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Complete User and Administration Guide

Most Recently updated on September 16, 2015.

Important Notice

This Document contains almost everything you should initially know about miniBB, however it was composed in the earliest years of miniBB project, and during the next few years only minor changes were made. That's why we must warn you: this version of the Guide doesn't cover absolutely every function and possibility of miniBB, as there's required the big time to review them all. We apologize in advance for possible grammar defects you may discover during your reading, and we hope you'll be patient and understand, that preparing a comprehensive Manual is even a bigger task than coding the Program itself. If you are not sure if some feature exists, or how this and that works, do not hesitate to ask us on our forums. We are always willing to help the people in all questions, which affect miniBB software.

  1. Terminology
  2. Copyrights
  3. Introduction
  4. Requirements
  5. Installation
    1. File list
    2. Setting up the software: Step #1
    3. Creating forums
  6. Customization
    1. Configuring the software: Step #2
    2. Templates
    3. Language packs
    4. Skins: CSS file
  7. Administrative options
    1. Admin panel
    2. "Hidden" admin forums options
    3. Moderators
  8. Forums-wide user options
    1. Users hierarchy
    2. User's registration
    3. User's login
    4. User's language
    5. New topics and replies
    6. Locking topics
    7. Editing messages
    8. Editing preferences
    9. Changing user password
    10. Forgotten password
    11. Forums search panel
    12. Statistics
  9. Some notes for developers
    1. Language packs
    2. Database modules
    3. Including in your own PHP script
    4. Keywords-rich and user-friendly URLs using Apache's mod_rewrite engine
    5. PHP scripts
  10. Upgrading miniBB
  11. GNU Free Documentation License

Terminology used in this Manual

  • Forum software, also called "bulletin board", "message board", "Internet forum" etc., is a program for public exchanging messages. miniBB is exactly about it. With miniBB, you can build your own forum.
  • Message is a piece of information of forum, posted by a certain Member or a Guest (anonymous poster). Also may be called "Post" or "Reply".
  • Topic is a collection of messages following the same subject. Also may be called "Thread". Topic consists of messages listing.
  • Forum is a collection of Topics. "Forums" mean the message board in whole and consists of forums listing on the front page, while a single "Forum" is related to a certain subject of discussions. Forum consists of topics listing. Recent Topics from all Forums at once are displayed on the front page of miniBB.
  • Super-title in miniBB is a replacement of a forum group or category. It is usually displayed only on the front page or forum dropdown choice box above the forum's title.
  • Forums Member - a person on the forum, who has registered a virtual account, consisting of username, password and email address, which are automatically plugged-in when the member logs-in on forum amongst the other provided information. Also may be called "user" or "forums participant". Each Member has its own public profile referenced in a message.
  • Administrator, or may be simply called "Admin", is the only one person in miniBB who has access to the Admin Panel, consisting of forums and members lower level management.
  • Moderator is the assigned member for certain forum, which is specially privileged by the Administrator to manage, track and control forum messages and topics, also as member accounts.


miniBB is a GPL project (read more on Free Software Foundation about GPL License), programmed by Paul Puzyrev and Sergei Larionov. You are allowed to copy/distribute/modify all scripts under terms of GPL. You may edit every opened source file which is present in miniBB core package or its extension. Still, if you are using the software under the free GPL License terms, according to the sections 1 and 2c of this License, you are not allowed to remove miniBB copyright attribution link from the template "main_footer.html" (even you may edit it's look or location) and offer miniBB as "your" product or part of website, putting just your own copyright over all forum pages. For removing the link and/or any copyright information, you need to buy miniBB commercial license. If you have removed miniBB attribution link without allowance, it means you have stolen and pirated the software itself. Do you know any good examples of web projects which were successful using a pirated software?.. Before being a thief, think about what it brings you, or rather what it won't bring you.

If you want to integrate miniBB into your own software, there are two ways of doing that: a) distributing your software for free with the proper license, you should mention miniBB's authors copyright intact in every script, and you can do that without any persmission from us, since GPL license covers that; b) distributing your software commercially, you should either to keep all miniBB copyright notices as in the free software's case, but if you want to remove all references to us, we need to sign a special commercial agreement, which is discussed individually for each case.


miniBB (an abbreviation of "minimalist bulletin board") is a flat-type (not threaded) bulletin board, discussion forums software, written in PHP and using mySQL or another PHP-compatible database as data backend. "Mini" doesn't mean "nothing". Specially developed for small and medium forum communities, which have less than 100 unique posts per day, miniBB also could be, and used in much larger projects. If you take a look at miniBB settings file, or this manual, you'll find a lot of options, both for users and administrator, which allow full and in-time control over the board.

This guide refers to almost all miniBB features and possibilities. It is created both for user and administrator, and is included in miniBB package as the "default" FAQ document. You can use this manual as basic user FAQ for your page under GNU Free Documentation License described below. If you are using this guide as FAQ in your forums, remove all administration and developers guides. Regular users should be informed only about related options.

Some options described in this manual require basic HTML and PHP knowledge. If you are on beginner-user level, study it very carefully before applying any modifications to the miniBB package. Remember: this software comes free, but with no warranties.


There are no specific requirements of the server type, OS, PHP or mySQL version. Every system that supports PHP/mySQL combination, should also support miniBB. We've got reports that miniBB was successfully up & running on Unix, Linux, Windows, Novell, MacOSX servers, with Apache or IIS, or other typical web-server installed. As about PHP or database version, we recommend to use only final and stable versions of these products. It's the question of your own security at first. However, since PHP is growing fast, we may also recommend to study the most up-to-date requirements page at

Before installing miniBB, make sure you have PHP installed on your server, and you have mySQL host, login and password information which you'll need to put into the configuration file.


Files list

By default miniBB has the aforementioned files & folders structure.

	[forum_icons]- a folder where all forum icons reside
			default.gif * - default forum icon coming with miniBB package
	button_bold.gif - BB-code's Bold button icon
	button_image.gif - BB-code's Referenced Image button icon
	button_italic.gif - BB-code's Italic button icon
	button_url.gif - BB-code's URL button icon
	dottedhl.gif - styling image of the A:hovered ULRs
	keypwd.gif - styling icon for protected by a password forums
	menubg.jpg - default heading's background table's image
	mini_bb.gif - white-on-transparent icon for miniBB (could be put on dark backgrounds)
	minibb.gif - blue-on-transparent icon for miniBB (could be put on light backgrounds)
	p.gif - 1x1 px transparent dot icon (used in the proper aligning of HTML tables)
	page.gif - Forum Pagination's row icon
	s.gif - Forum Reply's icon
	topic_default.gif - default icon for Topic item in Topics listing
	topic_empty.gif - icon indicating not-answered Topics in Topics listing
	topic_hot.gif - icon indicating very active Topics in Topics listing, containing more than $viewmaxreplys messages
	topic_locked.gif - icon indicating a Locked Topic in Topics listing
	topic_reverse.gif - icon indicating a reversed (latest replies first) Topic in Topics listing
	topic_sticky.gif - icon indicating a Sticky Topic in Topics listing
	topic_stlock.gif - icon indicating a Sticky Topic in Topics listing, which is Locked
[LANG] - this folder contains all possible Language packs and translations for the forum
	eng.php - default language pack for the forum, containing all possible translations; 
[TEMPLATES] - this folder stores forum templates which may be all modified non-destructively.
Below are described forum options they are used in.
	admin_addforum1.html - forum adding form in the Admin panel
	admin_banusr1.html - user banning form in the Admin panel
	admin_deleteban1.html - deletion of user's ban form in the Admin panel
	admin_editforum1.html - forum editing form in the Admin panel (step 1: choosing the forum)
	admin_editforum2.html - forum editing form in the Admin panel (step 2: modifying the forum)
	admin_export_emails.html - exporting user emails form in the Admin panel
	admin_login.html - Admin panel's login form
	admin_panel.html - Admin panel's options list
	admin_removeuser1.html - removing user form
	admin_searchusers.html - searching users form in the Admin panel
	admin_searchusersres.html - searching users results in the Admin panel
	admin_sendmails1.html - "removing email from topic subscriptions" form in the Admin panel
	admin_viewsubs.html - viewing subscriptions list for Admin and Moderators
	email_admin_userregister_eng.txt - email text when notifying member on registration; eng
	may be added or changed to your language's prefix
	email_reply_notify_eng.txt - email notification text when notifying member on a new Message in Topic
	email_user_confirm_eng.txt - email confirmation text when confirming member's registration
	email_user_password_eng.txt - email confirmation text when sending forgotten password to a member
	email_user_register_eng.txt - new registration's greetings
	faq.html - the content located under the "Manual" link on the board (by default, includes reference to this Manual)
	form.js - JavaScript codes for various client-side procedures on the board
	go.html - intermediate message displayed when $metaLocation option is set
	main_access_denied.html - message displayed when the user has been banned by the IP address or user ID
	main_footer.html - common footer for all forum pages
	main_forumgroup.html - forum's super-title layout for the front forums page if $startPageModern=FALSE;
	main_forums.html - forum listing's layout for the front forums page if $startPageModern=FALSE; (old-school look)
	main_forums_cell.html - forum listing's raw's layout for the front forums page if $startPageModern=FALSE;
	main_forums_list.html - forums dropdown box displayed beneath each topics listing
	main_header.html - common header for all forum pages (containing meta-tags, keywords, dynamic titles, navigation menu, etc.)
	main_last_discuss_cell.html - Recent Topics' raw's layout for the front forums page if $startPageModern=FALSE;
	main_last_discussions.html - Recent Topics' general layout for the front forums page if $startPageModern=FALSE;
	main_modern_fcell.html - forum listing's raw's layout for the front forums page if $startPageModern=TRUE;
	main_modern_layout.html - forum layout for the "modern" version of the board if $startPageModern=TRUE;
	main_modern_lcell.html - Recent Topics' raw's layout for the front forums page if $startPageModern=TRUE;
	main_modern_stitle.html - forum's super-title layout for the front forums page if $startPageModern=TRUE;
	main_post_area.html - common code for posting form's table and the submit button
	main_post_closed.html - "Topic is closed" status
	main_post_form.html - common posting form and related BB-code buttons
	main_posts.html - topic's general layout
	main_posts_cell.html - topic's raw's layout
	main_topics.html - topics listing's general layout
	main_topics_cell.html - topics listing's raw's general layout
	main_user_info.html - public member's profile's general layout
	main_user_info_cell.html - public member's profile's raw's layout
	main_warning.html - common template to display warnings, error messages, notices etc.
	manual_eng.html - this Manual
	protect_forums.html - form displayed when all forums are protected by a password
	search.html - search forums form
	stats.html - forums statistics
	stats_bar.html - forums statistics' raw's bar layout
	tools_edit_post.html - editing message form
	tools_edit_topic_title.html - editing topic's title form
	tools_move_topic.html - moving topic form
	tools_send_password.html - sending forgotten password form
	tools_userips.html - list of all members posted from the certain IP address
	user_dataform.html - member's profile form
	user_logged_in.html - member's logged-in status
	user_login_form.html - member's logged-out status
	user_login_only_form.html - common table for member's login status
_install.php - software's auto-installation file. Should be removed after installation!
_install_mysql.sql - software's installation file (SQL commands). Should be removed after installation!
bb_admin.php - Admin Panel's core script; should be renamed to the other filename for security reasons.
bb_codes.php - core functions for BB codes; it could be non-destructively extended with new BB-codes.
bb_cookie.php - core functions for member's authorization
bb_default_style.css - CSS properties (skin theme) for the board (font colors, sizes, table widths, borders, hyperlink colors etc.)
bb_func_checkusr.php - core functions for checking member's registration and profile updates
bb_func_confpwd.php - core functions for password confirmation via email
bb_func_delmsg.php - core functions for deleting a message
bb_func_deltopic.php - core functions for deleting a topic
bb_func_deluser.php - core functions for deleting/blocking a user
bb_func_editmsg.php - core functions for editing a message
bb_func_editprf.php - core functions for editing member's profile
bb_func_forums.php - core functions to display forums listing in a dropdown box
bb_func_inslng.php - core function to display all available languages to select in member's profile
bb_func_ldisc.php - core functions to display Recent Topics
bb_func_locktop.php - core functions for locking a topic
bb_func_login.php - core functions for handling login on the board
bb_func_man.php - core functions to parse Manual
bb_func_movetpc.php - core functions for moving a topic
bb_func_posthold.php - core functions to display so called "post-hold" form,
when the message can't be posted for some reason
bb_func_pthread.php - core functions to post a new message
bb_func_ptopic.php - core functions to post a new topic
bb_func_regusr.php - core functions to register an account
bb_func_search.php - core functions to search forums
bb_func_sendpwd.php - core functions to send a forgotten password
bb_func_stats.php - core functions to display statistics of forums
bb_func_sticky.php - core functions to make a topic "sticky" (always appearing on top of a certain forum)
bb_func_supersticky.php - core functions to make and display a topic as "super-sticky" (always appearing on top of all forum listings)
bb_func_txt.php - core text-parsing functions
bb_func_unsub.php - core functions to unsubscribe from a topic
bb_func_usernfo.php - core functions to display member's profile
bb_func_usrdat.php - core functions to parse entered profile's values
bb_func_vforum.php - core functions to display forums listing
bb_func_viewip.php - core functions to display list of usernames which has been posted from the same IP address
bb_func_vthread.php - core functions to display messages listing (topic)
bb_func_vtopic.php - core functions to display topics listing (forum)
bb_functions.php - common software's functions and the version container
bb_plugins.php - script to extend with different add-ons at the common non-destructive level
bb_plugins2.php - script to extend with different add-ons at the common non-destructive level
bb_plugins_user.php - script to extend with different add-ons at the member's level
bb_specials.php - additional forum options, like defs for private, read-only and post-only forums, moderators assignments,
members custom rankings etc.
COPYING - GPL License file
favicon.ico - default icon to display in the browser's bar and browser's bookmarks
index.php - root software's script; may be renamed to have a different filename.
robots.txt - default 'robots' file for search engines
setup_mysql.php - MySQL requests and functions module; you may develop another SQL-module compatible with
PHP based on these functions (MSSQL, Postgre, MySQLite etc.)
setup_options.php - common root settings file

You can't rename forum's root folders, else the software won't function properly.

