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miniBB :: Complete User's Guide

Version 1.6, Apr 7, 2003

Copyright (c) 2001-2003

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

  1. Introduction
    1. Features
    2. Requirements
    3. Size & Speed
    4. Support
  2. Installation
    1. File list
    2. Config: 1st step
    3. Creating forums
  3. Customization
    1. Config: 2nd step
    2. Skins
    3. Templates
    4. Language packs
    5. CSS file
  4. Administrative options
    1. Admin panel
    2. "Hidden" admin forums options
    3. Moderators
  5. Forums-wide user options
    1. Users hierarchy
    2. User's registration
    3. User's login
    4. User's language
    5. New topics and replies
    6. Locking topics
    7. Editing messages
    8. Editing preferences
    9. Changing user password
    10. Forgotten password
    11. Forums search panel
    12. Statistics
  6. Some notes for developers
    1. Language packs
    2. Database modules
    3. Including from your own PHP script
    4. PHP scripts
  7. GNU Free Documentation License


miniBB ("minimalistic bulletin board") is linear (non-tree) version of highly customizable bulletin board. It inherits most popular features from the bulletin boards the planet has at this moment, with one exception: it is very small by size (2-5 times smaller than usual boards), very fast and FREE. Also, it uses specific functions that are not included in other forum systems. Since we only need bulletin board community (not email server, not Microsoft product, not moonwalker), we made it really fit to everyone's needs. Mostly miniBB is designed for small and medium Internet-sites, but also can be used in large projects. We will talk about this a little bit later.

miniBB is written using popular language PHP. First version is based on mySQL database, versions 1.1 and higher also support PostgreSQL (requires separate module), since version 1.5 also supported by Microsoft SQL module. But it is possible to extend miniBB for working with other databases that are supported by PHP (see below).

miniBB has a user-friendly interface, the simplest administration panel, also many necessary administration options. We hope, it also has helpful FAQ :). For more information about features, refer to our "feature list" on You are always welcome for feedback, suggestions and questions in our support community.

This guide refers to almost all miniBB features and possibilities. It is created both for user and administrator, and is included in miniBB package as "default" FAQ. You can use this manual as basic user FAQ for your page under GNU Free Documentation License described below. If you are using this guide as FAQ in your forums, you can remove all administration and developers guide, described in "Installation", "Customization", "Administrative options" and "Some notes for developers" sections.

Some options described in this manual requires basic HTML and PHP knowledge. If you are on beginner-user level, just read it :).


miniBB offers users and administrators most popular features:

  • Color skins, language packs, easy and universal "hand-made" HTML-templates. All of it allows you to quickly and easily change the look of your miniBB.
  • Interface language change by users.
  • Can be included from your own PHP script.
  • Easy and customizable search function.
  • Customizable date format (incl. AM/PM).
  • HTML is disabled, but there are basic BB codes (HTML replacements), which allow you to make your posts really good-looking. There is also an ability to turn on/off BBCode in posts.
  • Both anonymous and registered users can post messages in any forum. Registered users also can edit their messages.
  • Registered users can be notified via email, when their post or topic is replied, even if they are not authors of the topic. They also can unsubscribe.
  • Special rankings and titles for registered users.
  • Moderators feature.
  • Advanced statistics for users and forums.
  • Powerful encrypted cookie logging and update system for every user.
  • IP tracking, which can be accessed by administrator or moderator.
  • Private, archive (read-only) and registered-users-only forums.
  • "Sticky" topics.
  • Expiration of editing messages.
  • One-step and email-registrations.
  • Banning users by their IPs or IDs.
  • Setting time difference, if server's time zone is different from yours.
  • Basic spam protection.
  • Powerful admin panel and tools.
  • All forums can be protected by one password.
  • Simple one-step installation within seconds.

Why do you need miniBB? The answer is: miniBB is SMALL, SIMPLE, FAST and POWERFUL as ever.


miniBB requires PHP4 to be installed on your server. For the miniBB version 1.x, you'll need mySQL server 3.22.32 or higher, PostgreSQL server (see PostgreSQL module readme for requirements), or MSSQL server (see MSSQL module readme for requirements). There are no limitations about server type or OS. For more details about requirements, check our site.

Size & Speed

We have tried to design miniBB as small as possible. ZIP-compressed fully working version takes only about 90 Kb in size, and uncompressed (without manual) - only about 180 Kb! And less code means: less bugs, less memory eating, more speed. Of course, it depends on your server's power to make fast all database requests, and execute scripts. But, we have tested miniBB on more than 50000 records (enough for medium site!) and can conclude that it works very fast even on average servers. Even faster, than other "ultimate" boards :). Despite that, it includes most popular user and administrator options, that makes use of it clear and simple.

If we talk about limitation of posts, there is actually no limits. miniBB 1.x is based on mySQL, and mySQL can support up to 50,000,000 records. So, if you have a board with 1000 posts per day (who has? tell us! :) ), your forums will be filled after... 130 years! :) And you can easily boost this value by using PostgreSQL.


miniBB has a strong support by us, also as by other developers who took (or will take) part in. You can give us any questions on miniBB net, report bugs, make new suggestions. You are always welcome! Also, other developers are always welcome to develop new features. Especially, if you are a student, this is real to take part for you in serious project, that can help you with study project and your references :).

As for technical support (installation etc.), it is, actually, not free from our side. miniBB itself is a GPL project (read more on Free Software Foundation about GPL license), and you can copy/distribute/modify all scripts under terms of GPL. But you can not remove all our copyrights from scripts and templates and offer miniBB as "your" commercial product. For making this possible, you can buy miniBB (for a VERY small amount of $:) ). Read more about technical support on our site.

We are really not interested in receiving big money for miniBB project. For us, it is possibility to offer free product instead of many free products we are using. But a little compensation could be possible :).


File list

For correct working, miniBB needs to have the following structure:

setup_mysql.php (or whatever you module is)

Optionally, there can be also install files and modules for different databases.

[IMG], [LANG], [SKINS], and [TEMPLATES] are system directories. It is strongly recommended to NOT rename them. They mean:

  • [IMG]: board's images are placed in this directory, incl. "hot-buttons" and "topic icons". Inside this, you'll find a directory called "forum_icons". You can place any forum icons there. It is also system directory, don't rename it!
  • [LANG]: a directory for keeping language packs.
  • [SKINS]: a directory for keeping color models and table skins.
  • [TEMPLATES]: a directory for HTML templates.

Read more about this below.

Other files means following:

  • bb_admin.php: your administration panel file. You need to rename it from default (see "options" below)!
  • bb_codes.php: two functions inside provides BB codes replacement independently for each miniBB update. Don't edit this file if you are unfamiliar with PHP and/or regular expressions. If you are, you can edit this and add your new BB-codes (f.e., specially for administrator). enCodeBB() function used in posting messages, deCodeBB() - in editing messages (converts actual HTML back to BB-codes).
  • bb_functions.php: don't touch this one, if you are unfamiliar with PHP. This is basic functions file for the whole engine.
  • bb_func_*.php files: don't touch them, if you are unfamiliar with PHP. They are modular functions files for the whole engine. Separate action functions are included in it.
  • bb_plugins.php: file with all necessary plugins includings. By default, it is empty. This file is included in index.php once, and when you update your BB to new version, it is not necessary to edit index.php every time.
  • bb_specials.php: file includes special forums definitions, like private, archive forums, user special rankings (see below for more).
  • index.php: the main calling file for miniBB. Usually, your sever should support it as "begin" file for any directory. If not, check your server/PHP options. Every action on the board is called from this file.
  • setup_mysql.php: default database (mySQL) module. Every mySQL request on the board included in it. You can also have another module (setup_mssql.php or setup_postgresql.php, for example).
  • setup_options.php: miniBB options file, incl. administrator data. You need definitely change it's content, but also don't rename it.
  • COPYING: this is GPL license. Please, read it before using miniBB!

Config: 1st step

Begin installation of miniBB is very simple. You need to create some database on your SQL server (f.e., "miniBB") with this command:

create database miniBB;

Then unpack your minibb zip package to some place on your server. Find the file called "setup_options.php". This is your main setup file. All engine is based on it.

Open options file with some plain text editor on your computer. We recommend Metapad, or simply Notepad. You will find a bunch of option variables, but it is not necessary to edit all of them in this 1st step. We will edit only necessary, and explain the others later. Let's begin.

