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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?
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.
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*]
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).