Frequently Asked Questions
Login and Registration Issues
- Why can’t I login?
- There are several reasons why this could occur. First, ensure your username and password are
correct. If they are, contact the board owner to make sure you haven’t been banned. It is also
possible the website owner has a configuration error on their end, and they would need to fix it.
- Why do I need to register at all?
- You may not have to, it is up to the administrator of the board as to whether you need to register
in order to post messages. However; registration will give you access to additional features not
available to guest users such as definable avatar images, private messaging, emailing of fellow
users, usergroup subscription, etc. It only takes a few moments to register so it is recommended you
- Why do I get logged off automatically?
- If you do not check the Log me in automatically box when you login, the board will only
keep you logged in for a preset time. This prevents misuse of your account by anyone else. To stay
logged in, check the box during login. This is not recommended if you access the board from a shared
computer, e.g. library, internet cafe, university computer lab, etc. If you do not see this
checkbox, it means the board administrator has disabled this feature.
- How do I prevent my username appearing in the online user listings?
- Within your User Control Panel, under “Board preferences”, you will find the option Hide your
online status. Enable this option with Yes and you will only appear to the
administrators, moderators and yourself. You will be counted as a hidden user.
- I’ve lost my password!
- Don’t panic! While your password cannot be retrieved, it can easily be reset. Visit the login page
and click I’ve forgotten my password. Follow the instructions and you should be able to log
in again shortly.
- I registered but cannot login!
- First, check your username and password. If they are correct, then one of two things may have
happened. If COPPA support is enabled and you specified being under 13 years old during
registration, you will have to follow the instructions you received. Some boards will also require
new registrations to be activated, either by yourself or by an administrator before you can logon;
this information was present during registration. If you were sent an e-mail, follow the
instructions. If you did not receive an e-mail, you may have provided an incorrect e-mail address or
the e-mail may have been picked up by a spam filer. If you are sure the e-mail address you provided
is correct, try contacting an administrator.
- I registered in the past but cannot login any more?!
- Attempt to locate the e-mail sent to you when you first registered, check your username and password
and try again. It is possible an administrator has deactivated or deleted your account for some
reason. Also, many boards periodically remove users who have not posted for a long time to reduce
the size of the database. If this has happened, try registering again and being more involved in
- What is COPPA?
- COPPA, or the Child Online Privacy and Protection Act of 1998, is a law in the United States
requiring websites which can potentially collect information from minors under the age of 13 to have
written parental consent or some other method of legal guardian acknowledgment, allowing the
collection of personally identifiable information from a minor under the age of 13. If you are
unsure if this applies to you as someone trying to register or to the website you are trying to
register on, contact legal counsel for assistance. Please note that the phpBB Group cannot provide
legal advice and is not a point of contact for legal concerns of any kind, except as outlined below.
- Why can’t I register?
- It is possible the website owner has banned your IP address or disallowed the username you are
attempting to register. The website owner could have also disabled registration to prevent new
visitors from signing up. Contact a board administrator for assistance.
- What does the “Delete all board cookies” do?
- “Delete all board cookies” deletes the cookies created by phpBB which keep you authenticated and
logged into the board. It also provides functions such as read tracking if they have been enabled by
the board owner. If you are having login or logout problems, deleting board cookies may help.
User Preferences and settings
- How do I change my settings?
- If you are a registered user, all your settings are stored in the board database. To alter them,
visit your User Control Panel; a link can usually be found at the top of board pages. This system
will allow you to change all your settings and preferences.
- The times are not correct!
- It is possible the time displayed is from a timezone different from the one you are in. If this is
the case, visit your User Control Panel and change your timezone to match your particular area, e.g.
London, Paris, New York, Sydney, etc. Please note that changing the timezone, like most settings,
can only be done by registered users. If you are not registered, this is a good time to do so.
- I changed the timezone and the time is still wrong!
- If you are sure you have set the timezone and Summer Time/DST correctly and the time is still
incorrect, then the time stored on the server clock is incorrect. Please notify an administrator to
correct the problem.
