convert and existing forum here. Just follow the directions and everything will be updated.

    Your old 2.x tables will not be removed. So if anything goes wrong with the conversion, your original forum is still working fine. After the conversion, you may want to go in and remove the old table items from the 2.x build as this is not done manually.

  7. Next, you’ll want to edit the template and make other changes to the overall appearance of the site as you see fit before making it live.

  8. Once everything is working and in place, you can upload a brief and temporary under construction index.htm or index.php page while you move the contents of the phpBB3 folder to the root directory to make it live.

    This can be done quickly with an ftp client by creating a folder called phpBB2 and dragging all of the contents of the root folder (except the phpBB3 folder) over the phpBB2 folder and dropping them to move them.Next, open the phpBB3 folder and select all of the contents. Now drag and drop them over the parent directory folder (it has the two dots: “..”). This will move the contents to the previous folder (should be root).

    The last step is to delete or rename the temporary under construction page so that the new forum shows up live! Everything should now be converted and if you feel ready, you can delete the phpBB2 and phpBB3 folders!

Well, that’s the conversion process in a nut shell, lol. If you have any comments or suggestions then please do post them! I’m currently in the middle of the above process, but since I’m editing the theme so much…I’m going to leave the phpBB 2.x version live for a while so the site isn’t down too long. πŸ˜‰