Depending on the installed add-ons, optionally, there may be also various plug-in script files located under the abovementioned folders.

Setting up the software: Step #1

Not depending on what kind of miniBB version or add-ons are you going to install, you should always try the miniBB Compiler first, taking care of your time and health. This tool allows to automate the process of manual installations, making miniBB setup possible in a minute. Whatever package you have on output, will be compatible with everything listed in this chapter below.

Before you are going to install miniBB, at first, you already should have a web-hosting space and the registered domain, under which your forums will reside. One copy of MiniBB could be executed on one domain only.

Hosting package should support PHP and mySQL

There should be a mySQL database available, and you should know its name, login, password and host name where it resides. This data is required for the miniBB installation. If you don't know what is a mySQL database, try to search the web first. On many hosting plans, there are available administration tools like cPanel, where you could create a database on your own.

mySQL's user name, password, host and database should be known and well-working in advance. According to the mySQL's access privileges, it must be a "super-user", which is allowed to create tables. Many users don't know a lot about these values, and get errors like Database/configuration error. or Database/configuration error (DB is missing)., and are filling our support staff with the same type questions all related just to improper setup of mySQL. miniBB doesn't use anything specific for connection to database - they are only regular PHP/mySQL functions. If you will get such errors via Installation, it will mean you have specified wrong settings.

Unpack '' package somewhere on your disk, where '' stands for the basic free version, or for the compiled package. Be sure you are unpacked all files and folders match the original folders structure on your disk as it's provided in the package. Make sure you have [IMG], [LANG], [TEMPLATES] folders extracted, and they are contained with proper files.

You should transfer all miniBB package files and folders to the place under your hosting, where you would like to see your forum running. Use File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client for that; hereby you should have FTP access (login and password) to the server. If you don't know what is FTP and how to use it, try to search the web first. Use a qualified FTP client program for this purpose, because files should be not broken or binary-converted when transferring on the server. Our FTP client recommendation is Total Commander.

When all files are transferred, make sure you have uploaded them all, and the files/folders structure matches the original. Compare all uploaded and original files by size, one-by-one, to the original package. It is a very common mistake, when some file has been not uploaded in full (during the connection error, or FTP client reset error), and all that may give an additional error report when executing miniBB, so it will not execute partially or in full. For example, this is a reason for common error reports like "TEMPLATE NOT FOUND", "Fatal error.", "...failed to open stream: No such file or directory in...", "Failed opening ... for inclusion..." etc.

By default, in the basic mode, MiniBB doesn't require special file permissions.

On your disk, locate the file called setup_options.php which contains almost every common option of miniBB. Open it for editing in some plain text editor.

Here and further, modify all miniBB files with a qualified text editor! Our recommendation is Notepad2. This editing program, or similar are not storing additional newlines, spaces or breaks before <?php and/or after ?> tags, and it doesn't change the original structure of the file. Having something extra in the file may cause problems with your forum program. For example, you will be unable to log in, and kind of such error will appear: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at....

Under the settings file, you will find a lot of settings, but it is not required to edit all of them in this 1st step. We will edit only some of them, and will explain the others later. Let's begin.

  • $DB = 'mysql'; Depending on your database module, could be 'mysql', 'postgresql' or 'mssql'. Keep 'mysql' for current version of miniBB.
  • $DBhost='localhost'; Specify host name for the forums database. On most hosting plans it is 'localhost', but may vary.
  • $DBname='miniBB'; Specify the name of the database.
  • $DBusr='USERNAME'; Specify the database's username.
  • $DBpwd='PASSWORD'; Specify the database's password.
  • $Tf='minibbtable_forums'; $Tp='minibbtable_posts'; $Tt='minibbtable_topics'; $Tu='minibbtable_users'; $Ts='minibbtable_send_mails'; $Tb='minibbtable_banned'; Specify database's table names - for security reasons, you must change default names.
  • $admin_usr = 'ADMIN_USR'; Specify Administrator's login, is inserted in database also as first engine username with the member's ID equal to 1. Do not use "|" character in the Admin's username (most likely, use only alphanumerical symbols and digits). You may change it anytime later; read on our forums how to change admin's password properly.
  • $admin_pwd = 'ADMIN_PWD'; Specify Admin's password.
  • $admin_email = 'admin@email'; Specify root admin's email. It is not displayed to public on forums.
  • //$reply_to_email=$admin_email; not a mandatory option, which keeps an email-address specified, used in Reply-To, Errors-To and Return-Path fields of all forum emailings. If it's allowed by the server, on this email address you will also get all emails returned by some reason. By default, all emails contain Reply-To email specified in $admin_email.
  • $bb_admin = 'bb_admin.php?'; Admin panel's script's filename - rename default bb_admin.php (administrative file) in a root directory to something else, for security reasons, and then specify the filename here. The value must contain question mark at the end.
  • $main_url='http://www_yourdomain_url/forums'; Full URL (beginning with "http://") to your forums (not to the main site!!!); with no ending slash); used in email notifications and other scripting stuff, like redirect from one page to the other. Must be set correctly in order the board works fine. Pay special attention: and are not the same things, specially when we talk about handling of authorization cookies. If the cookie has been set from, it will not work on (so you won't be logged in), and otherwise. This is a very common mistake, which makes troubles with logging in/out in forums.

Pay attention also at the option $pathToFiles, which is described below. It's not a subject of changing if your miniBB program is running smoothly. However on some operating systems like Windows, and under some server configurations, it will be strongly required, that you set full absolute path to your scripts, so they can be included via PHP's include function properly. Also, many third party libraries functions available in PHP, may require this option to be set as full path (GD or Aspell, for example).

After you've done editing of setup_options.php, save it and update on your server. Then proceed to the Installation itself.

Automatic Installation

Installation of miniBB is very simple and takes less than a minute.

Locate http://www_yourdomain_url/forums/_install.php (this URL stands for your own URL) in your browser. If you have configured everything properly, it should open miniBB installation screen, where some of your server's security options will be automatically detected. Read everything carefully and continue installation, following instructions on that screen. Usually, it takes couple of seconds to create all database tables and admin account on forums.

MiniBB is also possible to install manually. This is recommended only for professionals having troubles or limitations with mySQL database. For manual installation, execute commands located under _install_mysql.sql file and reset admin's account in the admin panel, clicking the proper link.

After installation is completed, delete _install.php and _install_mysql.sql files from the forums folder directory for security reasons.

Creating forums

miniBB engine is using cookies for registered users and admin log in. PHP sessions could be used optionally, but we don't recommend it because of weak search engine mechanisms on sessions. Please refer to "logging" section for more info. So, turn on cookies in your browser for that stuff.

Do a login to your admin page. Usually is "bb_admin.php", but since your are renamed this file (did you?..), only you know what is admin panel URL. So, go to that panel, and probably you will be prompted for your admin login and password. Enter them, and you must go into admin panel. If the trouble appears and you're not able to login, double check your cookie path, domain and name, probably change them and, on IIS servers, try to uncomment "$metaLocation" option (see below).

There you will see a bunch of options for your miniBB forums. We will describe them later, but now we need to create some forums. So, click on "Add forum" link and... follow instructions on the screen! We guess, it will be very easy to create some forums. Refer to "Supertitles" secton - supertitles are actually replacement for subcategories.

Also, we don't recommend to give forums "large names". Be as laconic as possible. First, it is more rememberable, second, large names do not fit in topics or threads listing pages. Search cralwers like Google also don't like them.

When you enter miniBB as administrator, you are also logged in as simple user. You can make posts under your name, edit other posts, make deletions etc. We'll talk about it later. Only one: by default, you should also see "admin panel" link beneath every page. And you can automatically reach your panel following this link, each time you are signed in as admin.


Configuring the software: 2nd step

At this moment, your miniBB should be running already! Go to index.php and check this. But, there is a lot of other options that probably you want to change. Let's refer to setup_options.php again. Note for PHP newbies: //$a='b'; string actually means nothing, and this setting will not work in any case, because this statement is COMMENTED (two slashes before). Removing slashes means UNCOMMENT or ENABLE this setting. For changing setting, change its content between apostrophes (''). Numerical settings may also not contain apostrophes.

