phpBB is a free PHP-based forum.


phpBB3 requires PHP installed in your web server. Apache has mod_php, NGINX requires php-fpm. See the official guide for PHP package requirements.

Prepare Your Settings

In your auth project’s settings file, do the following:

  • Add '', to your INSTALLED_APPS list

  • Append the following to the bottom of the settings file:

# PHPBB3 Configuration
DATABASES['phpbb3'] = {
    'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.mysql',
    'NAME': 'alliance_forum',
    'USER': 'allianceserver-phpbb3',
    'PASSWORD': 'password',
    'HOST': '',
    'PORT': '3306',


Prepare the Database

Create a database to install phpBB3 in.

mysql -u root -p
create database alliance_forum;
grant all privileges on alliance_forum . * to 'allianceserver'@'localhost';

Edit your auth project’s settings file and fill out the DATABASES['phpbb3'] part.

Download phpBB3

phpBB3 is available as a zip from their website. Navigate to the website’s downloads section using your PC browser and copy the URL for the latest version zip.

In the console, navigate to your user’s home directory: cd ~

Now download using wget, replacing the URL with the URL for the package you just retrieved


This needs to be unpackaged. Unzip it, replacing the file name with that of the file you just downloaded


Now we need to move this to our web directory. Usually /var/www/forums.

mv phpBB3 /var/www/forums

The web server needs read/write permissions to this folder

Apache: chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/forums Nginx: chown -R nginx:nginx /var/www/forums


Nginx: Some distributions use the www-data:www-data user:group instead of nginx:nginx. If you run into problems with permissions try it instead.

Configuring Web Server

You will need to configure your web server to serve PHPBB3 before proceeding with installation.

A minimal Apache config file might look like:

<VirtualHost *:80>
    DocumentRoot /var/www/forums
    <Directory /var/www/forums>
        Require all granted
        DirectoryIndex index.php

A minimal Nginx config file might look like:

server {
    listen 80;
    root   /var/www/forums;
    index  index.php;
    access_log  /var/logs/forums.access.log;

    location ~ /(config\.php|common\.php|cache|files|images/avatars/upload|includes|store) {
        deny all;
        return 403;

    location ~* \.(gif|jpe?g|png|css)$ {
        expires   30d;

    location ~ \.php$ {
        try_files $uri =404;
        fastcgi_pass   unix:/tmp/php.socket;
        fastcgi_index  index.php;
        fastcgi_param  SCRIPT_FILENAME  $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
        include fastcgi_params;

Enter your forum’s web address as the PHPBB3_URL setting in your auth project’s settings file.

Web Install

Navigate to your forum web address where you will be presented with an installer.

Click on the Install tab.

All the requirements should be met. Press Start Install.

Under Database Settings, set the following:

  • Database Type is MySQL

  • Database Server Hostname is

  • Database Server Port is left blank

  • Database Name is alliance_forum

  • Database Username is your auth MySQL user, usually allianceserver

  • Database Password is this user’s password

If you use a table prefix other than the standard phpbb_ you need to add an additional setting to your auth project’s settings file, PHPBB3_TABLE_PREFIX = '', and enter the prefix.

You should see Successful Connection and proceed.

Enter administrator credentials on the next page.

Everything from here should be intuitive.

phpBB will then write its own config file.

Open the Forums

Before users can see the forums, we need to remove the installation directory

rm -rf /var/www/forums/install

Enabling Avatars

AllianceAuth sets user avatars to their character portrait when the account is created or password reset. We need to allow external URLs for avatars for them to behave properly. Navigate to the admin control panel for phpbb3, and under the General tab, along the left navigation bar beneath Board Configuration, select Avatar Settings. Set Enable Remote Avatars to Yes and then Submit.

You can allow members to overwrite the portrait with a custom image if desired. Navigate to Users and Groups, Group Permissions, select the appropriate group (usually Member if you want everyone to have this ability), expand Advanced Permissions, under the Profile tab, set Can Change Avatars to Yes, and press Apply Permissions.

Setting the default theme

Users generated via Alliance Auth do not have a default theme set. You will need to set this on the phpbb_users table in SQL

mysql -u root -p
use alliance_forum;
alter table phpbb_users change user_style user_style int not null default 1

If you would like to use a theme that is NOT prosilver or theme “1”. You will need to deactivate prosilver, this will then fall over to the set forum wide default.

Prepare Auth

Once settings have been configured, run migrations and restart Gunicorn and Celery.


To use this service, users will require some of the following.


Admin Site

Auth Site



Can Access the PHPBB3 Service