How To Install phpBB on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

Install phpBB on Ubuntu 20.04

In this tutorial, we will show you how to install phpBB on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, phpBB is an open-source bulletin board package written in PHP. PhpBB can instantly establish a dedicated space for people to gather and communicate. It also supports popular database engines (MySQL, Oracle Database, PostgreSQL, etc.), flat message structures, hierarchical sub-forums, user groups, full-text search, plugins, and email notifications.

This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of phpBB on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

Install phpBB on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa

Step 1. First, make sure that all your system packages are up-to-date by running the following apt commands in the terminal.

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Step 2. Installing the LAMP stack.

A Ubuntu 20.04 LAMP server is required. If you do not have LAMP installed, you can follow our guide here.

Step 3. Installing phpBB on Ubuntu 20.04.

Now we run the commands below to download the latest version of phpBB from the official page:

cd /tmp
sudo mv phpBB3 /var/www/html/phpbb

We will need to change some folders permissions:

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/phpbb
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/html/phpbb

Step 4. Configuring MariaDB.

By default, MariaDB is not hardened. You can secure MariaDB using the mysql_secure_installation script. you should read and below each step carefully which will set a root password, remove anonymous users, disallow remote root login, and remove the test database and access to secure MariaDB:


Configure it like this:

- Set root password? [Y/n] y
- Remove anonymous users? [Y/n] y
- Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n] y
- Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n] y
- Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n] y

Next, we will need to log in to the MariaDB console and create a database for the phpBB. Run the following command:

mysql -u root -p

This will prompt you for a password, so enter your MariaDB root password and hit Enter. Once you are logged in to your database server you need to create a database for phpBB installation:

CREATE USER 'phpbbuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'your-strong-passwd';
GRANT ALL ON phpbb.* TO 'phpbbuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'your-strong-passwd' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Step 5. Configuring Apache.

Create a new virtual host directive in Apache. For example, create a new Apache configuration file named ‘phpbb.conf’ on your virtual server:

touch /etc/apache2/sites-available/phpbb.conf
ln -s /etc/apache2/sites-available/prestashop.conf /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/phpbb.conf
nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/phpbb.conf

Add the following lines:

<VirtualHost *:80>
ServerAdmin [email protected]
DocumentRoot /var/www/html/prestashop/
<Directory /var/www/html/prestashop/>
Options FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride All
Order allow,deny
allow from all
ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/
CustomLog /var/log/apache2/ common

Now, we can restart the Apache webserver so that the changes take place:

sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo a2ensite phpbb.conf 
sudo systemctl restart apache2

Step 6. Configure Firewall.

Now allow incoming HTTP (80) and HTTPS (443) traffic for Apache Full profile:

sudo ufw allow in “Apache Full”

Step 7. Accessing phpBB Web Interface.

Once successfully installed, open your web browser and access the phpBB web UI installation using the URL and complete the required steps to finish the installation.

Install phpBB on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa

Congratulations! You have successfully installed phpBB. Thanks for using this tutorial for installing phpBB on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa system. For additional help or useful information, we recommend you check the official phpBB website.

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