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Developer(s) phpBB Limited
Initial release December 16, 2000 (2000-12-16)[1]
Stable release

3.3.11  (October 22, 2023; 3 months ago (2023-10-22))

Preview release none [±]
Written in PHP
Operating system Cross-platform
Available in Multilingual
Type Discussion forum software
License(s) GNU General Public License v2

phpBB is a free and popular open-source Internet discussion forum package written in the PHP scripting language. The name "phpBB" is an abbreviation of PHP Bulletin Board.

Product history

phpBB was started by James Atkinson as a simple UBB-like forum for his own website on June 17, 2000. Nathan Codding and John Abela joined the development team after phpBB's concurrent versions system (CVS) repository was moved to, and work on version 1.0.0 began. A fully functional, pre-release version of phpBB was made available in July.[2]

phpBB 1.0.0 was released on December 16, 2000,[1] with subsequent improvements to the 1.x codebase coming in two more major installments. The final release in the 1.x line was phpBB 1.4.4, released on November 6, 2001. During the lifetime of the 1.x series, Bart van Bragt, Paul S. Owen (former co-manager of the project), Jonathan Haase, and Frank Feingold joined the team.

In February 2001, phpBB 2.0.x began development entirely from scratch; the developer's ambitions for phpBB had outgrown the original codebase. Doug Kelly joined the team shortly afterwards. After a year of development and extensive testing, phpBB 2.0.0, dubbed the "Super Furry" version, was released on April 4, 2002, three days later than intended.[1]

Work on phpBB 3.0.x began in late 2002. It was originally intended to be released as phpBB 2.2, and the first planned feature list was announced on May 25, 2003.[3] However, as development progressed, the developers realised that phpBB 2.1.x (the development release cycle for 2.2) had eliminated virtually all compatibility with the 2.0.x line, so the version number for release was changed to 3.0.0, in keeping with the Linux kernel versioning scheme, which phpBB followed at the time.[4] In September 2005, Paul Owen resigned as the Development Team Leader and Meik Sievertsen was promoted to the role.

The first beta of phpBB3 was released in June 2006,[5] and the first release candidate was released in May 2007.[6] On July 7, 2007, the teams announced that phpBB had been nominated as a finalist for the Community Choice Awards in the category of "Best Project for Communications".[7] At the end of the month, announced that phpBB had won the award, and in honour of the award, donated $1000 in phpBB's name to Marie Curie Cancer Care.[8][9]

phpBB 3.0.0 "Olympus" (also dubbed the Gold release) was published on December 13, 2007.[10]

On June 10, 2009. the phpBB Development Team broke with their precedent of keeping future development plans under wraps and publicly previewed a series of new features that would be coming in phpBB 3.0.6.[11] In July 2009, the development team also announced "significant changes" to the phpBB's development process and release cycle.[12] Chief among these was the decision to abandon the former Linux kernel versioning scheme, meaning that whether part of the version number was even or odd no longer was significant.

As such, Ascraeus (the successor to 3.0.0 Olympus) is to become phpBB 3.1.0. (The original versioning scheme dictated that 3.1.x would be a development branch, meaning that Ascraeus would have been released as 3.2.0.) Subsequent feature releases of phpBB3 will be versioned as 3.2.0, 3.3.0, etc. phpBB 4.0.0 will represent a fundamentally redesigned version of phpBB. The strategy also committed the teams to continue supporting an older "stable" branch for at least six to nine months after a newer "feature" branch was released. However, an exception was made for 3.0.6 which was already in development. Although it contained enough significant new features that it could have been considered a 3.1.0 release, it remained a part of the 3.0.x branch, which also meant that the teams did not have to simultaneously continue supporting 3.0.5 after 3.0.6's release.

After four RC releases, phpBB 3.0.6 was released on November 17, 2009.[13] The most notable new features included a bare-bones quick reply editor (a feature which the teams had historically been firmly opposed to), support for ACM (cache) plugins, ATOM feed support, and a plugin-based CAPTCHA system, including built-in support for reCAPTCHA among others. The modularization of phpBB's CAPTCHA also provided an API for MOD authors to write CAPTCHA plugins, allowing for greater diversification of the CAPTCHAs used in phpBB installations.

In January 2010, Meik Sievertsen stepped down as lead developer, instead taking on the roles of developer and "server manager". Nils Adermann was then promoted to lead developer.[14]

phpBB 3.0.9 was released on July 10, 2011[15], followed by 3.0.10 on January 2, 2012[16], 3.0.11 on August 25, 2012, and 3.0.12 on September 28, 2013.

On April 26, 2013, phpBB 3.1 finally entered feature freeze to allow time for bugfixes without having additional features further slow the release process.[17]


A massive list of features of phpBB, with explanations for most of the features, can be found on the phpBB page.

Hardware/software requirements

MediaWiki requires the following:

  • a web server that supports PHP
  • a PHP installation to run the software
  • a SQL database system

More about installation requirements can be found here.

Videos, screenshots, and other media

Screenshots for phpBB can be found on OStatic.

Flash tutorials for phpBB can found on the phpBB site.

A demo of phpBB can be utilized here.

Entities using phpBB

Examples of entities using phpBB include:

Alexa, Alfresco, Ars Technica, Art of Problem Solving, Avant Browser, Blender, CKSource, Debian, Fujitsu, Honda, Joomla, Mozilla, Netgear, OpenOffice, Wacom Europe, Wolfram Alpha

A full directory of phpBB users can be found on the phpBB site.

Further reading

External links

  • phpBB on GitHub
  • phpBB at the Open Directory Project
  • phpBB at OpenSource CMS


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Divinag, Leo (7 June 2002). "what is the history of phpbb?". phpBB Limited. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  2. Atkinson, James (1 July 2000). "Help me test". Developer Shed. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  3. "2.2 Feature List [ updated 25 May ]". phpBB Limited. 25 May 2003. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  4. Owen, Paul S. (14 January 2005). "phpBB 2.2 is no more ... meet Olympus". phpBB Limited. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  5. Sievertsen, Meik (17 June 2006). "phpBB 3.0 Beta1 Released". phpBB Limited. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  6. Sievertsen, Meik (20 May 2007). "phpBB3 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) released". phpBB Limited. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  7. Sievertsen, Meik (7 July 2007). "phpBB has made the Sourceforge CCA Finalist list!". phpBB Limited. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  8. " 2007 Community Choice Awards". SourceForge. 2007. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  9. Turk, Ross (1 August 2007). "Community Choice Awards winners". SourceForge. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  10. Sievertsen, Meik (13 December 2007). "phpBB3 Gold Released". phpBB Limited. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  11. Sievertsen, Meik (10 June 2009). "phpBB 3.0.6 plans". phpBB Limited. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  12. Sievertsen, Meik (29 July 2009). "Significant phpBB (development) changes". phpBB Limited. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  13. Sievertsen, Meik (17 November 2009). "phpBB 3.0.6 released". phpBB Limited. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  14. Rusko, Yuriy (15 January 2010). "A Change in Development Leadership". phpBB Limited. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  15. Adermann, Nils (10 July 2011). "phpBB 3.0.9 released". phpBB Limited. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  16. Adermann, Nils (2 January 2012). "phpBB 3.0.10 released". phpBB Limited. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  17. Pudeyev, Oleg (26 April 2013). "3.1 feature freeze". phpBB Limited. Retrieved 04 June 2013.