  • $cookiedomain = ''; miniBB uses cookies for keeping the login. Here it's defined this Cookie's domain. Most likely you can leave this value as blank, however, if you have problems logging into the forum, set this to your domain name, without the http://. F.e., if your forum is at then set this value to "". Setting it "" will allow to work it from all subdomains of this certain domain.
  • $cookiename = 'miniBBsite'; Cookie name. Use only latin letters, digits and underscore sign specifying it. No spaces, dots or special symbols are allowed, this will make the login impossible to proceed. Should begin with a latin letter.
  • $cookiepath = ''; Cookie setting. Usually you don't need to change this.
  • $cookiesecure = FALSE; Cookie setting. Usually you don't need to change this.
  • $cookie_expires = 3600; This is the number of seconds that a session lasts for, 3600 = 1 hour, 2592000 = 30 days. The session will exprire if the user doesn't view a page on the forum within this amount of time. If you are experiencing problems with international users, set this to 25 hours.
  • $cookie_renew = 1800; This is the time after which session is sent again; for example, user was logged once, then logs again (password is not asked), works and this amount of time is reached. Usually it is not necessary to change this.
  • $lang='eng'; Language used in miniBB interface. Just check how your language file in directory "lang" is called (example: eng.php is 'eng', rus.php is 'rus'). By default, only english language file is included. For more language packs, refer to our site.
  • $skin='default'; The name of the CSS-skin (in this case, "bb_default_style.css"). Exambles for using skin: 'default', 'light' or 'classic'. For more skins, refer to our site. In many cases, you need to leave the title and edit default skin itself.
  • $sitename='Community build on miniBB'; Forum's title. Appears on all pages, as well as in notification email subjects and bodies. Try to avoid long titles. First of all, it will affect the overall look & feel of the board, because such titles are widely used in forums navigation links. Second, modern email spam filters may consider emails with more than 55 characters subject as "non-human" and block them. MiniBB team's recommendation is to put maximum of 4 most important keywords in such title, describing your forums, with no overlimiting of 35 characters.
  • $emailadmin=1; notify admin when a new profile is registered. 0 for "no", 1 for "yes".
  • $emailusers=1; If 1, users can subscribe to email notification on all topics and posts they make (even if they are not authors of these topics or posts). Recommended only for small and medium forums. If your forums have a lot of visitors and posters, we recommend to turn this to 0. This setting doesn't affect forgotten password sendings and registration password sendings (see below). Beginning from the version RC3a, it is possible to define, if users may receive notifications on their chosen language (set $emailusers=2;). In this case, you should create email notification files with language 3 letters postfix, for example: email_reply_notify_rus.txt, email_user_register_rus.txt, email_user_password_rus.txt for Russian language (if you defined $lang='rus';). If these files do not exist, default language pack file (email_reply_notify_eng.txt, email_user_register_eng.txt or email_user_password_eng.txt) will be taken. For admin and system notifications, default language pack is taken with ('_eng' postfix).
  • $userRegName = '_A-Za-z0-9 '; Via registration, users can use only these symbols in their login name. You can add "international" letters (f.e., specific russian symbols under special encoding table). String is based on REGEXP match, so if you are not sure, don't touch it. DON'T ADD "|" sign please, and other specific symbols too (especially like <, >, apostrophe ' and quotes "), else it may lead to security problems with your forum!
  • $l_sepr is a symbol to separate some values like menu items. For example, set it to '·' and you'll get small middle dot.
  • $post_text_maxlength='10240'; Max characters and spaces allowed in 1 message. Don't set to 0 - then your visitors will not be able to post anything.
  • $post_word_maxlength=70; Max amount of chars, allowed in 1 word. Used for disabling "long URLs destroys your design" thing.
  • $topic_max_length=70; Max amount of chars, allowed in topic title.
  • $viewmaxtopic=30; How many topics to show on one page.
  • $viewlastdiscussions=30; How many last discussions to show on 1st page, 0 disables last discussions (see below what means "last discussions").
  • $viewmaxreplys=30; How many replies to show on one page.
  • $viewmaxsearch=40; Max search results per page.
  • $viewpagelim=50; Max pages you can view in either search, posts or topics list.
  • $viewTopicsIfOnlyOneForum=0; If you have only one forum, topics inside can be automatically displayed on 1st page. 1 for yes, 0 for no.
  • $protectWholeForum = 0; Should we protect all forums by one password? If value is 1, two values below are defined as well. Else set to 0.
  • $protectWholeForumPwd = 'SOME_PWD'; Password for protecting the whole forum.
  • $postRange = 60; Antispam: time range in secs. User can not post a message less than after this time. Attention: zero (0) disables antispam!
  • $dateOnlyFormat = 'j F Y'; PHP date's definition containing year, month and day only. They could be replaced to "Today" and "Yesterday" on forums, if such variable is specified. Still, it's not a mandatory setting.
  • $timeOnlyFormat = 'H:i'; PHP time's definition containing hours, minutes, and seconds only.
  • $dateFormat = $dateOnlyFormat.' '.$timeOnlyFormat; or $dateFormat = 'j F Y H:i:s'; Date format for displaying in forums. The same syntax as defined in PHP. Textual English month names defined by 'F' are replaced to months definitions taken from the language file. If you would like to display "Today" and "Yesterday" instead of a date, put the concatenation of two above options mentioned. Else specify the regular date format and disable two options above.
  • $disallowNames=array('anonymous', 'ass', 'etc.'); This feature prevents users from registering forbidden names. In apostrophes, define unwelcomed user registration names. If you are using more than 1 language pack, define here all strings under name $l_anonymous in language pack, else visitor will be able to register under 'Anonymous' name, for example. Case doesn't matter when you define a word. You could also define a word fragment here, so users will not be able to register login name which contains this fragment.
  • $disallowNamesIndex=array('admin'); Combined together with $disallowNames, allows to set list of prohibited usernames which cannot be used via user's registration. The difference is that script checks for a word fragment defined in $disallowNames and exact match with words defined in $disallowNamesIndex. For example, having "admin" in $disallowNames you prohibit users register even the names like "badminton". So, put fragments in the first array and exact matches in the second.
  • $sortingTopics=0; If 1, topics are sorted by new topics even for anonymous users; else they are sorted by new answers.
  • $topStats=4; Must be either 1, 2, 3 or 4 - correspondly for statistics' Top5, Top10, Top20 and Top40.
  • $genEmailDisable=0; 1 totally disables system email sendings: forgotten password sending and registration password sending, if you enabled $closeRegister (see below). Useful for those who has no sendmail or another program installed on the server.
  • $defDays=365; Default term value which defines statistics for that days period (for example, if you want to show statistics within 1 month as a default value, set it to 30).
  • $userUnlock=0; If it is set to 0, registered user can not unlock his topic again after it was locked (by admin or himself), and vice versa. If set to 2, users are not able to lock their topics in general (avail. from ver. 2.0 RC3).
  • $emailadmposts=0; notify admin when a new message or topic is being posted; exclusion: if admin is not the message's author on himself. 1 for "yes", 0 for "no". If it is equal to 0, admin will not receive notification emails, but will be allowed to subscribe to certain topic(s) manually, turning on the notifications checkbox.
  • $useredit=86400; Parameter defines number of seconds, after which user WILL NOT BE ABLE to edit his message. By default is 1 day (86400 sec.) If 0 or not set, user will be able to edit his post everytime.
  • //$metaLocation='go'; This option should solve login/logout problem which has been experienced by some users on IIS servers and other exotic servers. These servers can not send 2 headers (cookie and location) one after another. Having go.html file (or any other file, cause filename can be set here) in the templates forums directory with meta header in it, you first will visit that file, and then you'll be relocated from it to another place. You can edit go.html if your wish; for now, its structure is very simple and it redirects within 0 seconds, so probably you won't ever actually see it. This option is not turned on by default.
  • //$closeRegister=1; setting this to 1, it is possible to avoid "open" registrations. By default when user registers, he enters desired login/password and from the first step becomes a registered user. It is possible to avoid incorrect email address upon registration in that case. If you set this setting to 1 (default is still 0 or unset), on the registration form user will not see the password field, and will receive it via email provided upon registration (password will be generated automatically). In the template user_dataform.html there should be <!--PASSWORD--><!--/PASSWORD--> tags; when registering, user won't see the inner content between these tags, but will see it only editing the profile (so the tags are needed because the same template is used for the registration and modifying the profile). Having this option set, you SHOULD set $genEmailDisable parameter equal to 0. And of course you should have sendmail working ok. If you set this option to 1, don't forget to edit registration message $l_goToLogin in language pack, when you should inform the user that he will get his password on email. Alternatively, in your forums manual mention that registered users should enter their correct email address, because password will be sent here. If you have this option set, user must confirm email also if he changes it in Preferences.
  • //$timeDiff=21600; Allows you to set time difference between you and server, so all dates are displayed in your time zone. This could be a rare thing and necessary only if you, for example, have server in US and are visiting it from Norway. You need to set up $timeDiff in seconds. Positive 21600 sets up +6 hours of time difference. Note that miniBB is still saving server time into SQL database. This option will only re-calculate the server times in your format. Setting this, of course, will slow down the execution of scripts.
  • //$stats_barWidthLim='31'; this setting affects statistics bar length. In most cases, you do not change this.
  • $dbUserSheme=array(

    This database scheme array describes relations between field names in user_data_form.html (registration, profile) correspondingly to database, and database indexes used in userinfo viewing. So, you can use your own database table for usernames (for example, as another part of your site) and only define relations here. Relation format: [MINIBB DEF] => array([NUMERICAL_INDEX_KEY],[TABLE_FIELD_NAME],[FORM_FIELD_NAME]); Pay attention that the structure of fields, their types must be default as in miniBB database, for example, user_password must be saved in md5 format. Edit this option ONLY if you are NOT NEWBIE!

    How the registration/profile script works: it goes through every [MINIBB DEFINITION], and correspondly parses a $_POST[FORM_FIELD_NAME]. When viewing profile, [INDEX] is taken into consideration. Fields like "user_regdate" or "activity" are not defined by user, so, it is not necessary (and even forbidden) to define them here.

    Second password field must be named 'passwd2'.

    All values in a form must be named as their fields. Example: field "login" will be valued as "{$login}".

    For viewing new or custom fields on User Info page, you need to set corresponding $l_usrInfo variable. Keys of this array are the same as keys for table fields (for example, if key for user_icq is 5, ICQ language definition is $l_usrInfo[5]). user_custom1, user_custom2, user_custom3 database fields can be displayed on the user info page as well you will need to add corresponding values for these to the language pack though: $l_usrInfo[12], $l_usrInfo[13] and $l_usrInfo[14] ,- accordingly. You may also add additional custom fields, naming them so they contain 'user_custom' in the system key definition. In that case, set corresponding $l_usrInfo so it begins from 15. For example, if you have 'user_custom1', 'user_custom2', 'user_custom_name', 'user_custom_surname' listed in order one by one, $l_usrInfo keys are 12, 13, 14, 15.

    If you have enabled email notifications about new user registrations and/or send registration information to user's email, you MUST also fix variables defining user data, in the templates: templates: email_admin_userregister.txt, email_user_register.txt. Variables must correspond to your registration form fields (for example, if you have form field named "email", variable will be {$email}). With default miniBB database structure, no need to change these templates.

  • $dbUserId='user_id'; $dbUserDate='user_regdate'; $dbUserDateKey=2; $dbUserAct='activity'; $dbUserNp='user_newpasswd'; $dbUserNk='user_newpwdkey'; Field names that are updated AUTOMATICALLY. DO NOT include them in db scheme list.
  • $enableNewRegistrations=TRUE; Set this to TRUE if you'd like to enable forum registrations; FALSE if you'd like to disable registrations, or if you have them in your own registration module. This case mostly supposes, that you have website membership bundled with miniBB (for example, like it's explained in the synchronizing guide) - so all members having profiles on your website, could also sign-in to miniBB forums and they are not required to register/sign up twice. If this is a case, you will also need to modify the value of $l_anonDisallowed from the language pack (lang/eng.php or whatever language pack you may have) and remove the registration link from there, OR - change it to your own link. Alternatively, in a case of all forums set up for registered members only, you may remove {$l_anonTxt} from templates/user_login_form.html for hiding the membership information on the replying and posting forms.
  • $enableProfileUpdate=TRUE; Set this to TRUE, if you'd like that members update their profiles; else to FALSE. Like explained above, in the case of bundled memberships profiles may be completely updated with some another 3rd party script, then the default miniBB approach could be disabled. However, if miniBB profile's options like default language, sorting, or possible avatars, signatures, forum profile photos are not included in your own script, you'd need to take care of them, enabling this option, properly modifying templates/user_dataform.html template, and allowing members to update at least their forum setting in their profile, so this should be set to TRUE then.
  • $indexphp='index.php?'; The name of your index file; you can rename it to something else if miniBB's index is conflicting with existing site's index name. Don't forget to put "?" after filename.
  • $usersEditTopicTitle=TRUE; If you want topic authors may edit their topic's title; else FALSE.
  • $pathToFiles='./'; Full file system path to your miniBB files (could be, /usr/home/public_html/forum/ for example, on Linux). Must have SLASH at the end. You may use one copy of general miniBB core, but having just different index and options file, create many communities based on this core. This option also could solve some file including problems on systems like Novell. You can set the full path to the scripts, or leave default if the board is working normally. This option also is necessary to set, if you include your own php header and footer (see below).
  • //$includeHeader='header.php'; Uncomment and set alternate header, if you don't want to use miniBB's default main_header.html (useful if you use some header.php from your own site, for better integration).
  • //$includeFooter='footer.php'; The same as above, for footer. Don't forget that our copyright link must migrate from our footer to yours in this case.
  • //$emptySubscribe=TRUE; Uncomment and set to TRUE if you want your users may subscribe to the topic without posting some text.
  • //$allForumsReg=TRUE; If you want to make all forums for registered only users by one touch; else FALSE.
  • //$registerInactiveUsers=TRUE; If you want all registered users become inactive until you accept them. Used for manual user activity acceptions. If activity field's value in database is "1", user is able to make new topics, posts and another operations on forum. If "0", user is able only to login, but not use anything. It means his account is in database, but has been blocked for a while. With this, miniBB turns into a powerful anti-flood message board: you can make all your forums for registered users only with one option; you can use only "live" emails, sending registration passwords there, you can set an option to view all new registrations on your email, and even if flooder has been registered, entering his Profile, you as admin or moderator can disable his activity (if you are logged as admin, at the end of member's profile, you will see a cell "Member" and "Yes/No" in it. Clicking on Yes, you enable member status, and vice versa). In combination with sending all new user registration on admin's email, you always will know who was registered on your forums.

    If user is registered and not accepted, he will always see a message defined in language's $l_accessDenied. Correct this variable according to your needs OR just mention in your forum rules, that until the account is verified and accepted, members can't login.

  • $enableViews=TRUE; By default, miniBB counts topic views, but does it only by simple way, when user opens some topic from the first page. Actually, topic views is not really necessary column, but could be useful for small communities. When counting views, SQL-server makes an UPDATE request; on large databases, it could cause speed problems. So there is also possibility to comment or set this option to FALSE so this kind requests will not happen.
  • //$mod_rewrite=TRUE; Set only if you are using Apache server and would to use "virtual addresses" via it in miniBB. Read for more below. Not for newbies!
  • //$userInfoInPosts=array($dbUserSheme['user_from'][1], $dbUserSheme['user_website'][1]); Available from version 2.0 RC2b, this option defines list of user's table fields, which values may be displayed in every post user makes. You can put exact field values here (not based on $dbUserSheme), for example:
    $userInfoInPosts=array('user_from', 'user_website');
    but be sure these fields are appearing in user's table itself. After setting this, in main_posts_cell.html template you can set, for example, {$userInfo_user_from[$poster_id]} and {$userInfo_user_website[$poster_id]}, and you will get actual values instead of variables when template will be parsed. Operating with user's info table this way, you can get the value of any user field (like avatar, signature etc.) Combining this with plugins, we are achieving very smart level of customization.
  • //$userDeleteMsgs=1; Available from version 2.0 RC3a, this option allows users to delete their own topics and/or messages (set 1 for allowing to delete only replies, 2 - for deleting both topics and replies). This option is tied up with $userEdit option (see above) - when topic or message is expired for editing, it can not be deleted anymore. When deleting a record, PHP script makes many updates in another fields (number of posts per forum, posts per topic, posts per user etc.) - so, use this function on your own risk. Creating/deleting their topics often, users may overload your database.
  • //$textLd=1; Available from 2.0 RC4, setting $textLd=1; or $textLd=2; you will get {$lastPostText} variable available in latest discussions section on the first page (templates/main_last_discuss_cell.html). If set to 2, all HTML formatting is removed from the post text, and you can use it in <acronym> tag, for example. If set to 1, post text is left as it is.
  • $startIndex='index.php'; Available from 2.0 RC5, this mandatory option sets the basic filename of "index" file, which will be displayed in backlinks to the main forum on the intermediate forum pages. Prevents duplicated content of search engines indexing. Default is 'index.php'. Set 'index.html' for mod_rewrite (when only setting mod_rewrite "index.html" rule - read below).
  • $manualIndex='index.php?action=manual'; The same principle as for mandatory setting above; displays backlink to manual page. You may set 'manual.html' for mod_rewrite.
  • $description='How to make up a forum? Get miniBB - free and paid discussion custom forum software, bulletin board system script, written in php & mysql. Download now!'; - mandatory option specifying default description tag for the forums start page and other internal pages. Description in topics list is generated basing upon the forum description, and messages list description is based upon the first characters of the first message.
  • //$enableGroupMsgDelete=TRUE; Available from 2.0 RC5, enables or disables group messages deleting by admin or moderator - he is able to delete many messages at once, checkmarking them and clicking on necessary link. Specially useful on anonymous boards, when you are forced to fight the spam or flood. For enabling this option, just uncomment the variable and set it any value.
  • //$post_text_minlength=10; Available from 2.0 RC5, this not mandatory option sets minimum amount of symbols needed for posting a message, preventing unmeaningful posts. Default is 10 symbols. Uncomment and set to 0 if you want to disable this.
  • //$loginsCase=TRUE; Available from 2.0 RC6, not mandatory option. If is not set, or set to FALSE, all logins are CASE SENSITIVE (by default). For example, if you have registered username "Paul", you must type "Paul" in your login field. Not "PAUL, and not "paul" - this will not work. If this option is enabled and set to TRUE, you can type anything - "paul", "PAUL", "Paul" etc. - anything will be compared in lowercase. Notice: nobody is able to register "PAUL" or "paul" usernames, if there is already one "Paul" in database - this doesn't depend on setting this option. This option also DOES NOT affect passwords; password must be entered the same manner as via registration.
  • $enablePhpMailer=array(
    'smtp_host'=>'specify SMTP server to connect',
    /* Specify SMTP host here */