  • $DB = 'mysql'; Can be 'mysql' or 'postgresql' (read more about PostgreSQL in module's readme).
  • $DBhost='localhost'; Host name for your SQL setup. Most likely localhost.
  • $DBname='miniBB'; Your SQL database that you have just created.
  • $DBusr='USERNAME'; Your SQL username.
  • $DBpwd='PASSWORD'; Your SQL password.
  • $admin_usr = 'ADMIN_USR'; Administrator login, is inserted in database also as first engine username. You can change it anytime and update your settings from admin panel (see below). On symbols, there is only one limitation setting admin name: it can not contain "|" sign. This sign is used in board's engine, if you use it, you won't be able to login as admin.
  • $admin_pwd = 'ADMIN_PWD'; Admin password.
  • $admin_email = 'admin@email'; Admin email (also used as "from" email for all emailings on the forum). Must be correct email. In preferences, you can choose to not show it public (see below), but here you MUST enter it correctly.
  • $bb_admin = 'bb_admin.php'; Admin panel FILENAME - we strongly recommend you to rename default bb_admin.php (administrative file) in a root directory to something else, for security reasons.
  • $Tf='forums'; $Tp='posts'; $Tt='topics'; $Tu='users'; $Ts='send_mails'; $Tb='banned'; Database table names - if you have one database and the same tables inside, probably you'll need to change them to something like 'minibb_users', 'minibb_topics' etc. for avoiding duplicates. If it is possible to make separate database for forums, it is more better - and you won't need to edit these variables.

You need set correctly mysql user name, password, host and database. According to user privileges, it must be SUPER-USER, which can also create tables (if you will create them from the web like via install from browser).

So, stop now if you're done. We did enough for setup. Next step - you need to create structure of your database.


In the main directory, You will find _install.php file and, for mySQL for example, _install_mysql.sql file. "Sql" file is actually your dump. If you have capabilities to make database from shell, you can run it and insert all tables manually - but we do not recommend it, this is only for real professionals who are knowing what they do.

Run from your browser the _install.php file, it will create all tables according to their names in setup_options.php and insert all necessary values. Usually, it takes 1-2 seconds.

First screen will welcome you to enter setup. Click on "continue". If everything you typed in options file is correct, script will make all necessary tables described in .sql file. If not, pay attention to your config.

After "OK", you can start building your community! Easy, isn't it? :) But first, DELETE the _install.php file, also as ALL .sql files from directory. We don't need them anymore.

Creating forums

miniBB engine is using cookies for registered users and admin log in. No PHP sessions are used. Please refer to "logging" section for more info. So, turn on cookies in your browser for that stuff.

Do a login to your admin page. Usually is "bb_admin.php", but since your are renamed this file (did you?..), only you know what is admin panel URL :). So, go to that panel, and probably you will be prompted for your admin login and password. Enter them, and you must go in admin panel.

There you will see a bunch of options for your miniBB forums. We will describe them later, but now we need to create some forums. So, click on "Add forum" link and... follow instructions on the screen! We guess, it will be very easy to create some forums.

Our system HAS NO subcategories and possibility to sort forum titles by categories. Why? Possibly because that is really not necessary for some site's forum. Let's look at many sites: usually they have 5-6 forum titles, and they are splitted by 2-3 categories. Do you think that is really important? We guess no. Another side of this question is: "I have so many forums, so they look on the first page like a pack of garbage, that's why I need to categorize them." This is a question of forum policy - and we don't recommend you to create more than 10 thematical forums for 1 site. Usually, 5-6 is REALLY ENOUGH. More forums are scaring users, and incorrectly strong categorization is decreasing board's popularity. Bulletin Board is a place where users can fast and simply post questions and get answers, and it is very bad, if users don't know WHERE to post their message, because in this case they are simply turning out. So, before creating forums, REALLY THINK OUT their structure and minimize forums count as strong as possible.

Also, we don't recommend to give forums "large names". Be as laconic as possible. First, it is more rememberable, second, large names do not fit in topics or threads listing pages.

When you enter miniBB as administrator, you are also logged in as simple user. You can make posts under your name, edit other posts, make deletions etc. We'll talk about it later. Only one: by default, you should also see "admin panel" link beneath every page. And you can automatically reach your panel following this link.


Config: 2nd step

At this moment, your miniBB should be running already! You can go to index.php and check this :). But, there is a lot of other options that probably you want to change. So, let's refer to setup_options.php again:

  • $lang='eng'; Language used in miniBB interface. "Eng", "rus", just check how your language file in directory "lang" is called (example: eng.php). By default, only english language file is included. For more language packs, refer to our site.
  • $skin='default'; Skin is actually "colors" model, and it doesn't change anything except colors. All HTML design is included in templates (see below). Examble for using skin: 'default' or 'classic'. Check main directory for skin file names. For more skins, refer to our site.
  • $main_url=''; Direct URL to message board (WITHOUT slash at the end), for email and other stuff (like redirect).
  • $sitename='miniBB forums'; Forum's title. Appears on all pages + in emails.
  • $emailadmin=1; Email admin if new topics or replies are posted, also if new user is registered. 0 for no 1 for yes. Replies/topics emails are sent if admin is not the message poster.
  • $emailusers = 1; Users can subscribe to email notification on all topics and posts they make (even if they are not authors of these topics or posts). Recommended only for small and medium forums. If your forums have a lot of visitors and posters, we recommend to turn this to 0.
  • $userRegName = '_A-Za-z0-9 '; Via registration, users can use only these symbols in their login name. You can add "international" letters (f.e., specific russian symbols under special encoding table). String is based on REGEXP match, so if you are not sure, don't touch it. Also DON'T ADD "|" sign please, and other specific symbols too (especially like <>, apostrophe ' and quotes ").
  • $l_sepr is a parameter (HTML special symbol) to separate some values like menu items. By default it is '&middot;' (·).
  • $post_text_maxlength='10240'; Max characters and spaces allowed in 1 message. Don't set to 0 - then your visitors will not be able to post something ;).
  • $post_word_maxlength=70; Max amount of chars, allowed in 1 word. Used for disabling "long URLs destroys your design" thing.
  • $topic_max_length=70; Max amount of chars, allowed in topic title.
  • $viewmaxtopic=30; How many topics to show on one page.
  • $viewlastdiscussions=30; How many last discussions to show on 1st page, 0 disables last discussions (see below what means "last discussions").
  • $viewmaxreplys=30; How many replies to show on one page.
  • $viewmaxsearch=40; Max search results per page.
  • $viewpagelim=50; Max pages you can view in either search, posts or topics list.
  • $viewTopicsIfOnlyOneForum=0; If you have only one forum, topics inside can be automatically displayed on 1st page. 1 for yes, 0 for no.
  • $protectWholeForum = 0; Should we protect all forums by one password? If value is 1, 2 values below are defined as well. Else set to 0.
  • $protectWholeForumPwd = 'SOME_PWD'; Password for protecting the whole forum.
  • $postRange = 60; Antispam: time range in secs. User can not post a message less than after this time. Attention: zero (0) disables antispam!
  • $dateFormat = 'MM DD, YYYY<br>T'; Date format for displaying in forums. Where DD = days, MM = months, and YYYY=years, T-time... combination obligately should contain only this letters! Optionally, you can include US letters - american users can use them for displaying am/pm date format (example: 'MM DD, YYYY<br>T US'). US format was added in version 1.2.
  • $cookiedomain = ''; Cookie setting. Most likely you need to leave this blank, however, if you have problems logging into the forum, set this to your domain name, without the http://. F.e., if your forum is at then set this value to "".
  • $cookiename = 'minimalistBB'; Cookie setting. Usually you don't need to change this one; it is used only for testing purposes.
  • $cookiepath = ''; Cookie setting. Usually you don't need to change this.
  • $cookiesecure = FALSE; Cookie setting. Usually you don't need to change this.
  • $cookie_expires = 3600; This is the number of seconds that a session lasts for, 3600 = 1 hour, 2592000 = 30 days. The session will exprire if the user doesn't view a page on the forum within this amount of time. If you are experiencing problems with international users, set this to 25 hours.
  • $cookie_renew = 1800; This is the time after which session is sent again; for example, user was logged once, then logs again (password is not asked), works and this amount of time is reached. Usually it is not necessary to change this.
  • $cookielang_exp = 2592000; This is the number of seconds that a user language session lasts for. We recommend to set it to "big" value, because it is not re-updated each time user visits the site. At any time user can delete this setting, entering "Language" menu. See below for more.
  • $disallowNames=array('Anonymous'); This feature prevents users from registering forbidden names. In apostrophes, define unwelcomed user registration names. If you are using more than 1 language pack, define here all strings under name $l_anonymous in language pack, else visitor will be able to register under 'Anonymous' name f.e.
  • $sortingTopics=0; If 1, topics are sorted by new topics even for anonymous users; else they are sorted by new answers.
  • $topStats=4; Must be either 1, 2, 3 or 4 - correspondly for statistics' Top5, Top10, Top20 and Top40.
  • $genEmailDisable=0; 1 totally disables email sendings (mostly done for disabling forgotten password sending).
  • $defDays=365; Default term value which defines statistics for that days period (for example, if you want to show statistics within 1 month as a default value, set it to 30).
  • $userUnlock=0; If it is set to 0, registered user can not unlock his topic again after it was locked (by admin or himself), and vice versa.
  • $emailadmposts=0; It means that admin receives emails only about new user registration. If $emailadmposts is set to 1, admin also will receive notification about every new post. If it is not set, or is equal to 0, admin will not receive those emails, but will be able to subscribe to topics manually.
  • $useredit=86400; Parameter defines number of seconds, after which user WILL NOT BE ABLE to edit his message. By default is 1 day (86400 sec.) If 0 or not set, user will be able to edit his post everytime.
  • //$metaLocation='go'; This option should solve login/logout problem which has been experienced by some users on IIS serves and other exotic servers. These servers can not send 2 headers (cookie and location) one after another. Beginning from version 1.6, you have go.html file (or any other file, cause filename can be set) in the templates forums directory with meta header in it, you first will visit that file, and then you'll be relocated from it to another place. You can edit go.html if your wish; for now, its structure is very simple and it redirects within 0 seconds, so probably you won't ever actually see it. This option is not included in miniBB 1.6 by default (since many servers still support 2 headers), but you need to uncomment it manually, if you have login problems.
  • //$closeRegister=1; Beginning from version 1.6, it is possible to avoid "open" registrations, when user registers, he enters desired login/password and from the first step becomes a registered user. The $closeRegister variable in setup_options.php now allows to avoid incorrect email address upon registration. If you set it to 1 (default is still 0 or unset), on the registration form user will not see the password field, and will receive it via email (password will be generated automatically). In the user_dataform.html you should have <!--PASSWORD--><!--/PASSWORD--> tags. Upon registration, the content within them will be removed. When user changes data, they will be shown. Having this option set, you SHOULD set $genEmailDisable parameter equal to 0, and $emailusers parameter equal to 1. And of course you should have sendmail working ok.
  • //$timeDiff=21600; Beginning from version 1.6, $timeDiff option in setup_options.php allows you to set time difference between you and server, so all dates are displayed in your time zone. This could be a rare thing and necessary only if you, for example, have server in US and are visiting it from Norway (like it was suggested by a user of our board). You need to set up $timeDiff in seconds:

    $timeDiff=21600; //sets up +6 hours of time difference

    Note that miniBB is still saving server time into SQL database. This option will only re-calculate the server times in your format. Setting this, of course, will slow down the execution of scripts.

That's all, folks! We did the advanced miniBB setup. After that, your forums will work according to your needs and preferences :). But, you need to do something corresponding to your page's design, didn't you? So, let's go to the next level.


Skin is basically "colors" model, and it doesn't change anything except colors & some table parameters. All HTML design is included in templates (see below). Anyway, skins are strictly bound with HTML templates. The main skins purpose is to easily configure engine's design colors without changing HTML templates.

Skin models are placed in directory "skins". Every skin should contain these colors and parameters:

  • $tableParam[0]='100%'; Table "main" width.
  • $tableParam[1]='#F0F0F0'; Table "main" (background) color. Makes sense if cellspacing>0.
  • $tableParam[2]='#0098FF'; Table header color (document top).
  • $tableParam[3]='#6898D0'; Table caption color (discussions, topic titles...).
  • $tableParam[4]='#E0E0E0'; Color for cell where forum name is written, also alternative caption color, incl. main menu.
  • $tableParam[5]=0; Table border.
  • $tableParam[6]=4; Table cellpadding.
  • $tableParam[7]=1; Table cellspacing.
  • $tableParam[8]='#D0D0D0'; Table cell color 1 (posts, topics...)
  • $tableParam[9]='#FFFFFF'; Table cell color 2 (posts, topics...)
  • $tableParam[10]='#F0F0F0'; Color of form of user input (login, password, register form etc.)
  • $stats_barColor='#B0B0B0'; It's pretty clear, isn't it? ;)
  • $stats_barWidthLim='31'; If the width value(it's percentage val. actually) of the stats bar is lower than this one, all the text in it will be placed on its left side. Usually not necessary to change.
  • $bgColor='#FFFFFF'; Background color.

It is impossible to change skins for separate user. We have an opinion that its extended future isn't necessary for most sites.

You can check for more skins on our site. Optionally, skin pack can also include ".css" file and some templates (rarely).


Templates are used to separate HTML code from PHP. They are located in "templates" directory and are usual HTML files (or TXT files - if we talk about email templates). If you don't like our templates, you can change them or design yours. It is important to save all variables (they look like usual PHP "variable variables": {$...}) like shown.

We don't recommend editing templates with WYSIWYG editors. Try to work with "clear" code, since all PHP variables included in templates will not work in HTML separately. We hope, that it will be enough for you to use any kind of simple text editor with our templates: they are very clean and tide, "hand-made". We tried to make all templates compliant to W3C recommendations. We can't guarantee, that they will work as 100% W3C standart works, but they look the same in different browsers.

If you decide to change templates, you need to refer to the miniBB logic in building them. We hope, all templates names are pretty clear to understand, what they mean. Also, try to leave ALL the variables inside the templates as they shown, else we are not responsible for anything.

Most templates are used in different operations (that's why we call this "mini-BB ;) ). F.e., user_dataform.html is used both for registering new user and editing user preferences, main_post_form.html is used on all posts, topics and editing pages.

It is necessary to pay attention to email templates (begins with "email_" and ends with ".txt"). They have special format: first line of every template should contain SUBJECT<<...>> line, with some text instead of "...". As you understand, between "SUBJECT<<" and ">>" there is subject of email. Don't remove this line, else you emails will be garbled!

If you have more questions about templates, ask on our support forums.

Note: in main_header.html, you will find page title as <title>$title</title>. Don't worry about your forums will containing the same title on each page. Title is changing dynamically according to the page, f.e., on topic page it becomes topic name, and on topic lists it becomes forum name. This is very smart feature for search indexers (like Google or AllTheWeb for example) to INDEX your forum, since these engines are working mostly with page titles. Also, that's why we recommend to think about "right" forum names: as more simple they will be, as better. In this case, also don't forget to include (or change) META-tags in header.

Custom templates

There is possibility to make a custom template and call it from the script. For example, you need to create separate page before user registration (agreement): you can add any custom template, which is not included in miniBB. Design your template as usual (all script pre-defined variables also work), put it in "/templates" directory and call from the script like:


where tplName is a name for your created template (in this case, "custom_template.html").

In that way you can also create stuff like "Most loved topics and answers" with the direct list of topics, any FAQs, manuals, description pages, agreements etc., etc., as like as the WHOLE site! ;)

Language packs

For international (non-english) users, we offer "language packs" feature. You can find them on our page. If you have not found a pack for your language, you can fill it yourself and sent it to us :) In this way, you'll help many users from your country.

Language packs can be found in "lang" directory. Usually, only "eng.php" pack is included for default english language on the board. Language pack name is changed in options file.

Language pack simply contains PHP variables with their values. Note for editors: use ` instead of ' in the sentences, or use slashed apostrophe \'. It is better to use apostrophes instead of quotes, because of the engine's speed increase.

We hope, it is pretty simple to understand, what's going on inside of language pack, if you want to change it :). Despite, there are some notes more:

  • $Lang:English:$ string is referred to language "name", which appears in "Language" menu. When making another version of pack, write language name in English between "$Lang:" and ":$"
  • $l_meta tag is META-LANGUAGE value for your html encoding. Usually it looks like '<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html;charset=iso-8859-1">' where you need to change only charset value. Refer to W3C docs for more info on encoding. Note: if you want users to make posts on different language encodings (f.e., english, russian and latvian on the same forum), make l_meta blank ('').
  • $l_months variable defines array of month names separated by ":". Be sure to include EXACTLY 12 values!

Other variables are in assorting order. Another words, there is no order :) While working on miniBB, we have added them in "order of appearance".

Just one more thing: if you will see a string like "Language variables miniBB vX.X", it means that, variables following this string are added or changed for corresponding version. If we add more features, we will also add variables, and for better finding they will be added in another section.

Language packs describe ALL language used in board, incl. admin panel.

Administrator can disable multilanguage feature. For this:

  1. Delete $l_menu[8] variable from "main_header.html" menu;
  2. Leave in /lang/ directory only one (default) language, which is set in options file.

This prevents users to change language. Even if they type direct www link, they will be re-adressed to the main page.

Important: language pack's filename can have only of 3 letters (examples: eng.php, alb.php, rus.php).

If you have multilanguage forum, it would be a good idea to create many manuals on each language. By default, only manual_eng.html is included. If there is no manual for user's language, empty page will be displayed.

CSS file

CSS (cascading style sheet) is designed to fit all font colors and sizes on the page in one file. It is included only once in main_header.html. Usually you don't need to change what is by default, but most of the skins will contain also this file. If so, place the skin into the skins directory, and CSS file into the main directory. Optionally, you will need value in main_header.html.

Administrative options

Admin panel

You can go to the admin panel "by hand", typing in your browser admin panel's filename which you have entered in options file. But usually, you only need to login as admin into forums, and you'll see admin panel link at the bottom of each page.