- My language is not in the list!
- Either the administrator has not installed your language or nobody has translated this board into
your language. Try asking the board administrator if they can install the language pack you need. If
the language pack does not exist, feel free to create a new translation. More information can be
found at the phpBB website (see link at the bottom of board pages).
- How do I show an image along with my username?
- There are two images which may appear along with a username when viewing posts. One of them may be
an image associated with your rank, generally in the form of stars, blocks or dots, indicating how
many posts you have made or your status on the board. Another, usually a larger image, is known as
an avatar and is generally unique or personal to each user. It is up to the board administrator to
enable avatars and to choose the way in which avatars can be made available. If you are unable to
use avatars, contact a board administrator and ask them for their reasons.
- What is my rank and how do I change it?
- Ranks, which appear below your username, indicate the number of posts you have made or identify
certain users, e.g. moderators and administrators. In general, you cannot directly change the
wording of any board ranks as they are set by the board administrator. Please do not abuse the board
by posting unnecessarily just to increase your rank. Most boards will not tolerate this and the
moderator or administrator will simply lower your post count.
- When I click the e-mail link for a user it asks me to login?
- Only registered users can send e-mail to other users via the built-in e-mail form, and only if the
administrator has enabled this feature. This is to prevent malicious use of the e-mail system by
- How do I post a topic in a forum?
- To post a new topic in a forum, click the relevant button on either the forum or topic screens. You
may need to register before you can post a message. A list of your permissions in each forum is
available at the bottom of the forum and topic screens. Example: You can post new topics, You can
vote in polls, etc.
- How do I edit or delete a post?
- Unless you are a board administrator or moderator, you can only edit or delete your own posts. You
can edit a post by clicking the edit button for the relevant post, sometimes for only a limited time
after the post was made. If someone has already replied to the post, you will find a small piece of
text output below the post when you return to the topic which lists the number of times you edited
it along with the date and time. This will only appear if someone has made a reply; it will not
appear if a moderator or administrator edited the post, though they may leave a note as to why
they’ve edited the post at their own discretion. Please note that normal users cannot delete a post
once someone has replied.
- How do I add a signature to my post?
- To add a signature to a post you must first create one via your User Control Panel. Once created,
you can check the Attach a signature box on the posting form to add your signature. You can
also add a signature by default to all your posts by checking the appropriate radio button in your
profile. If you do so, you can still prevent a signature being added to individual posts by
un-checking the add signature box within the posting form.
- How do I create a poll?
- When posting a new topic or editing the first post of a topic, click the “Poll creation” tab below
the main posting form; if you cannot see this, you do not have appropriate permissions to create
polls. Enter a title and at least two options in the appropriate fields, making sure each option is
on a separate line in the textarea. You can also set the number of options users may select during
voting under “Options per user”, a time limit in days for the poll (0 for infinite duration) and
lastly the option to allow users to amend their votes.
- Why can’t I add more poll options?
- The limit for poll options is set by the board administrator. If you feel you need to add more
options to your poll than the allowed amount, contact the board administrator.
- How do I edit or delete a poll?
- As with posts, polls can only be edited by the original poster, a moderator or an administrator. To
edit a poll, click to edit the first post in the topic; this always has the poll associated with it.
If no one has cast a vote, users can delete the poll or edit any poll option. However, if members
have already placed votes, only moderators or administrators can edit or delete it. This prevents
the poll’s options from being changed mid-way through a poll.
- Why can’t I access a forum?
- Some forums may be limited to certain users or groups. To view, read, post or perform another action
you may need special permissions. Contact a moderator or board administrator to grant you access.
- Why can’t I add attachments?
- Attachment permissions are granted on a per forum, per group, or per user basis. The board
administrator may not have allowed attachments to be added for the specific forum you are posting
in, or perhaps only certain groups can post attachments. Contact the board administrator if you are
unsure about why you are unable to add attachments.
- Why did I receive a warning?
