Install phpBB on Ubuntu 17.04 / 17.10 with Apache2, MariaDB and PHP Support

phpBB is a free flat-forum bulletin board software written in PHP. It enables individuals and webmasters to set up community bulletin boards in minutes to stay in touch with group of people or ideas. This brief tutorial is going to show students and new users an easy way to get phpBB working on Ubuntu 17.04 / 17.10 with Apache2, MariaDB and PHP support.

phpBB requires the LAMP / LEMP stack to function. It is easy to setup and maintain and completely free… Many reputable online forum communities use this software to run their bulletin boards…

If you’re looking for a feature-rich, efficient and free community bulletin board, then you may want to consider phpBB.

To get started with installing phpBB, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Install Apache2

phpBB is PHP-based and requires a webserver… So, go and install Apache2 on Ubuntu by running the commands below:

sudo apt-get install apache2

After installing Apache2, run the commands below to disable Apache2 directory listing.

sudo sed -i "s/Options Indexes FollowSymLinks/Options FollowSymLinks/" /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

Next, run the commands below to stop, start and enable Apache2 service to always start up with the server boots.

sudo systemctl stop apache2.service
sudo systemctl start apache2.service
sudo systemctl enable apache2.service

Step 2: Install MariaDB

phpBB also requires a database server to function.. and MariaDB database server is a great place to start. To install it run the commands below.

sudo apt-get install mariadb-server mariadb-client

After installing, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable MariaDB service to always start up when the server boots.

sudo systemctl stop mariadb.service
sudo systemctl start mariadb.service
sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service

After that, run the commands below to secure MariaDB server.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

When prompted, answer the questions below by following the guide.

  • Enter current password for root (enter for none): Just press the Enter
  • Set root password? [Y/n]: Y
  • New password: Enter password
  • Re-enter new password: Repeat password
  • Remove anonymous users? [Y/n]: Y
  • Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n]: Y
  • Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n]:  Y
  • Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n]:  Y

Restart MariaDB server

sudo systemctl restart mariadb.service

Step 3: Install PHP and Related Modules

phpBB, a PHP-based software will require the below PHP modules. To install PHP and related modules run the commands below

sudo apt-get install php libapache2-mod-php php-common php-mbstring php-xmlrpc php-soap php-gd php-xml php-intl php-mysql php-cli php-mcrypt php-ldap php-zip php-curl

After installing PHP, run the commands below to open Apache2 PHP default file.

sudo nano /etc/php/7.1/apache2/php.ini            # Ubuntu 17.10
sudo nano /etc/php/7.0/apache2/php.ini            # Ubuntu 17.04

Then change the following lines below in the file and save. You may increase the value to suite your environment.

max_execution_time = 180
max_input_time = 60
memory_limit = 256M
upload_max_file_size = 64M

Step 4: Create phpBB Database

Now that you’ve install all the packages that are required, continue below to start configuring the servers. First create a phpBB database.

Run the commands below to logon to MariaDB. When prompted for a password, type the root password you created above.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called phpbb


Create a database user called phpbbuser with new password

CREATE USER 'phpbbuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'new_password_here';

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON phpbb.* TO 'phpbbuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download phpBB Latest Release

Next, continue below to download phpBB package. To download, run the commands below.

After downloading, run the commands below to extract the downloaded file into Apache2 root directory.

cd /tmp && wget
sudo mv phpBB3 /var/www/html/phpbb

Change or modify the directory permission to fit Apache2 configuration.

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/phpbb
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/html/phpbb

Step 6: Configure Apache2

Finally, configure Apahce2 site configuration file for phpBB. This file will control how users access phpBB content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called phpbb.conf

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/phpbb.conf

Then copy and paste the content below into the file and save it. Replace the highlighted line with your own domain name and directory root location.

<VirtualHost *:80>
     DocumentRoot /var/www/html/phpbb/

     <Directory /var/www/html/phpbb/>
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
        AllowOverride All
        Order allow,deny
        allow from all

     ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
     CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

Save the file and exit.

Step 7: Enable the phpBB and Rewrite Module

After configuring the VirtualHost above, enable it by running the commands below

sudo a2ensite phpbb.conf
sudo a2enmod rewrite

Step 8 : Restart Apache2

To load all the settings above, restart Apache2 by running the commands below.

sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

Then open your browser and browse to the server domain name followed by install. You should see phpBB setup wizard to complete. Please follow the wizard carefully.

You should see phpBB setup wizard

ubuntu phpbb install

Create an admin account by typing a username and password…

phpbb ubuntu install

Enter the database connection details and continue

phpbb ubuntu installation

Accept the server configuration settings and continue.

phpbb setup ubuntu

If you do have a mail server, configure it on this page.. if not ignore and continue


Run the commands below to delete the install directory

sudo rm -rf /var/www/html/phpbb/install

Congratulation! You have successfully installed phpBB bulletin board.

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