Admin panel is very small and very simple. Here is the list of options:

  • Add forum. We have talked about it earlier. With this operation, you can add forum name, description, icon. Forum icons are displayed near forums table. They are placed in directory /img/forum_icons. Icon should be .GIF or .JPG with the size of 16x16 pixels. Here you just need to type a filename of image WITHOUT directory name. If no image specified, default.gif is loaded.
  • Edit forum. Click on it, choose forum to edit from drop-down list. Editing form appears. You can change forum name, description, and order there. For editing, press "Edit form" button. Order means... forum's order :) - on the first page. Below you can see fast preview of how forums will look like. Re-ordering forums is very simple: you just need to choose order value from drop-down list, and update it, by pressing an update button. Forums are sorted in ASCENDING order, so see the preview and give forums corresponding values.

    Example: you have 3 forums with order numbers 1,5,9 (it is possible if you did a lot of adding and deleting). You need to order them like "9,1,5". Go to the 9th order, and set it to 1. Then set "1st" order to 5. Then - "5th" order to 9. That's all.

    From this menu you can also DELETE forum. Note that deleting forum will immediately deletes ALL posts and topics corresponding to it. We don't recommend to do that, 'cause there is no way back. If you still need to delete forum, just click on the checkbox saying "Delete forum" and press "Edit". Forum will be deleted and there will be NO ASKING TWICE, so be careful with this thing.

    Deleting forums brings us headache, so, if you will never delete forums, open your admin panel file for editing, find the following line:

    case "editforum3":
    and add after it the following line:
    You should have:
    case "editforum3":
    if ($forumname != "") {
    if ($forumicon == "") ...
    etc. This will avoid forum deleting in any case - even if intruders will know out about your password (we hope this never happens).
  • Remove user. This immediately deletes selected user. You need to write in user's ID. How to know about that ID? Go to the forums, search for user you want to delete, find user message and put your mouse cursor on asterisk (*) near username. The link will be something like http://.......index.php?action=userinfo&user=243. The last digit (f.e., 243) will be user ID.

    Checking box, you can also remove all user MESSAGES and TOPICS (with other user's messages). And all user email notifications, too. We do not recommend to do this. If you won't check this box, only info about registered user will be removed, and all his topics and posts left will be signed as if he is unregistered (and from now on he is, actually ;)) user (see below miniBB users hierarchy).

    Note: on large forums, it takes some time to remove user with topics and posts. Be patient.

    Programming notes: removing user operation can cause some bad forums security issues(if someone knows your password, of course). For disabling delete, find this line in your admin PHP file:

    case ("removeuser2"):
    and add after it the following line:
    You should have:
    case "removeuser2":
    if (!$userID or !DB_query(63,$userID) or $userID==1 or $userID==0)
     $warning = $l_cantDeleteUser;
    else {..........
  • Ban user IP. We have, basically, the simplest and the strongest bans. They are based on user IP (usual proxies also checked), and prohibit user even to enter forums. So, it will be a very hard ban :). For banning user IP, just enter his correct IP (contained maximum 15 symbols, including dots). You can also ban so called IP "mask", entire network. Example: if IP to ban is, you can ban all IPs within local network (enter 191.88.32.+, or more stronger - 191.88.+, these sub-bans were implemented in version 1.2).

    How to know about user IP? Log into forums as admin, and open any thread. In every user message, you will see his IP.

    Extended feature: clicking on this IP, you can see a list of usernames, under which posts were made. It is nice option for viewing all "anonymous" user nicknames. This options is also available for moderators.

    For unsetting ban on IP, just do "Unset/unban selected IPs" in the admin panel. When you click on this link, a list of all bans is offered. Just check necessary bans and press the button.

  • Ban user by ID. Beginning from version 1.6, you can also ban registered users by their ID. This is really useful if, for example, you have forums only for registered members, and someone begins to flood the board. This operation can be done in the same form where you can ban user ID (see above), you need only to enter correct user ID, not IP. You can view user's ID clicking on his "Member" title (ID goes straight after "user=" in URL string). You can't ban user with 0 (zero) ID.
  • Search users. This option appeared since miniBB version 1.2. Admin is allowed to search users by ID, username (login) or email, also inactive users (haven't posted anything since registration) and haven't made new posts since defined date. Each record found displays user's login with link to userinfo on the board, registration date, email (even if "hidden") and last reply's post date. In some cases, also found records' count is displayed. Search users results are splitted by pages, if results count is really big.

    Searching on ID, you need to enter decimal. Searching on email or login, you need to enter some string. If you do not enter something on ID or login, ALL users list will be displayed.

    When searching inactive users, you do not need to enter something.

    When you search users that haven't posted anything since [date], you need to define this date in YYYY-MM-DD format, which means: "4-digits-year"-"2-digits-month"-"2-digits-day". Script is looking for people, who's last reply date is EARLIER than entered date (not including!). That means, if you enter 2002-03-07, for example, you will look for people, who's last reply was earlier than on 7th March, 2002. People with last reply on 7th March will not be shown, also as "inactive" users, too.

    Clicking on [Delete], you can pop-up window with "Remove user" option, where user's ID will be automatically written in form (at least, it appears since version miniBB 1.2). "Remove user" operation is described above.

  • Delete email notifications. If "user emailing" option in your setup is set to 1, it can happen, that some users emails are already "dead". In this case, you, as the administrator, should receive "mailer-daemon feedback" messages saying "Could not deliver message" or something.

    In that case you can simply delete dead emails. To do that, type in an email to delete or simply press button for clearing up the whole table.

  • Export emails. This operation is necessary, if you want to make a mass-mail for your users. PLEASE, DON'T SPAM YOUR FORUM USERS! You need the email list only for important news, f.e., site's moving to new address, forums reconstruction etc.

    You can extract only emails or email+username, use tab separator or comma between these values, and output emails to the screen or separate file attachment. If you've chosen last one you will get a download window after pressing submit button.

  • Restore Admin data in database. This option updates users table and sets new admin password, username and email if you have changed any of these in the options file. Yes! You can change your admin name anytime you want, more so - we recommend to do it regularly.

"Hidden" admin forums options

Private forums. Only site owner can define private forums and users which are allowed to post and view them. Edit bb_specials.php file, find variable $clForums=array(); and add $clForumsUsers[]=array();. clForums array defines closed forums ID(s), and clForumsUsers[] elements defines users which are allowed to post in this forum. Oh, sounds too difficult, here is an example:


That means: forums with IDs 1,3,6 are private. Users with IDs 2 and 5 are allowed to post and view forum under ID 1, users with IDs 10 and 11 are allowed to post and view forum under ID 3, users with IDs 12 and 22 are allowed to post and view forum under ID 6. It seems a little bit difficult, but usually site has only one private forum and 5-10 allowed users, thus not everyone needs this feature - that's why we have not implemented graphical interface for it.

If you don't want to have private forums, leave these arrays blank (but don't remove them!).

Note: topic titles from private forums don't appear on statistics, last discussions, user info and search pages. Only list of closed forums is available on the first page. Anyway, is allowed user or admin is logged, they will appear everywhere.

Note 2: it is not necessary define admin ID (1), because admin can enter any private forum and has full access to it.

Archive forums. Site owner can create so called "archive" forums. Edit bb_specials.php with array variable $roForums in it. Like in private forums (see above), add read-only comma-separated forums IDs into this array. In read-only forums, no one except admin can make or edit posts.

Post-only forums. Site owner can create so called "post-only" forums. That means, users can do anything except for creating new topics in these forums. It is very useful, if you combine your forums with guestbook or news flash, for example. Edit bb_specials.php with array variable $poForums in it. Like in private forums (see above), add read-only comma-separated forums IDs into this array. In post-only forums, no one except admin can make or edit topics.



That means, forum with ID 1 is "post-only".

If you have "post-only" forum as guestbook, for example, or just want to redirect user to some thread exactly when he is clicking on forum's title to view topics, you can define it in bb_specials.php as $redthread array. Example from our forums:

means when user visits some forum with ID 8, he will redirected to the topic with ID 355, so the full URL will be like action=vthread&forum=8&topic=355. This is optional feature, it is not necessary to include this array if you don't need it.

User rankings. miniBB doesn't use ranking system (user ranks like 'Administrator', 'Member' are displayed only, and if it is anonymous user, nothing is displayed). But it is possible to define special user rankings, for "special" members (for example, most-active-poster-of-all-time). Open bb_specials.php for that, find $userRanks array, and edit it. It is based on PHP syntax, so let's give an example with no more talk:

$userRanks=array(1=>'Boss', 17=>'Team member', 9=>'Team member');

That means, user's rank with ID 1 is Boss (of course! :), and users with IDs 17 and 9 are "Team members". These rankings will be displayed under nickname in every post. In this way, you also can define so called "avatars" (just use your imagination, how to do that).

Registered-users-only forums. These forums mean, that only registered (and logged correspondly) users can make new topics, new posts and edit their messages here. Variable $regUsrForums=array(); in bb_specials.php means array of forums IDs which are protected.



