Frequently Asked Questions
Login and Registration Issues
- Why do I need to register?
- 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 do so.
- What is COPPA?
- COPPA, or the Children’s Online Privacy 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 phpBB Limited
and the owners of this board cannot provide legal advice and is not a
point of contact for legal concerns of any kind, except as outlined in
question “Who do I contact about abusive and/or legal matters related to
- Why can’t I register?
- It is possible a board administrator has disabled registration
to prevent new visitors from signing up. A board administrator could
have also banned your IP address or disallowed the username you are
attempting to register. Contact a board administrator for assistance.
- 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 email, follow the instructions. If you
did not receive an email, you may have provided an incorrect email
address or the email may have been picked up by a spam filer. If you are
sure the email address you provided is correct, try contacting an
- 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 a board
administrator 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.
- I registered in the past but cannot login any more?!
- 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
- 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 forgot my password. Follow the instructions and you should be able to log in again shortly.
However, if you are not able to reset your password, contact a board administrator.
- Why do I get logged off automatically?
- If you do not check the Remember me 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 Remember me 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 a board administrator has disabled this feature.
- 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. Cookies also
provide functions such as read tracking if they have been enabled by a
board administrator. 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 by clicking on your username at the top of board
pages. This system will allow you to change all your settings and
- 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 and you will only appear to the administrators,
moderators and yourself. You will be counted as a hidden user.
- 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 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 a 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.
- What are the images next to 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
larger, image is known as an avatar and is generally unique or personal
to each user.
- How do I display an avatar?
- Within your User Control Panel, under “Profile” you can add an
avatar by using one of the four following methods: Gravatar, Gallery,
Remote or Upload. 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.
- 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 email link for a user it asks me to login?
- Only registered users can send email to other users via the
built-in email form, and only if the administrator has enabled this
feature. This is to prevent malicious use of the email system by
- How do I create a new topic or post a reply?
- To post a new topic in a forum, click "New Topic". To post a
reply to a topic, click "Post Reply". 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 post attachments, 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
- 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 the User Control Panel. 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
- 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
Limited 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
- 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 drafts to be completed and submitted at
a later date. To reload a saved draft, 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 details.
- 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 board administrator.
- 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
- 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.
User Levels and Groups
- What are Administrators?
- Administrators are members assigned with the highest level of
control over the entire board. These members can control all facets of
board operation, including setting permissions, banning users, creating
usergroups or moderators, etc., dependent upon the board founder and
what permissions he or she has given the other administrators. They may
also have full moderator capabilities in all forums, depending on the
settings put forth by the board founder.
- What are Moderators?
- Moderators are individuals (or groups of individuals) who look
after the forums from day to day. They have the authority to edit or
delete posts and lock, unlock, move, delete and split topics in the
forum they moderate. Generally, moderators are present to prevent users
from going off-topic or posting abusive or offensive material.
- What are usergroups?
- Usergroups are groups of users that divide the community into
manageable sections board administrators can work with. Each user can
belong to several groups and each group can be assigned individual
permissions. This provides an easy way for administrators to change
permissions for many users at once, such as changing moderator
permissions or granting users access to a private forum.
- Where are the usergroups and how do I join one?
- You can view all usergroups via the “Usergroups” link within
your User Control Panel. If you would like to join one, proceed by
clicking the appropriate button. Not all groups have open access,
however. Some may require approval to join, some may be closed and some
may even have hidden memberships. If the group is open, you can join it
by clicking the appropriate button. If a group requires approval to join
you may request to join by clicking the appropriate button. The user
group leader will need to approve your request and may ask why you want
to join the group. Please do not harass a group leader if they reject
your request; they will have their reasons.
- How do I become a usergroup leader?
- A usergroup leader is usually assigned when usergroups are
initially created by a board administrator. If you are interested in
creating a usergroup, your first point of contact should be an
administrator; try sending a private message.
- Why do some usergroups appear in a different colour?
- It is possible for the board administrator to assign a colour
to the members of a usergroup to make it easy to identify the members of
- What is a “Default usergroup”?
- If you are a member of more than one usergroup, your default is
used to determine which group colour and group rank should be shown for
you by default. The board administrator may grant you permission to
change your default usergroup via your User Control Panel.
- What is “The team” link?
- This page provides you with a list of board staff, including
board administrators and moderators and other details such as the forums
- 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 automatically delete private messages from a user by
using message rules within your User Control Panel. If you are receiving
abusive private messages from a particular user, report the messages to
the moderators; they have the power to prevent a user from sending
- I have received a spamming or abusive email from someone on this board!
- We are sorry to hear that. The email form feature of this board
includes safeguards to try and track users who send such posts, so
email the board administrator with a full copy of the email you
received. It is very important that this includes the headers that
contain the details of the user that sent the email. 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 phpBB. 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 “Show
your posts” link within the User Control Panel or by clicking the
“Search user’s posts” link via your own profile page or by clicking the
“Quick links” menu at the top of the board. To search for your topics,
use the Advanced search page and fill in the various options
Subscriptions and Bookmarks
- What is the difference between bookmarking and subscribing?
- In phpBB 3.0, bookmarking topics worked much like bookmarking
in a web browser. You were not alerted when there was an update. As of
phpBB 3.1, bookmarking is more like subscribing to a topic. You can be
notified when a bookmarked topic is updated. Subscribing, however, will
notify you when there is an update to a topic or forum on the board.
Notification options for bookmarks and subscriptions can be configured
in the User Control Panel, under “Board preferences”.
- How do I bookmark or subscribe to specific topics?
- You can bookmark or subscribe to a specific topic by clicking
the appropriate link in the “Topic tools” menu, conveniently located
near the top and bottom of a topic discussion.
Replying to a topic with the “Notify me when a reply is posted” option checked will also subscribe you to the topic.
- How do I subscribe to specific forums?
- To subscribe to a specific forum, click the “Subscribe forum” link, at the bottom of page, upon entering the forum.
- How do I remove my subscriptions?
- To remove your subscriptions, go to your User Control Panel and follow the links to your subscriptions.
- 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.
- Who wrote this bulletin board?
- This software (in its unmodified form) is produced, released and is copyright phpBB Limited. It is made available under the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPL-2.0) and may be freely distributed. See About phpBB for more details.
- Why isn’t X feature available?
- This software was written by and licensed through phpBB Limited. If you believe a feature needs to be added please visit the phpBB Ideas Centre, where you can upvote existing ideas or suggest new features.
- Who do I contact about abusive and/or legal matters related to this board?
- 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 Limited 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 Limited 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 email phpBB Limited about any third party use of this software then you should expect a terse response or no response at all.
- How do I contact a board administrator?
- All users of the board can use the “Contact us” form, if the option was enabled by the board administrator.
Members of the board can also use the “The team” link.