How To Upgrade phpBB

Monday, April 24, 2006
By: Matthew Doucette

This is a very basic tutorial on how to upgrade your old version of phpBB (version 2.x.x) to the new version of phpBB (version 2.x.x) using the "Changed Files Only" download version.


Read Me First:

This article is not timeless.  This tutorial is based on modifying phpBB version 2.0.13 to 2.0.14.  I have used this tutorial to upgrade our forums from every step from version 2.0.13 to 2.0.21.  If this is some time way into the future, and you are running phpBB version 3.x.x, this tutorial may not work!


What About Forum Mods?

If your phpBB board is heavily modified, then you may not wish to use this tutorial.  Our phpBB forums are slightly modified and this tutorial seems to work great for us.  If you end up using this tutorial and it modifies one of your modifications back to its original format, then it is hard lesson to learn, but please record all of your modifications to your phpBB forums, so that you can re-do them!

Ok, let's start:


STEP 1 - Download Newest Version of phpBB:


STEP 2 - Disable Board:


STEP 3 - Backup Database:


STEP 4 - Extract Changed Files (Part 1/2)


STEP 5 - Extract Changed Files (Part 2/2)


STEP 6 - Delete Extraced Files


STEP 7 - Copy Files To Server


STEP 8 - Install Update Via Web Browser


STEP 9 - Delete Folders on Server


STEP 10 - Enable Board


STEP 11 - Clean Up


STEP 12 - Backup Database


STEP 13 - Make a Post


STEP 14 - Done


What About Your Database?

You do not need to restore your database to keep your posts and threads intact.  At the end of this tutorial, your posts should be exactly as they were before.

In fact, you do not have to backup your database, at all, to upgrade your forums, but I do recommend it.  I recommend backing up your database, just in case, whenever you make changes to your forums.  You can never have too many backups!


Final Comments:

As you can see from some of my posts on, upgrading phpBB can be quite confusing to newcomers.  I hope this little tutorial helps motivate you to consistently upgrade your phpBB board for security reasons if nothing else.

If this tutorial had any "bumps" for you, or did not "flow" well, please let us know.  We'll fix it.  All feedback is welcome, please post in our forums or contact us directly.


Contact Us:

Post in our forums or email us.


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About the Author: I am Matthew Doucette of Xona Games, an award-winning indie game studio that I founded with my twin brother. We make intensified arcade-style retro games. Our business, our games, our technology, and we as competitive gamers have won prestigious awards and received worldwide press. Our business has won $190,000 in contests. Our games have ranked from #1 in Canada to #1 in Japan, have become #1 best sellers in multiple countries, have won game contests, and have held 3 of the top 5 rated spots in Japan of all Xbox LIVE indie games. Our game engines have been awarded for technical excellence. And we, the developers, have placed #1 in competitive gaming competitions -- relating to the games we make. Read about our story, our awards, our games, and view our blog.