That means, forums with ID 1,2 are only for registered users.

Moderators definition. Moderators are people who can help admin in managing forums (read more in moderators section. Variable $mods=array(); in bb_specials.php defines the the array of user IDs which have moderators possibilities.



That means, users with ID 11,22 are moderators.

By default, moderators have access to any forum. But you can also EXCLUDE moderators for some forum, if you don't want to give access to it. Example:


This excludes moderator with user ID 11 from forums with IDs 2 and 3. Note that array values are actually STRINGS, and you need to set them up in quotes or apostrophes! It's not necessary to add this new value if you don't need this.

Excluding last discussions. If you want to exclude some forum from "Last discussions" list, you can set it in the bb_specials array $lastOut. For example: $lastOut=array(6); excludes forum with ID 6 from "Last discussions" list on the first page. It's not necessary to add this new value if you don't need this.

Sorting specific thread in DESC order. Beginning from version 1.6, you specify the ID of the thread (topic), which messages can be sorted in DESC order. By default, every thread is sorted in ASC order. Specially useful for questbooks. For this, set new array in your bb_specials.php file: $themeDesc=array(THREAD_IDs); where THREAD_IDs can be array of IDs of topics. For example:

will set DESC order for topics with ID 355 and 11.

Note that this option will not affect page listing in last discussions and topics list. When some topic is splitted by pages, last replies will be available when you click on topic's title. If you have such kind of sorted thread (like guestbook), it is better to exclude it from last discussions and set the exact redirect (see "Post-only forums").

Deleting messages. Only admin is allowed to delete user messages. Admin needs to be logged into the system. For deleting any message, go to the topic/thread list and click on "Delete" on the top of the message. You'll be prompted once again, then choose "Yes", and the post will be deleted.

NOTE: you can not delete FIRST message and if you do so, the system will report an error. That's because the first message in thread list is TOPIC TEXT in reality. If you want to delete first message, it means you want to delete the WHOLE TOPIC. For this, see "Deleting topics".

After delete, message is not available for recovering.

Deleting topics. Only admin is allowed to delete user topics. Login, go to the bottom of topic page. You will find something like "delete topic". Click on it. After prompt, topic will be deleted, and all associated posts, too.

After delete, topic is not available for recovering.

Editing messages Board administrator can edit ANY message from the forum at any time, plus, if it is "new topic text", he can edit also topic title. However, it is possible only if administrator is logged.

After admin edited topic, only he can edit it once again. For message author it is prohibited. Read more about editing in "forum-wide options" below.

Moving topics. Only administrator can move topics from one forum to another. Moving topics is a specific operation, we don't recommend to do it often (since many users will not understand what's going on). Do it only if topics thematics is not the same as the one of a forum. After decision, login as admin, go to the bottom of the topic page, click on "Move topic" and move topic correspondly to the forum you want. You can move topic only to the "another" forum, else there is no sense for this action (don't move topic to the same forum ;) ). When moving topics, only forum info is updated, nor datetime or anything.

Locking topics. This is very smart "censorship" operation, which prohibits users from making new posts in special topics. For locking topic, log in as admin, go to the bottom of each page. You will find kinda "lock topic" link. When you press it, topic will be locked. On an old place instead of "lock topic" you should see "unlock topic" link. Click on it, and topic will be unlocked.

Both topic's author (if he is a registered user) and admin can lock/unlock topics. Even if admin has locked this topic, registered author can unlock it - if the corresponding value not set in your options (see above).

"Stickying" topics. "Sticky topic" means the topic, which will be shown on the top of the topics list every time. This is useful for some announcements or really hot discussions, which you want to present first. Sticky topics appear ONLY in topics list. Last discussions page stays untouched! Last discussions is actually fresh meat, there is no necessarity to show sticky posts every day, in the time when new stuff is going.

Sticky topics are available for setting both for admin and moderators. For stickying topic, go to the bottom of the thread and find the "Make sticky" link. Just click on it. When the topic is already sticky, you will find the "Make unsticky" link.

Sticky topics also can be locked. If you lock sticky topic, and then unlock it again, the sticky status will be kept, and vice versa.

Viewing subscriptions. This feature was added in miniBB 1.2. Entering topic, logged admin can view which users are subscribed to this topic ("Subscriptions" link). Entering view panel, admin can also delete unwanted subscriptions, checking boxes near user's email.

Note: if there are no subscriptions, link will not appear.

"Preferences" for admin

Actually, admins preferences doesn't change anything special. As usual user, Admin can go to that panel and edit something, but all forums-working datas (Admin email, login and password) are taken from options file. In the admin panel, you will find operation called "Restore Admin data in database", clicking on it, you will automatically copy (or insert) your options data to corresponding Admin field in database. Then you can choose another email and other stuff (ICQ, for example) that will be shown on the "about user" page. So, your email shown in the above mentioned user info page can be independent on the email in the setup options file.

If you are using "Direct email" plugin, you can set another email for emailing admin, so you can have 2 different emails for system messages and direct user emailing.


Concepts and possibilities

In miniBB concepts, moderators are people who can:

  1. Lock, unlock, delete and move any topic - the same way as admin;
  2. Edit any message (with topic's title) - the same way as admin;
  3. Post a new topic in post-only forum;
  4. View poster IP (and view all users that have posted under this IP).

Moderators have no admin's privileges and have no access to the administration panel.

Moderators privileges are not splitted by forums. Moderator can do his job in any forum - until this is excluded in options (see above).

Each moderator can be defined only by administrator in bb_specials.php file (see above).

Each moderator has special description near his nickname (defined in $l_moderator variable in language). If moderator has special rank, his rank will be displayed instead of it.

Forums-wide user options

Users hierarchy

There is "liberal" users hierarchy in miniBB. Topics can be made both by anonymous users and registered users. Let's see what happens.

  • Anonymous users. If you are a "lazy man", or do not register for some reasons, you can make anonymous post, even under your nick. Simply type your username in "Login" field without password, and make a post under this name. If you leave both fields blank, your name automatically will be "Anonymous" (it depends on forums language setup even). However, if you will enter the nick which corresponds to any registered user you won't be able to post. This feature is only available, if forum's administrator has not disabled it in options.
  • Registered users. WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND all users to register - in any way, will you visit this forum often or not. Why? First, no one else will take your "unique" username/nick, and anonymous users will not be able to post messages under your nick. Second, if you will post some messages under your nick, and register it later, it is NOT POSSIBLE to edit these "anonymous messages" anymore. And finally, any registered user can take your "anonymous" or not registered nick simply by filling registration form.

User info is displayed on the separate page. On the threads page, you'll find only user's nick and, if this user is registered, a "member" beneath. Clicking on it, you'll get all possible info about user, which either is specified/allowed or not (see below). NOTE: by clicking on user's nickname, you "quote" his nickname in the reply form!

User's login

All user logins are made via cookies, that need to be enabled in a browser. User login form is located on every topics or threads page, as well as on the first page. You need to type your login and password correctly. Cookie passwords are saved in encrypted format.

Depending on forums setup, user login can expire in different time. Usually it expires within 1-2 hours, but administator can also make more longer expire (especially on international forums). Cookies renew mechanism also allows users to stay logged during longer periods of time - until the browser is closed. In any case, we recommend to do logout before you are leaving forums.

Anonymous users also receive cookie that goes from one page to another. Enjoy comfort :).

User's language

All users can change forums' language, entering "Language" menu. This option is available for "international" forums, but only if there are other language packs available. Entering forums for the first time, user's language is set to board's default language (whuch is set by admin) automatically. When user choose another available language, default language is ignored and set to user's choosed. Language settings are saved in a cookie sent to user.

Forums administrator can disable this feature: if only one language is available, users can not change it. It this case, they can be re-adressed to the main page.

At any time, users can delete browser's cookie, entering language menu and checking "Delete language settings" box. If something wrong happens via delete, users can use this link: "{URL_TO_FORUMS}/index.php?action=language2&deleteLang=on".

Language change is working only in forums interface. Email notifications are sent to user on default forums language.

User's registration

For registering, just click on "Registration" menu and fill in the form.

Necessary fields are:

  • LOGIN: your username, must be unique - if a user with the identical login already exists, you won't be able to register. Login must contain only symbol combination defined by admin. Usually, we recommend to use only A-Z letters, digits and maybe "_" sign. But, if admin defines more symbols, you can also use them. There is only one possibility to view defined symbols - to make an error in username ;) Then you will see them in error message. Anyway, don't choose "exotic" usernames - at least, it is stupid. You can use a name with length from 3 to 40 symbols.
  • PASSWORD: your password for BB. Must contain only A-Z letters, digits and "_" sign (no spaces!). You can use password with length from 5 to 32 symbols. Why exactly 32? We don't know ;) If seriously, try to use not more than 10 symbols.
  • PASSWORD ONCE AGAIN: this must be the same symbol combination, as the "PASSWORD". This is just for checking - have you entered password correctly, or not. Pay attention: all passwords are saved in encoded way. There is no possibility to view user password even by admin! Despite you can anyway receive new password via email, but it will be different from your orignal one (randomly generated).
  • EMAIL: your email. Must be also unique (no 2 users with the same email are possible). Email is checked by simple regular expression for avoiding "stupid" emails. If you can't register some email, please report to admin, or at least, miniBB team. Even we have checked this combination in many cases, there are some "exotic" emails that can not be validated with our function. But this is a rare thing.

