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So, I am looking for solutions out there and I am leaning towards phpbb. I installed it locally and I've played with it a bit and I like what I see up to now.
But, the main question is: Can it made what I need? If so, would it be very hard/difficult to install it in such a way? Can anybody point me to some sites or tutorials in that sense?
I am on a Linux server with Apache, php, MySQL, passwords protected directories and all that stuff.
Thanks in advance :)
In the basic phpBB install, there is a lot of information viewable even when you're not logged-in, inluding the full member list with all the members' details (email address, you name it). In my case, I removed the memberlist.php page completely and reworked the templates. Forums can be made private and invisible when not logged-in, and you can create user groups to allow access to certain forums for a limited subset of your members. Set registrations to be approved by an Administrator and you can keep out unwanted visitors quite easily.
Adjusting the templates it fairly straightforward stuff assuming you're reasonably familiar with HTML. For example, to make part of the page visible only when you're logged-in, you add:
<!-- BEGIN switch_user_logged_in -->
around the block of markup. You'll need a decent text editor, nothing more.
<!-- END switch_user_logged_in -->
Finally, check through the phpBB site's mod database for some security and other enhancements. Otherwise, you'll have to dive in to the PHP code and make adjustments as you see fit.
Overall, I'm happy with my choice of phpBB - it isn't the most private forum software in it's default state, but the documentation and available modifications are extensive, and it is infinitely customizeable.