    /* In the case of SMTP authorization, set to TRUE, else to FALSE */

    /* In the case of SMTP authorization, specify login/username */

    /* In the case of SMTP authorization, specify password */

    /* In the case of secured SMTP authorization, specify its type - 'tls', or 'ssl' or...; check in PHPMailer docs for more options */

    /* In the case of secured SMTP authorization, specify its port */

    //'required'=>array($pathToFiles.'class.phpmailer.php', $pathToFiles.'class.smtp.php'), 'required'=>array($pathToFiles.'PHPMailerAutoload.php'),
    /* The list of included/required PHPMailer scripts - possible to include few of them, depending on your connection type */

    Available from v3.2, this optional/hidden setting (not specified by default) allows to use external PHPmailer class for sending emails directly through PHP. For enabling PHPMailer, copy PHPmailer files to the forums folder (class.phpmailer.php, class.smtp.php, PHPMailerAutoload.php), and paste PHPMailer setting described above, to the setup_options.php file, putting in your own data. Using this class may be helpful, if you have no SMTP installed on the server, and would like to plug-in an external SMTP instead, which should be allowed to accept connections from your server. No need to use this class, if the scripts are able to send emails through default server's SMTP (sendmail function of PHP) and if you would like to stay with default plain-text miniBB email templates.
  • $allowHyperlinks=10; mandatory option; if greater than zero, it means hyperlinks will be allowed for members only who made not less than $allowHyperlinks postings. If set to zero, hyperlinks will be automated also for guests. By hyperlinks, we mean highlighted URLs in postings: when you post anything beginning from http:// , or www. or enclosed in [url][/url] BB codes, it is converted to a clickable hyperlink.
  • //$allowHyperlinksProfile=10; optional; if it's not specified, then equals to `$allowHyperlinks`. Means the amount of significant messages any member should post on forums to have right to provide the Website field under his forums Profile. Until this amount is reached, it's not possible to fill in the Website field. If during deletion operation the script detects that user messages amount became lower than $allowHyperlinksProfile, Website will be nulled.
  • //$addMainTitle=1; non-mandatory option which is turned off by default: if it is set, then on topics listing pages and on the thread listing pages, forum generic title is added after certain forum's or topic's title. For example, if you have 'My Forums' specified in $sitename, and you have a forum called 'Forum One', and the topic 'Test Topic' in this forum, then: if you set this option to 1, <title> tag of topics listing page will be 'Forum One - My Forums', <title> tag of topics listing page will be 'Test Topic - My Forums', else it will be just 'Forum One' and 'Test Topic' correspondingly.
  • //$emailCharset='UTF-8'; non-mandatory option which is turned off by default: if it is set to the certain value (like for example 'UTF-8'), and your forums email templates are stored in specific encoding (like UTF-8), it is recommended to set up this option, so emails are sent in the proper encoding and not garbled on the client side.
  • //$url_follow=TRUE; non-mandatory option (not available by default). If set to TRUE, every posted URL will NOT contain rel="nofollow" attribute, like it happens by default with URLs which are not related to the primary forums domain. Please don't forget, that admins and moderators always have a right to set any kind of 3rd party URL without this attribute, using [urlc=...][/url] code instead of regular [url=...][/url]. This attribute manipulation on such pages as Statistics or User's Profile, is controlled by 'NOFOLLOW' variable which needs to be defined separately.
  • //$editMsgReloc=TRUE; non-mandatory option (disabled by default). If set to TRUE, after editing the message you will not see an intermediate warning screen, redirecting straight to the message. This setting may be enabled only if you are sure editing message doesn't affect other installed add-ons. For exampe, if you have File Upload add-on installed, this setting should be disabled, else when modifying message, the script will "miss" re-uploaded files and modified file descriptions. The same could affect many other regular and custom add-ons which include the code for bb_plugins2.php. Disabled by default.
  • //$allowedRefs=array('', ''); non-mandatory option (not available by default). Allows to specify list of allowed referrers which may come from external sites posting something to your forums. Format: PHP array. DO NOT SPECIFY that variable if you don't really understand what it means. It's only for professional sites which are plugged in with 3rd party software.
  • //$allowedDirectPostActions=array('action_1', 'action_2'); non-mandatory option (not available by default). Allows to specify list of allowed actions passed under $action variable, which may be used by custom add-ons or scripts bundled with forums. Format: PHP array. DO NOT SPECIFY that variable if you don't really understand what it means. It's only for professional sites which are plugged in with 3rd party software.
  • //$uname_minlength=3; non-mandatory option (not available by default). Non-destructively specifies the minimum username length upon registration.
  • //$uname_maxlength=40; non-mandatory option (not available by default). Non-destructively specifies the maximum username length upon registration.
  • //$fIconWidth=16; non-mandatory option (not available by default). Non-destructively specifies the width of forum icons.
  • //$fIconHeight=16; non-mandatory option (not available by default). Non-destructively specifies the height of forum icons.
  • //$disableSuperSticky=1; non-mandatory option (not set by default). If it's set to any positive value, "super-sticky" option may be disabled completely. That way you could avoid unnecessary requests to the database. By default, this feature is enabled.
  • //$eeol="\n"; by default, it's equal to "\r\n", and may not be set at all. But regarding PHP documentation, "some poor quality Unix mail transfer agents replace LF by CRLF automatically", in that case, the MTA (mail transfer agent) may send "\r\r\n" in headers, looking like double space lines in the email body, and/or including headers in the email body. You can fix it directly in miniBB options by this value. Most likely you should set it to "\n" to make your emails looking "valid".

That's all! We did the advanced miniBB setup. After that, your forums will work according to your needs and preferences. But, you need to do something corresponding to your page's design, didn't you? So, let's go to the next level.


Templates are used to separate HTML code from PHP. They are located in "templates" directory and are usual HTML files (or TXT files - if we talk about email templates). If you don't like our templates, you can change them or design yours. It is important to save all variables (they look like usual PHP "variable variables": {$...}) like shown. Template parser turns every of this variables in its VALUE, giving necessary results.

We don't recommend editing templates with WYSIWYG editors. Try to work with "clear" code, since all PHP variables included in templates will not work in HTML separately. We hope, that it will be enough for you to use any kind of simple text editor with our templates: they are very clean and tide, "hand-made". We tried to make all templates compliant to W3C recommendations. We can't guarantee, that they will work as 100% W3C standart works, but they look the same in different browsers.

If you decide to change templates, you need to refer to the miniBB logic in building them. We hope, all templates names are pretty clear to understand, what they mean. Also, leave ALL the variables inside the templates as they shown.

Most templates are used in different operations (that's why we call this "mini-BB ). F.e., user_dataform.html is used both for registering new user and editing user preferences, main_post_form.html is used on all posts, topics and editing pages.

It is necessary to pay attention to email templates (begins with "email_" and ends with ".txt"). They have special format: first line of every template should contain SUBJECT<<...>> line, with some text instead of "...". As you understand, between "SUBJECT<<" and ">>" there is subject of email. Don't remove this line, else you emails will be garbled!

In main_header.html, you will find page title as <title>$title</title>. Title is changing dynamically according to the page, f.e., on topic page it becomes topic name, and on topic lists it becomes forum name. This is very smart feature for search indexers (like Google or AllTheWeb for example) to INDEX your forum, since these engines are working mostly with page titles. Also, that's why we recommend to think about "right" forum names: as more simple they will be, as better. In this case, also don't forget to include (or change) META-tags in header.

Custom templates

There is possibility to make a custom template and call it from the script. For example, you need to create separate page before user registration (agreement): you can add any custom template, which is not included in miniBB. Design your template as usual (all script pre-defined variables also work), put it in "/templates" directory and call from the script like:


where tplName is a name for your created template (in this case, "custom_template.html").

In that way you can also create stuff like "Most loved topics and answers" with the direct list of topics, any FAQs, manuals, description pages, agreements etc., etc., as like as the whole site!

Language packs

For international (non-english) users, we offer "language packs" feature. You can get them from our "Downloads" page. If you have not found a pack for your language, please translate it basing on the English (or other) translation, and send back to us. This way you may help many users from your country, which also choose miniBB.

Language packs can be found in forums "lang" directory. Usually, only "eng.php" pack is included for default english language on the board. Language pack name is changed in options file.

Language pack simply contains PHP variables with their values. Note for editors: use ` instead of ' in the sentences, or use slashed apostrophe \'. Technically, it is better to use apostrophes (' ') instead of quotes (" "), because of the engine's speed increase.

We hope, it is pretty simple to understand, what's going on inside of language pack, if you want to change it. Despite there are more notes (and any language pack should contain these settings):

  • $Lang:English:$ string is referred to language "name", which appears in "Language" menu. When making another version of pack, write language name in English between "$Lang:" and ":$"
  • $l_meta tag is META-LANGUAGE value for your html encoding. Usually it looks like '<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html;charset=iso-8859-1">' where you need to change only charset value. Refer to W3C docs for more info on encoding. Note: if you want users to make posts on different language encodings (f.e., english, russian and latvian on the same forum), make l_meta blank ('').
  • $l_months variable defines array of month names separated by ":". Be sure to include EXACTLY 12 values!

Other variables are in assorting order. While working on miniBB, we have added them in "order of appearance".

If you will see a string looking like "Language variables miniBB vX.X", it means that, variables after this string were added or changed for corresponding version. If we add more features, we will also add variables, and for better finding they will be added in another section.

Language packs describe ALL language used in board, incl. admin panel.

Important: language pack's filename can have only of 3 letters (examples: eng.php, alb.php, rus.php).

On a multilingual forum where more than 1 language is installed, and if you are using board's emailing features, you will probably need to create emailing templates for each language separately, naming them with corresponding prefix. For example, if you want English and French interfaces available, and make it possible for registered users to change their preferred language in Preferences, do the following:

  • Download and copy eng.php, fre.php files to /lang/ folder;
  • Create emailing templates for the French language, taking English templates from /templates/ folder, which begin with email_ and end with _eng.txt; leave English templates as they are, but create French language templates, naming them with "fre" postfix, i.e. they should begin with email_ and end with _fre.txt; copy all these templates to the /templates/ folder;
  • For allowing members to receive email notifications on the preferred language, set $emailusers=2; in setup_options.php (read more above this option above).

Having multilingual forums, be always sure you have installed additional, or other than English languages successfully. Specially test any processes related to the email notifications: new user sign up, notification about new post made, password's restoration. If your language is installed improperly, it may cause the software working wrong.

If you have multilanguage forum, it would be a good idea to create many manuals on each language, naming it manual_LNG.html, where LNG is the prefix for your language pack. By default, only manual_eng.html is included. If there is no manual for user's language, empty page will be displayed.

Please note: some variables specified in language pack, are both used in PHP scripts and JavaScript interface notices. That's why in some places it is not suitable to use apostrophes in your custom translation. This specially affects 3rd party language packs not checked by miniBB team, or for example, the variable called $l_accessDenied, which could be edited upon special rules on forums, and some other variables from the premium add-ons, which are mentioned in plugins instructions. If you are experiencing troubles posting a messages or getting a JavaScript error on page, it could be the reason of the wrong interpretation of apostrophes. Check the JavaScript Error Console of your browser for errors.

Skins: CSS file

CSS (cascading style sheet named bb_default_style.css) is designed to fit all font colors, table borders and sizes on the page in one file. It is included only once in main_header.html. It is W3C compliant. You can edit it as you wish, to fit your forums design to your page's design. Even if you don't know CSS, it is very easy to change mostly a couple of colors in HEX, fonts and sizes in pixels/points. Some example CSS skins downloadable from our site can also contain icon packages and image backgrounds and it's easy to add your own background to any CSS skin. You can find skin parameter description in CSS file itself - all main parts of it have small notes explaining the meaning of subsequent font/color/border and other parameters.

Administrative options

Admin panel

You can go to the admin panel manually typing in your browser admin panel's filename which you have entered in options file. But usually, you only need to login as admin into forums, and you'll see admin panel link at the bottom of each page.