Depending on what option current forum has, you can be registered just after filling the form, and can login to forums straight forward after it. Otherwise, if administrator has set avoiding of open registration, you'll need to check for the password your email first. When open registrations are forbidden, your password will be generated by the system, that's why you need to enter the correct email-address.

New topics and replies

New topic form is placed at the bottom of each topics listing page. You need to type topic's title ("New topic") and body ("Message"). At least, "New topic" field must be filled in. If you write in it and don't write in "Message", message will be automatically equal to topic's title.

New post form is located at the bottom of each threads page.

Note: if the anti-spam protection is enabled (usually it is), you can make posts and topics only once-per-defined-time. Usually, this time is 1-2 minutes - and it means, you can make posts not often than 1 per 1-2 minutes as well.

Note 2: before making a post, make sure you have corresponding ENCODING for this. F.e., if you have to make post on non-english language, let's say, chinese, be sure your browser encoding is set to it. To do it:

  • In Internet Explorer, click the right mouse button on the screen, choose "Encoding", and then set it;
  • In Netscape Navigator/Opera, choose menu's "View" -> "Character Set (Encoding)" and then set it.

Note 3: text breaks (newlines+carriage returns) are automatically converted to "physical" breaks.

Note 4: don't use a lot of apostrophes, quotes and specific tags in your messages. Actually, they are converted to "real" HTML-tags like "&#039;" (apostrophe), "&amp;" (& sign) etc. As you see, HTML special char takes at least 4 times more space than usual symbol. So, if topic's title limitation is set, let's say, to 70 symbols by administrator, your sentence can contain maximum 17 special symbols. Practical example: your topic is "Quick brown fox jumps over lazy dog's ears & nose" (49 symbols). Actual title is converted to: "Quick brown fox jumps over lazy dog&#039;s ears &amp; nose" (58 symbols). If the limitation would be 50 symbols, the sentence would be cutted to "Quick brown fox jumps over lazy dog's ears" (minus "nose" minus 5 special-symbols).

Email notifications

Email notifications can be enabled or disabled by forums admin. Usually, on large forums they are disabled. If enabled, every user who makes a post, can subscribe to them. Notifications are sent to user's email when someone replies to the topic after this user. Users can subscribe to notifications even if they are not topic authors. Users can also unsubscribe from notifications. For that, got to the desired topic and find "Unsubscribe" link instead of notifications checkbox, and just click on it.

Note: notifications are sent on default board's language, even if user has choosed another available language.

Automatic links highlighting

If you are using links like (beginning with "http://", "https://", "ftp://", "www" or "mailto:"), they are automatically converted to "real" links. But, when checking "Disable" box, links ARE NOT automatically highlighted, both as BB-codes (see below).

BB Codes

In miniBB, there is no possibility to include HTML in topics or posts. They can contain only "BB-codes" - special HTML-code replacements, that "emulate" HTML code. Since HTML is not supported in our board, most popular BB-codes are good alternative when posting new message or topic. Currently, miniBB supports following codes:

  • [url=SOMEURL]SOMETEXT[/url] where SOMEURL is URL like, SOMETEXT is alternate text to URL. DON'T USE QUOTATION MARKS OR APOSTROPHES INSIDE THIS TAG. In a post, these tags are replaced like following: <a href='SOMEURL'>SOMETEXT</a>.
  • [email=SOMEEMAIL]SOMETEXT[/email] where SOMEEMAIL is email you want to highlight. Practically, this tag is the same as URL, only with "mailto:". DON'T USE QUOTATION MARKS OR APOSTROPHES INSIDE THIS TAG. In a post, these tags are replaced like following: <a href='mailto:SOMEEMAIL' target='_new'>SOMETEXT</a>.
  • [img(left|right)][/img] where is exact URL for an image file (.JPG or .GIF). Alternatively, you can use "left" and "right" tags (without trailing space!) followed exact after "img". They place image left or right on the page, in the same way like HTML does. Usually, only [img] tag is used, but in systems like "forum news" you can also use left/right aligns. This tag is replaced with: <img src='' border='0' align='left OR right OR nothing' alt=''>. (Example: [imgleft][/img]) Note: because of hack protection, you can include images only from http:// servers, also as with only extensions like .gif or .jpg.
  • [b]Bold[/b] where "Bold" is the text you want to markup as in a "bold" style. Example: [b]Attention[/b] produces Attention.
  • [i]Italic[/i] where "Italic" is the text you want to markup as in an "italic" style. Example: [i]I apologize[/i] produces I apologize.
  • [u]Underlined[/u] where "Underlined" is the text you want to markup as in an "underlined" style. Example: [u]Don't write me an email[/u] produces Don't write me an email.

Note that the case of BB codes doesn't matter. You can type "[URL]" or "[uRL]" or whatever. Only opening and closing tags ([urL]...[/uRL]) are important, also tags CAN NOT CONTAIN SPACES!

There is no necessary to know exactly what do you need to type for corresponding tag. Each template message form contains JavaScript buttons that helps you to insert these tags into your post.

Both anonymous and registered users can use BB-codes, but also you can DISABLE BB-code in your post, checking "Disable" flag. Usually this is not necessary, because BB-codes allow posts be more organized and good-looking messages. But if you need to post something using not BB-code, but actual info containing BB-code, it is useful. For avoiding BB-codes, you can also put spaces inside them.

It is possible to combine tags with each other, f.e., to make "bold+italic" or "bold link". But be careful again with opening and closing tags correspondly. Example:

'This General Public License [b]does not permit[/b] incorporating your program into proprietary programs. If your program is a subroutine library, you may consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with the library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Library General Public License instead of this License.

Return to [url=]GNU's home page[/url].

FSF & GNU inquiries & questions to [][/email]. Other ways to [b][url=]contact the FSF[/url][/b].

Comments on these web pages to [][/email], send other questions to []GNU[/email].

[b][u]Copyright notice above[/u][/b].

[i]Free Software Foundation, Inc[/i]., [i][u]59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111, USA[/u][/i]'


'This General Public License does not permit incorporating your program into proprietary programs. If your program is a subroutine library, you may consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with the library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Library General Public License instead of this License.

Return to GNUs home page.

FSF & GNU inquiries & questions to Other ways to contact the FSF.

Comments on these web pages to, send other questions to GNU.

Copyright notice above.

Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111, USA'

If you need to post 100% "tagged" URL, it is better to do it with tags, since automatic replacements can't work in some cases. F.e., the following example will not work: [b][/b]. It is only "bolded", but not "highlighted". For bolding url links, use [url] tag.

Note: you can use tags also for multi-line text. Example:



(text contains two paragraphs) produces:


ADVANCED: Admin can use "color tags" for various text colors in messages: [font#(HEX-COLOR)]Colored Text[/font]

This option is not available for simple users, because of its restrictions and format. Do you want your forum to look like a rainbow? We guess, not. Please, use this code very carefully and only when it is really necessary. As admin, you can use ONLY correct hex-code of color, containig combination of 6 capitalized letters A-F + digits 0-9. "#" sign at the beginning is necessary. Values like "red", "yellow" won't work. Example:


produces red-colored "Attention!".

These examples will not work:

  • [font#ff0000]Attention![/font] (non-capitalized)
  • [font#red]Attention![/font] (non-hex)
  • [font#F000]Attention![/font] (only 5 letters - incorrect)

By default, there is no "hot button" for this option in the templates.

Users also can use any HTML decimal codes in their messages. This is done mostly for international forums, when user's encoding is set to different language, in which he posts a message. You can use any code beginning from "&#" and ending with ";". For example, it is useful for displaying both BB-codes with their interpretators. This:

[b]Use bold[/b]: &#91;b]Use bold&#91;/b]

will produce: Use bold [b]Use bold[/b]

Note that decimal codes are not replaced back, when you edit your message. They are displaying like they are.

Quoting messages

Topic posters can quote other messages. There is no "quote" BB-code included, as on some bulletin boards. Instead of it, you can use "italic" style to separate quotes. For better comfort, there is a "quote" link near every post made. For making a quote, you need to select some text and press this link. Selected text will be automatically inserted into reply box at the bottom of the page.

This feature is based on JavaScript code and works only in Netscape 4.9, Netscape 6.x and Internet Explorer 5.x-6.x.

Locking topics

Topic authors can lock their topics, if they think it is correct. In order to do it, topic author needs to be logged in. At the bottom of the topic's page he must see small "lock topic" link. Clicking on it, topic becomes closed.