- Each board administrator has their own set of rules for their site. If you have broken a rule, you
may be issued a warning. Please note that this is the board administrator’s decision, and the phpBB
Group has nothing to do with the warnings on the given site. Contact the board administrator if you
are unsure about why you were issued a warning.
- How can I report posts to a moderator?
- If the board administrator has allowed it, you should see a button for reporting posts next to the
post you wish to report. Clicking this will walk you through the steps necessary to report the post.
- What is the “Save” button for in topic posting?
- This allows you to save passages to be completed and submitted at a later date. To reload a saved
passage, visit the User Control Panel.
- Why does my post need to be approved?
- The board administrator may have decided that posts in the forum you are posting to require review
before submission. It is also possible that the administrator has placed you in a group of users
whose posts require review before submission. Please contact the board administrator for further
- How do I bump my topic?
- By clicking the “Bump topic” link when you are viewing it, you can “bump” the topic to the top of
the forum on the first page. However, if you do not see this, then topic bumping may be disabled or
the time allowance between bumps has not yet been reached. It is also possible to bump the topic
simply by replying to it, however, be sure to follow the board rules when doing so.
Formatting and Topic Types
- What is BBCode?
- BBCode is a special implementation of HTML, offering great formatting control on particular objects
in a post. The use of BBCode is granted by the administrator, but it can also be disabled on a per
post basis from the posting form. BBCode itself is similar in style to HTML, but tags are enclosed
in square brackets [ and ] rather than < and >. For more information on BBCode see the guide
which can be accessed from the posting page.
- Can I use HTML?
- No. It is not possible to post HTML on this board and have it rendered as HTML. Most formatting
which can be carried out using HTML can be applied using BBCode instead.
- What are Smilies?
- Smilies, or Emoticons, are small images which can be used to express a feeling using a short code,
e.g. :) denotes happy, while :( denotes sad. The full list of emoticons can be seen in the posting
form. Try not to overuse smilies, however, as they can quickly render a post unreadable and a
moderator may edit them out or remove the post altogether. The board administrator may also have set
a limit to the number of smilies you may use within a post.
- Can I post images?
- Yes, images can be shown in your posts. If the administrator has allowed attachments, you may be
able to upload the image to the board. Otherwise, you must link to an image stored on a publicly
accessible web server, e.g. http://www.example.com/my-picture.gif. You cannot link to pictures
stored on your own PC (unless it is a publicly accessible server) nor images stored behind
authentication mechanisms, e.g. hotmail or yahoo mailboxes, password protected sites, etc. To
display the image use the BBCode [img] tag.
- What are global announcements?
- Global announcements contain important information and you should read them whenever possible. They
will appear at the top of every forum and within your User Control Panel. Global announcement
permissions are granted by the board administrator.
- What are announcements?
- Announcements often contain important information for the forum you are currently reading and you
should read them whenever possible. Announcements appear at the top of every page in the forum to
which they are posted. As with global announcements, announcement permissions are granted by the
- What are sticky topics?
- Sticky topics within the forum appear below announcements and only on the first page. They are often
quite important so you should read them whenever possible. As with announcements and global
announcements, sticky topic permissions are granted by the board administrator.
- What are locked topics?
- Locked topics are topics where users can no longer reply and any poll it contained was automatically
ended. Topics may be locked for many reasons and were set this way by either the forum moderator or
board administrator. You may also be able to lock your own topics depending on the permissions you
are granted by the board administrator.
- What are topic icons?
- Topic icons are author chosen images associated with posts to indicate their content. The ability to
use topic icons depends on the permissions set by the board administrator.
- I cannot send private messages!
- There are three reasons for this; you are not registered and/or not logged on, the board
administrator has disabled private messaging for the entire board, or the board administrator has
prevented you from sending messages. Contact a board administrator for more information.
- I keep getting unwanted private messages!
- You can block a user from sending you private messages by using message rules within your User
Control Panel. If you are receiving abusive private messages from a particular user, inform a board
administrator; they have the power to prevent a user from sending private messages.
- I have received a spamming or abusive e-mail from someone on this board!