Admin panel is very small and very simple. Here is the list of options:

  • Add forum. We have talked about it earlier. With this operation, you can add forum name, description, icon. Forum icons are displayed near forums table. They are placed in directory /img/forum_icons. Icon should be .GIF or .JPG with the size of 16x16 pixels. Here you just need to type a filename of image WITHOUT directory name. If no image specified, default.gif is loaded. You may use straight HTML in forum's name or description, putting, for example, direct HTML links there.
  • Edit forum. Click on it, choose forum to edit from drop-down list. Editing form appears. You can change forum name, description, and order there. For editing, press "Edit form" button. Below you can see fast preview of how forums will look like. Re-ordering forums is simple: you just need to click on ↑ or ↓ symbols to "move" forum up or down (this is avalable only beginning from version 2.0 RC3).

    From this menu you can also DELETE forum. Note that deleting forum will immediately deletes ALL posts and topics corresponding to it. We don't recommend to do that, 'cause there is no way back. If you still need to delete forum, just click on the checkbox saying "Delete forum" and press "Edit". Forum will be deleted and there will be NO ASKING TWICE, so be careful with this thing.

    Deleting forums brings us headache, so, if you will never delete forums, open your admin panel file for editing, find the following line:

    case 'editforum3':

    and add after it the following line:

    if(isset($_POST['deleteforum'])) unset($_POST['deleteforum']);

    You should have:

    case 'editforum3':
    if(isset($_POST['deleteforum'])) unset($_POST['deleteforum']);
    $forumdesc=(isset($_POST['forumdesc'])?$_POST['forumdesc']:''); ...

    etc. This will avoid forum deleting in any case - even if intruders will know out about your password (we hope this never happens).

  • Forums supertitles (categories). Since miniBB is designed for small/medium communities, we have not planned to make splitting forums list by additional category. If you have 4-5 forums, there is no need to create categories, because in this case, your forums will look badly organised. However, there is a possibility to emulate categories for forums, this feature is invented since version 2.0 RC3 and called "supertitles". Supertitles appear BEFORE main forum title, emulating category, and you probably may add supertitles AFTER you created a list of forums and arranged them in desired order. Go to forums preview when editing any forum, click on forum's title when you want to put supertitle, and add it in corresponding field. Notice that moving the main forum title affects also supertitle, so putting one forum from one "category" to another means actually that you need to remove supertitle from this forum and add it to another forum's title. You may use straight HTML in supertitles.
  • Removing member's account. There are a few ways of removing or blocking the forum member's account:

    1. Being logged as Administrator, go to the Admin Panel and locate "Delete Profile" link;
    2. Being logged as Administrator or Moderator, go to the Member's Public Profile on forum (this is possible, for example, clicking the Username provided near each message posted), then click "Edit Profile" link available at the very bottom of the Profile; then click "Delete Profile" link available under the Username field.
    In both cases described above, the script will follow to a section where User ID should be provided before deletion. In the second case described above, User ID is substituted automatically for your convenience. In some cases, it's also possible to delete an account which was never posted on forum; the first case described above, is for that. User ID could be found on any hyperlink leading to the user's Public Profile. These links may appear under the Admin Panel's Search Users option, or under the Public Profile links on forum. The link looks similar to: http://.......?action=userinfo&user=243. The last digits (f.e., 243) mean User ID.

    Under the "Delete Profile" section, there could be set two checkboxes to provide a different method for removing an account:

    1. Remove all user's messages and topics (user's topics will be deleted with possible other users messages inside); not ticking this box means the account will be removed, but all messages posted will stay on forum, as being posted from the Guest account under the current Username;

    2. Keep this profile blocked, meaning the account will stay in active on forum, but it won't be removed completely.

    This could allow to fight spammers more effectively. Often there is a case when some account floods a lot of messages, and later there is no way to remove them all easily at once. But combining the options described above, it's possible to:

    • Remove the account completely, BUT leave all messages associated with it on forum, as they would be posted from a Guest account under the current Username (do not tick the checkbox #1 and do not tick the checkbox #2)
    • Remove the account completely, AND completely remove all messages associated with it on forum (tick the checkbox #1 and do not tick the checkbox #2)
    • Do not completely remove the account, keeping it blocked on forum, BUT remove all messages associated with it on forum (tick the checkbox #1 and tick the checkbox #2)
    • Do not completely remove the account, making it just inactive, AND keep all messages of this account on forum (do not tick the checkbox #1 and tick the checkbox #2) - this case is similar to a simple blocking of account, which doesn't require to enter the section of Removing account - to make an account inactive, just enter its Public Profile and locate "Member" link, saying "Yes" or "No".

    Be careful: there is no extra asking on removing the user's account, assuming each Admin or Moderator is made sure what is going to happen. Still, in a case or providing a non-existing User ID to remove, the script will throw an error.

    Be patient: on large forums, it may takes some bigger time to remove all topics and posts associated with the removed account.

    Removing an account is automatically available to the Administrator and any Moderator on forums; however it's possible to restrict some Moderators from this procedure. For this, specify an array of their User IDs under bb_specials.php, putting a non-documented array named $excludeDeleteUsers. For example: `$excludeDeleteUsers=array(2,3);` put under bb_specials.php would mean users with IDs 2 and 3 can not remove accounts; despite they could have all other Moderators rights on the forum.
  • Banning an IP address. Banning somebody's IP address means access from this IP will be completely blocked to forum. The forum will give just an "Access Denied" message with the possible reason of banning, if it has been provided. No areas on forum will be visible to this IP address at all. It's a very strong ban.

    Currently, miniBB supports banning of IPv4 addresses only.

    Banning could be completed from any message on forum, containing an IP address, which is visible, similarly operational, to the Administrator or Moderator only. The IP address is hyperlinked and could be clicked; that opens up a new window where it's possible to "Ban user's IP/ID" or "Unset/unban users' IPs/IDs" (the second link is also available straight under the Admin Panel). The section itself lists all Usernames ever posted from this IP on forum, that way allowing to catch "trolls".

    (Hint: If you would like to ban an IP address, which is not present on forum, you may click any IP address, and substitute that one is necessary under the opening form.)

    "Ban user's IP/ID" section opens up the form, where you should set up the IP address to ban, and the Reason of it, which is a single short message. It a case of direct banning from a forum message, IP address is substituted automatically for your convenience. Despite providing a Reason is optional, it's also important, because later it allows to distinguish the IP addresses, which may be possibly unbanned. Also, it is visible to the client entering from this IP address, and could be clarified properly.

    It's possible to ban not just a single IP address, but the whole network or subnetwork based on it. For this, you will need to substitute the last digits with a 'plus' sign, that way providing a "mask" for this IP. For example, entering 191.88.32.+ will ban the whole range of IPs between and; entering 191.88.+ will ban the whole network in range between and

    A "hidden" feature of this procedure, left from the earlier miniBB releases, also allows to put a single User ID instead of IP address. Then if such account is logged in, it gets the complete ban, with a page displaying a reason and not letting this member even read the forum. In some way, it just replicates making an account Inactive from the Profile, so most likely it should be never used.

    "Unset/unban users' IPs/IDs" section provides the listing of all currently banned IPs. Tick the checkbox(es) near each of them you would like to unban, and click the button below to remove one or many from the list, that way - unbanning it/them, and allowing access to the forum.

    Banning is automatically available to the Administrator and any Moderator on forums; however it's possible to restrict some Moderators from this procedure. For this, specify an array of their User IDs under bb_specials.php, putting a non-documented array named $excludeBanning. For example: `$excludeBanning=array(2,3);` put under bb_specials.php would mean users with IDs 2 and 3 can not ban; despite they could have all other Moderators rights on the forum.
  • Search users. Admin is allowed to search users by ID, username (login) or email, also inactive users (haven't posted anything since registration) and haven't made new posts since defined date. Each record found displays user's login with link to userinfo on the board, registration date, email (even if "hidden") and last reply's post date. In some cases, also found records' count is displayed. Search users results are splitted by pages, if results count is really big.

    Searching on ID, you need to enter decimal. Searching on email or login, you need to enter some string. If you do not enter something on ID or login, ALL users list will be displayed.

    When searching inactive users, you do not need to enter something. Receiving inactive users list, you can delete many of them by one-time, checking boxes and clicking "Delete" button.

    When you search users that haven't posted anything since [date], you need to define this date in YYYY-MM-DD format, which means: "4-digits-year"-"2-digits-month"-"2-digits-day". Script is looking for people, who's last reply date is EARLIER than entered date (not including!). That means, if you enter 2002-03-07, for example, you will look for people, who's last reply was earlier than on 7th March, 2002. People with last reply on 7th March will not be shown, also as "inactive" users, too.

    Clicking on [Delete], you can pop-up window with "Remove user" option, where user's ID will be automatically written in form. "Remove user" operation is described above.

  • Delete email notifications. In some cases it could happen that somebody has subscribed to a topic or even few of them, but the email address provided under the profile, is for some reason no longer accepting incoming emails, or not available at all. This could be contolled watching "mailer-daemon feedback" messages, which will say "Could not deliver message" or give a similar response. In that case, it's possible to block or remove this account, AND delete this email address from the possible topics subscriptions afterall, so miniBB will not ever try to send to this email address.

    Entering this area of the admin panel is allowing this. Type in a single email address to delete it from all topic subscriptions at once. For complete emptying the subcriptions table (for example, in a case of switching the emailing option OFF forever), click "Delete All" button. Be careful: this section is only for those administrators understanding what they do, and the script will not give an extra alert upon deletion.

    If you have Private Messaging add-on installed, and if this user has set the emailing option to ON (i.e. send an email when somebody sends a PM), this option should be set to OFF automatically as soon as this email address has been removed from topics subscriptions.
  • Export emails. This operation is necessary, if you want to make a mass-mail for your users. PLEASE, DON'T SPAM YOUR FORUM USERS! You need the email list only for important news, f.e., site's moving to new address, forums reconstruction etc.

    You can extract only emails or email+username, use tab separator or comma between these values, and output emails to the screen or separate file attachment. If you've chosen last one you will get a download window after pressing submit button.

  • Restore Admin data in database. This option updates users table and sets new admin password, username and email if you have changed any of these in the options file. Yes, you can change your admin name anytime you want, more so - we recommend to do it regularly.

"Hidden" admin forums options

Private (closed from public) forums

Only site owner can define private forums and users which are allowed to post and view them. Edit bb_specials.php file, find variable $clForums=array(); and add $clForumsUsers[]=array();. $clForums array defines closed forums ID(s), and $clForumsUsers[] elements defines users which are allowed to post in this forum. Here is an example:


That means: forums with IDs 1,3,6 are private. Users with IDs 2 and 5 are allowed to post and view forum under ID 1, users with IDs 10 and 11 are allowed to post and view forum under ID 3, users with IDs 12 and 22 are allowed to post and view forum under ID 6. If you are able to think logically, it must not be difficult for you to set these arrays, and it be more simplier for you to edit this file once, else for us to write giant interface, which would be out of concepts of miniBB.

If you don't want to have private forums, leave these arrays blank (but don't remove them!).

Note 1: when setting $clForums array without $clForumsUsers array, you won't get any results, and these forums will be available to anyone, until you define user IDs, which have access to a private forum. Specify empty $clForumsUsers array for some forum, even if it has no users allowed. Another words, these settings are working only together, not separately.

Note 2: it is not necessary define admin ID (1), because admin can enter any private forum and has full access to it.

Note 3: topic titles from private forums don't appear on statistics, last discussions, user info and search pages, and first forums page, too. Anyway, if allowed user or admin is logged, they will appear everywhere automatically.

Archived (read-only) forums

Site owner can create so called "archive" forums. In read-only forums, nobody except admin or defined moderator can make or edit posts. Edit bb_specials.php with array variable $roForums in it. Like in private forums (see above), add read-only comma-separated forums IDs into this array.

Replies-only forums

Site owner can create so called "post-only" forums. That means, users can do anything except for creating new topics in these forums. It is very useful, if you combine your forums with guestbook or administrative news flash, for example. Edit bb_specials.php with array variable $poForums in it. Like in private forums (see above), add read-only comma-separated forums IDs into this array. In post-only forums, nobody except admin can make or edit topics.



That means, forum with ID 1 is "post-only".

If you have "post-only" forum as guestbook, for example, or just want to redirect user to some thread exactly when he is clicking on forum's title to view topics, you can define it in bb_specials.php as $redthread array. Example from our forums:


means when user visits some forum with ID 8, he will redirected to the topic with ID 355, so the full URL will be like action=vthread&forum=8&topic=355. This is optional feature, it is not necessary to include this array if you don't need it.

Custom member titles

By default, miniBB doesn't use ranking system (user ranks like 'Administrator', 'Member' are displayed only, and if it is anonymous user, nothing is displayed). We have special solution addon for displaying user ranks basing on their posts amount, but it is possible to define special user rankings, for "special" members (for example, most-active-poster-of-all-time). Open bb_specials.php for that, find $userRanks array, and edit it.

$userRanks=array(1=>'Boss', 17=>'Team member', 9=>'Team member');

That means, user's rank with ID 1 is Boss (of course! :), and users with IDs 17 and 9 are "Team members". These rankings will be displayed under nickname in every post. In this way, you also can define so called "special avatars", when image is displayed instead of rank. Just provide full image URL as the rank's description.

Registered-users-only forums

These forums mean, that only registered (and logged correspondly) users can make new topics, new posts and edit their messages here. Use this setting only if you want to separate some forums for all and registered only members at the same time. Use general setting variable $allForumsReg (see above), if you want to make registered-users-only forums for everybody. Variable $regUsrForums=array(); in bb_specials.php means array of forums IDs which are protected.