Nobody except topic author or administrator can lock the topic. If topic was locked by admin, topic author can unlock it ONLY if it is defined in forum options (in most cases it's not).

Editing messages

Registered users (and only registered) can edit THEIR messages, but only if they are cookie-logged and only if the time of the message is not expired. For this, just click on "Edit" near each post (if it is your message, you'll see the link, else not). When editing message, "automatic highlights" are replaced with "real" BB-codes, so there is no need to delete them once again. Also, "real" HTML tags are replaced back to codes. Via editing, user can add new BB-codes, links etc. - like in any new post or topic. User can edit only his POST, not topic's title, even if he is the author of the topic. After message is edited by user, info about that is displayed near each post.

There is no way to delete your message and edit topic's title, if you are topic's author. Only admin can do this.

After administrator has edited user's message, for user, it is no way to edit it once again.

Editing preferences

For editing user preferences, you need to log in and go to the "preferences" appearing in menu. You can type new data for your account, except login, that can not be changed. If you don't want to change your password leave the password field and go next to the fields you want to edit, you don't need to write your password once more, 'cause are already logged. Then done just press submission button below.

This action works exactly like registration: you need to type grammatically correct data. Thus, you can not change your email to the one of someone who already registered (incl. admin's email ;) ). Updating preferences, you don't need to enter password, if you don't want to change it. Just leave these fields blank.

Two exceptions:

  • Show email public?: that option allows (or not) other users to view your email in user info. It does not affect emailing notifications etc.
  • Sort topics by: that option switches sorting filter. On topics and last discussions pages, you can view topic names sorted by new topics or new posts. This is one of the points of why to register: logging into the forums, you can quickly view, what's new. This option is saved on all pages, since anonymous users will need to click on "sort" every time.

Changing user password

Login, go to the preferences, type new password 2 times in "password" fields. Your password will be updated to the new one.

Note: after changing password your old password will not be valid, and you will need to re-login on the login page. If you will edit more settings, you'll get the message "not allowed" or something similar.

Changing forgotten password

miniBB passwords are encrypted with md5 algorithm. There is no way back to know out the original password. If you have forgotten your password, we can't restore it anymore, but we can change it, by generating new random password.

Follow these steps to receive new password:

  • Click on "password" links near login form;
  • Enter an email you've mentioned in the registration form;
  • If your email is correct (we hope, yes :) you will receive further instructions via email;
  • Follow link described in email and confirm your password;
  • Only(!) after confirmation, your password will be changed. You will be able to change it to something "readable" in "preferences".

Forums search panel

You can quickly search forums for keywords. Search panel is placed under the "Search" link in menu. You can search text in topics and posts, in topics only, in poster names, by all words, any words or the whole phrase. Search results are sorted by post time in descending order (new posts are shown first).

Also remember that search phrase length can`t be more than 100 symbols. Also minimum length of any word is 3 in "Any words" type of search and at least one word must be more than 2 symbols in any other type of search. This was made to protect your server in case, if somebody will try to attack it with lots of simple search queries, like, for example, searching letter "a" in all posts and topics, which will lead a large number of search results to be returned by database server, thus it can become overloaded.

Beginning from miniBB 1.3, there is also more complicated search. You can choose "match whole words" option which actually means you will search only WHOLE words (if you type "nick", the sentences containing "nick" will be found, but not such words as "nickname" or "snickers"). Also, you can search within defined period of days, when posts were made. If you want to expand your search, it is always better to set this to big amount, f.e., of 365 (1 year) days. Note that searching for username is NOT affected by this "search-within-days" option.


In the "statistics" menu, you can get all available information about forums. This is the most "not needed" part of a forum. In statistics, you will find:

  • Total amount of registered users (except admin);
  • Total amount of topics;
  • Total amount of posts;
  • Who are moderators;
  • Who is administrator;
  • Who is last registered user;
  • Most popular topics list (top 5, top 10, top 20, top 40), which is generated according to how many answers were posted in topic;
  • Most viewed topics list (top 5, top 10, top 20, top 40);
  • Most active registered users list (top 5, top 10, top 20, top 40).

Beginning from miniBB 1.3, you can define period of days which will be used in calculating stats (this setting affects only most popular topics and most viewed topics, username stats are NOT affected).

Some notes for developers

Please, don't read this section if you are unfamiliar with PHP, mySQL and programming at all, more so - DON'T try described below.

Database modules

First version of miniBB was supported only by mySQL database. Since version 1.1, we have developed also PostgreSQL module. We have attached all SQL-calls in a separate file. Depending on this file, other database modules (f.e., ODBC) can be made. We plan to work on it in near future, but every developer who can help us in making another DB module is welcome. You'll get all necessary credits.

Making a DB module is average simple. Since SQL functions are mostly the same (at least, by logic), in many cases you just need to make another database connection which is supported by PHP, and design database request if necessary. SQL requests mostly are parsed into array pointers, which can be accessed, f.e., via mysql_fetch_row() function. Probably, most databases can support this operation. In other words: just look, how mySQL parser works, and include other commands :). Note: don't change names of variables, like $result or $sus, because some are called from the outside script.

Here is an example:

if(!$sus) $result=mysql_query("SELECT forum_id, forum_name, forum_desc, forum_icon
FROM forums ORDER BY forum_order ASC");

In this request (numbered as 16 and used for accessing forums info) we use $sus, $result and $row variables. Usually, $sus means "second user stack" and answers for fetching result array, if specified. Since $result is made global, it's pointer is saved in a memory, and we can call it once again (read more in PHP manual about this).

Including from your own PHP script

If you are the creator of your own PHP site, you probably have the same header and footer for the whole site. As usual, they are .php files, and are included in, for example, index.php. Since miniBB owns the same index.php in its structure by default, you can change the name of miniBB's index to something else. For this, in setup_options.php add the variable: $indexphp='index.php?'; where its value is equal to miniBB's index file, plus '?' sign. Otherwise, this variable can be used for your script, when you include miniBB's index from .php. Note that this feature was implemented only beginning from miniBB 1.4. If you have templates from older versions, you'll also need to correct them (change all direct links inside to "{$indexphp}". By default, $indexphp is not included in setup_options.php - to avoid misunderstandings.

Including forums from your own script requires a knowledge of PHP and things what are happening inside of miniBB. If you simply include your board using include(); errors you will get errors will be like "Headers already sent" or similar. This could happen when user logges in to the forums, and cookies are set (of course, they can not be set, because some of your HTML stuff goes before include(); ). In this case, miniBB is a stick on two ends. The most efficient solution is to include your board this way:


case 'forum':
if($mode=='login' or $mode=='logout' or $action=='language2') $displayForum=0;
echo "<b>My header</b><br>";
@include ('./index.php');
echo "<b>My footer</b>";
else {
@include ('./index.php');


echo "<b>My header</b><br>";
echo 'My simple page<br>';
echo "<b>My footer</b>";


This little code actually shows, that if you have some action which will sent HTTP-headers (via PHP's header(); ), it is better to not include your header before. This could happen when user logs in or out, when he is changing language (if you don't have multilanguage forum - remove the language link from main_header.html, else you will see an empty page). There also can be another redirections, described in the manual, but not included by default. In any case, you need to insert some condition to check what miniBB is doing right now.

PHP scripts

In PHP scripts, no tabs were used by us. All functions and operations are separated by newlines only. Most of the comments were removed in final miniBB release, however, there are some very necessary comments left, that will help you understand what's going on. Also, in many string variables cases we have used apostrophes ('') instead of quotes (""), because that increases the speed of the scripts dramatically.

GNU Free Documentation License

Version 1.1, March 2000

Copyright (C) 2000  Free Software Foundation, Inc.
59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA  02111-1307  USA
Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.


The purpose of this License is to make a manual, textbook, or other written document "free" in the sense of freedom: to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifying it, either commercially or noncommercially. Secondarily, this License preserves for the author and publisher a way to get credit for their work, while not being considered responsible for modifications made by others.

This License is a kind of "copyleft", which means that derivative works of the document must themselves be free in the same sense. It complements the GNU General Public License, which is a copyleft license designed for free software.

We have designed this License in order to use it for manuals for free software, because free software needs free documentation: a free program should come with manuals providing the same freedoms that the software does. But this License is not limited to software manuals; it can be used for any textual work, regardless of subject matter or whether it is published as a printed book. We recommend this License principally for works whose purpose is instruction or reference.


This License applies to any manual or other work that contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it can be distributed under the terms of this License. The "Document", below, refers to any such manual or work. Any member of the public is a licensee, and is addressed as "you".

A "Modified Version" of the Document means any work containing the Document or a portion of it, either copied verbatim, or with modifications and/or translated into another language.

