MyBB Setup notes


MyBB is a free and open-source web forum system that can be added to most websites if they meet a few basic requirements; most importantly, support for PHP5 and one of the three major FOSS SQL systems (MySQL, PostgreSQL, or SQLite). The copy of PHP5 used must include a feature known as the PHP5 XML extension.

This page will discuss the steps that I used to add MyBB to one website. This is not a tutorial but it may be useful to people interested in MyBB.

Comments or corrections may be sent to:

First, here are a few MyBB links that may be useful. Note: These links were valid as of Spring 2012 but they may have broken since then.

MyBB home page
MyBB community
MyBB wiki site
MyBB download page
Wikipedia page

The steps discussed below assume that the reader understands enough about FTP to handle basic FTP operations. In particular, he or she needs to know how to upload files, rename files, and set file permissions.

There are many FTP programs available and most of them are free. I can't recommend particular FTP programs here because different people will have different preferences. But the following four programs may be worth trying: FileZilla, FireFTP, ncftp, and the standard ftp program (which comes with most operating systems). Note that the last two are CLI programs and therefore intended for experienced users.

If FileZilla is used, the program's Timeout setting should be changed to 120. In the past, this setting was located under Edit -> Options -> Transfers -> Timeout but it may have been moved since then.

Note: In some cases, sample ncftp commands are shown below but ncftp isn't required. It's simply the FTP program that I used.

The MyBB installation steps I used went like this:

1. First, I went to the MyBB download page and downloaded a current source-code ZIP file. In my case, the filename turned out to be The file in question contained release 1.6.8 of the software.

2. I unpacked the MyBB ZIP file inside a folder on my computer. This created two new folders there named Documentation and Upload.

3. I logged into my webhost account using an FTP program. In my case, the program was ncftp; however, other people might use other programs as explained before.

4. I created a new folder on the webhost side named mybb (in lower case).

5. I used the FTP program to upload the contents of the Upload folder (on my computer) to the mybb folder (in my webhost account). This step took a while.

6. This step is optional. Details are beyond the scope of this document. To be on the safe side, I downloaded the contents of the mybb folder to my computer and compared everything in the downloaded copy against the original files, which were still in the Uploads folder. This ensured that any data corruption or missing files related to step 5 would be detected.

7. Using the FTP program, I went into the folder mybb/inc on the webhost site and renamed the file config.default.php to config.php. Note: mybb/inc is another way of saying “the folder inc that is inside the folder mybb”.

Any standard FTP program is suitable for this step. In my case, I used the following ncftp commands:

cd /mybb/inc
rename config.default.php config.php

The ncftp session looked like this:


8. Using the FTP program, I changed the permissions of some files and folders.

Any standard FTP program is suitable for this step. In my case, I used ncftp and the following commands, executed inside the mybb folder on the webhost side:

chmod 666 inc/config.php inc/settings.php
chmod 666 inc/languages/english/*.php
chmod 666 inc/languages/english/admin/*.php
chmod 777 cache cache/themes
chmod 777 uploads uploads/avatars admin/backups

The ncftp session looked like this:


People who are using FileZilla or other GUI FTP programs should visit the following page for instructions related to this step:

9. I set up a MySQL database for MyBB to use. The details involved will vary widely depending on what webhost is used. In my case, the webhost was Zymic and I proceeded as follows:

(a) I logged into the webhost Control Panel for my webhost account and went to the Database Administration page

(b) I created a database

(c) I created a database user

(d) I gave the database user all privileges for the database

10. I ran an installation script provided with MyBB. To do this, I used a web browser to go to an address of the following form:

Other people would substitute their own hostname for here.

The script took me through some operations that were fairly self-explanatory.

For the database settings, I set Database Engine to MySQL and Database Server Hostname to localhost. I left Table Prefix and Table Encoding at the default settings. For Database Username, Password, and Name, I used the values I'd selected in step 9.

On the Board Configuration page, I changed Contact Email from the default setting to my email address.

11. I used the FTP program to rename the folder mybb/install to mybb/install.old. Note: The pages displayed by step 10 indicated that the install folder should be deleted. However, a rename was sufficient.

At this point, my copy of MyBB was ready for use. I was able to access it using a link of the form:

Other people would substitute their own hostname for here.

Hosting provided by Zymic.

For acknowledgments related to CSS and other code used, click here.

Linked or embedded works (software, books, articles, etc.) are presented under their own licenses.

Other unique content on this page, excluding screenshots, is distributed under the following license: C.C. Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0. In some cases, screenshots are distributed under the same license. In other cases, the associated program's license applies.

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