That means, forums with ID 1,2 are only for registered users.

In a case of registered-user-only forums, the post-topic or post-thread box with login information WILL APPEAR even if user is not logged in. User will be able to enter his login/pass to make a post. Anonymous or incorrectly logged users will be informed with "Access denied" message. In many cases, they can loose the information they typed, so please warn users of your board someway, that they must register before making any post! In the latest releases, we have defined language pack's variables for it, they are called $l_anonAllowed, and $l_anonDisallowed, and contain the text appearing near each message form, if user is not logged in.

Moderators definition

Moderators are people helping admin in managing the forums (read more in moderators section. Array of bb_specials.php named `$mods` defines the the set of forums/user IDs of members, which are allowed to be moderators in these forums specifically, or have some other moderator functions in other sections.



means that user with ID = 9 is the moderator for forums with IDs 1 and 2, and user 996 is moderator for forum 1.

Moderators have only access to a specified forum.

Displaying list of moderators is available on the first forums page. In default version, it is hidden. If you want this list to be shown under each forum's row, modify templates/main_forums_cell.html if you have a "regular" forums layout (having set $statsPageModern=FALSE;), or templates/main_modern_fcell.html (having set $statsPageModern=TRUE;), and paste {$moderatorsList} (for example, directly after {$forum_desc}). It will display usernames of moderators for the current forum. If there is no moderator specified, nothing will be displayed.

Excluding certain forums from recent discussions

If you want to exclude some forum from "Recent discussions" list, you can set it in the bb_specials array $lastOut. For example: $lastOut=array(6); excludes forum with ID 6 from "Last discussions" list on the first page. It's not necessary to add this new value if you don't need this.

Sorting specific thread in DESCENDING order

You can specify the ID of the thread (topic), which messages can be sorted in DESCending order. By default, every thread is sorted in ASCending order. Specially useful for questbooks. For this, set new array in your bb_specials.php file:


where THREAD_IDs can be array of IDs of topics. For example:


will set DESC order for topics with ID 355 and 11.

Note that this option will not affect page listing in last discussions and topics list. When some topic is splitted by pages, last replies will be available when you click on topic's title. If you have such kind of sorted thread (like guestbook), it is better to exclude it from last discussions and set the exact redirect from forum's title (see "Post-only forums" and $redthread).

When you set this kind of topic, near its title, users will see an icon from /img/topic_reverse.gif.

Deleting messages

Only admin is allowed to delete user messages. Admin needs to be logged into the system. For deleting any message, go to the topic/thread list and click on "Delete" on the top of the message. JavaScript alert should appear; click "Ok", and the post will be deleted. After delete, message is not available for recovering. We are not keeping Recycle Bins.

NOTE: you can not delete FIRST message of the topic. That's because the first message in thread list is TOPIC TEXT in reality. If you want to delete first message, it means you want to delete the WHOLE TOPIC. For this, see "Deleting topics".

Deleting topics

Admin or moderators are allowed to delete all available user topics (moderator - for each specified forum); also if $userDeleteMsgs setting is defined, this is possible for regular members, too (for their own topics/replies). Login, go to the bottom of topic page. You will find the link "Delete topic". Click on it. JavaScript alert should appear; click "Ok", and topic will be deleted, with all associated posts, too. Click on "Cancel", and you'll keep the old things. After delete, topic is not available for recovering. No Trash Cans.

"Cleaning up the board" solution. When your board runs for a big time, you'll probably want to remove some old necessary topics. miniBB has a smart solution build-in, how to do it easy (beginning from version 2.0 RC2). Login as admin and in your Preferences, set default sorting to "New topics", then go to some forum, which you want to clean-up, and go to the last page of topics within this forum. Another words, begin the cleaning from the oldest topics to the newest topics. Go inside some topic, review it, and if you find it unnecessary, delete it as described above. After that, you will be redirected to the page where topic was previously found; near next topic that you need to check, you will find a little mark '»'. This will help you to not lose the last topic you stayed on.

Editing messages

Board administrator can edit any message from the forum at any time, plus, if it is "new topic text", he can edit also topic title. Moderator can edit any message within allowed forum at any time, and also change topic's title. For editing the message, click on "Edit" link on the top of each message in posts list (it appears when allowed person is logged in).

When editing message, admin or moderator can choose, either this message could be edited by user after, or not. Beginning from version 2.0 RC2, by default, all messages become opened for further editing; however, checking the box marked as "Edit", admin or moderator can disable this.

If you want to override "strike through Edit" text near checkbox, when editing a message as admin or moderator, just add $l_editLock='Mark as edited and lock post'; in your language pack (if $l_editLock variable is set, it will overwrite default setting).

Message author can edit topic's title only, if administrator has set necessary option (see above).

When admin or moderator edits his own message, "Edited by" string will show his name instead of simple "Admin" or "Moderator" title when editing/disabling another's message; at the same time, if admin or moderator do not check "Edit" box when editing another's message, status of this message will be kept as it was (or like it was not edited by admin at all).

Moving topics

Only administrator can move topics from one forum to another. Moving topics is a specific operation, we don't recommend to do it often (since many users will not understand what's going on). Do it only if topics thematics is not the same as the one of a forum. After decision, login as admin, go to the bottom of the topic page, click on "Move topic" and move topic correspondly to the forum you want. You can move topic only to the "another" forum, else there is no sense for this action (don't move topic to the same forum). When moving topics, only forum info is updated, nor datetime or anything. If topic is moved from one closed forum to another, and subscribers are NOT in this forum, their subscriptions will be DELETED.

Locking topics

This is very smart "censorship" operation, which prohibits users from making new posts in special topics. For locking topic, log in as admin, go to the bottom of each page. You will find kinda "lock topic" link. When you press it, topic will be locked. On an old place instead of "lock topic" you should see "unlock topic" link. Click on it, and topic will be unlocked.

Both topic's author (if he is a registered user) and admin can lock/unlock topics. Even if admin has locked this topic, registered author can unlock it - if the corresponding value not set in your options (see $userUnlock option above).

Beginning from version 2.0 RC3, it is also could be prohibited, that topic's author can not lock his topic at all (see $userUnlock option above). At the same time, when topic is locked, nobody from participants of topic is not able to edit his message anymore.

"Stickying" topics

"Sticky topic" means the topic, which will be shown on the top of the topics list every time. This is useful for some announcements or really hot discussions, which you want to present first. Sticky topics appear ONLY in topics list. Last discussions page stays untouched! Last discussions is actually fresh meat, there is no necessarity to show sticky posts every day, in the time when new stuff is going.

Sticky topics are available for setting both for admin and moderators. For stickying topic, go to the bottom of the thread and find the "Make sticky" link. Just click on it. When the topic is already sticky, you will find the "Make unsticky" link.

Sticky topics also can be locked. If you lock sticky topic, and then unlock it again, the sticky status will be kept, and vice versa.

Viewing subscriptions

Entering topic, logged admin can view which users are subscribed to this topic ("Subscriptions" link). Entering view panel, admin can also delete unwanted subscriptions, checking boxes near user's email.

Note: if there are no subscriptions, link will not appear.

"Preferences" for admin

Actually, admins preferences doesn't change anything special. As usual user, Admin can go to that panel and edit something, but all forums-working datas (Admin email, login and password) are taken from options file. In the admin panel, you will find operation called "Restore Admin data in database", clicking on it, you will automatically copy (or insert) your options data to corresponding Admin field in database. Then you can choose another email and other stuff (ICQ, for example) that will be shown on the "about user" page. So, your email shown in the above mentioned user info page can be independent on the email in the setup options file.

If you are using "Direct email" plugin, you can set another email for emailing admin, so you can have 2 different emails for system messages and direct user emailing.


In miniBB concepts, moderators are people who can:

  1. Lock, unlock, delete and move any topic - the same way as admin;
  2. Edit any message (with topic's title) - the same way as admin;
  3. Post a new topic in post-only forum;
  4. View poster IP (and view all users that have posted under this IP).

Moderators have no admin's privileges and have no access to the administration panel.

Moderators privileges are splitted by forums.

Each moderator can be defined only by administrator in bb_specials.php file (see above).

Each moderator has special description near his nickname (defined in $l_moderator variable in language). If moderator has special rank, his rank will be displayed instead of it.

Forums-wide user options

Users hierarchy

There is "liberal" users hierarchy in miniBB. Topics can be made both by anonymous users and registered users. Let's see what happens.

  • Anonymous users. If you are lazy, or do not register for some reasons, you can make anonymous post, even under your usual nick, if it's not taken by another already. Simply type your username in "Login" field without password, and make a post under this name. If you leave both fields blank, your name automatically will be "Anonymous" (it depends on forums language setup even). However, if you will enter the nick which corresponds to any registered user you won't be able to post. This feature is only available, if forum's administrator has not set the forums for registered users. Notice that Administrator may disable some anonymous nicknames for using - in that case, your nickname will be posted as default "Anonymous".
  • Registered users. WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND all users to register - in any way, will you visit this forum often or not. Why? First, no one else will take your "unique" username/nick, and anonymous users will not be able to post messages under your nick. Second, if you will post some messages under your nick, and register it later, it is NOT POSSIBLE to edit these "anonymous messages" anymore. And finally, any registered user can take your "anonymous" or not registered nick simply by filling registration form.

User info is displayed on the separate page. On the threads page, you'll find only user's nick and, if this user is registered, a "member" beneath. Clicking on it, you'll get all possible info about user, which either is specified/allowed or not (see below). NOTE: by clicking on user's nickname, you "quote" his nickname in the reply form!

User's login

Users must have cookies enabled in the browser. Cookie passwords are saved in encrypted format. User login form is located on every topics or threads page, as well as on the first page. On the topic or thread pages, you are able just to log-in without posting any text. You need to type your login and password correctly.

Depending on forums setup, user login can expire in different time. Usually it expires within 1-2 hours, but administator can also make more longer expire (especially on international forums). Cookies renew mechanism also allows users to stay logged during longer periods of time - until the browser is closed. Anyway, we recommend to do logout before you are leaving forums.

Anonymous users also receive cookie that goes from one page to another. Enjoy comfort!

User's language

Registered users can change their board's interface language in their profile, choosing from dropdown list. However, administrator of multilanguage board also can set some links for anonymous users, so they will be able to view the board on desired language. For this, you need to put the link containing variable "setlang" and the value corresponding to the language file name. Example: http://.......index.php?setlang=rus will display board in Russian; however this setting will not affect logged-in user.

User's registration (Sign Up)

For registering, just click on "Registration" menu and fill in the form.

Necessary fields are:

  • LOGIN: your username, must be unique - if a user with the identical login already exists, you won't be able to register. Login must contain only symbol combination defined by admin. Usually, we recommend to use only A-Z letters, digits and maybe "_" sign. But, if admin defines more symbols, you can also use them. There is only one possibility to view defined symbols - to make a mistype in username. Then you will see them in error message. Anyway, don't choose "exotic" usernames - at least, it is stupid. You can use a name with length from 3 to 40 symbols.
  • PASSWORD: your password for BB. Must contain only A-Z letters, digits and "_" sign (no spaces!). You can use password with length from 5 to 32 symbols. Why exactly 32? We don't know ;) If seriously, try to use not more than 10 symbols.
  • PASSWORD ONCE AGAIN: this must be the same symbol combination, as the "PASSWORD". This is just for checking - have you entered password correctly, or not. Pay attention: all passwords are saved in encoded way. There is no possibility to view user password even by admin! Despite you can anyway receive new password via email, but it will be different from your orignal one (randomly generated).
  • EMAIL: your email. Must be also unique (no 2 users with the same email are possible). Email is checked by simple regular expression for avoiding "stupid" emails. If you can't register some email, please report to admin, or at least, miniBB team. Even we have checked this combination in many cases, there are some "exotic" emails that can not be validated with our function. But this is a rare thing.

Depending on what option current forum has, you can be registered just after filling the form, and can login to forums straight forward after it. Otherwise, if administrator has set avoiding of open registration, you'll need to check for the password your email first. When open registrations are forbidden, your password will be generated by the system, that's why you need to enter the correct email-address.

Beginning from the version 2.0 RC4, it is allowed for admin to disallow user registrations (set $enableNewRegistrations=FALSE; in setup_options.php), but at the same time, to register them, logging as admin and visiting the link under ?action=registernew. For example, paste in your templates/admin_panel.html:

<!-- Register new user --><li><a href="{$indexphp}action=registernew">New user Sign Up</a></li>

this link will drive you in registration form. Enter necessary user data, click "Submit" button - you will see regular registration message, and your new user will be created with the data you provided. An implementation for those who want to open forums only for REALLY trusted users!

New topics and replies

New topic form is placed at the bottom of each topics listing page. You need to type topic's title ("New topic") and body ("Message"). At least, "New topic" field must be filled in. If you write in it and don't write in "Message", message will be automatically equal to topic's title.

New post form is located at the bottom of each threads page.

Note: if the anti-spam protection is enabled (usually it is), you can make posts and topics only once-per-defined-time. Usually, this time is 1-2 minutes - and it means, you can make posts not often than 1 per 1-2 minutes as well.

Note 2: before making a post, make sure you have corresponding ENCODING for this. F.e., if you have to make post on non-english language, let's say, chinese, be sure your browser encoding is set to it. To do it:

  • In Internet Explorer, click the right mouse button on the screen, choose "Encoding", and then set it;
  • In Netscape Navigator/Opera, choose menu's "View" -> "Character Set (Encoding)" and then set it.