A "Secondary Section" is a named appendix or a front-matter section of the Document that deals exclusively with the relationship of the publishers or authors of the Document to the Document's overall subject (or to related matters) and contains nothing that could fall directly within that overall subject. (For example, if the Document is in part a textbook of mathematics, a Secondary Section may not explain any mathematics.) The relationship could be a matter of historical connection with the subject or with related matters, or of legal, commercial, philosophical, ethical or political position regarding them.

The "Invariant Sections" are certain Secondary Sections whose titles are designated, as being those of Invariant Sections, in the notice that says that the Document is released under this License.

The "Cover Texts" are certain short passages of text that are listed, as Front-Cover Texts or Back-Cover Texts, in the notice that says that the Document is released under this License.

A "Transparent" copy of the Document means a machine-readable copy, represented in a format whose specification is available to the general public, whose contents can be viewed and edited directly and straightforwardly with generic text editors or (for images composed of pixels) generic paint programs or (for drawings) some widely available drawing editor, and that is suitable for input to text formatters or for automatic translation to a variety of formats suitable for input to text formatters. A copy made in an otherwise Transparent file format whose markup has been designed to thwart or discourage subsequent modification by readers is not Transparent. A copy that is not "Transparent" is called "Opaque".

Examples of suitable formats for Transparent copies include plain ASCII without markup, Texinfo input format, LaTeX input format, SGML or XML using a publicly available DTD, and standard-conforming simple HTML designed for human modification. Opaque formats include PostScript, PDF, proprietary formats that can be read and edited only by proprietary word processors, SGML or XML for which the DTD and/or processing tools are not generally available, and the machine-generated HTML produced by some word processors for output purposes only.

The "Title Page" means, for a printed book, the title page itself, plus such following pages as are needed to hold, legibly, the material this License requires to appear in the title page. For works in formats which do not have any title page as such, "Title Page" means the text near the most prominent appearance of the work's title, preceding the beginning of the body of the text.


You may copy and distribute the Document in any medium, either commercially or noncommercially, provided that this License, the copyright notices, and the license notice saying this License applies to the Document are reproduced in all copies, and that you add no other conditions whatsoever to those of this License. You may not use technical measures to obstruct or control the reading or further copying of the copies you make or distribute. However, you may accept compensation in exchange for copies. If you distribute a large enough number of copies you must also follow the conditions in section 3.

You may also lend copies, under the same conditions stated above, and you may publicly display copies.


If you publish printed copies of the Document numbering more than 100, and the Document's license notice requires Cover Texts, you must enclose the copies in covers that carry, clearly and legibly, all these Cover Texts: Front-Cover Texts on the front cover, and Back-Cover Texts on the back cover. Both covers must also clearly and legibly identify you as the publisher of these copies. The front cover must present the full title with all words of the title equally prominent and visible. You may add other material on the covers in addition. Copying with changes limited to the covers, as long as they preserve the title of the Document and satisfy these conditions, can be treated as verbatim copying in other respects.

If the required texts for either cover are too voluminous to fit legibly, you should put the first ones listed (as many as fit reasonably) on the actual cover, and continue the rest onto adjacent pages.

If you publish or distribute Opaque copies of the Document numbering more than 100, you must either include a machine-readable Transparent copy along with each Opaque copy, or state in or with each Opaque copy a publicly-accessible computer-network location containing a complete Transparent copy of the Document, free of added material, which the general network-using public has access to download anonymously at no charge using public-standard network protocols. If you use the latter option, you must take reasonably prudent steps, when you begin distribution of Opaque copies in quantity, to ensure that this Transparent copy will remain thus accessible at the stated location until at least one year after the last time you distribute an Opaque copy (directly or through your agents or retailers) of that edition to the public.

It is requested, but not required, that you contact the authors of the Document well before redistributing any large number of copies, to give them a chance to provide you with an updated version of the Document.


You may copy and distribute a Modified Version of the Document under the conditions of sections 2 and 3 above, provided that you release the Modified Version under precisely this License, with the Modified Version filling the role of the Document, thus licensing distribution and modification of the Modified Version to whoever possesses a copy of it. In addition, you must do these things in the Modified Version:

  • A. Use in the Title Page (and on the covers, if any) a title distinct from that of the Document, and from those of previous versions (which should, if there were any, be listed in the History section of the Document). You may use the same title as a previous version if the original publisher of that version gives permission.
  • B. List on the Title Page, as authors, one or more persons or entities responsible for authorship of the modifications in the Modified Version, together with at least five of the principal authors of the Document (all of its principal authors, if it has less than five).
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  • D. Preserve all the copyright notices of the Document.
  • E. Add an appropriate copyright notice for your modifications adjacent to the other copyright notices.
  • F. Include, immediately after the copyright notices, a license notice giving the public permission to use the Modified Version under the terms of this License, in the form shown in the Addendum below.
  • G. Preserve in that license notice the full lists of Invariant Sections and required Cover Texts given in the Document's license notice.
  • H. Include an unaltered copy of this License.
  • I. Preserve the section entitled "History", and its title, and add to it an item stating at least the title, year, new authors, and publisher of the Modified Version as given on the Title Page. If there is no section entitled "History" in the Document, create one stating the title, year, authors, and publisher of the Document as given on its Title Page, then add an item describing the Modified Version as stated in the previous sentence.
  • J. Preserve the network location, if any, given in the Document for public access to a Transparent copy of the Document, and likewise the network locations given in the Document for previous versions it was based on. These may be placed in the "History" section. You may omit a network location for a work that was published at least four years before the Document itself, or if the original publisher of the version it refers to gives permission.
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If the Modified Version includes new front-matter sections or appendices that qualify as Secondary Sections and contain no material copied from the Document, you may at your option designate some or all of these sections as invariant. To do this, add their titles to the list of Invariant Sections in the Modified Version's license notice. These titles must be distinct from any other section titles.

You may add a section entitled "Endorsements", provided it contains nothing but endorsements of your Modified Version by various parties--for example, statements of peer review or that the text has been approved by an organization as the authoritative definition of a standard.

You may add a passage of up to five words as a Front-Cover Text, and a passage of up to 25 words as a Back-Cover Text, to the end of the list of Cover Texts in the Modified Version. Only one passage of Front-Cover Text and one of Back-Cover Text may be added by (or through arrangements made by) any one entity. If the Document already includes a cover text for the same cover, previously added by you or by arrangement made by the same entity you are acting on behalf of, you may not add another; but you may replace the old one, on explicit permission from the previous publisher that added the old one.

The author(s) and publisher(s) of the Document do not by this License give permission to use their names for publicity for or to assert or imply endorsement of any Modified Version.


You may combine the Document with other documents released under this License, under the terms defined in section 4 above for modified versions, provided that you include in the combination all of the Invariant Sections of all of the original documents, unmodified, and list them all as Invariant Sections of your combined work in its license notice.

The combined work need only contain one copy of this License, and multiple identical Invariant Sections may be replaced with a single copy. If there are multiple Invariant Sections with the same name but different contents, make the title of each such section unique by adding at the end of it, in parentheses, the name of the original author or publisher of that section if known, or else a unique number. Make the same adjustment to the section titles in the list of Invariant Sections in the license notice of the combined work.

In the combination, you must combine any sections entitled "History" in the various original documents, forming one section entitled "History"; likewise combine any sections entitled "Acknowledgements", and any sections entitled "Dedications". You must delete all sections entitled "Endorsements."


You may make a collection consisting of the Document and other documents released under this License, and replace the individual copies of this License in the various documents with a single copy that is included in the collection, provided that you follow the rules of this License for verbatim copying of each of the documents in all other respects.

You may extract a single document from such a collection, and distribute it individually under this License, provided you insert a copy of this License into the extracted document, and follow this License in all other respects regarding verbatim copying of that document.


A compilation of the Document or its derivatives with other separate and independent documents or works, in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, does not as a whole count as a Modified Version of the Document, provided no compilation copyright is claimed for the compilation. Such a compilation is called an "aggregate", and this License does not apply to the other self-contained works thus compiled with the Document, on account of their being thus compiled, if they are not themselves derivative works of the Document.

If the Cover Text requirement of section 3 is applicable to these copies of the Document, then if the Document is less than one quarter of the entire aggregate, the Document's Cover Texts may be placed on covers that surround only the Document within the aggregate. Otherwise they must appear on covers around the whole aggregate.


Translation is considered a kind of modification, so you may distribute translations of the Document under the terms of section 4. Replacing Invariant Sections with translations requires special permission from their copyright holders, but you may include translations of some or all Invariant Sections in addition to the original versions of these Invariant Sections. You may include a translation of this License provided that you also include the original English version of this License. In case of a disagreement between the translation and the original English version of this License, the original English version will prevail.


You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Document except as expressly provided for under this License. Any other attempt to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Document is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License. However, parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.


The Free Software Foundation may publish new, revised versions of the GNU Free Documentation License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns. See

Each version of the License is given a distinguishing version number. If the Document specifies that a particular numbered version of this License "or any later version" applies to it, you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that specified version or of any later version that has been published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation. If the Document does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose any version ever published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation.

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