- We are sorry to hear that. The e-mail form feature of this board includes safeguards to try and
track users who send such posts, so e-mail the board administrator with a full copy of the e-mail
you received. It is very important that this includes the headers that contain the details of the
user that sent the e-mail. The board administrator can then take action.
Friends and Foes
- What are my Friends and Foes lists?
- You can use these lists to organise other members of the board. Members added to your friends list
will be listed within your User Control Panel for quick access to see their online status and to
send them private messages. Subject to template support, posts from these users may also be
highlighted. If you add a user to your foes list, any posts they make will be hidden by default.
- How can I add / remove users to my Friends or Foes list?
- You can add users to your list in two ways. Within each user’s profile, there is a link to add them
to either your Friend or Foe list. Alternatively, from your User Control Panel, you can directly add
users by entering their member name. You may also remove users from your list using the same page.
Searching the Forums
- How can I search a forum or forums?
- Enter a search term in the search box located on the index, forum or topic pages. Advanced search
can be accessed by clicking the “Advance Search” link which is available on all pages on the forum.
How to access the search may depend on the style used.
- Why does my search return no results?
- Your search was probably too vague and included many common terms which are not indexed by phpBB3.
Be more specific and use the options available within Advanced search.
- Why does my search return a blank page!?
- Your search returned too many results for the webserver to handle. Use “Advanced search” and be more
specific in the terms used and forums that are to be searched.
- How do I search for members?
- Visit to the “Members” page and click the “Find a member” link.
- How can I find my own posts and topics?
- Your own posts can be retrieved either by clicking the “Search user’s posts” within the User Control
Panel or via your own profile page. To search for your topics, use the Advanced search page and fill
in the various options appropriately.
Topic Subscriptions and Bookmarks
- What is the difference between bookmarking and subscribing?
- Bookmarking in phpBB3 is much like bookmarking in your web browser. You aren’t alerted when there’s
an update, but you can come back to the topic later. Subscribing, however, will notify you when
there is an update to the topic or forum on the board via your preferred method or methods.
- How do I subscribe to specific forums or topics?
- To subscribe to a specific forum, click the “Subscribe forum” link upon entering the forum. To
subscribe to a topic, reply to the topic with the subscribe checkbox checked or click the “Subscribe
topic” link within the topic itself.
- How do I remove my subscriptions?
- To remove your subscriptions, go to your User Control Panel and follow the links to your
- What attachments are allowed on this board?
- Each board administrator can allow or disallow certain attachment types. If you are unsure what is
allowed to be uploaded, contact the board administrator for assistance.
- How do I find all my attachments?
- To find your list of attachments that you have uploaded, go to your User Control Panel and follow
the links to the attachments section.
phpBB 3 Issues
- Who wrote this bulletin board?
- This software (in its unmodified form) is produced, released and is copyright phpBB Group. It is made available under the GNU General Public
License and may be freely distributed. See the link for more details.
- Why isn’t X feature available?
- This software was written by and licensed through phpBB Group. If you believe a feature needs to be
added, please visit the phpbb.com website and see what phpBB Group have to say. Please do not post
feature requests to the board at phpbb.com, the group uses SourceForge to handle tasking of new
features. Please read through the forums and see what, if any, our position may already be for a
feature and then follow the procedure given there.
- Who do I contact about abusive and/or legal matters related to this
- Any of the administrators listed on the “The team” page should be an appropriate point of contact
for your complaints. If this still gets no response then you should contact the owner of the domain
(do a whois lookup) or, if this is running on a
free service (e.g. Yahoo!, free.fr, f2s.com, etc.), the management or abuse department of that
service. Please note that the phpBB Group has absolutely no jurisdiction and cannot
in any way be held liable over how, where or by whom this board is used. Do not contact the phpBB
Group in relation to any legal (cease and desist, liable, defamatory comment, etc.) matter not
directly related to the phpBB.com website or the discrete software of phpBB itself. If
you do e-mail phpBB Group about any third party use of this software then you
should expect a terse response or no response at all.