Note 3: text breaks (newlines+carriage returns) are automatically converted to "physical" breaks.

Note 4: don't use a lot of apostrophes, quotes and specific tags in your messages. Actually, they are converted to "real" HTML-tags like "&#039;" (apostrophe), "&amp;" (& sign) etc. As you see, HTML special char takes at least 4 times more space than usual symbol. So, if topic's title limitation is set, let's say, to 70 symbols by administrator, your sentence can contain maximum 17 special symbols. Practical example: your topic is "Quick brown fox jumps over lazy dog's ears & nose" (49 symbols). Actual title is converted to: "Quick brown fox jumps over lazy dog&#039;s ears &amp; nose" (58 symbols). If the limitation would be 50 symbols, the sentence would be cutted to "Quick brown fox jumps over lazy dog's ears" (minus "nose" minus 5 special-symbols).

Email notifications

Email notifications can be enabled or disabled by forums admin. Usually, on large forums they are disabled. If enabled, every user who makes a post, can subscribe to them. Alternatively, there us also a way to make notifications available without posting some text. Notifications are sent to user's email when someone replies to the topic after this user. Users can subscribe to notifications even if they are not topic authors. Users can also unsubscribe from notifications. For that, got to the desired topic and find "Unsubscribe" link instead of notifications checkbox, and just click on it.

According to the setup, user may receive notifications on custom language (in multilanguage forums). Admin receives notifications on default board's language.

Automatic links highlighting

If you are using links like (beginning with "http://", "https://", "ftp://", "www" or "mailto:"), they are automatically converted to the clickable hyperlinks. But, when checking "Disable" box, links ARE NOT automatically highlighted, both as BB-codes (see below).

BB Codes

miniBB doesn't support straight HTML code, it is displayed like you type it. However the message text can contain so called "BB-codes" - special codes which are transformed to the allowed HTML code upon submission.

Currently, miniBB supports the following codes:

Codes[url=http://SOME_URL]HYPERLINK TEXT[/url], [url]http://SOME_URL[/url]
Transformed to<a href="http://SOME_URL" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">HYPERLINK TEXT</a>
ExplanationPuts the text between URI tags with "nofollow" attribute.
Special NotesGuests are not allowed to use this tag; registered members are allowed to use it only if amount of their postings is greater than specified under $allowHyperlinks option. This limitation doesn't affect the admin.

Code[urlc=http://SOME_URL]HYPERLINK TEXT[/url]
Transformed to<a href="http://SOME_URL" target="_blank" >HYPERLINK TEXT</a>
ExplanationPuts the text between URI tags with no extra attributes.
Special NotesAvailable to admin only.

Code[nourl]SOME URL or ANYTHING ELSE[/nourl]
ExplanationRemoves the link attribute from any kind of URL which can be transformed into link. Useful if you would like to provide an URI but without the referenced tag.
Special NotesAvailable to everybody.

Code[imgs=http://SOME_URL]ALTERNATIVE TEXT[/imgs]
Transformed to<a href="http://SOME_URL" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://SOME_URL" alt="ALTERNATIVE TEXT" title="ALTERNATIVE TEXT" style="width:150px" /></a>
ExplanationPuts the tag for the external picture which can be enlarged when you click on it. Available extension of the images are gif, jpg, jpeg, png.
Special NotesAvailable to everybody.

Code[img=http://SOME_URL]ALTERNATIVE TEXT[/img]
Transformed to<img src="http://SOME_URL" alt="ALTERNATIVE TEXT" title="ALTERNATIVE TEXT" />
ExplanationPuts the tag for the external picture which is displayed in the thread with no applying to size. Available extension of the images are gif, jpg, jpeg, png.
Special NotesAvailable to everybody. This tag is also used for the smilies add-on.

Code[b]SOME TEXT[/b]
Transformed to<strong>SOME TEXT</strong> (SOME TEXT)
ExplanationPuts the Bold attribute for the text.
Special NotesAvailable to everybody.

Code[i]SOME TEXT[/i]
Transformed to<em>SOME TEXT</em> (SOME TEXT)
ExplanationPuts the Italic attribute for the text.
Special NotesAvailable to everybody.

Code[u]SOME TEXT[/u]
Transformed to<u>SOME TEXT</u> (SOME TEXT)
ExplanationPuts the Underline attribute for the text.
Special NotesAvailable to admin and moderators only.

Code[font#HEX_CODE]SOME TEXT[/font]
Transformed to<span style="color:#HEX_CODE">SOME TEXT</span>
ExplanationPuts the color attribute for the text.
Special NotesAvailable to admin and moderators only. HEX_CODE must consist of 6 chars numerical color code in Hex format, for example red is FF0000.

Code[quote=SOME NAME]SOME TEXT[/quote], [quote]SOME TEXT[/quote]
ExplanationPuts the quoting block in the text which differs from the main text by another background, font style and possibly other attributes.
Special NotesAvailable to everybody.

Code[hl]SOME TEXT[/hl]
ExplanationPuts the highlighting block in the text which differs from the main text by another background and styling (for example, programming quote, special excerpt etc.)
Special NotesAvailable to everybody.

Code[alignleft|right|center]SOME TEXT[/align]
ExplanationAligns the block of the text by the left, right or center.
Special NotesAvailable to everybody.

The codes could be properly nested, for example you can put a Bold tag for URL; however you should follow the order of the code. If the Bold code opens first, it should be closed last.

The codes could be typed in UPPERCASE or lowercase; but there should be no spaces in tags themselves (for example [ b ] text [ /b ] will not work, [b] text [/b] will).

Above the message form, when you compose new topic, new reply or edit the message, there are buttons which help to apply the styling to your message in BB codes format quickly. Highlight the text you have wrote in the form, then click the button to apply the attribute. In some cases, like for URL or IMG tag, you will be asked to enter additional attributes. In Internet Explorer, scripted windows must be enabled to use this feature.

Quoting messages

Topic posters can quote other messages. There is no "quote" BB-code included, as on some bulletin boards. Instead of it, you can use "italic" style to separate quotes. For better comfort, there is a "quote" link near every post made. For making a quote, you need to select some text and press this link. Selected text will be automatically inserted into reply box at the bottom of the page.

This feature is based on JavaScript code and works only in newest browser versions. Specific or old browsers users may experience some troubles with it.

Locking topics

Topic authors can lock their topics, if they think it is correct. In order to do it, topic author needs to be logged in. At the bottom of the topic's page he must see small "lock topic" link. Clicking on it, topic becomes closed.

Nobody except topic author or administrator can lock the topic. If topic was locked by admin, topic author can unlock it ONLY if it is defined in forum options (in most cases it's not).

Editing messages

Registered users (and only registered) can edit THEIR messages, but only if they are cookie-logged and only if the time of the message is not expired. For this, just click on "Edit" near each post (if it is your message, you'll see the link, else not). When editing message, "automatic highlights" are replaced with "real" BB-codes, so there is no need to delete them once again. Also, "real" HTML tags are replaced back to codes. Via editing, user can add new BB-codes, links etc. - like in any new post or topic. User can edit only his POST, not topic's title, even if he is the author of the topic. After message is edited by user, info about that is displayed near each post.

There is no way to delete your message (and if not allowed, to edit topic's title), if you are topic's author. Only admin can do this.

In some cases, after administrator has edited user's message, for user, it is no way to edit it once again.

Editing preferences

For editing user preferences, you need to log in and go to the "preferences" appearing in menu. You can type new data for your account, except login, that can not be changed. If you don't want to change your password leave the password field and go next to the fields you want to edit, you don't need to write your password once more, 'cause are already logged. Then done just press submission button below.

This action works exactly like registration: you need to type grammatically correct data. Thus, you can not change your email to the one of someone who already registered (incl. admin's email ;) ). Updating preferences, you don't need to enter password, if you don't want to change it. Just leave these fields blank.

Two exceptions:

  • Show email public?: that option allows (or not) other users to view your email in user info. It does not affect emailing notifications etc.
  • Sort topics by: that option switches sorting filter. On topics and last discussions pages, you can view topic names sorted by new topics or new posts. This is one of the points of why to register: logging into the forums, you can quickly view, what's new. This option is saved on all pages, since anonymous users will need to click on "sort" every time.

Changing user password

Login, go to the preferences, type new password 2 times in "password" fields. Your password will be updated to the new one.

Note: after changing password your old password will not be valid, and you will need to re-login on the login page. If you will edit more settings, you'll get the message "not allowed" or something similar.

Resetting forgotten password

miniBB passwords are encrypted using MD5 algorithm. You can decode MD5-hash only with special hacker tools, using forces or dictionaries; it is impossible to decode it in "easy way". As longer password you have, as it more difficult to encode it. If you have forgotten your password, PHP-script can't restore it anymore, but instead, it generates new random password.

Follow these steps to receive new password:

  • Click on "password" links near login form;
  • Enter an email you've mentioned in the registration form;
  • If your email is correct (we hope, yes :) you will receive further instructions via email;
  • Follow link described in email and confirm your password;
  • Your password will be changed only after confirmation. You will be able to change it to something "human" in "preferences".

Forums search panel

You can quickly search forums for keywords. Search panel is placed under the "Search" link in menu. You can search text in topics and posts, in topics only, in poster names, in specified forums, by all words, any words or the whole phrase. Newest messages are shown first.

Search phrase length can't be more than 100 chars. Minimum length of any word is 3 symbols. As more search parameters you specify, as more longer by time and specific by content will be search results.

Search within specified forums is also available. You can either search in all forums or choose a forum you want to search in.

Search algorithm tries to perform a search on a comprehend words. By fragment, we mean here fragment of the whole word from the beginning. For example if you search for a word "fox", it will be found in the sentense "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.", also as the word "jump" will be found. But the word "foxy" will not be found, also as "row" won't be found. Searching by whole phrase, script will find "fox jumps over", but won't find "fox dog" - use "Words or fragments" criteria for finding many words in the text at the same time.


Under "Statistics" menu, you can get all available information about forums. This is the most "not needed" part of a forum. In statistics, you will find:

  • Total number of registered users (except admin);
  • Total number of topics;
  • Total number of posts;
  • Who is administrator;
  • Who is last registered user;
  • Most popular topics list (top 5, top 10, top 20, top 40), which is generated according to how many answers were posted in topic;
  • Most viewed topics list (top 5, top 10, top 20, top 40), which is generated according to how many views each topic has;
  • Most active registered users list (top 5, top 10, top 20, top 40).

You can define period of days which will be used in calculating stats (this setting affects only most popular topics and most viewed topics, username stats are NOT affected). Setting $l_stats_popular, $l_stats_aUsers, $l_stats_viewed in language pack to empty values (for example, $l_stats_aUsers='';), will remove corresponding panel from Statistics page.

Some notes for developers

Please, don't study this section if you are unfamiliar with PHP, mySQL and programming at all, more so - don't even try described below. We are not giving additional support on these topics. They all are working like described; if something is not working on your side, miniBB is not the reason here.

Database modules

Default version of miniBB is supported only by mySQL database. Anyway, we have developed special SQL-functions module which contains basic SQL-functions, which could be extended by another databases, supported by PHP. We plan to work on it in near future, but every developer who can help us in making another DB module is welcome. You'll get all necessary credits.

Making a DB module is average simple. Since SQL functions are mostly the same (at least, by logic), in many cases you just need to make another database connection which is supported by PHP, and design database request if necessary. SQL requests mostly are parsed into array pointers, which can be accessed, f.e., via mysql_fetch_row() function. Probably, most databases can support this operation. In other words: just look, how mySQL parser works, and include other commands. Note: don't change names of variables, like $result or $sus, because some are called from the outside script.

Below are described miniBB general/universal functions available in setup_mysql.php and prepared for programmers who want to extend plugins via this SQL-module separately.

string makeLim (int page,int numRows,int viewMax)

Returns SQL-string like "limit 10,20" prepared for inserting in SQL-request. If page=0, returns only single like "limit 10" string. numRows is the amount of total database request rows received via request. vieMax is the maximum amount of rows should be displayed (set in setup_options.php).

string getClForums (array closedForums, string more, string prefix, string field, string syntax, string condition)

Returns SQL-string like "where id=1 or id=2 or id=3" prepared for inserting additionally in SQL-request. "closedForums" must be a simple array of values which request will be compared to. "more" could be 'where' or simply ''. "prefix" inserts a point "." after table name. "field" is field name which values are compared to. "syntax" is alternatively 'and' or 'or'. "condition" is '=' or '!='. Example: if $closedForums=array(6,7)



where forum_id!=6 and forum_id!=7
resource db_simpleSelect (boolean sus, [string table, [string fields, [string uniF, [string uniC, [string uniV,
[string orderby, [string limit, [string uniF2, [string uniC2, [string uniV2]]]]]]]]])

Returns resource identifier on successfull SQL-request or FALSE on failure. "sus" determines either we need to make a first request (if 0) or just go through request rows (1). "table" is table name, "fields" are request fields separated by comma. "uniF", "uniC", "uniV" describes correspondly unique values which is used in additional request like "where id=1", if set. "orderby" specifies field name which is used in ordering result, and "limit" adds 'limit' statement (could be set via makeLim() function). "uniF2", "uniC2", "uniV2" are another set of additional unique fields. Example:

db_simpleSelect(0, 'minibb_topics', 'topic_id, topic_title','topic_id','>','10', 'topic_id DESC', 20, 'topic_id', '!=', 25')

returns resource ID for the following request:

select topic_id, topic_title from minibb_topics where topic_id>10 and topic_id!=25 order by topic_id DESC limit 20
int insertArray (array insertArray, string tabh)

Returns SQL error-number after executing the request like "insert into users (id, name) values (1, 'Paul')". "insertArray" must be prepared simple array of variable names which MUST correspond to their values. In the given example, it should be array('id','name'), and in that case, in the script itself, there must be variable $id and $name, and their values correspondly must be 1 and 'Paul'. "tabh" is table name where values must be inserted ('users' in the given example).

int updateArray (array updateArray, string tabh, string uniq, string uniqVal)

Returns affected rows amount after executing an update request. In many cases similar to insertArray(). "updateArray" must be the same type array, and "tabh" is table name. "uniq" is unique field's name, and "uniqVal" is it's value. Example: if we have $updateArray=array('id','name'), and variable names, $tabh are the same as in the insertArray() example, and $uniq='user_id' and $uniqVal='2', SQL-command will be the following:

update users set id=1, name='Paul' where user_id=2
int db_delete (string table, [string uniF, [string uniC, [string uniV, [string uniF2, [string uniC2, string[uniV2]]]]]])

Executes DELETE request in SQL-query, return amount of affected rows. Field names mean the same as in db_simpleSelect.

int db_calcAmount (string tbName, string tbKey, string tbVal, string setName, string setField)

Function to get amount of values from table $tbName by criteria $tbKey='$tbVal'; then update another necessary table's $setName field $setField by this amount. Call this function after deleting reply, topic, user, or moving topic, or inserting new reply.

