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Upgrading phpBB Forum

Don't want to mess it up

4:59 pm on Sep 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Have read a few posts here that urge Admins to upgrade their forum software frequently. I would like to do this but
a) dont know how and
b) am afraid of messing up a system that already works well.

I have a phpBB forum, version 2.0.2. According to the phpBB website 2.0.10 is the latest version. Any tips or pointers on how to go about upgrading would be greatly appreciated!

Also will i lose any tweaks I made such as sessions.php and the overall_header.tpl file?

5:24 pm on Sep 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member encyclo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Firstly, it is absolutely vital that you do the upgrade - older versions such as 2.0.2 have several known, published and exploitable security bugs. Thankfully, the new versions are only maintenance releases, so there is no change in features that you need to worry about.

For phpBB, there are three different update mechanisms - you can upload the entire new version, the changed files only, or you can use a patch file which will alter only the parts of the files where there are changes.

The last option is the best for heavily-modifed boards, but it is the most complex - you need command-line access to your server, and you need to be comfortable in a UNIX command-line environment.

The middle option (changed files only) is the best for standard or lightly-modified boards - and I would recommend that one for you.

1. Start by backing up your existing files from the server (so you can quickly restore them if things go heywire!), and also make a backup of the database via the admin panel, phpMyAdmin or your hosting control panel. If you have a busy board, disactivate it for the period of the update.

2. Unzip the file downloaded from the phpBB website into a new directory. You will see the same directory structure as your board, but only some files are present. Check for the presence of new versions of any files you modified in your current version, and apply the modifications to the new files.

3. Read carefully the instructions in the package. Twice! Normally, you will need to upload the new files and replace the existing ones where required, then you will need to run the install configuration again to complete the process.

Once finished, you should see the new version number in the page footer on your site. Most updates are painless, but if you encounter problems, roll back to your old install and check that documentation again.

Good luck!

3:42 am on Sep 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

One caveat: if you have installed any of the hundreds of phpBB hacks available, then during the upgrade process you will lose the hack installations and need to re-install them.

Sometimes the easiest way to do this is to make backup copies of the altered files, then compare those files to the same new-version files. If the files are the same OTHER THAN the hacked lines, you can simply copy the old files over the new version same name files. (This worked fine for me upgrading from 2.0.6 to 2.0.8 to 2.0.10 - with a version as old as 2.0.2 I'm not sure it's going to be that easy....)

[Edits for typos - *sigh*]

6:34 am on Sep 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jenstar is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

You can always hire someone who is experienced in phpbb upgrades to do it for you, if you would feel better being in the hands of someone experienced. And definitely, having hacks etc can make things tricker, especially if you want to do the changed files only. But I am guessing the upgrade from the 2.0.2 right up to 2.0.10 will require you to add your hacks from scratch again.
7:24 am on Sep 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Cheers for the guidelines, have also been reading the phpBB site.

Will I loose all the mods I've done to the buttons, colours and theme of the board?

10:45 pm on Sep 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Probably. In general, the themes for those antique versions don't translate into the newer versions.

Your own graphics however can still be used I would think.

8:24 am on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I don't think I can do straight to version 2.0.10 from 2.0.2 as it changes the database also.

If I have to go gradually what would you suggest?
2.0.2 > 2.0.4 > 6 > 8 > 10?

I feel theres a lot of work involved here.

4:22 pm on Sep 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

It IS a lot of work, unfortunately.

I would see if you can go to 2.0.4, then to 2.0.10. If not, then from 2.0.4 to 2.0.8 to 2.0.10.

You might post this on the relevant forum at phpBB.com - it's likely there have been others with this problem....

10:27 am on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

OKay, upgraded to 2.0.4. went smoothly and is running without a hitch so far. Gonna give it a week or so then go upto 2.0.8

Cheers for the help

9:41 pm on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I wouldn't wait a week, buksida. There were some SERIOUS security holes in 2.0.4. As long as things seem to be working as they should over a couple of days, I'd go on up to 2.0.8....
7:13 am on Sep 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Okay, sound advice. The only reason I hold back was because it took ages! I'm on a slower than average 128 ISDN connection that runs at less than modem speed!

It took over 45 minutes to delete all the files in the forum directory yesterday!

8:13 am on Sep 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I recently upgraded from phpBB 2.0.8 to 2.0.10 and it appeared to work perfectly, but you should do testing of every aspect once you've finished.
I didn't realise until someone told me that when I upgraded it completely broke the PM system on the forum ,which I never use myself and neglected to check.
9:26 am on Sep 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Now upgraded to 2.0.8 again all seems well (I'm getting used to it now!) but i'll test heavily before going on to 2.0.10.

Dont notice any differences though, is it all backgroud changes? I expected more functionallity improvements.

How did you solve the PM issue?

9:50 am on Sep 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I haven't been able to yet :( I am not a MYSQL expert, so I will ask around for help on the phpBB forums.

It's just a warning to be careful, because it's easier to undo your changes just after you've upgraded than to find out later about any errors.

5:58 pm on Sep 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member encyclo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

The new 2.0 releases of phpBB are maintenance releases only - patches for security problems or functional errors, but no features - those are being saved for the forthcoming 2.2 release currently being developed.

If you've got to 2.0.8, then there should be no problem in moving to 2.0.10 straight away. I have had no problems with the private messaging, so I can't comment on that aspect, though. Just whatever you do, don't try 2.0.9 which was broken (and I think has been withdrawn completely).

10:55 pm on Sep 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

buksida, no clue what sort of server you're on, but for me (on slow dialup), it's FAR faster to delete files in cpanel's File Manger ON THE SERVER than otherwise. Like instead of about 45 minutes (yup, been there done that....), it takes less than 45 SECONDS to delete an old phpBB folder....
6:59 am on Oct 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Now I'm on 2.0.10 and everything is running smoothly.

I've read a few posts about 2.2, is anyone using it? is it stable yet? Maybe this belongs in a new thread.

8:26 pm on Oct 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Couple of us aren't going to 2.2 for a LONG time.... like most new software, it's probably going to be a while before it's stable no matter what phpBB says.

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