Another functions in SQL-module are specific. They either don't fit to described universal functions or are too complex for designing something special for them. You can make your own specific functions, identificating them with prefix "db_" at the beginning.

Including in your own PHP script

If you are the creator of your own PHP site, you probably have the same header and footer for the whole site, or just want to use another functions that fit into your project and miniBB together. As usual, they are .php files, and are included in, for example, index.php. Since miniBB owns the same index.php in its structure by default, you can change the name of miniBB's index to something else, setting $indexphp option in setup_options.php. Including forums from your own script requires a knowledge of PHP and things what are happening inside of miniBB. If you simply include your board using include(); you will get errors like "Headers already sent" or similar. This could happen when user loggs in to the forums, and cookies are set (they can not be set in that case, because some of your HTML stuff goes before include(); ). In this case, miniBB is a stick on two ends. The most efficient solution is to include your board this way:



include ('./index.php'); 


/* Output your header here */ 
echo 'header'; 

echo $flushed; 

/* Output your footer here */ 
echo 'footer'; 


where echo 'header'; stands for the output of your common header, and echo 'footer'; stands for the output of your common footer.

Most probably you will have completely another paths and filenames; we hope you are able to turn your thinking on for changing them. You may also change $pathToFiles setting in setup_options.php, which will make your life easier with including files from different paths.

Keywords-rich and user-friendly URLs using Apache's mod_rewrite engine

If you have Apache server with mod_rewrite module turned on, you probably already know what benefits it could bring you. Bundling miniBB in mod_rewrite mode means overriding default URLs. They won't look like ./index.php?action=vtopic&forum=4 or ./index.php?action=vthread&forum=1&topic=75, but: 4_0.html or 1_75_0.html, or even containing keywords related to topic titles. Such kind of links will be more likely interpreted with search crawlers when referrencing to your website from the other external webpages.

It is very important to understand what such kind of URLs would be useful for. URLs could be user-friendly or keywords-rich. Those are different things. "User-friendly" means a very short URL, which could be written manually on paper without mistakes, and that way re-typed easily on the other computer. It also could be remembered fast (depends on your brain's memory resources of course). "Keywords-rich" stands for the URL which contains a lot of keywords in it, related to the topic's title and actually build up on this title. Most-likely if there are more than 3 words in a topic's title, it can't be called "user-friendly" already. However such URLs are useful for SEO, specially in terms when somebody refers to your specific topic in the other website's context. In that case, the crawler gets more chances to apply some keywords to your page in its internal mechanism.

miniBB supports both types of such URLs. It's only your choice, what kind of type you will use for your forums. Each of them has cons and pros.

Keywords-rich-URLs are useful for SEO and they mean point of the current web context fashion. However if you change the topic's title, the forum script will automatically change the URL, too. It means if it was previously indexed in the crawler, now the crawler needs to eliminate it and reference to the new URL, which appears after 301-header redirection. A lot of redirections, i.e. if the topic title has been renamed often for some reason, means "bad" for the crawler. It is useful only for the forums which do not change their topic titles too often, and most likely 90% of such URLs will not be user-friendly at all. Additionally, such URLs may be useful for English-based forums only. International forums must either contain specific algorithms regarding special characters in topic titles, either to use encoded characters in URLs themselves, which means they have a very limited ability of being transferred via the global web.

User-friendly-URLs in miniBB contain digits only (actually, forum and topic IDs). They are forever static, not depending on the topic's title change and not depending on what kind of language the forums use. They are completely user-friendly and short, and may be typed on any computer in the world. We recommend to use them for non-English communities and for those who carry about static longterm content a lot.

For enabling mod_rewritten URLs, you need to uncomment and set to TRUE a $mod_rewrite option under setup_options.php.

Notice that only links to threads and forums listings will be rewritten that way. There is no special need in changing links to Registration, Statistics, User profiles and other pages. Search indexers need just your content.

In the user-friendly mode, hyperlinks are build under the following scenario:

  • List of topics: [FORUM_ID]_[PAGE].html
  • List of threads: [FORUM_ID]_[TOPIC_ID]_[PAGE].html

When you are sure that mod_rewrite module is set up correctly on your server, you need to create .htaccess file and put under the forums folder. It should look like this:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^index\.html$ ./index.php?mdrw=on
RewriteRule ^manual\.html$ ./index.php?action=manual&mdrw=on
RewriteRule ^([0-9]+)_([0-9]+)_([-0-9]+)\.html$ ./index.php?action=vthread&forum=$1&topic=$2&page=$3&mdrw=on
RewriteRule ^([0-9]+)_([-0-9]+)\.html$ ./index.php?action=vtopic&forum=$1&page=$2&mdrw=on
RewriteRule ^([0-9]+)/$ ./index.php?page=$1&mdrw=on

where index.php is your forums file (it could have other name, if you renamed it earlier). Make sure that under forums folder you don't have other .HTML files matching the above scheme. They may not be displayed properly.

If you don't want index.php interpreted as index.html, remove the second line in the aforementioned code. Your forums manual could be also interpreted as a content page; if you want to avoid it, remove the third line in the code.

If you would like to set up the keywords-rich mode for your forum URLs, refer to our "Keywords-rich URLs" package under the Downloads area. Such add-ons are available only for miniBB beginning from the version 2.4. There are different variations of how the URLs could be transformed, and it's very up to you how you will apply them to the forums; it very depends on the forums language, audience and marketing positions as well, not saying you should be an advanced enough coder to make such thing happen. It's very specific. Even for our default forums, we are using currently the modified version of one of the add-ons presented in such package. It is not suitable for everybody automatically - of course, if you want to achieve a really professional result with it. MiniBB is not lame in this aspect.

Beginning from version 2.0 RC5, pay attention at "mdrw" variable, it must be set ONLY in .htaccess configuration, telling the script to put "NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW" tags in the HTML header. So crawlers will index your mod_rewrite-like pages, 1_0.html, for example, but not index.php?action=vforum&forum=1. These 2 different addresses point to the same page, and it could be interpreted as duplicated content. So, putting "mdrw" variable, we force the crawler not to index your .php page, if it's URL already presented as the "static" .html. If you use mod_rewrite, providing links to your forum pages from another sources, try to avoid .php addresses for content pages as well.

PHP scripts

When developing PHP scripts for miniBB, to reduce the overall size of files and that's why speed them up a little bit, we intentionally avoid tabulation, extra spaces and commenting in the code. But the code you see in miniBB scripts, is exact and supplied "as is" right after writing it up, so it's very opened for modifications and friendly to edit. We work on the same file versions, as they are supplied in the official package, as Notepad2 editor provides the full control and easy navigation in such code. You may use extra programs to "tabulate" it on your own, if you feel comfortable to edit it that way; but please, if you provide your own modifications to miniBB community, follow the common strategy of keeping the code clean.

Upgrading miniBB

If you want to have always up-to-date miniBB version, check for updates constantly. Our RSS feed contains any news related to miniBB new versions. When the new version is coming out, it is recommended for all users to upgrade immediately, because having the newest version you get a bigger chance to keep your forums safe, and all our plugins are tested only with the latest release. As soon you upgrade - as easy will be your next upgrade.

For upgrading miniBB, you will need to do the following:

  • BACK UP YOUR CURRENT FILES AND DATABASE - else you may lose your work with no way back;
  • almost always overwrite core script files;
  • in some cases update customized files, settings, laguage pack and/or templates;
  • in rare cases update database structure.

By "core script files", we mean here basic .php scripts, which in most cases are not necessary to edit. You probably could change these files only if you have heavily customized your version. In this case, you are losing possibility to upgrade easily. All core scripts in the package by default have prefix "bb_", also as "index.php", "setup_mysql.php" are also core scripts. Exceptions are:

  • bb_codes.php - this file could be modified to have your own BB codes;
  • bb_cookie.php - could be modified to have your own authorization routine;
  • bb_default_style.css - could and should be modified to have your own unique colors/fonts layout;
  • bb_plugins.php - could be modified to have various extensions (addons and plugins);
  • bb_specials.php - could be modified to have additional special options of forums

One file you modify in any case, is called "setup_options.php". This is a settings file, and upgrading miniBB, you should never to overwrite this file, keeping your settings. Additionally, you may add new settings at the end of file, if needed. We are always adding new options at the end of this file in new version.

Customizing your board, you probably always will change the template called "main_header.html". It is kept in /templates/ directory amongst other HTML templates. Upgrading miniBB, keep in mind all templates you have upgraded. If some changed template is mentioned in upgrade history, you can either overwrite it, either edit it, changing updated code or variables, and keeping your previous work.

Language pack (eng.php or whatever is placed in /lang/ directory) is also subject to update in many cases. Since we ourselves are supporting only English version of the board, other language packs, created by 3rd party, most commonly need to be updated, if English pack is changed. If you have other language than English, or have made some changes even to your default English version, you shouldn't overwrite new original language pack, bud edit your own.

miniBB 2.x series releases contain very detailed upgrading history. It is kept in a file called "!UPDATE.txt", which you can download in our "Downloads" section in "Update History" package. This file contains a list of all changes, which have been done from version to version. History begins from the release 2.0 RC1, the first release of 2.x series - if you're uprading from older 1.x series, start checking from this section.

Before upgrade, you must get the clue how you'll upgrade (hopefully, you got it from the description above), and to know your current version of miniBB. It is hidden from public for security reasons; however, it is always kept in a file "bb_functions.php". Edit this file and notice your version at the very top.

In most common cases, you should close your forums before upgrade, so users don't affect database with new postings or registrations. Rename your default forums index file, commonly "index.php", to "index_u.php", and then set the option $indexphp in setup_options.php as 'index_u.php?'. You can set another filename, of course, any filename. Create a NEW index.php file and put there simple text like "We are upgrading. Please, come again in few minutes!", then upload it to server. In that case, users visiting your forum, will see the warning message, at the time only you will know the name of temporary index file, and will be able to run it in order to see your results after upgrading.

When you are ready to upgrade, download latest miniBB release, and start checking !UPDATE.txt file from the version you currently have. For example, if you're having version "2.0 RC1f", find the section "Changes comparision: 2.0 RC1f - 2.0 RC1g" and follow down below the history file content until the end. So you should pass all comparision versions: 2.0 RC1g - 2.0 RC2, 2.0 RC2 - 2.0 RC2a, 2.0 RC2a - 2.0 RC2b etc. Each section provides you detailed information, on which core files you need to overwrite, which customized files you should modify, and which SQL commands you should execute in order for upgrading your database structure.

Take all newest files from the latest release, despite they are mentioned as earlier versions. If you will some way notice or remember, which files you have overwritten already, it is not necessary to upgrade them twice, if they are mentioned in the next history sections. For example, "index.php" of "bb_functions.php" are 2 files which are almost always necessary to upgrade. So you just need to ovewrite these files once, despite they are mentioned in many cases.

When adding new option(s), language variables, special arrays, take a look at the default file(s) from the latest package - in most common cases, you need to paste these options the same way in your modified files.

History file may also contain some non-critical updates, or just mention miniBB changes, which will not affect your old installation. They are mentioned just for your knowledge, and there is nothing to upgrade.

After you have done all upgrade changes, test your board, manually pointing to the "index_u.php" file you have renamed before. If there are no critical errors shown from the first step, and you are able to login/out, post new topic and reply - the board should work ok. In any way, if some errors will be found after your upgrade, users will notice you. Create a new topic titled "Forum software upgraded" and notice the users about your software changes.

Finally, rename your index file back and put it's name in setup_options.php file. Forums are ready to rock again!

If upgrading process seems difficult to you, we are always ready to help you for a reasonable rate. Check our Paid Support section for more details.

End of Manual

© 2001-2010 Paul Puzyrev, Sergei Larionov,
© 2011-2013 Paul Puzyrev
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